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Turkey
Official Name:

Republic of Turkey

Last Updated: October 13, 2017

Embassy Messages

Further Safety and Security Information

Travel Warnings: Issued when Protracted situations make a country dangerous or unstable. Defer or reconsider travel.

Travel Alerts: Issued when short-term conditions pose imminent threats. Defer or reconsider travel.

Embassy Messages: Issued when local security issues arise.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Ankara

110 Atatürk Blvd.
Kavaklidere, 06100 Ankara
Turkey

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Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

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Six months beyond date of entry

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

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One page for entry and exit stamps

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

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Yes

VACCINATIONS:

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None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

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None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

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25,000 Turkish lira or 10,000 euros (or equivalent)

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U.S. Embassy Ankara

110 Atatürk Blvd.
Kavaklidere, 06100 Ankara
Turkey

Telephone: +(90) (312) 455-5555

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(90) (312) 455-5555

Fax: +(90) (312) 466-5684

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Istanbul
Istinye Mahallesi, Üç Şehitler Sokak No.2
Istinye 34460 - Istanbul
Turkey

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
Adana, Turkey

Telephone: +(90)(322) 455-4100

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(90)(322) 455-4100

Fax: +(90)(322) 455-4141

Contact American Citizen Services Adana

U.S. Consular Agent - Izmir

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. 

On October 8, 2017, the Government of Turkey announced the immediate suspension of most visa services to U.S. citizens, including a suspension of the issuance of physical “sticker” visas at the Turkish Embassy and Consulates in the United States and the suspension of issuance of the online Turkish electronic visa (e-visa) to all U.S. citizens. 

Visit the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey website for the most current visa and residency permit information.

Obey all Turkish visa regulations and maintain valid residence permits at all times. The U.S. Embassy is unable to assist with Turkish immigration or 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. For tourism or commercial travel of 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 should check with Turkish immigration officials to determine if a visa is required at this time.
  • Get entry and exit stamps. You must have a Turkish entry stamp before you transfer to domestic flights. Get an exit stamp in your passport when leaving, or you may face difficulties re-entering Turkey, and a fine.
  • 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 website.
  • Find additional information at the Turkish consular information website’s FAQ page.

Syria: On March 22, 2017, the U.S. Department of State updated its travel warning for Syria. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus closed in February 2012. At this time, the Turkey-Syria border is closed except in cases of urgent medical treatment as defined by the Government of Turkey. The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against all travel to Syria. 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: On June 14, 2017, the U.S. Department of State updated the travel warning for Iraq. The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against all travel to Iraq. Crossing the border from Iraq can be time-consuming as the Turkish Government tightly controls entry and exit.

HIV/AIDS restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Turkey.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

Terrorism: 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, the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, and the U.S. Consulate in Adana.
  • 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 September 28, 2017, the Department of State updated its Turkey travel warning to notify U.S. citizens of increased threats of terrorism thorough Turkey, to carefully consider the need to travel to Turkey at this time, and to avoid travel to southeastern Turkey.

U.S. government personnel and their family members residing in or visiting Istanbul are restricted from congregating or traveling in large groups and are not permitted to visit these Istanbul locations without prior approval from the Consulate:

  • Nightclubs, Houses of worship, crowded pedestrian thoroughfares; and
  • Large Tourist destinations (to include historical sites, monuments, large bazaar markets, and museums) frequented by Westerners or expatriates.

The U.S. government does not allow family members to accompany personnel assigned to U.S. Consulate Adana, unless they are working in the Consulate.

In addition, the ongoing state of emergency, extended through July 18, 2017, has expanded Turkish security forces’ legal ability to detain individuals without charge from a maximum of four days to 30 days or more. 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 have occurred. The Turkish government does not permit U.S. consular officers to access detained U.S. citizens who also possess Turkish citizenship, constraining the Department of State’s ability to assist such citizens.

