Turkey, land of the Sultan’s and Ottoman Empire.
We never planned on visiting Turkey. Due to several issues including our bank cards getting stolen in Colombia, being given the wrong Colombian visa (blog post coming), an endless search for cheap flights from South America, and a search for flights that didn't require a $150 in transit visa for a 2 hour layover (Yes, the joys of travelling with a South African passport), we ended up in Turkey on our way to South East Asia. And what a pleasant surprise it was!
From the beautiful city of Istanbul that never ever sleeps, the museums and mosques and palaces and the shopping; to the travertine water pools at Pamukkale, the spectacular Cappadocia - famous for its chimney castles and hot air balloons, to the stunning turquoise waters of the Med. Turkey is totally worth a visit as an alternative to Europe. The bonus is that it is not that heavy on the pocket – even for South Africans.
And although South African’s need a visa, you can get one in 5 minutes online! So, you better book those tickets! We highly recommend Travelstart for any flight bookings – they always have great specials, offer flights with many airlines, and have great customer service. We even booked our flights to Turkey from Panama through them!
TURKEY VISA REQUIREMENTS:
If you are visiting for tourism purposes for 1 month or less, you can apply online for an e-visa. It takes about 5 minutes, you get it immediately and it is FREE.
You only need to provide a date of entry when applying for the visa, you should always have a return or exit ticket before leaving South Africa. If you are not planning on going back to South Africa and not sure what your plans are, you can check out our post here on how to get a valid exit ticket without paying.
You get a multiple entry, 30-day visa valid for 3 months. So, you can enter and exit the country multiple times within 3 months, but can only stay in the country for a total of 30 days altogether.
HOW TO APPLY:
To apply for this visa, go to the following website and follow the prompts:
Step 1 – Country Information
Here you will get drop-down lists to enter the following information:
Country of your travel document – choose your country of nationality or according to the country of the passport you will use if you have dual citizenship.
Type of travel document: Ordinary passport for most travellers.
Security validation: here you enter the series of letters that appear in the block below for verification.
Click “save and continue”
Step 2 – Date of Arrival
At the top of the page, you must enter you arrival date (the date you land in Turkey).
A box below will indicate your visa’s validity period, as well as the number of entries you get and the cost (FREE for South Africans) with payment options.
**Your visa is valid for 180 days, but your can only stay for a total of 30 days. This means you can enter and exit the country at any time within the 180 days, but stay only 30 days in total.
Click “save and continue”
Step 3 – Personal Information:
Here you have to enter all your personal information like your name and surname, passport number, passport validity dates, address, phone number and email address. Make sure your email address is correct as this is where you will receive your visa.
Once all 3 steps are completed, you will get an email to approve your application by clicking the link in the email. You have one hour to do so.
Once approved, you will get another email with a link to download your electronic visa. You can also click on the Download link on the website once it is approved.
And there you have it! Turkish visa in 5 minutes, but it is recommended that you apply at least 48 hours in advance.
You can keep the e-version on your phone to show at immigration once you land, or you can print out a copy to keep with your other documents.
Visiting 3 months or longer:
If you plan on visiting Turkey for 3 months or longer, you will have to apply for an official visa through a Consulate or Embassy.
Need ideas on what to see, where to what to see and where to go?
You can purchase the Lonely Planet Turkey guide book here. We use these guide books for all our travels as it provides in-depth information for every country, places to visit, as well as where to eat and where stay for every budget. Available in hard cover or e-book format. You can even purchase separate chapters.
Check our Booking.com for accommodation if you are booking from outside of Turkey. Booking.com is currently banned in Turkey, but you can still use Agoda or Hostelworld.
Your airline might ask to see your visa at check -in at the airport before you will be allowed to board the plane. We flew from Panama City, to Rio de Janeiro, to Dubai with Emirates and no-one asked us at any time to see our visa until we arrived in Istanbul. They did ask for an onward/exit ticket though.
Any comments and questions are welcome. Don't forget to share with your friends.
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