To enter Turkey you must have a visa unless your country has a bilateral agreement with Turkey which exempts you from needing a visa.
What is a Visa?
A visa is a permission to enter Turkey and remain temporarily. A visa typically has
- A Validity Period: beginning on the day the visa becomes active and ending on its expiration date. The validity period can be anywhere between one and six months.
- A maximum number of days you can be in Turkey:
A visa also gives you a limited number of days you can be in Turkey during its validity period. So you could have a visa with a validity period of 180 days, allowing you to be in Turkey for up to 90 days.
If you want to remain in Turkey beyond your visa's expiration date or beyond the number of days it allows you to be in Turkey, you must apply for a residence permit.
Types of Visas
Citizens of many European countries, the UK, the US, and many other countries can buy an e-visa online. It's much like buying an airline ticket. Just enter your passport or other travel document information, your personal information, and your planned day of arrival, then pay for the visa with a credit card.
Citizens of some countries can visit Turkey without a visa. To learn if you're one of them, the e-visa system will tell you when you enter your travel document information on the first page of the e-visa system.
The e-visa system is at https://www.evisa.gov.tr/.
Insider Tip: Make sure the website has the ".gov.tr" suffix. If it doesn't, it will be a company that may get your e-visa for you while charging you for the service.
Once you enter your information and submit it, the e-visa system will give you a link to download your e-visa and print it. To enter Turkey, present your passport and the printed e-visa to the border control officer. While in Turkey, you must keep your passport and the printed e-visa with you.
To learn if you're eligible for an e-visa, the duration of the e-visa you're eligible for, and the number of days it will allow you to be in Turkey, enter your passport or other travel document information and submit it. You don't have to buy an e-visa to get this information. The system will also tell you if you must get a visa from a Turkish embassy or consulate.
Learn more about the e-visa.
The e-Visa Validity Period
Your e-visa will have a validity period, which begins on the date it's issued and ends on a date a certain number of days after the issue date. These two dates don't change. The expiration date is always a definite date on the calendar.
In all cases, if your e-visa goes past its expiration date, you'll have no visa at all. You'll have to buy a new visa to re-enter Turkey.
Here's an example.
If you're a citizen of a European country, the USA, the UK, or of certain other countries and get an e-visa on 5 February, it'll be valid for a 180-day validity period starting on 5 February and ending on 2 August.
You can start using your e-visa any time you want from 5 February to 2 August, and you can enter Turkey and leave as many times as you want until 2 August, the last day of the validity period.
But the total number of days you can be in Turkey can never exceed 90 in any 180-day period. I'll explain that part next.
The Maximum Number of Days Allowed in Turkey Within a Range of Days
Depending on your nationality, the visa rules will set a maximum number of days you can be in Turkey during a certain range of days. For example, if you're a citizen of a country as mentioned above, you can be in Turkey for a maximum of 90 days during any 180-day period. If you stay in Turkey for more than 90 days in any 180-day period, those days over the 90-day limit will be an overstay.
Important!: Don't confuse the validity period with the date range used for the maximum days of stay. They're two completely different time periods. The validity period always starts and ends on a set calendar date. The range of days during which you can't exceed a maximum number of days is always counted back from whatever day "today" is.
For citizens of European countries, the UK, Canada, Australia and many other countries, visas are limited by this 90-in-180-days rule. Visas for citizens of other countries have the same limitation but with a different number of days.
To learn more about the visa limitations, see: 90-in-180-Days Rule, How it Works and How to Do the Calculation.
The work visa is a single-entry visa issued to those who have been employed by a Turkish company. It's valid for six months.
If you want to work in Turkey, you must first find a job and receive an employment contract. In coordination with your employer in Turkey, you'll go to a Turkish embassy or consulate and apply for a work visa. At the same time, your employer will apply for and obtain your work permit. After you travel to Turkey with your work visa, you'll go to your place of employment and get your work permit.
A student visa is a single-entry visa issued to those accepted as a student by an accredited Turkish school or university. It's valid for six months.
To get a student visa, you must first obtain a letter of acceptance from the school or university you want to attend. Then you'll go to a Turkish embassy or consulate to apply for your student visa. After you travel to Turkey with your student visa, you'll go to your school or university and apply for your student residence permit.
Learn more about the student visa.
Learn more about the student residence permit.
Getting a Visa from a Turkish Embassy or Consulate
If the e-visa system tells you to get your visa from a Turkish embassy or consulate, you can use Turkey's consular appointments website to make an appointment at any Turkish embassy or consulate in the world. The appointment system is at https://www.konsolosluk.gov.tr/.
Passport Validity Requirements
Your passport must be valid for:
- At least 180 days beyond the date you enter Turkey.
- At least 120 days from the date you leave Turkey.
- At least 60 days beyond the expiration date of your visa or residence permit.
Visas for citizens of Europe, the UK, and the US have a validity period of 180 days. So your passport will have to be valid for 240 days beyond the start date of your visa.
Citizens of some countries don't need a visa to travel to Turkey for touristic reasons. To learn if you can travel to Turkey without a visa, go to the e-visa online application system and enter your passport or travel document information. The system will tell you if you can use your ID card to enter Turkey.
There are no visa extensions. If you want to remain in Turkey beyond the amount of time allowed by your visa, you must apply for a residence permit. You may apply at any time during the 60 days before your visa's expiration, or before you reach the maximum number of days your visa allows you to be in Turkey.
Learn more about residence permits.
Travel insurance is required by law for people visiting Turkey with a visa. I've never heard of anyone from the Turkish government checking to see if travelers have health insurance, but it is required. Travel insurance can protect you from financial loss due to medical treatment, trip cancelation, a lost deposit on a rental property, and theft. TravelInsurance.com is a website where you can enter your trip details and get quotes from multiple world-class insurance companies.
Learn more about travel insurance.
If you later apply for a residence permit, you'll need to buy a Turkish private health insurance policy to cover you for your residence permit's duration.
Learn more about the required health insurance for your residence permit.
If Your Visa Application is Rejected
If your visa application is rejected, you'll receive a letter explaining why it was rejected. If you want to appeal the decision, first write a letter to the authority which rejected it, asking them to reconsider. If they again reject your application, your only recourse is to go to court.
While a visa allows you to visit Turkey temporarily and leave, a residence permit will enable you to live in Turkey. You must already be in Turkey, with a visa or visa exemption, to apply for a residence permit. The type of residence permit you'll most likely be applying for is the short-term residence permit, which can be issued with a duration of one month to two years.