Take out a Paper and Pen: Your Visa Guide to Istanbul

There are so many places that worth seeing in the world, yet there is so little time to travel and see all of them. However, if you have a “Where to Visit Before I Die” list, Istanbul is good enough to take a place in the top 3 without a doubt. As it is far away and out of your country, it might seem to you as a far-fetched dream to travel to Turkey and visit Istanbul but never say never! All you need to do is to make a good research about the requirements to travel to Istanbul and complete the legal procedures. It seems like you’re in the right place to make research to know everything about traveling to Istanbul so keep scrolling down for more!

What To Do When You Want to Visit Istanbul?

Just like many other countries, Turkey has some regulations for foreign visitors. Before setting out, you need to carry out some legal procedures. These procedures can be listed in two different categories. They are the things that you can do before and after coming to Turkey.

Things to Do Before Coming to Turkey

Do the U.S. Citizens Need a Visa to Visit Istanbul?

The first and the most important procedure that you need to complete is to get a visa. It’s officially known that both ordinary and diplomatic passport owners need a visa to travel to Turkey. 

What Is an Ordinary Passport?

Ordinary passports are mainly used by ordinary citizens of a country. Simply, if you’re an ordinary citizen without a diplomatic duty, you need an ordinary passport to travel internationally. This passport is nothing but a small book however it is more than a normal book in terms of its importance thinking that it is your international ID. You can use your ordinary passport for occasions like a business trip, vacation or education. You can recognize an ordinary passport from its color. The official color given to an ordinary passport is dark blue. This passport consists of 36 pages at least and 60 pages at most. It is named as P passport because it’s for personal use and the letter P represents the word personal

 What Is a Diplomatic Passport?

Diplomatic passports serve for the use of diplomats or government officers. It can only be used for official travels that require official duties in another country. Simply, it cannot be used for personal travels or vacations. The cover color of a diplomatic passport is black. As it is used for diplomatic purposes, it is categorized as a D type passport. It is no surprise that D stands for diplomacy.

How to Get a Visa?

Carrying out legal procures is not always easy-peasy. But here are some tips for you to make them easier: 

  1. If your plans include a journey that will last more than 3 months, then you need to visit the Turkish embassy or the Turkish consulate located in the U.S. personally. Sometimes there can be too many people that apply for a visa and this causes delays. Due to delays in visa procedures, it is highly advised to apply for a visa at least one month before your flight date in order to prevent yourself from any inconvenience.
  2. To get a visa, you need to make a payment to Turkish embassies for sure. However, it should not be forgotten that your application for the visa can be turned down by the Turkish government. In that case, the money that you pay for the application is not paid back. 
  3. All visa applicants who aim to visit Turkey are in need to have health insurance that covers the duration of your visit to Turkey. In case of any health problems that you might face during your journey, the insurance company will provide your needs. 
  4. You need to keep it in mind that the duration of all the applicants’ journey cannot last longer than 90 days in 6 months. In simpler words, it is not permitted to stay more than 90 days and you will need to renew your visa every 6 months. 
  5. If you want to stay longer, you need to extend your duration by applying for “short term residence”. You can carry out this procedure in the Directorate of Immigration. 
  6. If you’re under 18, you need to be accompanied by your parents which means you need your parents’ permission to travel internationally.    

Where Can I Apply for a Visa to Travel to Istanbul?

If e-visa is not an option for you, you need to visit a Turkish embassy or consulate located in the United States of America. This means that you need to get your papers ready and hand them out personally. Here is the required information for you. You can choose the nearest one to the place that you live in.

1- For Those Who Live in the Capital City: The Turkish Embassy in Washington, DC

 Address Information: 
2525 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W
D.C. 20008 Washington/United States

Ambassador: Serdar Kilic
Working Hours: You can visit and apply for a visa from 09:30 pm to 1 pm.

How to Contact? 
It’d be better to ask your questions through email as you can’t always find someone authorized to get in contact through the phone. But still, here is the email address and the phone number that you can reach through: 

Phone numbers:
+1-202-612-6700 – +1-202-612-6701
Email: [email protected]

If you need further information and the latest news you can visit the link below:
Website: http://washington.emb.mfa.gov.tr

2- If You Dwell in New York: Turkish Consulate General in New York

Address information: 
605 3rd Avenue, 30th Floor 10158  New York/United States

Ambassador: Alper Aktas
Working Hours: You can visit and apply for a visa on Monday – Friday from 2 pm to 4 pm.

How to Contact?
Don’t forget that you need to make an appointment to visit the Consulate. If you think that you can find an answer to your questions online, here is the email address: 
Email: [email protected]
For Further Information and the Latest News: http://newyork.cg.mfa.gov.tr/

It’s less likely to contact through the phone, but still, it is an option: 
Phone Number: +1 (646) 430-6560

3- If You’re Near Somewhere Los Angeles: Turkish Consulate General in Los Angeles

Address Information:
6300 Wilshire Boulevard., Nu: 2010 90048  Los Angeles, California

Ambassador: Can Oguz
Working hours: You can visit and apply for a visa from 9 am to 12 pm.

How to Contact?
Just like the other Turkish consulates and embassies, the Turkish Consulate General in Los Angeles has phone numbers and email addresses too.
Email: [email protected]
Phone Numbers: +1 323 591 6480  – +1 323 591 6481 

For Further Information and the Latest News: http://losangeles.cg.mfa.gov.tr/

4- If Huston Is the Best Option for You: Turkish Consulate General in Houston

Address Information: 
1990 Post Oak Boulevard
Suite 1300, Houston, Texas 77056-3813 U.S.A 

Ambassador: Akil Oktem
Working Hours: You can visit and apply for a visa from 9 am to 12 pm.

