Turkey and U.S. to Begin Issuing Travel Visas Again

by Richard D'Ambrosio
Turkey and U.S. to Begin Issuing Travel Visas Again

Bird's eye view of Istanbul. Photo: Shutterstock.com


Turkey and the U.S. have said they will start issuing non-immigrant visas again, though on a “limited basis,” following a thaw in relations this week.

According to a State Department press release, the American embassy in Ankara Monday received “preliminary assurances” that give the State Department reason to believe “the security posture has improved sufficiently to allow for the resumption of limited visa services in Turkey.”

The U.S. move came on the eve of a visit to Washington by Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. A few hours later, the Turkish government said that it would reciprocate.

Some observers feel that the cost in tourism dollars may have been too much for the Turkish government to maintain the visa ban.

The U.S. and Turkey stopped issuing non-immigrant visa services on Oct. 8, following Turkey’s arrest of a U.S. consulate employee, disrupting travel plans for thousands of American tourists and those visiting for academic and research purposes.

Americans looking to travel to Turkey can also purchase an e-visa upon arrival at a border crossing or an airport if they are transiting from another country, though the personal experiences of a variety of travelers has left the industry confused about how U.S. travelers would be received.

The complex diplomatic relationship between the two countries centers around key issues still unresolved. Significantly, Turkey wants the U.S. to deport a Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania, whom Turkey believes has tried to organize anti-government protests and perhaps helped orchestrate last year’s coup attempt.

The State Department gave no indication that its current move to begin reissuing visas on a limited basis would be maintained given the two countries’ disagreements.

In its press announcement, the State Department said “we continue to have serious concerns about the existing cases against arrested local employees of our Mission in Turkey. We are also concerned about the cases against U.S. citizens who have been arrested under the state of emergency. U.S. officials will continue to engage with their Turkish counterparts to seek a satisfactory resolution of these cases.”

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