The price for an e-visa to Turkey for American citizens recently more than doubled in price. If you’re on a tight budget, it now pays to avoid the Turkish e-visa and obtain a visa on arrival at Istanbul Airport or other international gateway. Plus, you get a nifty sticker in your passport.
Save Money: Buy Visa On Arrival In Istanbul, Turkey Instead Of E-Visa
In February 2020, the cost of a Turkish e-visa suddenly jumped from $20 to $50 each for United States citizens. Prices vary by nationality, but have gone up across the board.
However, as of June 2021 the price of a visa on arrival remains unchanged.
Both the e-visa and visa on arrival are valid for multiple entries over 180 days (about six months).
Note that visas on arrival are available at Turkish airports, but not land crossings. If you are entering Turkey overland, it is best to arrange an e-visa in advance.
How Much Does A Visa On Arrival In Turkey Cost?
The cost of a visa on arrival in Turkey depends upon the currency you choose to pay. You can pay in either U.S. Dollars, Euros, or British Pounds:
At current exchange rates, your best bet is to pay in GBP, which I did on my last trip. Credit and debit cards are not accepted, so do bring cash. If you do not have exact change, change will be made in the currency you pay in.
Check out my guide on how to obtain a visa on arrival in Istanbul here.
Risks Of Obtaining A Visa On Arrival
Keep in mind there are a number of risks with obtaining a visa on arrival:
- Prices may jump suddenly and unexpectedly
- Visas on arrival may no longer be offered without advance notice
- Airlines may (wrongly) deny boarding without a pre-arranged visa
- Lines may be long to obtain one
Nevertheless, for the cost savings and equal validity, I would prefer to buy my visas in-person. Plus, I’ve flown through Istanbul Airport many times since it opened in 2018 and never found a long line at the visa on arrival desk.
And if you’re into passport stamps, you’ll receive a nice sticker in your passport. In a world of electronic visas, I appreciate the old fashioned visa, which takes up about 1/3 of a page in your passport.
When it comes to a Turkish e-visa vs. visa on arrival, I prefer to save $20+ and buy a visa on arrival. While I expect Turkey to equalize prices at some point, for now a visa on arrival remains cheaper than an e-visa, valid for the same 180-day period (90 days at a time), and still very straightforward.
Have you obtained a visa on arrival in Turkey? Please share your experience below.