The Turkish Electronic Visa (or e-Visa) replaces the famous ‘sticker visa’ starting 2013. And you better get used to it, since the latter will be depreciated on April 10, 2014.
Is this a bad thing? No, not at all. The Turkish online visa procedure is quick, smooth and actually saves you time since you no longer have to stand in line to get your ‘sticker visa’. Let me explain what an e-Visa is, who can get one, and how the procedure works.
Edit: The Turkish Government has released a statement that for the 2014 tourist season, people will still be able to purchase their visa upon arrival, to make the transition to the e-visa system easier. If you arrive in Turkey without a visa, you will be able to obtain your e-Visa via interactive kiosks at Turkish airports.
What Is a Turkish Electronic Visa or e-Visa
Let’s make this clear right from the start: this is only for tourist or trade visas! For other purposes such as work or study, you must apply through Turkish Embassies or Consulates in your country.
Up until now, citizens of certain nationalities were able to travel to Turkey with just their valid passport or identity card, and buy their tourist visa at the border crossing. A sticker was either pasted in their passport or on a piece of paper, hence the name ‘sticker visa’. As of 2013, the government decided to reduce the waiting and queuing times at the different border crossings by introducing the Electronic Visa or e-Visa.
An e-Visa is nothing more or less than applying for (and receiving) your Turkish tourist visa online from the comforts of your home. You go through a series of steps wherein you provide them with the required information, use your credit card to pay for it (instead of cash money upon arrival), and finally print out your visa.
Who Can Get a Turkish Electronic Visa or e-Visa
Currently, citizens of just under 100 countries are eligible to get an Electronic Visa. Since countries are added and removed over time, please check to see whether citizens of your country are currently eligible for an e-Visa.
If the rules for your country do not include the words ‘e-Visa’, then you are either exempt from visa or you need to visit the nearest Turkish Embassy/Consulate General for visa application. If you do try to use the electronic visa application, you’ll get the screenshot on the right.
How Can I Get My Turkish Electronic Visa or e-Visa
First of all, let’s assume you either carry an ordinary passport or an identity card. If you’re not sure about your passport type, here you can read the difference between an official and an ordinary passport.
There are nine simple steps to complete. Please make sure to have the necessary documents and a valid credit card handy.
Step 1 – Open up your preferred browser and go to www.evisa.gov.tr. The website is available in many languages.
Step 2 – Click at the upper left on ‘Apply now’. Select the country and the passport or identity card (of the chosen country) you will be using. Also prove you’re human by typing the displayed letters and/or numbers. Then click on ‘Save and Continue’
Step 3 – Enter your arrival date. At this point, you will get quite a bit of important information: how long your visa will be valid, where you can enter the country once or multiple times during this period, how much it will cost you, and how you will pay for it (see arrows). Press ‘Save and Continue’ to proceed or simply close your browser if you don’t like what you see.
Step 4 – Enter your personal data. All fields are obligatory. I strongly urge you to use the date pickers to enter the respective dates. This way you’re sure you use the correct format (if not you need to redo it). Also, disregard white spaces or special characters (like – ) if they are used in your passport or identity card number. Press the button at the bottom to continue.
Step 5 – Once you see this screen, all data has been accepted and you are good to go. You have one last chance to review the information you provided. Take your time to check it all. A small mistake may cause big problems at the border! Click ‘Edit’ if you need to change something, ‘Verify’ to submit and continue.
Step 6 – At this point, your application as been submitted, and an email has been sent to you to verify whether you really applied. Check your email immediately. If you didn’t receive anything within a minute, check your spam folder because that’s where mine ended up. If that’s the case, make sure to tell your email service that mails sent from this sender are not spam, because you will get one more down the road.
Click on the approve button to verify your email address. If you can’t see the button, make sure you tell your email service to show all images for this email.
Step 7 – After clicking the verify email button, you’ll be taken to the payment page. Enter the necessary information, and proceed by clicking ‘Make Payment’.
Step 8 – Once your payment has been approved, you’ll get a notification that your e-Visa has been sent to you. This is not true. You just received an email with a button to download it. Don’t bother waiting for it, and download the visa (in pdf format) right from the current page. Make sure you know where you save it because you will need to print it out. In case you fail to download it, no worries, you can always download it again via the link provided to you by email.
If this is a business trip and you need an invoice, first download the actual visa, then press the invoice button.
Step 9 – The final step: open the saved/downloaded pdf document and print it. In my experience, it doesn’t matter whether it’s in color or just black and white. But make very sure you take it with you, and keep it on you together with your passport or identity card (whatever you chose while applying) during your stay.
Can I Make Bulk Applications?
Unfortunately, at this point you can not. Only tour operators can apply for group e-Visas and make lump sum payments for them. And that’s the only drawback to this Electronic Visa system I must say. Sure, it looks a lot when you go over the nine steps above. But it is actually smooth sailing and takes less than 5 minutes. But, when coming with a family of four, you need to do this process four times. Let’s hope future updates will eliminate this.