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Turkey - VISA ahead of time, or purchase it at the airport

Turkey - VISA ahead of time, or purchase it at the airport

Old Nov 21st, 2006, 11:07 AM
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Turkey - VISA ahead of time, or purchase it at the airport

Hello Hello.

My wife and I are off to Istanbul, next September. I've read many posts where travelers have purchased their VISAs at the Istanbul airport, for $20 USD.

My tour company (Insight Travel) is highly suggesting that I purchase a VISA ahead of time, and have offered a company that does it, for a fee of $100 per person.

I questioned them, asking why I shouldn't just pick it up at the airport. Their response was that a few travelers have had the VISA denied at the airport.

Any thoughts? Has anyone had any problems getting a VISA at the Istanbul airport????
joearena99 is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2006, 11:15 AM
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I've never heard of a tourist being turned down at the airport. If you feel safer, get it yourself by mail (I imagine this is possible) or in person if you live in a city with a Turkish Consulate. Where do you live?
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Old Nov 21st, 2006, 11:17 AM
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You can't apply for the visa yourself? I would really hate to get to the airport and be denied a visa. But that fee is quite high and is no wonder your travel agency is pushing that company. Maybe the travel agency is getting a share of profits? Anyway, hopefully someone who knows best will advise you soon enough.
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Old Nov 21st, 2006, 11:25 AM
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We got a VISA at the airport in Istanbul last month. There were 21 in the group, and there were not any problems. We just stood in line and paid the $20. We still had to wait on our luggage, so having a VISA ahead of time would not speed up getting the tour on the road faster.

Maybe Insight Travel can give a better explanation as to why people were denied.
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Old Nov 21st, 2006, 11:25 AM
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Usually, I get my visa for Turkey ahead of time because we have staff in our organisation who do nothing but go and get visas etc for people (I work for a large organisation with many staff who travel constantly). But for the last visit, I just got the visa (it looks like a big postage) stamp at the airport because my husband came with me and he was going to have to get his visa at the airport. Easy-peasy. Paying someone $100 to do it for you sounds like someone's got a big profit margin.

Unless there's something problematic with your documentation (e.g. worn-out passport or a passport that expires less than six months before your departure from Turkey - in which case you should get a new one) or history (e.g. ever been denied entry to Turkey or another country, ever been caught for a failure to declare?), or complicated with your citizenship status, then I think it would be ok to wait until you get to Turkey. (Note: Turkey only mentions the need to have a passport that's valid for at least 3 months from the date you leave Turkey, but I always get mine replaced 6 months before it expires because a number of countries have a 6 month requirement.)
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Old Nov 21st, 2006, 01:27 PM
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I had to get a visa for Egypt once on a tour, and they also recommended you get it ahead of time. I don't remember if they recommended a company, perhaps not (companies didn't used to do that kind of thing so much pre-internet, or you didn't know about them). I did it myself through the mail to the closest Egyptian consulate, but that's just because I worry about those kind of things. In reality, both these countries want tourists and aren't going to deny one very much.

As an alternative, the tour company is just erring on the side of what is "better", most likely -- it is safer to have one ahead of time, but there is another reason they do that and it has nothing to do with profit. It just saves a lot of time if everybody doesn't have to wait in line to get a visa. Perhaps Turkey is more efficient, but if you've been to Egypt -- well, simple things can take a long time or go wrong.
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Old Nov 21st, 2006, 01:31 PM
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Perhaps the tour company is out of date, as just a couple of years ago the Turkish Visa DID COST $100. Otherwise, I think charging 5 times the cost is highway robbery when you can easily do it yourself.

When we went before that temporary raise of cost, we bought ours in advance by printing off the application from the internet and mailing it to the consulate (I think in Washington DC) with our passports. When we arrived in Istanbul early in the morning it seems the person who was supposed to be manning the booth to sell the visas hadn't shown up and everyone was standing in line waiting, while we breezed right through since our passports already contained our Visa. That may not be a usual thing, but we were glad we had ours in advance.
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Old Nov 21st, 2006, 08:29 PM
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Hi all,
Any of these web pages sould answer all you visa questions.
http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/d...visa_list.html
http://www.e-konsolosluk.net/InfoNot...em.aspx?ID=300
http://www.disisleri.gov.tr/MFA/Cons...n/visafees.htm
http://www.disisleri.gov.tr/MFA/Cons...Foreigners.htm
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Old Nov 21st, 2006, 10:17 PM
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The travel co is ripping you off. The majority of travellers to Turkey just pay at the border for their visa, it's the normal way to do things there.

