The Turkish visa-on-arrival system is in the process of being canceled.
A closer look
- Affected foreign nationals. Foreign nationals eligible to obtain visas-on-arrival are affected by the cancelation. They must now purchase an e-visa online prior to arrival. Foreign nationals not eligible for the visa-on-arrival were already required to obtain an e-visa prior to entry, and this process will continue for them.
- Process to obtain e-visa. Instead of obtaining a visa-on-arrival, foreign nationals seeking to enter Turkey at a port of entry that has canceled the visa-on-arrival system must instead use Turkey’s e-visa website to purchase an e-visa any time prior to departure, though Fragomen recommends completing this step 48 hours prior to travel to Turkey. Those with a valid e-visa from a prior trip may not need to obtain another e-visa. Foreign nationals must carry a copy of their e-visa when passing through a Turkish airport, where it is verified by passport control.
- Details of e-visa. The e-visa is generally valid for up to 90 days within a 180-day period, but this depends on the nationality of the traveler. The e-visa fee also depends on the nationality of the foreign national, and for example, costs USD 20 for U.S. citizens.
Foreign nationals now need to complete an extra pre-departure step when traveling to Turkey since they will no longer able to obtain a visa-on-arrival.
For the past three years, the Turkish government has been encouraging foreign nationals to obtain e-visas in their home country, instead of obtaining visas-on-arrival, to presumably facilitate fee collection, data collection and arrival processing for the Turkish government.
As compared to visas-on-arrival, e-visas are a less expensive option and are more convenient in that there is less waiting time at the airport upon arrival.
Other countries have been placing restrictions on their use of visas-on-arrival. For example, Oman requires foreign nationals to register for the Royal Oman Police through an e-portal before traveling to Oman and obtaining a visa-on-arrival. The Azerbaijani government, similarly to the change in Turkey, recently eliminated most of its visa-on-arrival program in favor of an e-visa system. Many of these restrictions are likely due to security concerns.
Though there is no official announcement, it is expected that the visa-on-arrival system is being completely phased out now that the new Istanbul airport is open.