Getting a visa
The visa system for Turkey can be both relatively simple. There is no ´one size fits all´ approach, with the availability of visas, type of visas, the cost and duration of stay depend on your nationality.
We should point out that not all nationalities need a tourist or entry visa to enter Turkey. Passport holders of Greece, France, Germany, New Zealand, Japan and Singapore, as well as numerous other nationalities, are entitled to a 90 day stay in Turkey without having to get any visa at all.
Others – including visitors from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia and Spain – can arrive at the border, pay for a tourist permit or visa and just walk into the country. However, it is better to ask your travel agent about the visa requirement each time you visit Turkey, as there can be changes to the fees or to the rules between visits.
Limits: There is no limit on the amount of foreign currency that may be brought into Turkey, but not more than 5 5,000 worth of Turkish currency may be brought into or taken out of the country.
Exchange slips: The exchange slips for the conversion of foreign currency into Turkish lira should be kept, since you may be required to show these when reconverting your Turkish lira back into foreign currency, and when taking souvenirs out of the country (to prove that they have been purchased with legally exchanged foreign currency).
The following items may be brought into the country duty free:
▪ personal effects of the tourist.
▪ one TV, one colour pocket TV (maximum 16 cm screen), one TV-tape-radio combination, one video recording camera and 5 video cassettes (blank); 5 records, 5 tape cassettes or compact discs.
▪ one video player, cine-projector (8 mm) and 10 rolls of film (blank), one slide projector.
▪ one pocket computer (maximum main memory capacity Ram 128k. Byte), electronic playing devices (without cassette – keyboard).
▪ one transistor radio and portable radio – tape player (its specification to be determined by the Ministry of Finance and Customs), one Walkman or pocket tape recorder, one portable compact disc player.
▪ binoculars (one pair, except night binoculars)
▪ harmonica, mandolin, flageolet, flute, guitar, and accordion (only one of each type, maximum 3 musical instruments).
▪ personal sports equipment.
▪ necessary medical items.
▪ bicycle, baby buggy, toys.
▪ 200 cigarettes and 50 cigars.
▪ 200 grams of tobacco and 200 cigarette papers, or 50 grams of chewing tobacco or 200 grams of pipe tobacco, or 200 grams of snuff.
▪ (In addition to the above allowances, it is possible to purchase 400 cigarettes, 100 cigars, and 500 grams of pipe tobacco from the Turkish Duty Free Shops upon entering the country).
▪ 1.5kg. coffee, 1.5kg. instant coffee, 500 grams of tea.
▪ 1 kilo chocolate and 1 kilo sweets.
▪ 5 (100 cc) or 7 (70 cc) bottles of wines and/or spirits.
▪ five bottles of perfume (120 ml max. each).
▪ one portable typewriter.
▪ one camera with 5 rolls of film.
▪ First aid, and spare parts for the car.
▪ Other items necessary during the journey.
Valuable items and all items with a value of over $ 15,000 must be registered in the owner’s passport upon entering Turkey, for control upon exit.
Antiques brought into the country must be registered in the owner’s passport to avoid difficulties on exit.
Sharp instruments (including camping knives) and weapons may not be brought into the country without special permission.
The bringing into the country, trade, and consumption of marijuana and all other narcotics is strictly forbidden and subject to heavy punishment.
Gifts, not exceeding 500 DM in value and not for trading purposes, may be brought into the country duty free. In addition, gifts not exceeding 500 OM in value may be posted to Turkey duty free, if the date stamped by the sending post office falls one month before, or one month after the following holidays: Seker Bayrami, Kurban Bayrami, Christmas, and New Year’s.
Note: Cellular Telephones entering the country must be accompanied by a certification form showing ownership. Ownership must be documented in the passport of the owner and will be checked on entry and exit. For more information contact the Ministry of Transportation, General Directorate at Tel: (312) 2123572-2126010 (10 lines), Fax: (312) 2213226 or write to Ulastirma Bakanligi Telsiz Gn. Md. Emek – Ankara.
Gifts and souvenirs: for a new carpet, a proof of purchase.
Exporting antiques from Turkey is forbidden.
Valuable personal items can only be taken out of the country providing they have been registered in the owner’s passport upon entry, or providing they can show they have been purchased with legally exchanged currency.
Minerals may only be exported from the country with a special document obtained from the MTA (General Directorate of Mining Exploration and Research). Etüdler Dairesi 06520, Ankara. Tel: (312) 2873430/1622, Fax: (312) 2854271
You Can Receive a Tax Refund for the Goods You Purchased In Turkey!
Refunds will be made to travellers who do not reside in Turkey.
All goods (including food and drinks) are included in the refunds with the exclusion of services rendered.
The minimum amount of purchase that qualifies for refund is 5.000.000 TL.
Retailers that qualify for tax refunds must be “authorised for refund.” These retailers must display a permit received from their respective tax office.
The retailer will make four copies of the receipt for your refund, three of which will be received by the purchaser. If photocopies of the receipt are received the retailer must sign and stamp the copies to validate them. If you prefer the refund to be made by check, a Tax-free Shopping Check for the amount to be refunded to the customer must be given along with the receipt.
For the purchaser to benefit from this exemption he must leave the country within three months with the goods purchased showing them to Turkish customs officials along with the appropriate receipts and/or check.
