Despite its new e-visa regime, it is still possible to obtain a visa on arrival in Istanbul.
Where To Obtain A Visa On Arrival In Istanbul (IST)
When Turkey transitioned to an e-visa system in 2013, numerous reports suggested that visa on arrival were no longer available. That is NOT the case. Even in Istanbul’s beautiful new airport, you can still obtain a visa on arrival.
When you land, follow the blue signs indicating passport control/transfer:
Eventually, you will come to a “Vize” sign (in black):
Follow the sign in the arrivals hall:
You’ll find a 24/7 staffed visa on arrival desk near the lines for passport control.
There’s even a photo booth, though most passport holders do not require a photo.
Who Can Obtain a Visa Upon Arrival In Istanbul?
Nationals from the following countries can obtain a visa on arrival in Istanbul:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Indonesia (single-entry only)
- Saudi Arabia
- “Southern” Cyprus
- United Arab Emirates
As recently as 2020, many EU counties and the UK incurred a visa fee, but citizens of these nations can now travel without visa fee to Turkey.
How Much Does It Cost To Obtain A Visa On Arrival in Istanbul?
A visa on arrival can be paid in cash only and the price varies based upon nationality. For U.S. citizens, the cost is 30USD/25EUR/20GBP. At the moment, that makes paying in GBP the best value.
Here is the current price list:
These are old-school sticker visas that are applied directly to your passport.
How Long Are Visa On Arrival In Istanbul Valid For?
Visa on arrival are valid for 180 days, but during that time you can spend no more than 90 days in Turkey. The visa are multiple-entry visas.
When It Makes Sense To Buy A Visa On Arrival
More nationalities than the list above can obtain visa in advance online through Turkey’s easy e-visa system. However, the e-visa has risen in price and often costs more than double the visa on arrival.
Furthermore, not everyone plans trips in advance. Turkey recommends you apply for an e-visa at least 48 hours in advance, though usually processing takes 24 hours and sometimes as little as one hour. But if you need a same-day trip to Istanbul, a visa on arrival can be a lifesaver.
The ability to secure a visa upon arrival in Istanbul is a great back-up option if you do not have the time to secure an e-visa or wish to save money. While the 50USD e-visa is more convenient, rest assured you can still easily obtain a visa on arrival in Istanbul.
> Read More: How I Tried (and Failed) to Enter Turkey