UPDATED: Non-US Citizens Can Still Travel Via Turkey

UPDATED:In a recent missive issued by each government, The US and Turkish embassies in each country are now accepting applications for a limited number of non-immigrant visas and processing will begin right away. Although it is small start towards normalizing the riled up situation, the two embassies are hopeful that it will soon iron out the differences.

Amid rising tensions among the diplomatic and political relations between the United States and Turkey, visa services had been suspended until further notice. This affected only US citizens wanting to travel to Turkey and citizens of Turkey who may want to come to the US on a visa. This had precluded all other travelers transiting from or traveling to Turkey irrespective of their origin from the US.

While overall numbers have dropped in the recent years, statistics reflect that number of travelers from the United States to Turkey have gone down from 798,800 to around 459,500 in the last year alone. As ties between the two countries deteriorate, these numbers may see a further slump. However, with the holiday season around the corner, many travelers have planned trips that may take them either to Turkey or transit through it.

Things to Know if You Are Non-US Citizen Traveling to or Via Turkey

  • There are no US carriers that fly direct to Turkey;
  • There are other flights, including Turkish Airlines and AnadoluJet that are inexpensive options to destinations like India and China that originate from the US. These will continue service and remain unaffected by the visa suspension;
  • If travel plans are previously finalized and it involves flying through Turkey, contact the Turkish Embassy in your area to confirm a smooth transit.
  • If you plan to enjoy an extended layover in Turkey and intend to roam the city, visas have to be applied in person from the Turkish embassy or consulate. Certain countries like India also enjoy the option of eVisas.
  • The Turkish lira is heavily fluctuating and is currently at about 2.8% versus the dollar.
  • Turkey’s southeastern provinces, especially those along the Turkey-Syria border, should be avoided because of significant security concerns.

Things to Know For US Citizens Traveling to Turkey

If you are a US citizen and hold an American passport and have a trip planned especially on Turkish Airlines or AnadoluJet flights, you will be affected by the recent visa suspension. You may have the following options –

  • If originating from any other location other than the United States, you may present your case with a visa application to the Turkish Embassy or consulate in your country to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • Reservation and route changes are being offered free of charge.
  • A full refund to ticket holders affected by this visa ban if the ticket wasn’t used.
  • If partially used, a refund for the unused portion of the ticket can be issued.
  • As an alternative, the validity of tickets can be extended to October 31st, 2017 (inclusive) without paying any price difference or penalty.
  • The deposit can be used on another tour within Turkey at a later date.
  • These changes do not affect passengers transferring to connecting flights in Istanbul.
  • For US citizens in Turkey, the US consular services continue to be available.

There have been no updates regarding non-immigrant visas which is required for business, tourism and study, as well as more specialist visas, including journalist and diplomatic visas. Given that Turkey is not part of the US visa waiver program, these have to be applied for through US missions. Stay tuned here for further updates on the matter.