Additional information: Ministry of Finance and Tax Dept. General Directorate, (Maliye Bakanligi, Gelirler Genel Müdürlügü) KDV Subesi 06100, Ulus – Ankara. Tel: (312) 3103880/725-728-735, Fax: (312) 3114510.
Health Regulations for Pets
For those who wish to bring domestic animals into the country the following are required:
▪ Pets have to be 3 months and older
▪ An International Certificate of Health issued within 15 days before the travel
▪ The Identification Card
▪ Vaccination Card
Note: If you have an official certificate, you may bring one cat, one bird, one dog and 10 aquarium fish into the country.
General. Those who wish to enter the country with their vans, minibuses, automobiles, station wagons, bicycles, motorcycles, motorbikes, sidecars, buses, motor coaches, trailers, caravans or other transport vehicles, will have to provide the following documentations:
▪ International driving license.
▪ Car license (document where all details related to the car and the owner’s name are registered). If it is somebody else’s vehicle a power of attorney should be provided.
▪ International green card (Insurance card). The TR sign should be visible.
▪ Transit book “Carnet de passage” (for those who want to proceed to the Middle East).
Period: The vehicle can be brought into Turkey for up to 6 Months. The owner should declare on the opposite form, the date of departure at the border gate declared. If for any important reason the staying period has to be ended, it is necessary to apply to:
▪ The Turkish Touring and Automobile Club (Türkiye Turing ve Otomobil Kurumu) 1. Sanayi Sitesi Yani, 4.Levent, Istanbul, Tel: (212) 2828140, or to The General Directorate of Customs (Gümrükler Genel Müdürlügü), Ulus Ankara Tel: (312) 3103880, 3103818, Fax: (312) 3111346, before the end of the period declared.
In Case of Accident: The accident should be reported to the police. That report has to be certified by the nearest local authority. The owner should apply to the customs authority with his passport and report.
If the vehicle can be repaired, it is necessary to inform the customs authority first and take the vehicle to a garage. If the vehicle is not repairable and if the owner wishes to leave the country without his vehicle, he has to deliver it to the nearest customs office, and the registration of his vehicle on his passport will be cancelled. (Only after the cancellation can the owner of the vehicle leave the country.)
Following an accident, you can telephone:
▪ Trafik Polisi (Traffic Police) Tel :154
▪ Jandarma (Gendarme) Tel :156
For more information, contact the Touring and Automobile Association of Turkey.
Diving for purposes of sport, with proper equipment and in non-restricted areas, is permitted. Foreign divers should have official documentation of their specifics and training and must be accompanied, when diving, by a licensed Turkish guide.
The limit for diving with diving gear is 30 metres. For educational purposes, this limit is extended to 42 metres. Dives exceeding 30 metres must be carried out with proper diving and medical equipment.
Turkish post-offices are easily recognized by their black PTT letters on a yellow background. Major post offices are open from 8:00 a.m. till 12:00 p.m., Monday/Saturday, and 9:00 a.m. till 7:00 p.m., Sunday.
All PTT branches have the facilities to exchange money at the current international exchange rates, as well as international postal orders and travellers’ cheques. To phone from PTT telephone booths, which are extensively found in all areas; telephone cards , and tokens (“;jetton”) in three sizes are used. Local, inter-city and international calls can be made from all PTT offices. Besides these main offices there are also mobile PTT services in the tourist areas. For the area codes of major cities and tourist areas in Turkey, please see the “Area Codes” list. Foreign countries area codes are indicated in the International Telephone Codes list.
Some important service numbers are:
▪ 155 Police
▪ 112 Emergency
▪ 110 Fire
▪ 118 Unknown Numbers
▪ 161 PTT Information.
Turkish Tourist Health Society (Turizm Sagligi Dernegi-Hacettepe Üniversitesi Tip Fakültesi Plastik ve Rekonstrüktif Cerrahi Ana Bilim Dali, Sihhiye 06100 ANKARA Tel: (312) 311 93 93-310 98 08) performs the functions below, to provide the travellers in the entire country, mainly in the tourist regions, with proper health care:
▪ to secure food hygiene
▪ to prevent environmental pollution
▪ to ensure hygiene and healthy working-conditions in tourist establishments.
▪ Monday-Friday (8:30-12:30), (13:30-17:30).
▪ Saturday-Sunday (closed)
▪ Monday-Friday (8:30-12-00), (13:30-17:00)
▪ Saturday-Sunday (closed)
Other Practical Information
▪ GMT+3 hours (April-September) GMT+2 hours (October-March)
▪ France: -1
▪ Netherlands: -1
▪ Australia: +8
▪ Germany: -1
▪ Austria: -1
▪ Greece: 0
▪ Sweden: -1
▪ Italy: -1
▪ Switzerland: -1
▪ England: -2
▪ USA: -7 (EST), -10 (WEST)
▪ Russia: -1 (Moscow)
* These time differences are for the period October-March; however, they may show variances according to each country’s own time-saving adjustments.
Newspapers and Magazines:
Foreign newspapers and magazines are available in big cities and tourist areas. Also there is a Turkish daily newspaper, Daily News, published in English.
At various establishments like hotels, restaurants, Turkish baths, barbers and hairdressers, tipping at a rate of 5%-15% of the total is common. Taxi and “dolmus” drivers on the other hand, do not expect tips or even rounded fares.