Most visitors need an e-visa, purchased online before travelling.
Jewellery and items valued over US$15,000 should be declared, to ensure you can take it out when you leave. Goods including the following can be imported duty-free:
-200g of tobacco
-1kg each of coffee, instant coffee, chocolate and sugar products
-500g of tea
-1L bottle or two 750ml bottles of wine or spirits
-Five bottles of perfume (max 120ml each)
-One camera with five films
-One video camera with 10 tapes
-Souvenirs/gifts worth up to €300 (€145 if aged under 15)
Buying and exporting genuine antiquities is illegal.
Carpet shops should be able to provide a form certifying that your purchase is not an antiquity.
Ask for advice from vendors you buy from.
Keep receipts and paperwork.
Make sure your passport will still have at least six months’ validity after you enter Turkey.
To stay for up to 90 days, most Western nationalities either don’t require visas or should purchase one in advance from www.evisa.gov.tr (typically €20 to €60).
Nationals of countries including Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland don’t need a visa to visit Turkey for up to 90 days.
Nationals of countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, the UK and USA need a visa, which must be purchased online at www.evisa.gov.tr before travelling.
Most nationalities, including the above, are given a 90-day multiple-entry visa.
You must enter details of your passport and date of arrival in Turkey, click on the link in the confirmation email and pay with a Mastercard or Visa credit or debit card.
Having completed this process, the e-visa can be downloaded in Adobe PDF format; a link is also emailed so it can be printed out later.
The e-visa must be printed out to show on arrival in Turkey, and kept while in the country.
It is recommended that applications are made at least 48 hours before departure.
Your passport should be valid for at least six months from the date you enter Turkey.
At the time of writing, the e-visa charge was US$20 for most nationalities, with a few exceptions including Australians and Canadians, who paid US$60, and South Africans, who received it free.
In most cases, the 90-day visa stipulates ‘per period 180 days’. This means you can spend three months in Turkey within a six-month period; when you leave after three months, you can’t re-enter for three months.
Check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (www.mfa.gov.tr, www.evisa.gov.tr) for more information.
No photos required.
There are various types of ikamet tezkeresi (residence permit).
Apply at a yabalcılar şube (foreigners police/aliens department) soon after arrival.
Plug http://yabancilar.iem.gov.tr (the foreign department of İstanbul’s emniyet müdürlüğü – security police) into a website translator for more information.
If you don’t have a Turkish employer or spouse to support your application, you can get a permit for touristic purposes.
Touristic permits are typically valid for one year; the price varies according to the applicant’s nationality, with charges starting at a few hundred lira including administrative charges.
To apply for a residence permit in İstanbul, make an appointment with the emniyet müdürlüğü in Fatih; visit e-randevu.iem.gov.tr. The process can be demoralising and assistance hard to come by; those working behind the desks in cities such as İzmir (www.izmirpolis.gov.tr) are reputedly more helpful.
Little English is spoken, so take a Turkish-speaking friend with you if possible.
If your application is successful, you will be given a touristic residency card.
More details in Pat Yale’s A Handbook for Living in Turkey, which was being updated at the time of writing.
Websites mentioned under Work are also sources of (anecdotal) information and advice.
Visit www.konsolosluk.gov.tr for information on obtaining a çalışma izni (work permit).
Your Turkish employer should help you get the visa.
If it’s an employer such as a school or international company, they should be well versed in the process and can handle the majority of the paperwork.
The visa can be obtained in Turkey or from a Turkish embassy or consulate.