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COMPLETE GUIDE TO A SAFE TRAVEL IN TURKEY DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Ever since the widespread outbreak of Covid-19, many countries worldwide, including Turkey, have put efforts to halt its national and international reach and consequently diminish its disastrous impact.

From the onset, governments introduced travel bans from one country to another, and other people were asked to remain indoors except in case of emergencies. Today things are a little more under control, and many people are taking necessary precautions to stay safe. Countries have also opened their borders again, and the world is in the process of regaining normality.

While traveling again after an extended lockdown is a piece of delightful news, both governments, and other people are aware of the fact that Coronavirus still presents a true danger to our daily lives. Therefore, safety measures and certain restrictions are a requirement to stop any longer implications.

In this article, we will unwrap everything you need to know about COVID-19 restrictions, entry requirements, and other useful tips that you should check before traveling to Turkey.

Travel Restrictions Continue to Apply

In the circular reminding, that entry measures have been implemented at all border gates as of July 1 in order to prevent the entry of new variants of the Covid-19 epidemic into the country, and quarantine measures to be applied to the people coming to Turkey from Afghanistan and Pakistan on entry to the country have been determined, considering the course of the epidemic, except Afghanistan as reported on the circular dated July 1 was repealed.

With the new circular, it was noted that the measures to be implemented as of tomorrow were determined.

People who come from another country but are found to have been in Brazil, South Africa, Nepal, and Sri Lanka in the last 14 days will be requested to submit a negative PCR test report made a maximum of 72 hours before entering Turkey, and these people will be quarantined for 14 days in places to be determined by the governorates. . If the PCR test result on the 14th day of the quarantine is negative, the quarantine measure will be terminated. Those with a positive PCR test result will be isolated from the date the test result is positive, and the measure will be terminated after a negative result from the PCR test at the end of the 14th day.

Accordingly, the practice regarding the already suspended flights to Brazil, South Africa, Nepal, and Sri Lanka will continue until a new decision is taken, and direct travel from these countries to Turkey will not be allowed.

Travelers from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan will be required to submit a negative PCR test result within the last 72 hours prior to entry. Those who came directly from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan and those who were found to have been in these countries in the last 14 days; Those who have at least two doses (single dose for Johnson & Johnson) of the vaccines approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization or Turkey and who document that at least 14 days have passed since the last dose will be exempted from the quarantine application upon entering the country.

Those who cannot document that they have received at least two doses (single dose for Johnson & Johnson) of the vaccines approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization or Turkey and that at least 14 days have passed since the last dose will be quarantined at their residence or at the address they will declare, and will be subjected to PCR testing on the 10th day of the quarantine period. . If the PCR test result on the 10th day is negative, the quarantine will be terminated. Those who do not have a PCR test on the 10th day will be kept in quarantine for 14 days. In case the test results are positive, the current pandemic guidelines published by the Ministry of Health General Directorate of Public Health will be acted upon.

The provisions of the July 1 circular regarding the entry of persons coming from Afghanistan and those who are understood to have been in this country in the last 14 days will continue to be implemented.

Travelers from the UK, Iran, Egypt, and Singapore will be required to submit a negative PCR test report up to 72 hours prior to entry.

Those who certify that they have received at least two doses (single dose for Johnson & Johnson) of the vaccines approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization or Turkey at all border gates from other countries and who document that at least 14 days have passed since the last dose will be exempt from quarantine measures. Starting from the 28th day of the first positive test result, PCR/rapid antigen test report with a negative result will not be requested and quarantine measures will not be applied for those who submit a document issued by the relevant country’s official authorities that they have had the disease in the last 6 months.

Can I travel to Turkey?

Turkey’s Covid travel status states that the country has reopened its borders to tourism and accepted all international visitors worldwide as long as they fulfill the Turkish immigration rules.

Borders with Iran and Syria, however, remain closed. Also, visitors coming from both Afghanistan and Bangladesh don’t have permission to enter the country. You will enter Turkey without a visa or with an e-visa, depending on where you come from and the purpose of your travel (leisure, work, or a layover).

Get in touch with your local embassy to ascertain if you need a visa to travel to Turkey or not. For more information, check out this page, a guide to Visa requirements, and the legitimate link to the Electronic Visa Application System of the Republic of Turkey.

