Turkey Essential Guidelines for U.S. Citizens
Do U.S. Citizens Need a Visa for Turkey?
Yes, all U.S. citizens must possess a valid visa before travelling to Turkey. Turkey's electronic visa system is the most affordable and convenient way of obtaining a visa and pass through Turkish immigration.
With an online tourist visa, you can enter and stay in Turkey for a maximum of 90 days on a single trip. The visa, however, will be valid for 180 days. U.S. citizens can obtain a multiple-entry Turkish e-Visa. They can enter Turkey multiple times within the visa validity period, but they cannot stay for more than three months/180 days on a single trip.
The e-Visa is ideal for U.S. tourists who want to visit Turkey for short business trips or excursions. The entire process is fully online, so the applicant does not need to visit a Turkish embassy. Moreover, the visa is approved within () days, and the visa costs are relatively lower than a sticker visa.
What are the Consequences of Overstaying your Turkish Visa?
Overstaying your visa is regarded as a violation of the country's laws and Turkish authorities take serious actions against the traveller. If a traveller overstays their visa, they will be fined upon departure. The amount depends on the length of overstaying time. In case you have overstayed the visa, and a fine is imposed, it is necessary to apply for your next visa at a foreign Turkish consulate or embassy before travelling again instead of applying online. The authorities may ban you from re-entering Turkey for a certain period as a penalty.
Here's an overview of the possible travel restrictions on those who have overstayed their visas in Turkey.
- Overstay of 1 to 15 days- No Ban
- Overstay of 16 to 90 days- Traveler may be banned for up to 6 months.
- Overstay for over 90 days- Traveler may be banned from re-entering for over six months.
Do US travelers need a residency permit?
All travellers are expected to abide by the Turkish visa regulations and maintain a valid residence permit all the time they are staying in the country. Visitors who need a residency permit need to contact their nearest Directorate General of Migration Management office. To study, work, or conduct academic/scientific research in Turkey, it is necessary to receive a visa from a Turkish consulate or embassy before arriving in the country.
What are the requirements for Turkish e-Visa?
Traveller's passport should be valid for six months beyond their date of arrival in Turkey. They may be denied entry if the passport doesn't have any blank pages for entry/exit stamps. Suppose you want to study, work, or conduct academic/scientific research in Turkey. In that case, it is necessary to receive a visa from a Turkish consulate or embassy before arriving in the country.
What are the entry/exit requirements for US citizens?
U.S. citizens travelling via cruise ship can stay in the Turkish territories for a maximum period of 72 hours after obtaining permission from authorities at the relevant port of entry. To fly domestically, travellers will require entry and exit stamps. Get an exit stamp before leaving the country; otherwise, you will face problems when re-entering Turkey in the future.
Has Turkey imposed any HIV/AIDS restrictions?
There are currently no particular entry restrictions for Turkey's visitors or foreign residents in this regard.
What are the Security conditions in Turkey for US citizens?
The country is vulnerable to terrorist activities, and there have been several terrorist attacks, specifically against U.S. citizens. Even today, terrorists take a keen interest in targeting foreign visitors from the west. Previously, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, the U.S. Consulate in Adana, and the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul have become targets of terrorist attacks.
They can target tourist locations, markets and shopping malls, transportation hubs, local government institutions and facilities, restaurants, airports, clubs, places of worship, educational institutions, cultural or sporting events, and other public areas. There have been incidents where terrorist groups targeted foreign tourists and expatriates. Mugging, pickpocketing, and purse snatching are some of the commonly reported crimes in the country. Therefore, you must carry the necessary items only when visiting public areas. Some major cities may report residential crimes, where criminals have previously targeted ground floor apartments and homes for theft.
What to Do for Personal Safety in Turkey?
Please remember that under the laws implemented in 2018, Turkish security forces are legally allowed to stop and search anyone, including tourists and detail people without any charge.
- You must carry your identity verification document, such as your passport while you are in Turkey.
- Always follow local new sources to stay updated about the potential dates or areas of concern.
- Exercise good judgment, maintain vigilance, and always keep a low profile.
- Please stay away from local protests as they may get violent.
- Follow the instructions and guidelines of Turkish security personnel.
