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Turkish Tourist Visa changes

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Back in July 2010, a new "90 day in 180 day" tourist visa rule was enforced for foreigners entering into Turkey on a tourist visa which would affect anyone staying in Turkey on a tourist visa for more than 3 months. This sudden introduction caused chaos, and by the end of July 2010, the changes were removed and postponed for another day. Since then, tourists have been free to travel in and out of Turkey - and longer-term residents have been able to continue to do back-to-back "visa-runs" to nearby Greek islands. However it now looks likely that the changes will be introduced with effect from February 2012.

The following article documents the new regulations.

The proposed Turkish Tourist visa in brief:

  • You may stay in Turkey for 90 days in a 180 day period (i.e. in every 6 month period you must be out of the country for 90 days).
  • Within the 180 day period, multiple entries into Turkey are allowed at no additional cost (as long as the total days spent in Turkey do not exceed 90 days). i.e. The 90 days do not have to be consecutive.
  • Extensions to the 90 day period are available in the form of a Turkish Residency permit (see below).
  • The new Tourist visa regulations apply to all tourist visas issued on arrival in Turkey from February 2012.
  • The new Tourist visa regulations apply to visitors from 63 different countries.

It's worth noting that this isn't a 'new change' as such; according to Turkish Law no. 5683 which dates back as far as 1950, persons who visit Turkey as tourists may stay for one tourist visa period [per year], after that a residency permit should be bought. However, under the 'old' regulations, many expats ignored this ruling, and purchased back-to-back tourist visas by temporarily leaving Turkey - usually as a day-trip to a Greek island. The new regulations simply close this loophole. Regarding Residency permits, it's worth noting that in April 2011, residency permits became much cheaper - for UK citizens the current cost is about £50 per year (vs. around £360 per year in 2010).

 

Who would be affected by the proposed change?

NEW: check out our Turkish Tourist Visa Calculator to see how your travel dates are affected by the new toursit visa regulations.

 

Turkish Tourist Visa

Here for a holiday (e.g. 14 day stay in Turkey)

Summary: You will not be affected by the changes.

Upon arrival in Turkey, you will need to pay £10 for a tourist visa, which will cover you for your time in Turkey.
Turkish Tourist Visa

Single entry; less than 90 days total (e.g. a continuous 90 day stay in Turkey)

Summary: As long as your stay is for a total of 90 days or less, you will not be affected by the changes.
Upon arrival in Turkey, you will need to pay £10 for a tourist visa, which will cover you for your time in Turkey.
Turkish Tourist Visa

 

Multiple entry; less than 90 days total in a 180 day period

Summary: Your stay will be cheaper!
For example: you arrive in Turkey on the 1st May, and buy a new £10 tourist visa stamp (this will be valid for 180 days - until the 28th October), you stay until the 15th June (46 days), you return to the UK, and come back into Turkey on the 1st July and stay until the 31st July (31 days) - Note: you will not need to buy a 2nd tourist visa stamp. You return to the UK again and come back into Turkey on the 1st October and stay until the 10th October (10 days) - Note: you will not need to buy a 3rd tourist visa stamp. Note that you have now used 87 days in a 162 day period, the new tourist visa allows for 90 days in a 180 day period, so as long as your stay is for a total of 90 days of less, you will not be affected by the changes, in fact you will spend only £10 per person for one tourist visa (previously you would have needed to buy at least 2 £10 tourist visas to cover your stays over this period).
Turkish Tourist Visa

 

Single entry; more than 90 days total (e.g. a continuous 100 day stay in Turkey)

Summary: You should get a Turkish residency permit (see below)
On your first arrival in Turkey, you will need to pay £10 for a tourist visa, which will cover you for the first 90 days of your time in Turkey. At least two weeks before you reach the end of your 90 day period you should make an application for a Turkish residency permit to cover you for the remaining period. (The new rules no longer permit the loophole which allowed a short Greek island hop to obtain a back-to-back tourist visa).
 Turkish Tourist Visa

 

Multiple entry; more than 90 days total in a 180 day period

Summary: You should get a Turkish residency permit (see below)

For example: you arrive in Turkey on the 1st May, and buy a new £10 tourist visa stamp (this will be valid for 180 days - until the 28th October), you stay until the 15th June (46 days), you return to the UK, and come back into Turkey on the 1st July and stay until the 12th September (74 days) - Note: you are now no longer able to buy a 2nd tourist visa on entry. On the 30th July you will have used your 90 day tourist visa allocation and will need to extend your tourist visa. At least two weeks before you reach the end of your 90 day period you should make an application for a Turkish residency permit.
Turkish Tourist Visa

 

How to potentially stay for the whole summer for only £20!

For those flexible enough, a cleverly placed stay at the beginning of the year (to start a 180 day tourist visa period), a long stay at the end of a 180 day period, followed by a night (or more) away in the middle of the summer (to start another tourist visa period), should allow you to effectively stay for the whole summer season for the cost of just two tourist visas.
Turkish Tourist Visa

 

What happens if I overstay?

If you overstay your Tourist Visa, you will be fined when you leave Turkey. Fines vary depending on how long you have overstayed. You may also be banned from re-entering Turkey for up to 6 months.

 

Residency Permits in brief

  • Residency can be obtained for any time period from 30 days upwards.
  • Possession of a Turkish Residency does not forfeit any UK privileges or entitlements nor should it affect your tax status in the UK (residency is not citizenship!).
  • Residency permits take about 2 weeks to be processed.
Turkish Residency prices
Note: The prices above are in USD, and are converted here for reference only. The price you actually pay will be converted on the day of purchase.

 

Residency Permit Requirements:

Requirements for a residency vary greatly but here are general guidelines of what's required:

  • Appropriate money for permit and book (if required)
  • 6 colour passport photos
  • Copy of passport, showing identification page, and most recent entry stamp
  • Original passport
  • A copy of your TAPU or rental agreement (if appropriate)
  • Bank statement showing sufficient assets held in Turkey to cover the period of your residency (currently US$500 for each month for each applicant).
  • Completed Visa application form (Excel)

Note: You may also apply for a visa while you are in your home country- contact your Turkish Consulate for more information.

 

Residency Permit Application Process:

Again, the process varies considerably, but here are general guidelines:

  • Ensure you have a tax number from your local tax office
  • Go to the municipality office to obtain an Ikamet letter
  • Take everything above to the Customs (Gümrük) office, they will give you a slip of paper to take to make the payment.
  • Take the slip of paper to either a Ziraat bank, or to the tax office, and make the payment.
  • Go back to the customs office and give them proof of payment
  • Wait 7-14 days to collect your new permit.

If you are lucky with timings (the offices all close for lunch), the process should take about 2 hours.

More information

For information on reciprocal agreements, please see our article HERE.
For information on the benefits of having a Turkish Residency, please see our article HERE.

Disclaimer

The above information is gathered from various information sources. Steps have been taken to authenticate and verify the information where possible.
Information provided should be taken as a guide only and you should seek further advice from relevant consulates for more information.

Turkish word of the day

Özür dilerim

(O zuer di lay reem)

I'm sorry