Updated 21 January 2021
After months of dormancy due to the raging pandemic, the travel industry is gearing up for a return to small normalcy with borders reopening, easing of quarantine requirements, and the creation of travel bubbles. Travellers around the world are now keen to find out if, when and where they can travel abroad. One country that’s been on many travel wishlist is Turkey.
Can anyone travel to Turkey now? What important things do travellers need to know if they are planning to fly to Turkey?
Who can travel to Turkey?
Turkey has reopened its land, sea, and air borders to all international tourists from June 12. As long as you meet the Turkish immigration rules, you can fly to Turkey from any nation with the current exceptions of the UK, Denmark, and South Africa.
Depending on your country of origin and purpose of the visit, you may travel visa-free, with an e-visa, or sticker visa. Find a comprehensive list of visa policies here and here. On arrival, you’d only need to fill out the passenger locator form.
Beginning December 30, 2020 all international passengers age 6 years and older traveling to Turkey are required to have taken a COVID-19 PCR test with a negative result within 72 hours prior to their flight. Passengers must submit their test results to the airline at the time of check-in. Passengers failing to submit a negative PCR test will not be permitted to board the flight to Turkey. This requirement will remain in effect until March 1, 2021.
As travel restrictions into the country have been largely rescinded, Turkey remains a popular destination for tourists from around the world. Between the months of January and September, Turkey welcomed a sizeable number of tourists hailing from the countries such as the Russian Federation, Germany and Ukraine.
Do I need to quarantine after I reach Turkey?
Travellers who have arrived in Turkey from the UK, Denmark and South Africa in the past 10 days will be asked to present a negative test result done within the past 72 hours, and also will be required to quarantine in where they are staying. If the second test which will be done on the seventh day of their quarantine comes out negative, their quarantine will be over, and if they test positive, they will receive treatment.
Apart from the aforementioned, there are currently no requirements of quarantine for those travelling to Turkey. You will need to undergo a temperature check and health monitoring at the departure terminal. If you show symptoms of the disease, you will have to undergo the swab test. The health officials at the airport test the samples in laboratories inside the airport premises and deliver the results within five hours. A fee of TL 250 or 33 USD is charged.
If you’re a foreigner and you test positive, you will be escorted to a private hospital referred by the Ministry of Health – Border Health Unit. Fees for treatment and stay have to be dished out by the traveller. For Turkish returnees, quarantine in state-run hospitals will follow, thus leading to mandatory quarantine.
While you do not need any quarantine during your visit to Turkey, the same may vary from country to country on your return journey. For instance, Germany requires a negative RT-PCR test report issued earlier than 48 hours before you fly back to Germany from Turkey.
There are several curfew regulations in place. For instance, residents aged above 65 are not allowed to stay outside between 8 pm and 10 am every day. While this applies to only residents, foreign nationals visiting Turkey are exempted from the regulation. So, if you are a returning resident to your country, this is applicable to you. But if Turkish citizens above 65 years old wish to travel within the country, they can do so by taking a special permit from the Ministry of the Interior.
Are there flights to Turkey?
Turkish Airlines, the country’s national carrier, low-cost carrier Pegasus Airlines, Sun Express, along with other air carriers across the world are operating flights and bringing in tourists to Turkey. Airports receiving international visitors include:
- ESB – Ankara Airport
- AYT – Antalya Airport
- IST – Istanbul Airport
- SAW – Istanbul Sahiban Gokcen
- DLM – Dalaman Airport
- BJV – Bodrum Airport
- ADB – Izmir Airport
Since flights are subject to immediate changes, passengers are advised to consult their chosen airlines before booking on their website or on Wego.
All passengers deboarding at Turkey’s international airports must wear masks all time. If caught without a mask anywhere in 81 provinces of Turkey, a fine of 900 lira (122.5 USD approximately) will be levied upon individuals, both nationals and foreigners.
Is it safe to travel to Turkey?
— Turkish Airlines (@TurkishAirlines) July 3, 2020
The country has adopted the Safe Tourism Certification Program, a collective initiative by the Ministry of Transport, Culture and Tourism Ministry, and the Foreign Ministry. Since April, airports, air carriers, and other transport mediums within the country, along with bars, restaurants, and accommodation facilities who follow the standard health and hygiene requirements are certified by international institutions.
The airports are taking every possible measure to keep staff and tourists safe. Luggage sanitization X-ray facility, personal protection equipment vending machines, contactless security checks, etc. are in place. The Istanbul Airport, for instance, has UV autonomous robots who clean the terminal building thoroughly. you will find the iGA Hygiene team working round the clock to ensure that everyone is following social distancing measures.