U.S. citizens should, preferably, avoid gathering and demonstrations because celebratory gunfire is very common in some Turkish regions and often results in deaths. Also, at public events, the local police may act to disperse the groups. They may use teargas or detain the protestors or participants. This may occur even during government-approved events.Travel Precautions for U.S. Citizens:
It is strongly recommended that U.S. citizens avoid travelling to certain areas in the eastern and south-eastern parts of Turkey. Most importantly, they must not visit places near the Iraqi or Syrian borders. Furthermore, U.S. government officials should avoid travelling to certain areas, including Bingol, Batman, Bitlis, Hakkari, Diyarbakir, Hatay, Gaziantep, Mardin, Kilis, Sanliurfa, Sirnak, Siirt, Tunceli, and Van. In Agri province, Mount Ararat is a military zone. Therefore, travellers must obtain access permission from a Turkish embassy or consulate before coming to Turkey.Victim of Crime:
Victims of crime should immediately dial 155 and contact the U.S. embassy or consulate. Local authorities will investigate the crime and prosecute the criminals. The embassy will help reach out to medical care facilities, report the crime to the police, and contact relatives or friends.
U.S. citizens who become a victim of domestic violence should contact the nearest embassy for further assistance.
Are U.S. Citizens Subject to Local Laws?
U.S. citizens are subject to criminal penalties and maybe expelled and arrested even for unknowingly violating local laws. It is necessary to carry some form of official government photo I.D., for instance, a residence permit or passport copy all the time. Some laws are not just prosecutable in Turkey but the U.S. as well.
If you get detained, the first thing to do is ask the law enforcement authorities or prison officials to inform the U.S. embassy. Turkish authorities will not notify the U.S. embassy about dual-national U.S. citizens if they get arrested in Turkey.
Insulting the country, government, president, security forces, or flag is not allowed in Turkey and regarded as a breach of local laws. Even posting anti-government or anti-Turkey content on social media is a crime, and people have been arrested for their social media activities in the past.
Foreigners must show respect to the name and image of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Do not store sensitive data, or controversial photos, comments, and any provocative content on your social media pages, laptop, mobile phone, camera, or any other electronic device.
Turkey follows a very strict policy and the laws are extremely aggressive when it comes to combating illegal drugs smuggling and usage. There are severe penalties in place for possessing, trafficking, or using illicit drugs. Penalties may include heavy fines and up to 20 years imprisonment.Dual citizenship:
Dual nationals, which refers to citizens of Turkey and USA simultaneously, may be subject to specific laws that impose certain exclusive obligations on Turkish citizens. For instance, male dual nationals above 18-years of age will be subject to compulsory military service and Turkish conscription.Counterfeit goods:
Avoid purchasing pirated and counterfeit goods even if available widely or you see others buying them. It is illegal in Turkey and the USA to bring or buy such items.Turkish Visa Rules for LGBTQ Travellers:
Intolerance towards homosexuals, homophobia, and transphobia are widespread in Turkey. Anti-discrimination laws don't protect gay, lesbians, bisexuals, intersex, and transgender individuals. In the past, LGBTQ visitors have been targets of violence.
Is Turkey Safe for Female Travellers?
There have been multiple incidences of sexual assaults against female travellers in Turkey. Usually, tourists travelling alone or in small groups become the victims of assaults. Hamams and spas are the areas where female travellers should be extremely cautious.
Victims of sexual assaults should seek immediate help from Turkish authorities, including the Turkish National Police and Turkish Health Services. Also, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for further guidance and services.
What are the Conditions for People Requiring Accessibility Assistance?
According to the Turkish constitution, it is prohibited to discriminate against people with disabilities. They can avail all state services, including employment and education, and access to health care. However, in Turkey, access to public transport and buildings for the disabled is quite limited in cities. It can be stated that Turkey doesn't offer adequate accessibility facilities for persons with disabilities apart from airports and metro stations.
Is there a Risk of Earthquakes?
Yes, Turkey is vulnerable to earthquakes. In fact, earthquakes occur across the country. Therefore, U.S. citizens must make contingency plans and always leave emergency contact information with family members back home while staying in Turkey.Medical Insurance:
Ensure that your health insurance plan offers medical coverage overseas. Typically, in a foreign country, care providers accept cash payments. It is strongly recommended that U.S. citizens should possess supplemental insurance for covering medical evacuation.
In Turkish hospitals, medical care facilities vary considerably. Many newly constructed private hospitals in Antalya, Ankara, Istanbul, and Izmir boast of ultra-modern facilities, US-trained specialists, advanced equipment, and internationally accredited services. Still, some hospitals may be unable to treat serious conditions. In smaller Turkish cities, health care standards are relatively low. Please note that U.S. Medicare doesn't apply in a foreign country.Prescription Medication:
In case you are travelling with prescription medication, check with the Turkish government to ensure that the medicine is legal in the country. Moreover, you must carry your prescription medication in their original packaging, along with your doctor's prescription to avoid unnecessary troubles.
