I am a Swedish citizen and will fly to Saudi Arabia (with approproate visa) shortly. My route is as follows; Gothenburg-Istanbul and Istanbul-Riyadh (GOT-IST-RUH). On the flight IST-RUH, I will be travelling with my mother flying from Stockholm (ARN-IST-RUH). We both fly with, and have booked our tickets at Turkish Airlines.

My question now is, can I travel to IST without my passport, meet with my mother in the international area of the terminal (provided that we end up in the same arrival terminal), receive my passport who my mother (who may pick it up from the visa application center) and give it to me for the continued travel.

In short; can I enter the terminal without passport, or do I need a passport already before entering the airport in Turkey?

  • Do you have documentation allowing you to enter Turkey? If not, the airline would be at risk of penalties and having to fly you back to Gothenburg if they let you board the first flight without all the documentation needed for the second flight. Oct 12, 2016 at 16:08
  • I will have all documents once my mother and I can meet, including a passport allowing me to enter Turkey, and a visa valid for Saudi Arabia. Upon departure from GOT I would only have a Swedish drivers licence, usually fine for travel with some airlines within some European countries.
    – Enlund
    Oct 12, 2016 at 16:11
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    The airline in Gothenburg will have to depend on the documents you can show them at check-in, not on documents you might acquire after they have taken the risk of flying you to another country. Oct 12, 2016 at 16:17
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    @DavChana I understand that, but the point is that, even if, hypothetically speaking, the Airline would let OP board if he explained the situation, the fact remains that he Needs to clear Swedish immigration
    – Crazydre
    Oct 12, 2016 at 19:42
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    I have solved the issue in another way, but will try to find out the actual answer when I travel there. Thanks all
    – Enlund
    Oct 13, 2016 at 15:35

4 Answers 4


I'm Swedish too, and I tell you, you will not be able to board without a passport, because Turkey is outside of the Schengen Area

You can usually use your driving licence within Schengen (though not with Ryanair, Wizz or easyJet), because it counts as a single country, so flights from Göteborg to Greece (for example) are effectively domestic.

Turkey, however, is outside Schengen, meaning Sweden-Turkey flights count as real international flights. All over the world, this means going through passport control (also known as clearing immigration) at the departure (except in a few countries) and arrival airport, though not at transit airports if they have corridors for international connections (which IST does).

To clear immigration in Schengen countries, you need a passport or national ID card (issued by the police, though you probably don't have one of those). However, as you're going from Sweden directly to a country outside the EU and EFTA (Turkey), only a passport will do, due to the Swedish passlag.

So no, just no. Have your mother send you your passport by registered mail, or, if not possible, get a new passport ASAP - it takes 5 working days. In the latter case, ssk your mum to send you a high-quality photocopy of the passport's ID page to show at the police station together with your driving licence.

Your Saudi visa in the old passport would still be valid together with your new passport.

  • "...this means going through passport control...". I think that is the definite reason for why this is not possible.
    – Enlund
    Oct 25, 2016 at 18:58
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    @Jonke-Pö Exactly, even if Turkish Airlines had given you the OK, you still would not have reached your gate at Landvetter, because the border guards would have blocked you. Regardless of destination, you cannot pass those booths without either a passport or national ID card (a driving licence will not do) because of the rules for entering and exiting the Schengen Area. In other words, this is not just a mere airline issue
    – Crazydre
    Oct 25, 2016 at 19:18

You won't be able to board in GOT unless you have your passport; they'll check your documents for RUH at that point. Maybe you can talk them into checking you in for the GOT-IST leg without issuing a boarding pass for the IST-RUH leg, but I wouldn't count on it if I were you, especially not on the strength of advice from strangers on the internet.

In fact, since Swedish citizens are not among those who can enter Turkey with a national ID, you will almost certainly be unable to board the first leg of your flight without your passport.

I would advise you to call the airline and run this idea past them. They are the only ones who will be able to tell you whether they will allow you to board their airplanes.

  • 1
    Ok, then I will go retrieve my passport in advance. It was over three years ago I last time visited Turkey, so I didn't remember the process with TK nor how connecting flights work at IST.
    – Enlund
    Oct 12, 2016 at 16:09
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    I really don't see how that could work. The airline can't really "pretend" that Turkey is the final destination, since OP won't have the required document (passport) to enter Turkey, either.
    – fkraiem
    Oct 12, 2016 at 17:44
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    @Jonke-Pö IST works a lot like this. But I have to agree that you aren't likely to be allowed to board your first flight without the passport. Oct 12, 2016 at 22:42
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    @phoog Actually no, they don't, only citizens of a handful of countries can. If you want an official source, consult Turkey's e-visa site, and see what it says for Swedish citizens with an ID card vs. with a passport.
    – fkraiem
    Oct 13, 2016 at 13:15
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    This answer was correct. The TK employee explained that due to their responsibility of checking that people that they transport to Turkey, they cannot allow me on the flight. If I would be stranded in the INTL arrival hall, they could be responsible for that. So technically there didn't seem to be any reason for being able to travel without a passport, but the airline would not take the risk of letting me be stranded on their account.
    – Enlund
    Oct 16, 2016 at 9:28

Most likely, NO. Not a chance you should rely on.

Because GOT-IST is an international flight, the Turkish gate staff will verify all passengers have travel docs, almost always a Passport, during boarding. They might not actually check it, just seeing that you have it.

  • 3
    @pnuts We answered at the same time.
    – DTRT
    Oct 12, 2016 at 17:38

TK staff will not let you board the plane without a passport. Suppose you succeeded in that. In IST the security checkpoint attendant will not let you take the escalators up to the transit hall. You will end up sitting in the airport police station for couple hours until your mom finds you and finally missing your connecting flight.

  • Does transit security at IST check travel documents? At SAW they don't, just the boarding pass
    – Crazydre
    Mar 15, 2019 at 17:31

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