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New 90/180 day visa update - 3 weeks to go PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Dalaman customsWith just 3 weeks to go to the date announced by the Turkish government for the introduction of new 90/180 day visas, we thought you may like an update.

The first thing to say is that officially, there is no further information available, but KTLN has been in touch with reliable sources, in the know.

Update: The new visa rules are effective from 1st February 2012.

For now, we explain how we believe the new system will operate for travellers from the UK.

Turkish VisasThe current system
Until 31st January 2012, the present visa rules allow you to enter Turkey for a period of up to 90 days.  The cost is £10 per person.

You can obtain a new visa, when your existing visa expires, (or even slightly before it expires). 

The visa run
In practice, it has been possible for foreigners to permanently reside in Turkey, by perpetually buying new visas, every 90 days. 

The 'visa run' has been a popular, if dodgy, means of staying in Turkey.  It was a cheap alternative to applying for residency, and the authorities did not go out of their way to stop it.

But on 1st April 2011, the cost of residency came down by a massive 88%.  And this news, combined with the announcement of new, more restrictive visa rules coming in, has resulted in lots of 'visa hoppers' taking the plunge with their residency application.

The visa run is set to become a thing of the past.  It will not be possible under the new rules.

The new system - from 1st February 2012
Turkey is implementing new rules that will bring it more in line with many other (25), European countries, operating under the Schengen Agreement.  To learn more about Schengen Visas, click here.

The wording on the new Turkish visa stickers, is as follows:


What exactly does that mean?  It really is quite simple.  When you buy your visa (for £10), the clock starts ticking on your 180 days.  The day you get your visa counts as Day 1. 

During this period of 180 days, you may visit Turkey for a maximum of 90 days only.  You can make multiple visits, but your overall number of days in Turkey, may not exceed 90 days in total.

What happens if I exceed 90 days?
The current rules state that if you overstay and are fined, you must apply for your next visa at a Turkish Embassy or Consulate overseas before you travel.  You may also be banned from re-entering Turkey for a period of time as follows:

  • Overstay 1-15 days  - no ban.
  • Overstay from 16-90 days - banned for up to three months.
  • Overstay for more than 90 days i.e. from the 91st day, banned for up to six months.

Residency permit (ikamet)However, we have not yet been told if these existing rules will be carried forward to the new 90/180 day visa scheme.  It's a question that KTLN has put to the British Embassy.

Clearly, the advice must be to plan ahead and make sure you don't get caught out.

If you come to Turkey for long periods, you may want to consider obtaining residency permission.  It's not expensive, and the process is not as complicated as you may think.  Read the KTLN article on Obtaining Residency.

Some practicalities around implementation
Let's be realistic.  When the new visa rules are implemented, it is going to take some time for travellers, as well as the border police to get used to the system. 

It is quite possible that there may be some inconsistencies in interpreting the new rules, across the hundreds of border checkpoints.

Our advice is to think carefully about the timing of your journey, so as to avoid any potentially difficult scenarios.  In particular, we are thinking about the time around the expiry of a new visa - around the 180th day.

Potential pitfalls on renewing a new 90/180 day visa
If Turkey is trying to align itself more with the Schengen system, can we make some assumptions on what will happen, based upon the Schengen rules?   

Under that 90/180 day visa system, irrespective of how many of your 90 days you have used up, you must leave on the 180th day.  On day 181, and not before, you can apply for another visa.

What follows assumes that this principle will be applied by the Turkish authorities, however we stress that at this point, this is just our working assumption.  This has not been officially confirmed.

For us, what happens around Day 180 is critical, and people may get caught out.  You must plan ahead to avoid problems.  Here is an example to illustrate the point.

A traveller arrives at Dalaman airport, for a 14 day holiday, on 1st April 2012.

He buys a new 90/180 day visa.  April 1st counts as the first day out of 180.

This means that 27th September is the 180th day, and come what may, he must not be in Turkey at the end of this day.

The traveller, returns to Turkey in July for another 14 day holiday.  He does not need to buy another visa, as the one he bought on 1st April is still valid.

If he returns on 1st September for another 14 day holiday, his visa will still be valid, as he will leave Turkey on 14th September.

However, if he plans his September holiday to begin on 20th September, his fortnight would straddle the 180th day of his visa (27th September).  Technically this would result in him overstaying his visa.  Something to be avoided.

The only way round this, would be for him to leave Turkey on 27th September, and to return on 28th September and apply for a brand new visa.

We have heard it said that it may be possible to approach the border police on Day 180, to try and obtain a new 90/180 day visa.  However, we have seen no official confirmation that this would be permitted.  Local practice may vary from one place to another.  If you are thinking of trying this, you may want to check out the possibilities in advance.

Will the new visa rules start on time?  YES - see below

1st February 2012

Update: The new visa rules are effective from 1st February 2012.

The original wording of our article remains below, but confirmation of implementation has now been received.

On 21st November, we told you that the Turkish government had announced a start date of 1st February 2012, for the new visa rules.  Click here to read that KTLN article.

We have been trying to get confirmation that implementation is on track for 1st February, but so far we have not had this. 

Do bear in mind that implementation has already been postponed once (July 2010), and a further postponement can't be totally ruled out. 

However, whilst there is still a possibility that the implementation date will slip, for now, we would advise people to work on the basis that it is starting on 1st February.

Keep reading KTLN for further updates. 


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 February 2012