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
All flights to and from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Netherlands, and South Africa have been temporarily suspended by Turkey’s Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure.
Can I travel to Turkey?
Turkey 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 4 (very high level of Covid-19 in Turkey). It recommends visitors to bypass or postpone any unnecessary transnational travels to Turkey unless it’s for medical motives, family emergencies, or work.
Nevertheless, if, by all means, you want to travel for other vital reasons, the government recommends visitors to abide by the local authorities’ guidance and protection measures to make sure safety for all.
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 your airlines to make sure you bought all the required documents to finish their requirements.
Entry Rules to Turkey in Response to Coronavirus
Despite reopening its borders to international travelers, there’s a high 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.
- All travelers are required to submit a negative PCR test result done within the last 72 hours prior to their entry to Turkey. Travelers using international transit are subject to the same rule. Those who don’t submit negative test results will not be allowed to fly. PCR tests are acceptable both as hard-copy or online.
- All travelers will be issued a Passenger Locator Form during their flight to Turkey that must be completed before arrival to Turkey.
- Follow the guidelines of your flight booking for luggage allowance as there are more limitations now compared to old-normal.
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.
In case 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.
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.
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.
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.
How do you get the HES code?
For Turkish Citizens, you’ll get your HES code by sending a text message to the number 2023. The message will include the following details; the notes “HES,” your Turkish Kimlik number, the ultimate four numbers of the sequence digit of your ID, and therefore the period time in numbers you’ll be traveling. The details should be separated by one space.
For non-Turkish citizens, you’ll get your HES code by sending a text message to the number 2023. The message will include the following details; the notes “HES,” your Turkish number, birth year, and therefore the period time in numbers you’ll be traveling. The details should be separated by one space.
- Children under the age of two aren’t required to possess a HES code.
- Each HES code features a validation period.
For further information about the HES program, inspect this page here. There’s also a FAQ section that will help answer a number of your questions.
As of March 2nd, until a new decision is taken, the risk groups of our provinces were determined as follows:
The provinces included in the low risk group are Agri, Batman, Bingol, Bitlis, Diyarbakir, Hakkari, Igdir, Mardin, Mus, Siirt, Sanliurfa, Sirnak, Usak, Van.
Provinces in the medium risk group: Adana, Afyonkarahisar, Ankara, Aydin, Bartin, Bayburt, Bursa, Cankiri, Corum, Denizli, Elazig, Erzincan, Erzurum, Eskisehir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Isparta, Kahramanmaras, Karabuk, Kars, Kastamonu, Kirsehir, Malatya, Manisa, Nevsehir, Sivas, Tunceli, Yozgat.
Provinces in the high risk group; Antalya, Ardahan, Artvin, Bilecik, Bolu, Canakkale, Duzce, Istanbul, Izmir, Karaman, Kayseri, Kirikkale, Kirklareli, Kilis, Kocaeli, Kutahya, Mersin, Mugla, Nigde, Tekirdag, Yalova, Zonguldak.
Provinces in the very high risk group are Adiyaman, Aksaray, Amasya, Balikesir, Burdur, Edirne, Giresun, Gumushane, Konya, Ordu, Osmaniye, Rize, Sakarya, Samsun, Sinop, Tokat, Trabzon.
- Curfew still goes on for any risk group between the hours of 21:00 and 05:00 (if you have a hotel reservation, it is fine to travel in between these hours -keep a copy of the hotel booking)
- Weekends are ok to go out for mid and low risk cities, yet still following the curfew hours between 21:00 and 05:00
- At low, mid and high risk cities, restaurants and cafes are open between 07:00 – 19:00 – takeaway service available from 19:00 to 21:00 and package service available from 20:00 to 00:00
- At very high risk cities, takeaway or package service available from 10:00 to 20:00 and only package service from 20:00 to 00:00
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)
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 again as of March 2nd and serves with 50% capacity between the hours and different risk groups as stated above.
- All museums and sites are closed during the weekends (except listed above); however, 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 between hours 10:00-20:00
- Restaurants in accommodation facilities are open; however, they are only available for hotel guests.
- Movie theaters, football fields, internet/electronic game halls, hookah lounges, Turkish baths, massage salons, swimming pools, amusement parks, and other entertainment venues are closed.
- Individuals with hotel reservations can travel in their private vehicles without obtaining any additional permission, provided they carry with them their accommodation/travel reservation document.
- Foreigners 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.
- Smoking in public spaces is banned.
For more information, check the Turkish Ministry of Interior’s circular (Turkish) with your travel agency/tour operator.
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. If you’re getting to visit turkey any time soon, confirm to travel through this checklist:
- Follow the recent guidance and advice of your home country.
- Stay informed with the newest news and announcements regarding Covid development in Turkey before your travel. Inscribe to Turkey travel guidance covid alerts.
- Look out for travel restrictions, screening, or quarantine conditions that may impact you upon your arrival.
- Read your airline travel guidance on essential protection measures and actions to think about when flying with them.
- Contact your hotel or lodge provider in Turkey for detailed safety measures to scale back the risks of being infected.
- 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.
During Your Stay
Once you arrive, you have to 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. In case 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 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. 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.
If you are not feeling well or have been in touch with an actual or possible COVID-19 case in the last two weeks, do not plan any travel.
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 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 when you are indoors and can’t keep social distancing.
Is public transportation available in Turkey?
Public transportation in Turkey is available in Turkey. 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. However, you should always follow the necessary actions, consisting of regular hands washing with soap and warm water and alcohol-based hand sanitizers. 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.
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 to contact your airline or travel agency you booked with and check with 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 of the 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.
Traveling with restrictions can be quite a hassle. However, if you prepare yourself ahead, and understand your destined country 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. 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 for a perfect trip during the new normal.