Travelers and travel agents this week are trying to pick through the confusion of travel document requirements to Turkey, after the U.S. and Turkey suspended issuing travel visas to citizens of the two nations.
On Sunday, Oct. 8, the Turkish government announced that it was suspending all visa services to U.S. citizens.
“According to the government’s announcement, this includes the issuance of physical ‘sticker’ visas at border posts, and the online Turkish electronic visa (e-Visa),” the U.S. embassy says on its website. The embassy instructs “U.S. citizens planning travel to Turkey, and who have questions regarding this regulation, should contact the closest Embassy or Consulate of Turkey, or the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
The suspension of travel visas appears to arise out of an ongoing diplomatic dispute between the two countries that heightened after a U.S. consulate employee was arrested last week.
Confusion reigned online this week as travelers in Turkey, and those planning to go there soon, shared information with each other. None of the postings were corroborated by Travel Market Report, but here is a sampling from TripAdvisor:
Arriving on Monday, Oct. 9, one poster from New York City said: “Just entered the country with an American passport a few hours ago without incident. Immigration officer only looked at the e-Visa that I was granted a couple of weeks ago, didn't remark about the situation.”
But another poster claiming to live in Hawaii posted on Monday, Oct. 9: “I arrived today to Istanbul from Hawaii and already had my e-Visa in hand. Nevertheless, they did send me away from the control desk and to an office where I was questioned briefly and then released to get back in line for passport control. I checked online and the e-Visa site does say U.S. citizens are not permitted Visas at this time [for another friend who will have to cancel her trip].”
A U.K. citizen in North Carolina wrote: “I have been reading all of the comments and am looking forward to my trip to Turkey. My boyfriend has already bought his plane ticket and I am supposed to buy mine this week. We both have dual citizenship. Our plan was to travel with our U.S. passports since that is where we currently live, but the visa situation has changed that. We leave mid-November to visit Turkey. If I am reading everything correctly, I should be okay by applying for a e-Visa using my U.K. passport right?”
Others were concerned about the impact on Turkey’s economy from a disruption to U.S. travelers arriving in the country. A poster from Haverhill, Mass., said: “This is disturbing news, having read it this morning in the newspaper. I hope they resolve it soon; lost U.S. tourism dollars in Turkey I'm sure will affect the local economy. I was just saying how I would like to return to Istanbul, but it is a risky destination now due to politics, and the chance of losing money laid out for a vacation.”