TurkeyOfficial Name: Republic of Turkey
Six months beyond date of entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page for entry and exit stamps
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
25,000 Turkish lira or 10,000 euros (or equivalent)
Embassies and Consulates
110 Atatürk Blvd.
Kavaklidere, 06100 Ankara
Telephone: +(90) (312) 455-5555
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(90) (312) 455-5555
Fax: +(90) (312) 466-5684
U.S. Consulate General Istanbul
Istinye Mahallesi, Üç Şehitler Sokak No.2
Istinye 34460 - Istanbul
Telephone: +(90)(212) 335-9000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(90)(212) 335-9000
Fax: +(90) (212) 335-9102
U.S. Consulate Adana
Girne Bulvari No. 212,
Güzelevler Mahallesi, Yüregir
Telephone: +(90)(322) 455-4100
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(90)(322) 455-4100
Fax: +(90)(322) 455-4141
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(90) (312) 455-5555
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Turkey for information on U.S.-Turkey relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
Obey all Turkish visa regulations and maintain valid residence permits at all times. The U.S. Embassy is unable to assist with Turkish immigration and visa related matters. Turkish authorities enforce immigration laws.
- Passports must be valid for six months beyond your entry date. You will be denied entry into Turkey if there is not enough space for entry and exit stamps in your passport.
- You need a visa to travel to Turkey. If you are traveling for tourism or commerce for up to 90 days within a 180 day period, obtain a Turkish visa from Turkish missions abroad or from the e-Visa application system prior to arrival.
- U.S. citizens traveling on cruise ships can enter without a visa and the port of entry security authorities’ permission for a maximum of 72 hours. Check with the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey for the most current visa information.
- Get entry and exit stamps. You must have a Turkish entry stamp on the passport page containing your visa before you transfer to domestic flights. Get an exit stamp in your passport when leaving, or you may face difficulties re-entering Turkey and be subject to a fine on your next visit.
- If you are planning to work, study, or conduct academic or scientific research in Turkey, apply for a visa from a Turkish embassy or consulate before arriving in Turkey. Visit “Living in Turkey” on the U.S. Embassy’s American Citizen Services website.
- Find additional information at the Turkish consular information website and its frequently asked questions page.
For questions about visas and residency permits, travelers in the United States should contact the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey. Overseas, U.S. travelers may contact a Turkish embassy or consulate abroad. If you are already in Turkey, contact the nearest Directorate General of Migration Management office to obtain a residence permit.
Syria: On October 11, 2016, the U.S. Department of State updated the Travel Warning for Syria. This travel warning remains in effect. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus closed in February 2012. If you are in Syria holding an expired U.S. passport and need to enter Turkey, please contact the U.S. Embassy in Ankara for assistance.
Iraq: Crossing the border from Iraq can be time-consuming as the Turkish Government tightly controls entry and exit.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to, or foreign residents of, Turkey. However, Turkey will generally deport foreigners once HIV-positive status is discovered.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our customs information page.
Safety and Security
Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks worldwide including in Turkey. Governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.
The potential for terrorist attacks in Turkey, including against U.S. citizens and interests, remains high. Terrorists have previously attacked U.S. interests in Turkey, including the U.S. Embassy in Ankara and the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul. As stated in the most recent Turkey travel warning, additional attacks in Turkey at major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centers, places of worship, and transportation hubs, including aviation services, metros, buses, bridges, bus terminals and sea transport, could occur.
On October 29, 2016, the Department of State updated its Travel Warning for Turkey to notify U.S. citizens of increased threats of terrorism throughout Turkey, encourage citizens to avoid travel to southeastern Turkey, and advise of the Department of State’s decision to order departure for U.S. Government family members of employees posted to U.S. Consulate General Istanbul. On November 22, 2016, the Department of State extended ordered departure for Consulate General Istanbul through December 27, 2016. These decisions were made as a result of the Department of State’s ongoing assessment of security conditions in Turkey and in recognition of the threat environment in southeastern Turkey.
