Travel and Entry to Turkey During Covid-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected how various operations take place in diverse parts of the world. Travel is one of the most affected activities. Most countries have had to establish health and safety measures to protect their citizens. Preserving a healthy nation is paramount to the countries' economic growth and other sectors. Turkey is one such country that took prompt action at the onset of COVID-19.
If you are looking to travel to Turkey, extensive research is essential for adequate preparation and planning on the steps to take and what to expect. New restrictions from the Turkish government may emerge daily. Travellers should, therefore, stay well informed with the current updates.
This article explains travel to Turkey during the COVID-19 pandemic. It expounds on the current validity of a Turkish visa and the COVID-19 restrictions in place in the country.
Can I travel to Turkey during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Travellers from various countries can get into Turkey by air, land or sea during this time. The entry may be visa-free or using the Turkey e-visa depending on the country of origin.Turkey Visa information for foreigners varies from country to country.
However, the Turkish government has temporarily banned flights from Denmark, Brazil, United Kingdom and South Africa. Passengers from other destinations who passed by the above-stated countries at least ten days before their arrival must undergo quarantine upon arrival. A second PCR test will be done on the 10th day of the quarantine, after which they will be free to leave based on the results. Any passenger found to be positive will be taken to a qualified medical facility for corrective attention.
Travel requirements for Turkey during COVID-19
When travelling to Turkey, one needs the following:
- Valid ticket
- Valid passport
- A negative PCR test (nucleic acid) taken within three days (72 hours) before departure from their country of origin. The test applies to passengers aged six years and above except passengers in transit to other countries and sailors.
- A complete public health passenger locator form-submitted during check-in.
COVID-19 testing for foreigners in Turkey
PCR testing for foreigners staying in Turkey is available to only those exhibiting symptoms or those who need the test results as an entry requirement to a different country, such as their home countries.
COVID-19 testing (PCR test) can occur at the traveller's expense at various airports and medical facilities in Turkey. The test costs around 250 TL ($35), depending on the facility.
Airports such as Istanbul and Ankara Esenboga offer testing. One must arrive at least 7 to 8 hours before departure to get the test results in time for the flight.
Recent curfew updates in Turkey
The curfew applies to citizens and residents in Turkey only. Foreigners should, however, also be conversant with these time frames since they depend on local services daily. The curfew is, therefore likely to affect their stay and planned activities.
As of March 1st 2021, government health officials in Turkey announced the extension of the nationwide curfew. It is applicable on Monday through Friday from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The weekend daytime curfew varies from place to place based on a 4-tier system that they introduced recently. In this system, the country has four divisions or risk groups classified, as shown below, according to the rate of infection and vaccination:
- Red- very high-risk
- Orange- high-risk
- Yellow- medium-risk
- Blue- low risk
The government did away with the weekend daytime curfew for the low and medium-risk regions. However, a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew on Saturdays and Sundays applies.
For the high and very-high risk regions, the weekend curfew operates from 9 p.m. on Saturday to 5 a.m. on Monday.
Health and safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Turkey
- All citizens, residents and foreigners are lawfully required to wear masks at all times when in public.
- These places include public transport, shared workspaces, market places, leisure places, the streets, parks and gardens, private vehicles with at least two people, among other areas.
- No smoking is allowed in public places.
- Shopping malls, supermarkets, barbers and hairdressers also operate on a curfew.
- Movie theatres, soccer fields, amusement parks, saunas, Turkish baths and pools and other similar facilities are open in the low and middle category regions for entertainment and leisure.
- No standing is allowed while using public transport.
Health advice to travellers during COVID-19:
Travellers should carry out all the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These measures include:
- Wearing a face mask at all times while in public.
- Sanitising using soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitiser.
- Avoiding crowded places.
- Avoiding unnecessary contact with your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Avoid direct contact with other people through shaking hands, hugging or kissing.
- Sneezing into your elbow and not directly into your hands.
If any symptoms arise, one should seek medical attention by dialling 112. These symptoms include a persistent cough, difficulty in breathing and a rise in body temperature.
Can I still travel to Turkey now?
Yes, as long as they meet all the valid requirements and documentation for Turkey, anyone can travel to Turkey. Travellers should observe COVID-19 protocols and guidelines. They should be responsible and mindful of other travellers and citizens of Turkey. They should also keep up to date with the current information provided by the government. This way, they'll be safe and have a comfortable stay in the country without risking the loves of other travellers and Turkish residents.