In 2015, 41million people visited Turkey. In 2016, largely as a result of the combination of the conflict in Syria, political uncertainty in Turkey and terrorist attacks, the number fell to about 31million. Local reports suggest that tourist numbers increased sharply in 2017, mainly because of an influx of tourists from Russia and the former Soviet Union.
Video guide to visiting Turkey (tourist visa)
You can get a quick overview of tourist visas for Turkey by watching this video interview (below) with Turkish lawyer Başak Yıldız Orkun. Learn more by scrolling down and reading the guide she has written with us.
Who can visit Turkey as a tourist?
Citizens of any nationality can visit Turkey as a ‘tourist’: somebody who is visiting on a short-term (less than 90-day) basis and who is not coming to Turkey to work. The length of time you can visit Turkey on a tourist visa depends upon your nationality, as the government of Turkey has reached individual agreements with individual countries when it comes to reciprocal tourism rights. Details can be found here.
How can a foreigner visit Turkey as a tourist?
The only requirement is that they must obtain an ‘e-visa’. This ‘visa’ is not a visa in the usual sense of the word. It does not involve any scrutiny of your status or application. It is, basically, a receipt for an entry tax!
You apply for the e-visa via the Turkish government’s e-visa website. This is available in many languages. The whole process of obtaining the visa will, typically, take less than five minutes. You will need to provide information such as your passport number and your parents’ full names. You will also have to make a small payment (by credit or debit card). The amount of the payment depends, again, on your country of origin. It is typically about US$20. .
You can apply for the e-visa up to three months in advance of your intended travel date.
How long can I stay in Turkey as a tourist?
Once you arrive in Turkey, your e-visa will allow you to stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. Unlike many countries, this is irrespective of whether that period bridges a calendar year.
So, for example, if you arrived for a proposed 90-day visit on 1 September 2017 you would be able to stay until 30 November 2017 (a maximum of 90 days). If you arrived on 1 November 2017, you would be able to stay until 30 January 2018 (again, a maximum of 90 days). The count does not restart on 1 January 2018 just because you are in a new calendar year.
If you wish to stay in Turkey as a tourist for longer than 90 days, you can do so, but only by obtaining a short-term residence permit. This is fairly simple. See our Guide to Residence Permits in Turkey.
Coming to Turkey as a business visitor
People wishing to visit Turkey to meet clients and/or discuss business matters can do so as tourists. There is no separate ‘business visitor’ visa.
However, if you want to visit Turkey for other ‘business’ purposes, you will need a working visa for which there are various requirements. For example, journalists have a special type of visa, people filming or conducting scientific research have a different type of visa, as do people coming to Turkey for the purposes of teaching, and lorry (truck) drivers. See our other immigration guides.