In addition, the ongoing state of emergency has expanded Turkish security forces’ legal ability to detain individuals without charge from a maximum of four days to a maximum of 30 days. It also expands security forces’ authority in stopping, searching, and validating identification documents. Those stopped without a passport or identity document are subject to a fine or imprisonment. Travelers may also see an increase in police or military activity and restrictions on movement. Delays or denial of consular access to U.S. citizens detained or arrested by security forces, some of whom also possess Turkish citizenship, have occurred.
For your own safety:
- Maintain a high level of vigilance.
- Take appropriate steps to increase your security awareness.
- Follow local news sources during your stay to remain abreast of any potential areas, dates, or times of concern.
- Exercise caution and good judgment, keep a low profile, and remain vigilant with regard to your personal security.
- Do not accept letters, parcels, or other items from strangers for delivery either inside or outside of Turkey.
- Avoid demonstrations, which may become violent and unpredictable.
- Obey the instructions of Turkish security personnel at all times.
Known terrorist groups active in Turkey include:
- Da’esh, also referred to as The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has a significant presence in northern Syria and along portions of the Turkish/Syrian border. Foreign terrorist fighters have been known to travel through Turkey to Syria and Iraq. Although Da’esh has not officially claimed responsibility for any attacks in Turkey, the group has been implicated in numerous recent attacks, including suicide-bombings in Ankara (October 2015), Istanbul’s Sultanahmet (January 2016) and Taksim (March 2016) areas, and a small arms and suicide bombing attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport (June 2016).
- The Kurdistan People's Congress (also known as Kongra Gel or KGK, better known as the Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK) has been the most active terrorist organization in Turkey, targeting Turkish government facilities and infrastructure. Beginning in 2015, the PKK resumed widespread attacks against Turkish security forces throughout Turkey and blockaded and attempted to take control of certain neighborhoods in the southeast. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), also known as the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks or the Kurdistan Liberation Hawks, presents itself as a splinter of the PKK and has taken responsibility for numerous attacks against civilians in major urban areas, including the December 2015 attack at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport, February 2016 and March 2016 car bombings in Ankara, and a suicide bombing in Istanbul in June 2016.
- The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) is known to target both Turkish and U.S. facilities, including detonating a suicide bomb at U.S. Embassy Ankara in 2013 and shooting at the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul in August 2015. The DHKP/C has stated its intention to commit further attacks against Turkey, NATO, and the United States.
- While al-Qaida, or its splinter group Jabhat al-Nusra (JAN), maintains a presence in Turkey, it has not staged attacks recently. However, groups and individuals inspired by al-Qaida might attempt to do so, placing U.S. and Turkish interests at risk.
- Turkish authorities believe the Syrian-based Mukaveme Suriyyi (Syrian Resistance) was behind the two largest 2013 terrorist attacks in Turkey.
There have also been instances of religious violence targeting individuals in Turkey working as missionaries (which is severely restricted in Turkey) or viewed as having proselytized for a non-Islamic religion. Threats and actual instances of crime have targeted Christian and Jewish individuals, groups, institutions, and places of worship in Turkey, including several high-profile murders of Christians over the last decade. The level of anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic sentiment remains significant.
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens avoid southeastern Turkey, especially areas close to the Syrian border. The Government of Turkey has closed its border with Syria. Border crossings from Syria into Turkey are prohibited even if the traveler entered Syria from Turkey. Individuals seeking emergency medical treatment or safety from immediate danger are assessed on a case by case basis.
The following incidents have taken place in southeastern Turkey:
- Terrorist attacks: Terrorist groups, including Da’esh and the PKK, have conducted large-scale attacks in the area, including suicide bombings, ambushes, and the detonation of car bombs, improvised explosive devices, and other homemade weapons. The PKK has attacked Turkish military and police personnel in the southeastern provinces, occasionally harming innocent bystanders.
