E-visa – for tourist purposes
Most people, when they come to Turkey for a short holiday, will need an e-visa. Once you know you should get one, go to the official Turkish government website and enter your details. Here’s the link to the official government website.
You’ll need to have your passport handy, and make sure you enter all your details correctly. If your passport expires less than 6 months after you plan to enter Turkey, you won’t be given an e-visa. It’s a pretty straightforward process so I think it’s a waste of money pay an agent to do it for you, unless you really have trouble with computers.
Once your payment has been processed and you receive your e-visa by email, download it onto your phone or laptop. By law you should always carry your passport and a printout of your e-visa with you at all times, but this has been overlooked in the past. Now, under the current state of emergency laws in Turkey*, you will be fined if you can’t produce your passport and the e-visa printout when asked.
Remember, the days of popping over to a Greek island and getting a new e-visa to stay in Turkey are long gone. You’ll need to stick to the terms of your e-visa, or be prepared to face fines and possible a ban if you overstay for a very long time.
Residence Permits (ikamet) – for people planning to live in Turkey
Most people arrive in Turkey on an e-visa, and then apply for a residence permit or ikamet so they can stay longer. If you arrive on a 90/180 e-visa, you must make an appointment before you’ve been in Turkey for 90 days. That way, if your residence permit appointment falls after that time, you’re legal to stay in Turkey until your appointment. In Istanbul in particular there are delays of several months in getting an appointment.
Here’s the link to the official government website. You can only make an application once you’re in Turkey. The site comes in Turkish, English and several other languages, and there’s detailed information about the paperwork you need to submit. Be aware that there can be delays and technical difficulties when using the site. If you’re having trouble ring 157 and talk with an English speaking advisor who will try to help you with any problems.
Your passport must be valid for the length of the residence permit you want. So if you want a two-year permit but only have one year left on your passport, you’ll only get a one-year residence permit. The amount you pay for your permit will depend on the number of months you want and the country you are from. There are agents around who can help with the process of making your computer application. Depending on your level of computer skills and their fees, some people choose get help in this step of the process. However an agent can’t help get you an appointment if you’ve been in Turkey longer than 90 days or need to get an early appointment because you have to leave the country.
Until you have had your appointment, submitted all your supporting documents and paid the fees, you are not allowed to leave Turkey. If you have to leave unexpectedly you’ll be considered to have overstayed and be fined accordingly.
This is just a general guide on how to visit and stay in Turkey legally. There are numerous expat groups on Facebook and the internet you can join for more detailed information. Enjoy your stay!
*correct as of 2.9.17