I am flying Turkish Airlines from the United States to the Seychelle Islands and back in early December. USA and Turkey are in a visa hold and not issuing visas to each other at this time. Does anyone know if I might be able to visit Istanbul during one of my 10 hour layovers?

  • Are you planning on leaving the transit area and entering the country? If yes, you will need to go through passport control and have a visa. If you stay within the transit area, you don't go through passport control, so wouldn't need a visa. – hnltraveler Oct 19 '17 at 2:40

Thanks for all your inputs, I appreciate it. I was able to talk to the Turkish Consulate today. As @hnltraveler mentioned, I am OK if I don't leave the airport.

If I wanted to leave the airport, they suggested that I fly to Canada and obtain a visa there. Since my layovers are only about 10 hours and I can't change my ticket, I am going to wait it out. I may be able to do a tour on the backend return.

There is a delegation working on the issue, I will hope for the best.


  • Thanks for posting what you found out as an answer! You can merge your two accounts by clicking the "contact" link at the bottom of the page. – David Richerby Oct 19 '17 at 18:14
  • By the way, "visa" is just an ordinary word. It's not an acronym, so there's no reason to write it in all caps. – David Richerby Oct 19 '17 at 18:15
  • On the backend return you can get a visa on arrival – Crazydre Oct 28 '17 at 23:03

UPDATE (as of December 2017) : The Turkish government is once again issuing e-visas (US$20) and visa-on-arrivals (US$30) to US Citizens.

The details below are, at this point in time, incorrect but left for historic reference.

As stated in Timatic, the database used by airlines:

Visa required, except for Nationals of USA can obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 3 months. This does not apply to nationals of the USA departing from the USA and traveling directly to Turkey or transiting in a third country less than 24 hours

So you can get a visa on arrival at the airport visa desk if not arriving directly from the US, and having spent at least 24 hours transiting a third country. In this case, you can visit Istanbul.

Otherwise, you will be refused entry, and cannot visit Istanbul, since no visas or e-visas in advance are being issued to US citizens

UPDATE: Timatic's been updated, now stating:

Visa required, except for Nationals of the USA can obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 3 months. They must be arriving from a country other than the USA and have a residence permit issued by the country they are arriving from.

So Americans residing in the US can no longer get a visa on arrival at all

  • 3
    My understanding of the US-Turkish visa freeze was that Visa on arrival services had been suspended for US citizens. – Jacob Horbulyk Oct 18 '17 at 20:04
  • 1
    Also, this answer does not provide a clear yes/no to the question asked. – Jacob Horbulyk Oct 18 '17 at 20:05
  • @JacobHorbulyk Called the border police at Istanbul-Atatürk airport, and it is exactly like Timatic states – Crazydre Oct 18 '17 at 20:22
  • 3
    According to the Turkish Embassy: "This measure [suspension of visa services] will apply to sticker visas as well as e-Visas and border visas." Turkish Airlines is reportedly offering free changes and refunds as a result, though they say it won't impact transit passengers. As I interpret this, you might be able to get a visa at the border during your layover on the way back, but not going. – Zach Lipton Oct 18 '17 at 20:24
  • 1
    @ZachLipton Again, I spoke to the border police director (+90 212 463 30 00) - he if anyone should know 100% what practices they're applying at the border – Crazydre Oct 18 '17 at 20:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.