Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Important Turkish visa changes

New visa rules mean that it’ll be easier than ever before to holiday in Turkey – but if you’re a resident you may be facing extra costs.

The rules regarding Turkish tourist visas changed last week, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara. Tourists from 63 countries will be affected by the changes, which aim to standardise visa rules.

Visitors may now stay in Turkey for 90 days within an 180-day period. Previously, tourists were issued a visa that lasted for 90 consecutive days including the date of arrival.

If you have one of the old visas and you wish to renew it, the new visa will reflect the new changes.

Confused? Let me explain how the new rules will affect different individuals.

The holidaymaker

Let’s say you wish to visit Turkey twice in one year. Under the old rules, if you wanted to visit in, say, May for two weeks and again in August for a further two weeks, you would need to buy two visas. However, with the new rules, you can buy one visa in May and that will last you for your August visit too – providing you don’t stay in Turkey longer than 90 days in total. In this scenario, you’d save the cost of one visa: 15 euros.

The holiday home owner

Here’s another example. You might own a property in Antalya and you make short visits every three months. Under the old rules this would require four visas each year. Under the new rules, you will require just two visas as two visas will together span 360 days, allowing you 90 days in the first half of the year and 90 in the second. Again, you save the cost of two visas per person: 30 euros.

The resident

If you spend most of your year living in Turkey, you’ll be familiar with the visa run – making a short trip out of the country, to Greece for example, every 90 days to renew your visa. However – under the new rules you would not be allowed to return to Turkey – because you have already been in Turkey for 90 days within the 180-day period. You will need to either buy a residence permit to stay legally in Turkey, OR leave the country for three months. Purchasing a permit is expensive (the cost varies per nationality but it’s presently around 500 euros for Brits) and so you’ll lose out financially this way.

However, the British Embassy in Turkey explains here that their office has only been advised orally and official confirmation is still pending. We will let you know more when we find out.


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