- Terrorist travel: Members of Da’esh and other Islamic extremist terrorist groups travel between Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, possibly bringing with them weapons and explosives.
- Kidnapping for ransom: Various terrorist organizations continue to finance their operations through kidnapping for ransom operations, especially near Turkey’s southeastern border. Take precaution in any meetings with individuals claiming to be directly involved with any side of the Syrian conflict or purporting to raise funds for assistance to Syria. These precautions include conducting all meetings in public places.
- Shootings: Turkish towns located along the border with Syria have been struck by bullets and artillery rounds that originate in Syria, some resulting in deaths or injuries.
- Road blocks: Use commercial air travel whenever possible while traveling to southeastern Turkey. If road travel is necessary, drive only during daylight hours and on major highways. The Turkish Jandarma (military police) and police forces monitor checkpoints on roads in this region. Cooperate if stopped at a checkpoint. Be prepared to provide identification and vehicle registration. Remain calm, do not make any sudden movements, and obey all instructions. We strongly discourage the use of public transportation in the southeastern region.
- Demonstrations: Violent clashes have taken place between Syrian refugees and Turkish citizens, either in organized demonstrations or as a result of a perceived provocation.
- Restricted access: Turkish security forces control access to the southeastern provinces of Sirnak, Hakkâri, and Mardin along the Iraqi border. Do not photograph or video Turkish military operations or installations anywhere in Turkey.
- Curfews: The Turkish Government has instituted temporary curfews in cities throughout the southeast due to blockades of certain neighborhoods by the PKK. Be sure to adhere to any locally imposed curfews.
U.S. government employees are subject to travel restrictions to the provinces of Adana, Izmir, Mugla, Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Sirnak, Diyarbakir, Van, Siirt, Mus, Mardin, Batman, Bingol, Tunceli, Hakkari, Bitlis, and Elazig. Mount Ararat, in Ağri province, is a special military zone, and access permission must be obtained before coming to Turkey from the Turkish Government through a Turkish Embassy or Consulate.
Crime: Overall street crime in Turkey is low; however, you should use the same precautions you would take in the United States. The following types of crime have been reported in Turkey:
- Common street crimes, such as pick pocketing, purse snatching, and mugging. Carry only necessary items when in tourist areas. Carry a copy of your passport and visa with you, and leave your U.S. passport in your hotel safe.
- Residential crime occurs more often in major cities, with criminals targeting ground floor apartments for theft.
- Sexual assault usually occurs while visiting Turkish baths (hamams) or spas or when traveling alone at night. Assaults involving date rape drugs have also been reported.
- Confidence schemes where travelers are tricked into ordering food or drinks at a restaurant and then charged incredibly high prices occur. Patronize well-established restaurants andask to see a menu with prices before ordering anything.
- Scams are common in Turkey, particularly internet scams involving people who met online. Typically, the person in Turkey asks the other person to wire large sums of money to provide financial assistance. Do not send money to someone you have never met in person. Also exercise due diligence when purchasing jewelry, rugs, or real estate. See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.
- Hitchhiking is neither common nor recommended, especially for lone females.
As of July 2015, the U.S. Government no longer uses Steigenberger Hotels and Resorts in Turkey for official travel. The U.S. Embassy has determined that the hotel’s internal policies and procedures for assisting guests who are victims of crime may place travelers at risk. Additionally, U.S. citizens should stay at hotels with identifiable security measures in place.
Victims of Crime:
We urge U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault to contact the U.S. Embassy or closest Consulate.
Report crimes to the local police by dialing 155 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +90 312 455 5555.
- Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- help you find resources for accommodations and flights
- replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance and visit the Embassy webpage for resources.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and to locate you in an emergency.
- Call the State Department in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department's travel website for Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: ou are subject to all local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Your U.S. passport will not prevent you from being arrested, persecuted, or imprisoned in Turkey.
