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I am a US Citizen and my wife is an Indian citizen with a Permanent residency (Green Card). While travelling on vacation to Europe from the US, we will have 2 long connections in Instanbul, Turkey on the way to Rome Italy (Country of entry into Europe for Vacation) and another one in Frankfurt, Germany on the way back to the US.

  • Are we allowed to enter Istanbul and Frankfurt with valid visas if we bought them in advance even though we are only flying through these airports in transit?
  • In other words, will they allow us to leave the airport for a few hours for sightseeing and come back?
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I can definitely recommed Istanbul for sightseeing. Did that on a layover in 2008 and saw the Topkapi palace (Hagia Sophia was closed). Frankfurt, not so much. –  Michael Borgwardt Jul 11 '13 at 7:58

2 Answers 2

Yes, of course. For the Frankfurt layover you don't need any visa. To visit Istambul you can get a visa on arrival (20 USD) or, better, you can get your e-Visa (same price).

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As I understand it, you're flying US -> Istanbul, long wait, Istanbul -> Italy, holiday in Rome, Rome -> Frankfurt, long wait, Frankfurt -> US, and you're looking to exit the airports in Turkey and Germany during your layovers?

There are therefore two questions, one for Turkey, and one for Germany. However, note that the 2nd one is different to most people, but we'll come to that in a minute.

In Turkey, both of you should be able to exit the airport provided you have got a visa beforehand online. Take a look at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs page on Visas for Foreigners page for details, then apply on the official evisa site. (Because your wife has a schengen visa, that makes things much simpler for her than would normally be the case for an Indian citizen). I believe that the visa-on-arrival scheme stopped on April 17, 2013, and you now have to do the e-visa beforehand.

For Germany, the Do I need a transit visa to travel from US to India via Europe question doesn't cover your case, so take care when looking for answers! The actual answer for your case - no additional visa is needed. Your wife has a schengen visa, which she'll use to enter Italy in Rome. After that, she's in Schengen, and can move freely around within the Schengen area until her visa runs out. This means that going from Italy to Germany on a direct flight doesn't need another visa, as it's all part of a single Schengen trip. Thus, when you arrive in Frankfurt from Rome, there won't be a passport check as your trip is within Schengen, and you'll be able to exit the airport. (Had you come from outside Schengen, that would be a different matter, see the other question for details on that)

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Thanks Gagrvarr. Your response was very thorough. I guess we should apply for her Schengen Visa first before applying for her Turkish (E-visa) then? Also, I understand that the Schengen visa can be acquired from any European consulate in the US. However, it is recommended that one get it from the country one plans on entering? Is this required? The reason I ask is some consulates have better service and lower wait times than others. Thanks! –  user7470 Jul 12 '13 at 18:13
    
Does she need a Turkish E-visa even though she will have a Schengen Visa? Thanks –  user7470 Jul 12 '13 at 18:14
    
Yes, you will both need Turkish e-visas, as Turkey is not part of Schengen. The rules for Turkey, as shown on the page in my answer, mean than an Indian citizen needs a Schengen visa (or other) to qualify for the e-visa, so get Schengen first. "Do I need to apply for a schengen visa from the country I'm first going to, or will another do?" is a new question! –  Gagravarr Jul 13 '13 at 8:46

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