However, it’s important to notice that flight restrictions are applied by countries, consistent with the Turkish Airlines official page. That said, you have to review the Country-specific entry restrictions page to see Turkey’s entry requirements, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and other countries. You’ll also want to review the passport, visa, and health travel document requirements page.

Is Turkey safe to travel with Covid?

According to the Central for Disease Control and Prevention CDC, Turkey’s covid travel status is at level 3 (high level of Covid-19 in Turkey). Therefore, it recommends visitors get fully vaccinated before traveling to Turkey.

Nevertheless, if, by all means, you want to travel for other vital reasons, the government recommends visitors abide by the local authorities’ guidance and protection measures to make sure safety for all.

Entry Requirements

Depending on the country you’re coming from and the purpose of the visit, Turkey, has set entry rules that each visitor must follow. For clearer and more detailed information about entry requirements, we advise you to reach out to the local embassy of Turkey in your country or the high commission on the consulate.

It will help clarify any ambiguous information. You’ll also want to contact your agency or airlines to ensure you bought all the required documents to finish their requirements.

Entry Rules to Turkey in Response to Coronavirus

Reopening its borders to international travelers, there’s a lower chance that it’d close it again, temporarily counting on the Covid-19 Status during a given period. For this reason, we recommend that you constantly check updates and announcements regarding accessibility to avoid any trouble.

As of Monday, September 6, 2021, for people who are not vaccinated; A PCR test with a negative result will be mandatory for the participation of citizens in activities such as concerts, cinemas, and theaters. In this framework, operators/organizers will be asked about a vaccinated/past disease (according to the time that is scientifically considered immune after Covid-19 disease) or a negative PCR test performed a maximum of 48 hours before using the HES code at the entrance to the events.
If the person has not had the disease or is not vaccinated or has a negative PCR test, they will not be allowed to participate in the event.

  • Flight bans remain in effect from Brazil, South Africa, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Those who were in one of these countries 14 days before coming to Turkey will also be required to have a negative PCR test performed 72 hours before.
  • Travelers coming from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Iran, Egypt, and Singapore are also required to submit test results.
  • For travelers coming from other countries, there is a requirement for a vaccination certificate or a document that they have had a disease in the last 6 months. Otherwise, the test result made 72 hours ago will be requested.
  • All travelers (excluding transfer passengers and passengers under the age of 12) must complete the Entry Form 72 hours before their flight to Turkey and carry a hard or digital copy.
  • Children under the age of 12 will be exempted from vaccination certificate applications with a PCR/Antigen test report.
  • It is obligatory for all travelers to wear masks at the airports, during the flight, indoor public areas, and alike.
  • Follow the guidelines of your flight booking for luggage allowance as there are more limitations now than old-normal.

PCR Testing

Upon your arrival in Turkey, you’ll be subjected to medical testing to assess if you show any Coronavirus symptoms. The Turkey travel covid test will start by evaluating your temperature and any visible symptoms, including coughing, breathing problems, and more.

If any of those symptoms are detected, you’ll have to do a PCR test, also referred to as ‘antigen’ tests. A PCR test is a test where genetic information of the virus, the RNA, is presented. If your test is positive, you’ll be directed to a medical facility to receive medical help/ or a self-isolation period.

In this case, it’s better if your insurance covers Covid-19. The PCR test base is situated in Istanbul Airport within the arrivals hall, before Entrance 14.

Covid Form

Before arriving in Turkey, your airline crew might ask you to supply some personal information concerning COVID-19, which may help with data compilation and research.

If any traveler is found to have the Coronavirus, the response team within the CPR testing center will use the knowledge form to work out individuals that came into contact with the traveler and have them undergo Turkey travel covid quarantine. The quarantine period is 14 days in an isolated room.

Istanbul Visit Coronavirus

Traveling within the country

If you’re traveling within Turkey, a HES code is required as a part of the Turkey coronavirus travel rules taken to manage the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Nevertheless, non-Turkish citizens are not required to get a HES code.

What is HES Code?