How to Contact?
Other ways to get in contact with the Consulate are through email and phone:
Email: [email protected]
Phone Numbers: +1 713-622 58 49 – +1 713-622 03 24 

For Further Information and the Latest News: http://houston.cg.mfa.gov.tr/

If you don’t have enough time to visit the embassies or consulates or if you don’t like serious places, there is a great option that suits you. Moreover, don’t forget to make an appointment beforehand and be careful about the working hours and days that are mentioned on the official pages of the Embassies and The Consulate Generals. An electronic system that enables you to apply for a visa online can be taken into consideration.

What Is E-Visa?

You can consider e-visa as a permission paper. This paper enables you to travel to Turkey. What makes it different from the visa that we get from the embassies and consulates-general is that you can get it online without waiting in line or visiting the embassies. For instance, as we all know, embassies and consulates are located in big cities. It means that If you leave in a small town, you will need to travel inside of your country first to go and visit the nearest embassy to you. It might sound a little exhausting so e-visa is a great service for you. 

How Much You Need to Pay for E-Visa?

According to the latest regulations, you need to pay $50 to get an e-visa to Turkey.  In addition to this, you have $1.05 to pay as a service fee.

How Can I Pay the Fee for E-Visa?

There are different options for payment. You can pay it with your credit card or debit card as well. Unfortunately, as it is an online application, you can’t pay it with cash.

How Can I Apply for E-Visa?

Good news: It is just one click away! You can visit the link below and start your application.

On the website, you will see the “Apply” section. By clicking on the section, you will be lead to an application form. In that application form, you will be expected to fill it with your personal information such as country and region that you’re coming from and the type of your passport.

On the next page, you will need to choose your arrival date for Turkey. Then, you will continue with a new form. In this new form, you will fill in the blanks with your ID information. This information includes:

  1. First name
  2. Surname
  3. Date of Birth
  4. Place of Birth
  5. Mother’s Name
  6. Father’s Name
  7. Passport Number
  8. Passport Issue Date 
  9. Passport Expiry Date
  10. Email Address
  11. Phone Number
  12. Address

When you finish the application, on the last page you will see your e-visa link or your e-visa will be sent to you by email. Don’t forget that e-visa is valid just for vacations or business trips. If you need the visa to get an education or work in Turkey, you will need to visit the Turkish Embassies or the Consulate Generals in your country. 

Who Is Eligible for E-Visa?

More than 100 countries worldwide are eligible for e-visa. Some of these countries include Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Malta, Mexico, Spain, and the USA.

Do I Need to Enter Turkey on an Exact Date?

The answer to this question is actually no. As your visa is valid for 90 days, you can visit the country on any date that your visa includes. 

Things You Can Do After Coming to Turkey:

As Istanbul is visited by many visitors in a year, everything to make getting a visa easier is done in Turkey. The citizens of the U.S. are one of those visitors who visit Turkey often. As a result of this popular demand, there is a privilege for U.S. citizens. So here are the things you can do after coming to Turkey. 

Can I Get My Visa After Coming to Turkey?

It might surprise you a little bit but yes. You can get your visa after hopping on your plane and arriving in Turkey. If you wonder how to get it, keep reading!

Where Can I Get My Visa After Coming to Turkey?

After getting off your plane in Istanbul, you can get your visa at the airport in Turkey. Both in Atatürk and Istanbul Airports, it is possible to carry out the procedures for a visa. There are special counters to carry out visa applications at the airports in Istanbul. However, don’t forget to make a subscription beforehand. Moreover, you can expect delays If you want to get your visa at the airport due to the excess demand.

What Is Required for an Airport Visa?

The point that you need to be careful about is the validity of your passport. Just like when you get a regular visa, you need a valid passport as well while getting an airport visa. Your passport needs to have at least 6 months of remaining validity to get an airport visa. Moreover, at least 3 blank pages must remain in your passport. And If your journey is planned to last less than 90 days, an airport visa is suitable for you.

If your arrival place is not Istanbul, you might think that you don’t need a visa for Turkey. There is an exception there. If you’re traveling a foreign country that you need to cross over Turkey, you need to have a visa. In simple words, when you’re traveling to another foreign country If your plane stops in Istanbul and If you need to transfer to another plane in Istanbul airport, you will need a visa for Turkey. This visa is different from a regular visa. It is called a “transit visa”.

What is a Transit Visa?

A Transit visa is a type of visa that is valid for a very short period of time. You only need it when you want to land in a foreign country just to transfer to another plane. While some countries don’t take it as a necessary regulation, for some others it’s necessary. Before starting your journey, make sure that you’re ready If the country where you will be transferred to another plane requires a transit visa.

How Much is a Transit Visa?

If your transfer stop is Istanbul, you need to follow the regulations that are standardized by Turkish authority. A transfer visa costs 353 Turkish Liras which equals 54 dollars. (There might be changes according to currency) However, If you need a double transit visa for a round trip, it will cost 708 Turkish liras which equal 108 dollars.

Where to Buy a Transit Visa?

Just like getting a regular visitor visa, you will need to get in contact with Turkish Embassies and apply for a transit visa.

Lastly, do not waste your time if to see and visit Istanbul is on your bucket list. You’ve learned a variety of options to get a visa, how much you need to pay, what you need to do and how to make all these things easier. Now, it’s time to put them into practice. Istanbul is waiting for you!

Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I love Istanbul. I have been to 10 different countries. Istanbul is in the top 3 cities. I like to play soccer too :)

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