Travellers warned of visa changes for visiting Turkey
Thursday, January 09, 2014
A change to Turkish foreign visa rules means Irish people travelling there will no longer be able to purchase a visa on arrival.
From Apr 17, an electronic visa will replace the traditional ‘sticker visa’ issued at border crossings. The e-visa must be obtained prior to travel and is valid when the purpose of travel is tourism or commerce, but not work or study.
Irish travel agents and tour operators were alerted to the change this week by the European Travel Agents and Tour Operators’ Association.
Yvonne Cronin, the executive director of Travelagent.ie, said that prospective travellers to Turkey need to make sure their passports are valid for at least six months longer than the expiry date on the requested visa.
“They need the visa even if they are only visiting for a day,” Ms Cronin said.
“Up to now, you simply had to walk up to the relevant desk and purchase the visa for €15 when you arrived at the airport in Turkey, but the new e-visa must be obtained in advance online.”
Ms Cronin said travellers should be alert to the possibility of being exploited by bogus e-visa websites, as happened in the case of the ESTA travel permit, an electronic travel authorisation system for visiting the US. When a $14 fee was introduced in 2010, thousands of unsuspecting travellers were hoodwinked by bogus websites purporting to process their online application.
The new e-visa can be purchased via the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (mfa.gov.tr) for a fee of $20 (€15).
For those unfamiliar with or without access to, online services, Ms Cronin said TravelAgent.ie will process the visa request for €30. The additional charge is to cover dollar fluctuations and a small service fee, she said.
Ms Cronin warned that passengers who travel without their e-visa from Apr 17 would not be allowed enter Turkey. The new visa rules apply to Irish travellers, as well as those travelling from Croatia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Spain, and the Netherlands.
This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Thursday, January 09, 2014