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 about 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 ash-Sham (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. Da’esh has claimed or been implicated in numerous attacks, including suicide-bombings in Ankara (October 2015), Istanbul’s Sultanahmet (January 2016) and Taksim areas (March 2016), a small arms and suicide bombing attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport (June 2016), a Gaziantep wedding bombing (August 2016), and the Reina Nightclub attack (January 2017).
  • 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. The PKK continue to conduct widespread attacks against Turkish security forces throughout Turkey and have 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.
    • The PKK and its splinter groups have accounted for over 25 terror attacks throughout Turkey in the past 20 months, including the December 2015 attack at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport, February 2016 and March 2016 car bombings in Ankara, a June 2016 Istanbul suicide bombing, September and October 2016 Istanbul police station bombings, a November 2016 attack at the Adana Governate building, the December 2016 bombing of a police post outside Istanbul’s Vodaphone stadium, and an April 2017 attack against a police station in Diyarbakir.
  • 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 acts against Turkey, NATO, and the United States.
  • While al-Qa’ida, including its Syrian affiliate al-Nusrah Front (ANF), maintains a presence in Turkey, it has not staged attacks recently. However, groups and individuals inspired by al-Qa’ida might attempt to do so, placing U.S. and Turkish interests at risk.

There have also been instances of religious violence targeting individuals in Turkey working as missionaries (a practice that 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.

Southeastern Turkey: 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 by the Government of Turkey.

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 precautions 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 (gendarmerie – rural police) monitors 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 Simak, Hakkâri, and Mardin along the Iraqi border, and the entire Turkey-Syria border. Do not photograph or video Turkish military operations or attempt to enter military 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 Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Sirnak, Diyarbakir, Van, Siirt, Mus, Mardin, Batman, Bingol, Tunceli, Hakkâri, 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 thorough 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:

  • 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 has occurred in Turkish baths (hamams) or spas, in taxis, and when traveling alone at night. Assaults involving date rape drugs have also been reported.
  • Confidence schemes occur where travelers are tricked into ordering food or drinks at a restaurant, and then are charged incredibly high prices. Patronize well-established restaurants and ask 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. 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. 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 at 155 and contact the U.S. Embassy or nearest consulate

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • 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 U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find resources for accommodation and flights home
  • 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:

Medical care provided in Turkish hospitals varies greatly. Though new private hospitals in Ankara, Analya, Izmir and Istanbul have modern facilities, 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.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.

Medical Insurance: 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.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Turkey to ensure the medication is legal in Turkey. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. Some medications may be unavailable in Turkey.

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, carefully research what is and is not covered. Once you enroll in GHI, your coverage can only be cancelled if your residence permit expires or if you no longer reside in Turkey.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Criminal Penalties:  You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Possession of a U.S. passport will not prevent you from being arrested, prosecuted, or jailed overseas.

  • Always carry with you a form of official government photo identification, such as a residence permit or copy of your passport.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, 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 immediately. Since the July 15, 2016, attempted coup and subsequent state of emergency, the Turkish Government has delayed or denied consular access to U.S. citizens, some of whom also possess Turkish citizenship, who have been detained or arrested by security forces. See our webpage for further information on arrests and click the embedded links for information on the Turkish judicial system and information about legal aid.

  • 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 20 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, President, or security forces.
  • Religious proselytizing: There is no law against religious proselytizing.
  • 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 or hardships on Turkish citizens.
    • Male dual nationals over the age of 18 may be subject to Turkish conscription and compulsory military service. Consult officials at Turkish Embassies or Consulates with any questions before entering Turkey.
    • 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 our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: Homophobia, transphobia, and intolerance towards homosexuality are 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. 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.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our  Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: The Turkish constitution prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in the provision of state services, employment, education and access to health care. However, access to buildings and public transportation for the disabled in most cities is quite limited, and generally, accessibility for people with disabilities in Turkey is poor.

  • Turkish airports and metro stations are typically accessible, butother forms of public transport (buses) are not.
  • Roads and footpaths are frequently under construction and may be obstructed.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: The Embassy is aware of 20 incidents of sexual assault against U.S. citizens in Turkey since 2014, including assaults against tourists traveling alone or in small groups, and at spas and hamams.

  • 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 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:

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 against driving after dark outside major cities. Some locals drive without their lights, or with very low lights, making it difficult to see them. Hazardous objects appear in roadways, such as live or dead animals, large rocks, missing sewer covers, deep holes, or objects that have fallen from vehicles.

In case of an accident or 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. Report 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 being confiscated for six months.
  • Using cell phones while driving is illegal and can lead to a fine.

Driver’s license requirements include:

  • For stays up to 180 days: A valid U.S. driver’s license or an International Driving Permit and a U.S. driver’s license is acceptable.
  • For stays longer than 180 days: 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 six 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.

See 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 being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Turkey’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Turkey should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website (https://homeport.uscg.mil), and the NGA broadcast warnings website https://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal - select “broadcast warnings”.

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