Also, note that some medications may not be available in Turkey. U.S. citizens residing in Turkey should consider enrolling in Turkish General Health Insurance (GHI). Before that, research comprehensively to determine what is and what isn't covered. After registering in GHI, your coverage will stay valid until your residency permit expires or if you depart from Turkey.Vaccinations:
U.S. travellers should remain up-to-date about all the vaccinations that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends.
What to do if you get involved in a road accident?
If the vehicle is damaged in the accident, you must take photos of the accident site before the vehicle is removed and exchange insurance information. Only depart if both the sides agree. The Turkish law makes it compulsory for the driver to fill out a Turkish-only form and provide photographs of the accident site. Non-Turkish drivers should call the police immediately.
Accidents with a disagreement between individuals or that result in human injury are important not to move the vehicle and stay at the accident site until the Traffic Police arrives. Dial 155 to report the incident to the police or dial 156 for informing the Jandarma. Always obtain a certified copy of the official police report by visiting the office. You may have to wait for several days to receive the document.
The damaged vehicle's owner can apply to the customs authorities with their passport and a report of the accident prior to attempting a repair or leaving the country without the car.Whenever there's some doubt, call the Jandarma or the Traffic police.
Are US citizens subject to Turkish traffic laws?
U.S. citizens must drive defensively in Turkey. Drivers usually ignore traffic regulations, such as driving through stop signs or red lights or turn left abruptly from the far-right lane. Such practices will not only violate local traffic laws resulting in fines but can cause accidents.
Drunk driving (when blood alcohol levels are 0.05% or above) is a punishable crime, and may result in a fine or the driver's license could be confiscated for six months. It is also illegal in Turkey to use a cell phone when driving and may lead to a fine.Driver's license requirements for US citizens in Turkey:
- If staying for up to 180 days, a valid U.S. driver's license and an International Driving Permit will be acceptable.
- If staying longer than 180 days, it is necessary to obtain a Turkish driver's license from the Turkish Security Directorate, Turkish Traffic Department.
- You can bring your vehicle into Turkey for a maximum duration of 6 months.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has declared the Turkish Civil Aviation Authority compliant with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Therefore, it is safe to travel by Turkish air carriers.Maritime Travel:
Mariners should check U.S. maritime advisories and notifications before travelling to Turkey. They can also check the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website or the NGA broadcast warnings website for latest information.
How Much Money/Currency Can you Bring in-and-out of the USA?
There's no limit on bringing or taking money in-or-out of the U.S. But, if an individual or individuals are travelling together after filing a joint declaration/CBP Form 6059-B, and possess $10,000 or more in currency or as monetary instruments, they must fill out a Report of International Transportation of Currency and Monetary Instruments form also called FinCEN 105. Seek assistance from a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer to understand how to fill out the form. It is worth noting that people travelling together with $10,000 or more cannot divide the money between each other to evade currency declaration. You can obtain FinCEN 105 before travelling to Turkey or while going through CBP.
Turkey Essential Guidelines for U.S. Citizens FAQs:
The Turkish e-visa grants U.S. citizens a stay of 90 days and the validity of 180 days.
To stay longer than 90 days within a 180-days-period (starting from the first entry date), the traveller must apply for a Residence Permit.
The Residence Permit is a legal document that allows visa-holders to stay longer than 90 days in Turkey. You can get a residence permit by showing an affidavit notarial for the original U.S. birth certificates.
A US citizen can stay longer than an e-visa permit in Turkey for tourism purposes by applying for a Tourist Residence Permit. A Tourist Residence Permit is granted for a maximum period of 6 months. Therefore, a U.S. citizen can legally stay up to 9 months in Turkey, 90 days from the initial visa permit and 180 days from Tourist Residence Permit.
If you have overstayed your visa in Turkey, you must apply for the next visa before travel.
You can always reapply for an e-visa if 180 days have passed after the first entry date of your stay in Turkey.
You can enter on any date within the validity period, starting from the date mentioned in your application.
If you are moving on a Cruise ship, you do not need to have a visa provided that your stay at the seaport does not exceed 72 hours. However, if you arrive at seaports for the touristic purpose by air, you must get a visa first.