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If I travel to a different country to catch a direct flight to Turkey, as a US citizen, will I be given a visa at the airport when I land in Turkey with my US passport?

  • Only if you have a residence permit of a third country; and are arriving from that country. – Burhan Khalid Dec 26 '17 at 5:13
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UPDATE (as of December 2017) : The Turkish government is once again issuing e-visas (US$20) and visas-on-arrival (US$30) to US Citizens.

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


The other answer is wrong.

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 yes, if you make a stopover elsewhere for at least 24 hours (which you can prove using your boarding passes) you can get a visa on arrival.

If you're still not convinced, try to call the police at the airport and ask (+90 212 463 30 00). No guarantee they'll speak English though.

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 reside in.

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

  • 1
    Perhaps the truth is somewhere in between. I tried to call the airport on the number you give here, asked for the immigration police and was connected to some English speaking guy. He was not able or did not want to answer my question and asked me to call +90 312 2921000 instead, obviously the number of the MFA in Ankara. The person I talked to there referred me to the MFA website and stated that e-visas and visa-on-arrival is currently not available for US citizens. mfa.gov.tr/visa-information-for-foreigners.en.mfa – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Nov 2 '17 at 10:04
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo Sounds fishy that the ones responsible for the visa issuance wouldn't answer your question about their own procedures. Dunno who you spoke to, but I spoke to the chief officer (whom I reached directly through that number - it's not the general airport number) who said (quoting) that if arriving from outside the US and having been abroad for a day (again, his own words), then you can get the visa on arrival. I speak basic Turkish to clarify (because I visit the country quite a bit) so that's why I was able to extract the info directly from him – Crazydre Nov 2 '17 at 11:41
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo Also I should mention that my IATA contact (the sourcing manager) has stated that actual practice often differs from formal law, and that Timatic publishes actual practice – Crazydre Nov 2 '17 at 11:46
  • The number you have quoted in your answer (+90 212 4633000) is the central contact number for the airport: ataturkairport.com/en-EN/contactus/Pages/… – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Nov 2 '17 at 12:00
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo ??? I see you're right, but it's also listed on the Istanbul police website as the number of the passport control department istanbul.pol.tr/Sayfalar/iletisim.aspx. And I'm positive the person introduced himself as "Pasaport Büro amirligi" (amirligi meaning director). Oh well – Crazydre Nov 2 '17 at 12:12
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No, of course not. Due to diplomatic disputes, the issuance of Turkish visas to US citizens was severely restricted on October 8th (and vice versa). Before that, US citizens could apply online for en electronic visa, which usually was granted immediately. Now, US citizens have to apply for their visa at a Turkish consulate or foreign representation and visas are only granted in very exceptional cases.

It is in this case irrelevant where you are flying from. As a matter of fact, without having a visa in advance, any airline would deny you boarding a flight to Istanbul, as you are not entitled to enter the country.

Edit: I tried to call Atatürk Airport to ask why the official information from the MFA and the current practice of the immigration police obviously do not match. The person I talked to at the airport did not want to or was not able to answer my questions, but asked me to call +90 312 2921000 instead, the number of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara. There, I was connected with some kind of information desk, which pointed me to the official visa information page of the MFA and stated that e-visas and visa-on-arrival is currently not available to US citizens. They could not explain if or why visas are issued anyway by the immigration police at Atatürk Airport.

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    I don't think it's quite that simple. They appear to be issuing visas on arrival to US citizens if you spend at least 24 hours in another country on your way there, but not on a direct flight or a shorter layover. Here's some confusing anecdotal experience and an email from Turkey's MFA on this. Does this make any sense? Not really. Is this a guarantee it will work for the OP? Nope. But it's not quite a blanket ban. – Zach Lipton Nov 1 '17 at 15:45
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    @ZachLipton Strange. It contradicts the currently published information from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Nov 1 '17 at 16:09
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    It's extremely strange, and I'd at least want to get that personally in writing from the authorities before trying it, but nothing about any of this makes any sense to me. – Zach Lipton Nov 1 '17 at 16:24
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    @ZachLipton I've called the border control director at Atatürk, who confirmed the Timatic info – Crazydre Nov 2 '17 at 3:46

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