Some crimes are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples of these laws, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate immediately. Since the July 15, 2016, attempted coup and subsequent state of emergency, delays or denial of consular access to U.S. citizens detained or arrested by security forces, some of whom also possess Turkish citizenship, have occurred. See our webpage for further information. Information on the Turkish judicial system and information about legal aid.
Penalties for similar offenses in the United States can be more severe overseas.
Below are some Turkish laws of which you should be aware:
- Drug offenses: Turkish law enforcement is very aggressive in combating illegal drugs. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs are very strict, and include heavy fines and jail sentences between four and twenty years.
- Insulting the State: It is illegal to show disrespect to the name or image of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk or to insult the Turkish Government, flag, or security forces.
- Religious proselytizing: Although there is no law against religious proselytizing, some activities can lead to your arrest. Read the State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report.
- Cultural artifacts: Turkish law has a broad definition of "antiquities" and makes it a crime to remove any from the country. If you buy antiquities, use authorized dealers and get museum certificates for each item. Failure to have a receipt and certificate at departure can result in your arrest and jail time. Contact the Embassy of Turkey in Washington for specific information regarding customs requirements.
- Dual citizenship: U.S.-Turkish dual nationals may be subject to laws that impose special obligations on Turkish citizens. Male dual citizens over the age of 18 may be subject to Turkish conscription and compulsory military service. Consult officials at Turkish Embassies or Consulates before entering Turkey with any questions. Turkish authorities may not inform U.S. officials of dual nationals arrested in Turkey or may refuse to allow U.S. officials to visit or provide consular assistance to U.S.-Turkish dual nationals arrested in Turkey.
- Counterfeit goods: Do not buy counterfeit or pirated goods, even if widely available. They are both illegal to bring back into the United States and to purchase locally.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.
LGBTI Travelers: Homophobia, transphobia, and intolerance towards homosexuality continue to be widespread throughout Turkey. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals are not protected by anti-discrimination laws and have been the targets of violence in recent years. While the Turkish constitution forbids discrimination against LGBTI individuals, references in the law relating to “offenses against public morality,” “protection of the family,” and “unnatural sexual behavior,” are sometimes used as a basis for abuse by law enforcement officials. In addition, the law states that “no association may be founded for purposes against law and morality,” a clause which has been used by authorities in attempts to shut down or limit the activities of associations working on LGBTI matters.
Persons with Disabilities: The Turkish constitution prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in the provision of state services, employment, education, and access to health care, and the government generally enforces the law. Access to buildings and public transportation for the disabled in most cities is quite limited. While some accessible hotels and restaurants exist in tourist destinations, in general, accessibility for people with disabilities in Turkey is poor. Turkish airports and metro stations are generally accessible for the disabled, but other forms of public transportation, such as buses are not. Roads and footpaths are frequently under construction and may contain extensive obstructions.
Students: See our students abroad page and FBI travel tips.
Women Travelers: Sexual assaults against tourists traveling alone or in small groups in Turkey, including at spas and hamams, have increased. Avoid isolated locations and traveling alone after dark. Local resources and assistance specifically addressing sexual assault are limited in Turkey. If you are sexually assaulted, please seek immediate help from the Turkish National Police, Turkish Health Services, or nearest hospital if you feel safe doing so. We urge you to contact the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance.
See our travel tips for women travelers.
Earthquakes: Earthquakes occur throughout Turkey. Make contingency plans, and leave emergency contact information with family members outside of Turkey. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and at Ready.gov. For more information on disaster preparedness, please click on the following links:
The care provided in Turkish hospitals varies greatly. New private hospitals in Ankara, Antalya, Izmir, and Istanbul have modern facilities and equipment, numerous U.S.-trained specialists, and international accreditation. Some still may be unable to treat certain serious conditions. Health care standards are lower in small cities in Turkey.
The U.S. Embassy and Consulates do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare is not valid overseas.
Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
For U.S. Citizens who live in Turkey, please see the Embassy’s website for information on the Turkish General Health Insurance (GHI) law. If you are considering enrolling in Turkish GHI you should carefully research what is covered and what is not covered, because once you enroll in GHI your coverage can only be canceled if your residence permit expires or if you no longer reside in Turkey.
- Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.
- Some medications may be unavailable in Turkey.
- Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For further health information, go to:
Travel & Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety: Roads in Turkey range from single-lane country roads to modern, divided motorways. Highways in the tourist-frequented western, southwestern, and coastal regions of Turkey are generally in good condition and are well maintained, while conditions in other areas vary.
Be extremely cautious while driving at night. We recommend that you not drive after dark outside of major cities. Some local drivers drive without their lights on or with very low lights, making it difficult to see them. It is not unusual to find hazardous objects in roadways such as dead animals, large rocks, missing sewer covers, deep holes, or objects that have fallen from vehicles. Live farm animals can also be found near or in the roadway in rural areas.
In case of an accident or car trouble:
- Follow precautionary measures as you would in the United States for car trouble: pull to the side of the road, turn on hazard lights, and use reflector triangles.
- For accidents with only vehicular damage, exchange insurance information, take photos of the accident before moving the vehicles, and depart if both sides agree. Turkish law requires drivers to fill out a Turkish-only form and provide pictures of the damage. Non-Turkish speakers should call and wait for the police.
- For accidents with injury or a disagreement, remain at the site of the accident. Do not move the vehicle - even out of the way - until the Traffic Police arrive. Reported the accident to the Traffic Police (dial 155) or Jandarma (dial 156). Get a certified copy of the official report from the Traffic Police office (this can take several days).
- The owner of the damaged vehicle should also apply to the customs authority with his passport and accident report before attempting to repair the vehicle or leave the country without it.
- When in doubt, it is best to call the Traffic Police or the Jandarma in the event of an accident.
Traffic Laws: Drive defensively at all times. Drivers routinely ignore traffic regulations, including driving through red lights and stop signs, and turning left from the far right lane. These and other similar driving practices cause frequent traffic accidents.
- Penalties for driving drunk (blood alcohol levels at or above 0.05 percent) include a fine and the individual’s license will be confiscated for six months.
- Turkish law prohibits the use of cell phones while driving and can lead to a fine.
Driver’s license requirements include:
- For stays up to 90 days: A valid U.S. driver’s license or an International Driving Permit accompanied by your U.S. driver’s license is acceptable.
- For stays for up to one year: A U.S. driver’s license is valid as long as it is accompanied by a notarized Turkish translation.
- For stays longer than one year: You will need to obtain a Turkish driver’s license from the Turkish Security Directorate, Traffic Department (Emniyet Müdürlüğü, Trafik Hizmetleri Başkanlığı).
- A vehicle can be brought into Turkey for up to 6 months. Find information at the Turkish Touring and Automobile Club.
Public Transportation: Turkey has a broad public transportation system including taxis, subways, ferries, high-speed trains, buses and local mini-buses (dolmus). In certain cities, the interconnecting system of buses, subways, and commuter rails are comparable to those in major U.S. cities.
Between cities, Turkey has safe and reliable extensive bus routes and rail service, including a high-speed train that operates between Istanbul, Ankara, Eskisehir, and Konya. Many cities are also served by frequent air service. Domestic airlines are frequently used and affordable.
Taxis are prevalent throughout Turkey and relatively inexpensive compared to U.S. standards. Drivers are generally honest, however many of them do not speak English. Licensed cabs are metered.
Please refer to our road safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Turkey's Civil Aviation Authority as complying with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Turkey's air carrier operations. Please visit the FAA’s safety assessment webpage for more information.
- Follow precautionary measures as you would in the United States for car trouble: pull to the side of the road, turn on hazard lights, and use reflector triangles.