The HES code stands for “Hayat Eve Sigar” Code (HES Kodu). It’s a confidential and individual code enforced by the Ministry of Health to downsize the presence of tourists who tested positive for Coronavirus or are in-tuned with other positive individuals at the airport and prevent them from partaking in domestic flights. When buying a ticket for domestic flights in Turkey, it’s obligatory to carry a legitimate HES code.

The below museums and sites are open during the weekend:

Cappadocia: Ihlara Valley, Goreme Open Air Museum, Dark Church, Kaymakli Underground City, Zelve-Pasabag (Monk’s Valley)
Pamukkale (Hierapolis)
Izmir Ephesus Museum and Ancient Site
Izmir Ephesus – St. Jean Basilica
Konya: The Shrine of Rumi and Museum

Other Covid regulations that you should be aware of within Turkey include:

  • Dining establishments such as patisseries, cafes, and restaurants are open.
  • Most museums and sites are open during the weekends, and you can enjoy activities such as a balloon ride or skiing. During the weekdays, the museums are open to travelers following the usual summer-season opening and closing times.
  • Shopping malls, supermarkets, barbers, and hairdressers are open for service.
  • Restaurants in accommodation facilities are open; however, they are mostly only available for hotel guests.
  • Hookah lounges, Turkish baths, massage salons, indoor swimming pools, taverns, and similar venues are also open.
  • Movie theaters, football fields, internet/electronic game halls, amusement parks, are open.
  • Individuals with hotel reservations can travel in their private vehicles without obtaining any additional permission, provided they carry their accommodation/travel reservation document with them.
  • Foreigners traveling in the country temporarily for tourism are exempt from curfews and travel permit requirements.
  • Hospital dining establishments are also exempt from the restrictions and are open.
  • Dining establishments within the airport are open but limited to travelers only.

Check the Turkish Ministry of Interior’s circular (Turkish) with your travel agency/tour operator for more information.

Turkey Travel Covid Insurance

Before starting your trip to Turkey, it is best to make sure that you have Covid-19 Travel insurance. Not having proper travel insurance only means paying for any troubles and expenses you’ll encounter during your visit. This will include medical fees, luggage, and more.

What should be covered with coronavirus travel insurance?

Covid19 travel insurance ensures that you travel with peace of mind. A number of the policies included are:

  • Canceling your travel journey if you exhibit coronavirus symptoms within 14 days of travel
  • Emergency international medical costs
  • Cancellation and repatriation coverage just in case you were tested positive and weren’t allowed to board
  • Day-to-day advantage if you’re requested to self-isolate in your vacation lodging if you’ve got the virus

All in all, if you were to experience any symptoms of Coronavirus, the Covid-19 travel insurance will provide you with the much-needed assistance to cover everything.

Plan for Your Trip

Nowadays, traveling is often risky. Therefore being extra careful with the destined country regulations and knowing the agency restrictions is a requirement. So if you’re getting to visit turkey any time soon, confirm to travel through this checklist:

Before Arrival

  1. Follow the recent guidance and advice of your home country.
  2. Stay informed of the newest news and announcements regarding Covid development in Turkey before your travel. Inscribe to Turkey travel guidance covid alerts.
  3. Look out for travel restrictions, screening, or quarantine conditions that may impact you upon your arrival.
  4. Read your airline travel guidance on essential protection measures and actions to think about when flying with them.
  5. Contact your hotel or lodge provider in Turkey for detailed safety measures to scale back the risks of being infected.
  6. Buy good travel insurance, and confirm you’re satisfied with the provided coverage. The best insurance is one that covers everything from medical costs to luggage to lost items and more.

Traveling in Turkey during the Pandemic

During Your Stay

Once you arrive, you must comply with Turkey’s travel restrictions and respect travel rules imposed by the government and health ministry.

If during your stay you have shown symptoms of Covid19, you should go to the nearest local hospital and get yourself checked. If you tested positive, you are more likely to get the necessary medical treatment until you have regained your health.

In some cases, the local authorities may demand that you stay self-isolated or quarantined for 7 or 14 days. You should respect that decision and start your isolation period right away.

Make sure to follow up and stay updated with the travel restrictions and travel ban announcements. Also, plan ahead of your stay any delays that may potentially take place.

When you return to your home country, you may be asked for a quarantine period of 14 days since you are coming from Turkey. Please check with your country’s regulations before arrival.