Citizens of some countries do need to buy in advance as they cannot do it at the border, but the US is not one of those.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 03:10 AM
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When they are making 80USD profit for virtually no work you can see why they are "highly suggesting" you buy ahead of time
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Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 06:05 AM
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We never use travel agents. However, getting the visa a the airport in Istambul was not a problem when we traveled there. Make sure your passport is in order. Also, make sure that you have exact change ($20). You cannot reasonably expect the people providing the VISA to accept a $50 or $100 bill and return you $30 or $80. (You might get the equivalent in Turkish lira; but even that would be problematic.)
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Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 06:25 AM
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I am going to side with the tour company on this one. What does a tour company do when a traveller pays THOUSANDS of dollars for a tour of Turkey, but is denied entry into the country? This would be a MAJOR problem for both parties involved.

I can see the traveller blaming the tour company--"Why didn't you insist I get a visa ahead of time, before I spent all this money to get here? I AM SUING YOU!!!!!"

Lots of problems occur on tours, I know--I have been on tours of China, India, and Nepal. I think the tour company just wants to have things run as smoothly as possible.

PS I have been to Turkey and have received my visa promptly and easily at the airport.
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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 02:02 PM
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i have not heardanyone being denied.
and asfar asI know it isvery easy.
regards

nejat
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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 03:33 PM
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Just buy it at Istanbul airport. There is a stand there for US Citizens coming in, I have done it about half a dozen times. It's just a stamp in your passport (literally a stamp...like a postage stamp). To me it's one of the Turkish Government's little money making ventures... getting every US citizen to fork over twenty bucks at the border- but Istanbul is well worth it!! You won't have any problems.
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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 03:40 PM
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If you are worried about problems with your visa, then I would contact the Turkish consulate directly as the fee of $100 is excessive and you have plenty of time to get it directly from the consulate.

I was in Turkey last week and had no problems getting my visa. In fact, the whole process took less than 2 minutes.
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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 03:44 PM
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You have a lot of nerve, bella. The US gov't charges lots of foreign nationals MORE THAN $20 for a visa.

Some nerve.
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Old Nov 30th, 2006, 02:06 AM
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There's a bank machine, dispensing New Turkish Lira, within 20 feet of the kiosk where you get your visa. You can pay in Turkish currency, or with the exact currency required in euros or US dollars.

Martin_margiela: It might be that what bellaqui is objecting to is a fee that is charged for a "visa" where: (a) there doesn't appear to be any significant work performed by the government with respect to processing the application; and (b) where the visa fee varies (apparently arbitrarily) according to the citizenship of the visitor. By contrast, doesn't the US visa-granting process actually involve some work on the part of the US government to process the visa request? (I'm not sure, actually, since I'm Canadian and don't need a visa to enter the US.)

If I agreed with bellaqui that such a fee is inappropriate, I would have reason to be critical - Canadians get charged a visa fee of US 60 / 45 euros!

But, frankly, I don't have a problem with a national government imposing a fee (in essence a tax) on visitors to their country. Why shouldn't they? There are costs borne by the country as a whole associated with tourism. Why shouldn't visitors contribute to the payment of such costs? I think the only objection I have is with respect to the apparent arbitrariness of fees charged - why charge the citizens of one wealthy country $15 and those of a similarly situated country $60?
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Old Dec 7th, 2006, 01:42 PM
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Sounds like gouging to me. We purchased visas at the airport in Istanbul without any delay. from Canada
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Old Dec 13th, 2006, 05:47 PM
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Buy your visa at the airport. And it is only $20.00 US. Don't be swindled into paying anymore than that.
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Old Dec 16th, 2006, 12:20 AM
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Another vote for buying your visa at the airport! There may be a line-depending on the time of day- but they are very efficient and it always moves very quickly. You would be getting majorly ripped off if you were to go through your tour company!!
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