UPDATED: September 30th, 2020
The Turkish government has a number of travel restrictions that it uses to control its borders. This includes special measures to protect security and health in the country.
The COVID-19 outbreak has led the majority of national governments to place travel restrictions on foreign visitors in the interests of public safety. The Turkish government responded swiftly to the crisis by introducing temporary entry rules and safety measures.
This article looks at what these restrictions are and explains:
- Whether you can enter Turkey under the current rules
- Special entry regulations in place during COVID-19
- Whether your Turkish Visa is still valid under the restrictions
Who May Not Enter Turkey?
The Turkish government does not prohibit any nationalities from entering its borders based on citizenship. However, it does place restrictions on who may come into the country.
At present most international tourists can enter either visa-free or, for those fitting the requirements, with an eVisa. However, a number of countries may only enter with a conventional sticker visa, which can only be obtained at a Turkish embassy. This includes national citizens of:
- Marshall Islands
- North Korea
- Papua New Guinea
- South Sudan
What Travel Restrictions has Turkey Introduced Due to Coronavirus?
The coronavirus outbreak has been kept relatively under control in Turkey thanks to effective precautionary measures and restrictions on travel.
International air, land, and sea borders with Turkey are now open to all tourists who meet the nation’s immigration rules. Since June 12th 2020, flights have been available to Turkey from many parts of the world.
The reopening of borders comes 3 months after international flights were suspended in efforts to curb the spread of the virus. Turkey’s land borders with Iran and Iraq were also closed.
Thanks to these early precautionary measures, thousands of tourists have been able to enjoy a summer vacation in Turkey despite the pandemic.
Travelers should be aware that restrictions may be introduced with short notice, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest advice and alerts.
Special COVID-19 Entry Requirements in Turkey
Additional procedures are in place to safeguard the health of residents and tourists in Turkey. To be granted entry to the country, visitors from overseas are required to comply with the following special coronavirus rules.
Complete a passenger locator form before arrival
The Turkish government requests that people complete a passenger locator form prior to their arrival in Turkey. The purpose of the form is to be able to contact individuals who have been in contact with someone who later tested positive for COVID-19.
Contact information including the accommodation address in Turkey must be provided.
Testing and screening on arrival in Turkey
On arrival in Turkey, passengers will undergo a brief medical check including temperature controls. Individuals who are not displaying any symptoms can continue their journey. Should a traveler have any of the known COVID-19 symptoms (cough, fever, difficulties breathing) a PCR test will be requested.
Visitors who test positive for coronavirus will be treated at a medical facility determined by the Turkish authorities or, alternatively, a private medical facility of the traveler’s choosing.
What Safety Measures are in Place in Turkey to Protect the Public?
In addition to the restrictions placed on those traveling from the listed locations, the Turkish government has numerous public safety measures in place to protect the population at large.
The government screens those applying for eVisas and visas with criminal record background checks to prevent passengers that pose a threat to the public entering the country. This, however, does not affect travelers with minor records and is intended to restrict terrorist activity and the risk of violent or dangerous criminal activity.
Due to COVID-19, The Turkish government also implemented the following steps include:
- Banning standing on urban public transport
- Postponing sports events and forbidding other large gatherings
- Prohibiting the playing of live music in restaurants and cafes after midnight
Since the 8th of September, the wearing of a face mask has been mandatory in public spaces such as streets, parks, markets, airports, and public transportation. Masks must also be worn in restaurants and shops.
These changes could affect your trip to the country. Therefore it is important to plan ahead to prevent disruption to your visit. It is also advised that travelers keep up-to-date with local news in Turkey and contact tourist providers or accommodation to check that there haven’t been further changes.
Further to this, all visitors to Turkey are recommended to practice behavior that will prevent the spread of coronavirus. To do this the WHO currently recommends that individuals:
- Frequently sanitize their hands with soap and water or alcohol-based gel
- Avoid close contact with infected persons
- Cough or sneeze into the crook of their elbow
- Not visit crowded public events
- Wear a face mask
If you start to experience symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately. This can be done by dialing 112 and asking for an ambulance. Common signs include a persistent cough, high temperature and difficulty breathing.
Can I Still Travel to Turkey Whilst Coronavirus Restrictions Are in Place?
Travelers of all nationalities who meet Turkey’s immigration regulations can enter the country in accordance with the rules outlined above. As always, a passport and a valid visa or a copy of an approved online eVisa are required to cross the border.
Travelers to Turkey should be mindful that restrictions are under constant review as the international situation evolves. Passengers are therefore advised to keep up to date with the latest travel updates and advisories provided by their local governments before departure.