Do not plan any travel if you are not feeling well or have been in touch with an actual or possible COVID-19 case in the last two weeks.

However, if you are in good health and are obliged to travel for specific reasons, keep these in mind:

  • Quarantine for at least two weeks if you’re showing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Be mindful of the regional COVID-19 condition and pursue local public health guidance.
  • If you need Coronavirus testing or medical care, get yourself familiar with the different locations of nearby centers in your area.
  • Avoid locked areas, overcrowded spaces, and close contact.
  • Avoid unnecessary meetings.
  • No hugs, kisses, or handshakes. Keep social distancing with everyone, if possible.
  • Restrict your contact with older people or those who are undergoing some health problems.
  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 25 seconds. Use your personal soap and lukewarm water.
  • Use hand sanitizer that has at least 55% alcohol.
  • Use a medical mask everywhere you go.
  • Use a non-medical mask or cover your mouth and nose areas with your arm indoors and can’t keep social distancing.

FAQs

Is public transportation available in Turkey?

Public transportation in Turkey is available. However, they are restricted to a specific capacity. This helps reduce overcrowding and maintain social distancing.

What precautions should I take while touring during the Covid-19 outbreak?

There are several precautions that should be considered. First, however, you should always follow the necessary actions of regular hand washing with soap and warm water and alcohol-based hand sanitizers. In addition, always wash your clothes once you come back from the outside environment, avoid close contact and touching your skin, and wear your mask regularly in public spaces.

Are Turkish nationals over 65 years of age allowed on flights during the Covid-19?

Travel Permit Document is not requested for travelers aged 65 years and older from other countries than Turkey. Travel Permit Document is needed for Travelers over 65 ages for domestic flights.

To receive a Travel Permit, you can apply directly using the e-Government portal.

Is the HES code compulsory for international flights?

The HES code is not compulsory for international flights. It is only mandatory for domestic flights, including connecting international flights for only Turkish citizens.

If I want to cancel my trip to Turkey for a certain reason, is it possible? Will I be able to get a refund?

For this, you will have to reach out to:

  • Your airline
  • Your accommodation provider or your travel agency

See if it is possible to get a partial refund, if not whole. If you booked a non-refundable flight ticket, you might not be able to get a refund for it. But again, contact your airline agency and talk to them about your matter; maybe there is a chance to postpone or get a full or partial refund.

What happens if my scheduled flight gets canceled?

The first thing you have to do is contact the airline or travel agency you booked with and check the updates. With many countries introducing short notice announcements, your scheduled flights can be canceled at any time. In this case, check if you can get a refund, and If not, check if your insurance covers flight cancellation or not.

Will my travel insurance include Covid-19 coverage and flight cancellations?

It depends on your travel insurance policy. Reach out to your insurance provider for further details on this matter.

What is a Safe Tourism Certificate?

Turkey is the first country in Europe to launch the “Safe Tourism Certification” system. Applied and received by thousands of hotels, restaurants, transportation, and other related travel sectors, the program is applied following a great series of precautions for travelers and the staff working at tourist facilities.

What about the Tourist Protection and Support Insurance?

Offered by Gunes Sigorta following the Tourism Government’s administration, you can now obtain this insurance starting at just €15 per week and get a full medical treatment (at a public or private hospital), and your treatment costs will be fully covered.

On request, we will be happy to include this option for travelers booking multi-day tours with us.

What are the symptoms and intricacies that COVID-19 can induce?

People who tested positive with the Coronavirus have briefed a broad scope of symptoms –from mild symptoms to intense conditions. Some symptoms can occur starting from the 3rd day after being exposed to Coronavirus, including high fever, coughing, shortness of breath, tiredness, and more.

There are other symptoms besides these mentioned. If you experience any of these symptoms, please visit your local medical facility.

Conclusion

Traveling with restrictions can be quite a hassle. However, if you prepare yourself ahead, and understand your destination country’s travel rules and follow its guidance, you will be just fine.

In this light, Made in Turkey Tours continues operating tours all around Turkey following the new standard regulations. Therefore, you can still enjoy your Turkey adventure without any hectic.

However, if you still have any questions or concerns, please contact us for more details. We will be more than happy to accompany you on a perfect trip during the new normal.