If you’re a British businessperson planning to visit Turkey for work, lucky you. Turkey is an exciting place to visit, even if you’re only there for business travel.
But don’t forget: you’re going to need to get a visa. In this article you can find out how you can do so: read on for the best way to sort out all your Turkish business visa needs, so that you can focus on preparing for your business trip and researching the local area.
This article will cover:
- The key properties of a Turkish business visa, including how long it’s valid for.
- The requirements you’ll need to meet to get a Turkish business visa.
- How to apply for one, and some tips on how to pay.
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In some countries, there are many different types of business visa that you have to choose between. They can vary depending on the precise sort of business you’re doing, or which country you’re from, or whether you’re also going to do some sightseeing while you’re there. But thankfully, the process isn’t generally so complex with Turkey.
As far as business visas go, Turkey has just one key offering that should cover you if you’re travelling there for professional reasons - to meet some clients or business associates, for example, or for a trade fair.
Here are the key properties of a Turkish business visa for UK citizens¹:
- It’s an e-visa: you apply for it online and print it out yourself before you travel to Turkey.
- It’s a “multiple entry visa”: you’re allowed to enter and exit the country however often you like, so long as the visa is still valid.
- It’s only valid for business trips. That means it isn’t valid if you’re planning on getting a job in Turkey: for that, you’d need a work visa, and to get one of those you need to go to an embassy or consulate.
If you don’t get an e-visa before your trip, all is not lost. UK citizens can get a visa once they arrive in Turkey, so long as they meet all the criteria. But if you want a smooth arrival process, it’s definitely worth getting the e-visa so that your first few hours in Turkey aren’t spent awkwardly waiting around at the airport².
You can stay in Turkey on a business visa for 90 days, and the visa is valid until 6 months after the date it’s issued¹.
You can’t extend your business visa: if you want to stay in Turkey beyond your 90 days, you’ll need to apply for a residence permit.
Of course, if you do want to do that and get a residence permit, you’ll need to sort it all out before your business visa expires - otherwise you’ll be in the country illegally. So get planning as soon as possible².
To be eligible for a Turkish business visa, you’ll need to meet the following criteria¹:
- You have a valid passport
- You have enough money
- You’ve booked your flights out and back
- You’re booked into a hotel
- You have all the documentation needed to travel on to your next destination.
You need to have documents that prove that all of the above statements are true - for example, proof of your hotel booking, such as an email confirmation.
Your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months from the date that you arrive to Turkey. The copy you scan in during the application process needs to be in colour. You also need to provide a fully completed Turkey eVisa Questionaire¹.
The process of applying for a Turkish business visa is quite straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide to give you an overview³:
- Assemble your supporting documents. Check through the list above, and get proof of everything. Scan your passport in colour.
- Head to the website. The address you need is evisa.gov.tr.
- Apply. Follow the website’s instructions to complete your visa application. You’ll need to supply personal information about yourself as requested, as well as contact details such as an email address.
- Pay. You'll need to pay for it, of course. There’s more information on this just below.
- Download your e-visa. After you’ve paid, you should receive an email from which you can download the document. Don’t forget to print it out and take it with you.
The great thing about the e-visa is that you can apply for it and get it very quickly. You can simply download it from the final step of the application process, provided it was successful. Of course, if you do run into any problems, things might get complicated, and you may have to visit the embassy or consulate after all. The advice is to visit the nearest visa application centre² - Turkey has an embassy in London and consular missions in Edinburgh and London⁶.
So, even though online processing times are fast, it’s worth getting it sorted well in advance, just in case things take a turn for the worse. Apply several working days before your trip, at the latest.
Turkey officially recommends that the latest you should apply is 48 hours before your trip is due to start².
You can only pay via credit or debit card, using Visa, Mastercard or UnionPay².
How much will you have to pay? At the time of writing, the online visa fee if you’re a British citizen is $20. That’s right: US dollars.[4,5]
So, you’ll probably have to make a payment in a foreign currency - even though, surprisingly enough, that currency isn’t Turkish lira but US dollars. Anyhow, you might want to consider using a Wise borderless Mastercard, on which you can convert your money to foreign funds at the real mid-market rate. It could save you having to pay a costly foreign payment fee, as well as losing out on the exchange rate.
The super useful thing about the Wise borderless Mastercard is that, as well as helping you out with your US dollar payment, it can help you out in Turkey as well: it’s a multi-currency account, so you can hold money on it in a variety of currencies, from pounds to US dollars to Turkish lira. When you convert money in your borderless account, it always gets exchanged at the mid-market rate, so you can rest assured you’re getting the best available exchange rate, with any fees always stated clearly.
There’s no monthly fee for the borderless account or the Mastercard, and you can put money on it or withdraw money whenever you want. It also comes with virtual account details in pounds, euros and US, Australian and New Zealand dollars - so in those currencies, you can even get money paid into the account just as easily as a local.
So, once you’ve got the details of your Turkish business visa sorted, Wise might be able to help you make the most of your money during your trip. Hopefully your trip isn’t 100% business, after all: here’s hoping you get to enjoy a little of what Turkey has to offer while you’re there.
Sources used for this article:
*All sources checked on April 2, 2019
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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