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VISAS

These days visitors from a growing number of countries including Russia and the Ukraine are exempt from the need to buy a visa.

However, most Westerners still need a visa to visit Turkey. Until 1 April 2014 these can still be obtained in stamp form on arrival at any international port, airport or land border. But please note that as of 1 April 2014 everyone will have to have obtained their visa in advance by applying for it online and paying by credit card. Go to  https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ to apply immediately.

For the time being the visa stamp is obtained from a separate desk BEFORE you proceed to the counter to be admitted to the country. 

For most people visas are valid for multiple visits of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. 

What you will pay for a visa depends on your nationality and tends to be reciprocal – if your country makes life tough for Turks, then chances are you will have to pay a steeper entry fee. The fee must be paid in dollars, euros or sterling, NOT Turkish lira.

Until February 2012 many long-stay visitors would get a three-month visa, then leave Turkey for a day by crossing into Greece before returning with a new three-month stamp in their passport (the so-called visa-hop). That is no longer possible.

If you want to stay for longer than 90 days you will have to apply for temporary or permanent residency by applying to the local Emniyet Müdürlüğü (Security Management) in the provincial capital (Nevşehir for Cappadocia, Muğla for Fethiye and Bodrum etc).

To complicate matters further it has been suggested that as of April 2014 the work of issuing residency permits will be removed form the Emniyet Müdürlüğü (ie the police) and given to the Ministry of Interior. How this will work in practise remains to be seen. The omens are not good for a smooth transition to the new system.

Yet another twist came midway through the 2014 tourist season when it was suggested that e-visas might only be acceptable for entry through the İstanbul and Ankara airports. You should probably check with a travel consultant if you're planning to enter the country through other airports such as Bodrum or Dalaman. 

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