Most visitors need an e-visa, purchased online before travelling.

Customs Regulations

Imports

Jewellery and items valued over US$15,000 should be declared, to ensure you can take it out when you leave. Goods including the following can be imported duty-free:

  • 600 cigarettes
  • 200g of tobacco
  • 1kg each of coffee, instant coffee, chocolate and sugar products
  • 500g of tea
  • 1L of alcohol exceeding 22% volume, 2L of alcoholic beverages max 22% volume
  • Five bottles of perfume (max 120ml each)
  • Personal electronic devices, but only one of each type
  • Unlimited currency
  • Souvenirs/gifts worth up to €300 (€145 if aged under 15)

Check the Ministry of Customs and Trade (http://english.gtb.gov.tr/) for more information.

Exports

  • Buying and exporting genuine antiquities is illegal.
  • Carpet shops should be able to provide a form certifying that your purchase is not an antiquity.
  • Ask for advice from vendors you buy from.
  • Keep receipts and paperwork.

Passports

Make sure your passport will still have at least six months' validity after you enter Turkey.

Visas

For stays of up to 90 days, most Western nationalities either don't require visas or should purchase one in advance from www.evisa.gov.tr.

More Information

  • At the time of research, nationals of countries including Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland don't need a visa to visit Turkey for up to 90 days.
  • Russians could enter without a visa for up to 60 days.
  • Nationals of countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, India, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Taiwan, the UK and USA need a visa, which should be purchased online at www.evisa.gov.tr before travelling.
  • Most nationalities, including the above, are given a 60- or 90-day multiple-entry visa.
  • You must enter details of your passport and date of arrival in Turkey, click on the link in the verification email and pay with a Mastercard or Visa credit or debit card.
  • Having completed this process, the e-visa can be downloaded in Adobe PDF format; a link is also emailed so it can be printed out later.
  • It is recommended that you print out the e-visa to show on arrival in Turkey; keep it while in the country.
  • It is recommended that applications are made at least 48 hours before departure.
  • Many Western nationals can obtain a visa on arrival in Turkey, but this is not recommended as travellers have reported extra charges and bad experiences with the customs officials. Cash cannot be used.
  • Visa fees cost US$15 to US$80, depending on nationality.
  • In some cases, the 90-day visa stipulates 'per period 180 days'. This means you can spend three months in Turkey within a six-month period; when you leave after three months, you can't re-enter for three months.
  • Check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (www.mfa.gov.tr, www.evisa.gov.tr) for more information.
  • No photos required.

Residency Permits

  • There are various types of ikamet tezkeresi (residence permit).
  • If you don't have a Turkish employer or spouse to support your application, you can get a permit for touristic purposes.
  • Touristic permits are typically valid for up to a year; the price varies according to the applicant's nationality and office of application, with charges starting at a few hundred lira including administrative charges.
  • More details are available at the expat's website YellAli (https://yellali.com/advice/index).

Residency Applications: The Nitty Gritty

Applications for a tourist residency permit are submitted online (https://e-ikamet.goc.gov.tr) after which you'll receive an interview time at the residency office where you apply. You should take four passport photos and the following:

  • A bank statement to give evidence of enough money to support yourself. The amount required varies between regions of Turkey. It's usually between ₺15,000 and ₺20,000 to safely qualify for a full year's permit.
  • Proof of accommodation such as a rental contract. If you want to just extend your visitor's visa for a few months to do some more travelling, you can show a travel itinerary.
  • Health insurance: note that travel insurance and foreign health insurance will not be accepted. The insurer must be a Turkish company and should state on your insurance contract: 'This policy covers the minimum coverage stipulated in the circular no 9, dated 06/06/2014, on private health insurance required to be taken out for residence permit applications.' A year of insurance costs about ₺600. (You'll need to enter insurance policy details for the online application too).

The process can be convoluted and the staff unhelpful in locations such as İstanbul; those working behind the desks in cities such as İzmir and Nevşehir are reputedly more helpful. Due to the amount of applications in İstanbul, there can be a wait between your online application and interview time.

Little English is spoken, so take a Turkish-speaking friend with you if possible.

If your application is successful, your touristic residency card will be posted to you (it usually takes two weeks). Due to the cost and time involved in the process, it's generally not worth applying unless you're applying for a year.