Traveling to Turkey a criminal record can fill you with anxiety. You always worry that maybe you’ll be stopped at the border and prevented from entering. There is a lot of conflicting information on the internet which can make things even more confusing.
The good news is, if you have successfully obtained a Visa for Turkey, it is extremely unlikely you’ll be stopped at the Turkish border because you have a criminal record. After you have submitted your visa application, the relevant authorities run a background check to make a decision about whether to approve your visa or not.
The background check involves the use of security databases which means if they think you pose a threat, your visa will be rejected. The online Turkey Visa application only takes a few minutes to complete and the processing time is very fast.
Can you enter Turkey without a visa if you have a Criminal Record?
If you have a visa, the authorities have already run a background check and have decided you don’t pose a threat and that you can enter. However, there are some nationalities who can enter Turkey without a visa.
Countries who are visa-exempt share intelligence with Turkey which means the border authorities could run background checks when travelers enter without a visa, which could include a criminal background check.
On rare occasions, border security officials ask visitors questions about their background and it is essential to answer truthfully. If you have a criminal record it is normally nothing to worry about.
When people are refused entry it is normally because they have commited a very serious crime which involved violence, smuggling or terrorism. Less serious convictions, which didn’t lead to jail time (or very little), are very unlikely to cause travelers any difficulties at the border.
Applying for a visa for Turkey with a Criminal Record
There are many different types of visas for Turkey and the application process is different for each one. The two most popular types of tourist visas are the Turkey eVisa and the visa on arrival.
The visa on arrival is available for 37 nationalities including citizens from the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia. The eVisa launched in 2018 and is currently available for 90 nationalities.
To obtain a visa on arrival, the travelers has to complete the application and pay a fee at the border. The application is then processed at the border which includes a background check. Again, minor convictions are unlikely to cause problems.
For peace of mind, many travelers prefer to obtain the Turkey eVisa in advance as, once you have it, you don’t have the worry when you land in Turkey or cross the border. You’re eVisa has already been approved so you won’t be turned away at the border.
The eVisa system is also much more efficient than the visa on arrival system. Applicants can apply from the comfort of their home rather than queueing and waiting at the border. The Turkey eVisa application form only takes a few minutes to complete as long as the applicant has a valid passport from one of the eligible countries and a credit or debit card to pay the fee.