Last Updated: October 15, 2020
- As of October 15, 2020, the Government of Turkey requires everyone living in Turkey to present a Hayat Eve Sigar (HES) code while staying in hotels, using inner city public transport, and at inter-city bus travel rest stops. Some airlines are also requiring a HES code for residents and foreign travelers attempting to purchase airline tickets for domestic and/or international travel. See instructions below in Transportation Options, and for specific questions please follow up directly with your airline, hotel, transportation company and/or travel agent.
Country Specific Information:
- Turkey has confirmed cases of COVID-19 within its borders.
On September 8, the Turkish Ministry of Interior issued a notice to the public regarding new COVID-19 restrictions/guidance. Violators will be issued fines. The new restrictions are as follows:
- Face masks must be worn in public (e.g., streets, gardens, workplaces, etc.) at all times in all 81 provinces of Turkey.
- Standing passengers will not be allowed in urban public transportation vehicles where physical distance rules cannot be applied.
- The playing of live music at restaurants and cafes after midnight is forbidden.
- Turkish citizens and residents under the age of 18 will be able to go outdoors any time, in the company of a parent. This restriction does not apply to foreign tourists.
- Turkish citizens and residents above the age of 65 will be able to go out every day, between 10:00-20:00. Several provinces, including Ankara and Izmir, have implemented new restrictions on people 65 years and older. These measures include limiting the hours per day elderly individuals are allowed outside, limiting their use of public transportation, and prohibiting elderly individuals from attending large events such as weddings, market places, and shopping centers. This restriction does not apply to foreign tourists.
- Turkish citizens and residents over 65 can travel within Turkey by obtaining a permit from the Ministry of the Interior. This does not apply to foreign tourists.
- As of October 15, 2020, some schools have resumed classes with a mix of in-class and distance learning/online courses. Please check with your institution for specific information.
- All individuals must wear cloth face coverings where people are collectively located, including supermarkets, marketplaces, hair salons, shopping malls, and workplaces as well as in all forms of transportation (including private vehicles) with at least two persons inside.
- Local authorities may put in place additional COVID-19 restrictions, including curfews, with little or no advance notice.
Entry and Exit Requirements:
- Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter Turkey?
- Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry?
No, unless you show symptoms for COVD-19, then a PCR test will be administered.
- Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry?
COVID-19 control measures for air, land, and sea travel continue. Passengers arriving in Turkey will be required to complete an information form and will be checked for symptoms. Anyone suspected of having COVID-19 will be transported to a hospital for examination. If an individual on a particular aircraft/vehicle/vessel is found to have COVID-19, the information forms completed upon arrival will be used to identify others have been in contact with them; those individuals will then be subject to 14-day isolation/quarantine.
- To date, tourist travelers do not need any specific health documentation to enter/exit Turkey unless they are arriving for medical treatment.
- Medical tourism travelers will need a medical visa and specific health documentation to enter Turkey. Please see the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website for information about how to obtain visas for this purpose.
- Residency permit information is available at Turkish Ministry of Interior’s website.
- Is a curfew in place?
Not for foreign tourists, but local authorities may enact additional COVID-19 restrictions, including curfews, with little or no advance notice.
- Are there restrictions on intercity or inter-province travel?
- Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine?
No, but foreign passengers who test positive for COVID-19 on landing flights will be referred to a private hospital by the Ministry of Health – Border Health Unit, whereas Turkish passengers will be referred to a state hospital.
- PCR testing for foreigners is limited to those who have symptoms, or those who may have an entry requirement back to their home country. Testing is paid for by the traveler.
- Are commercial flights operating?
Yes. Passengers should check with airlines for up-to-date schedules, work with them to address flight changes, and be prepared for possible cancelations. Passengers should also carefully review transit information and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) landing requirements when booking connecting flights to the United States from Turkey.
- Given the strict travel and transit restrictions in the Schengen Zone, U.S. citizens who wish to transit via the Schengen Zone must have onward tickets to the U.S., and meet the Schengen Zone and U.K. exceptions as passengers in transit.
- Some of the more common transit hubs for direct flights to the U.S. are Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, and Paris. For information on travel restrictions and transit regulations, please visit the relevant U.S. Embassy website in the country in which you will be transiting. Additionally, the European Union has created a website for researching transit and travel restrictions for all E.U. countries.
- U.S. citizens traveling via passenger airplane are now able to enter the U.S. via any port of entry. For more information, please review the official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcement. Air travelers are advised to include their travel document (Passport/I-551) information in their reservations to help ensure they do not encounter issues when boarding their flights.
- Is public transportation operating?
Buses, ferries, and trains are operating but there are limits to passenger capacity on buses and all passengers must wear a mask.
- Airlines and airports have implemented new procedures for travelers, and passengers must comply with these to travel. For example, masks must be worn in the airport and on airplanes, and arriving passengers are subject to health checks and PCR tests. Please check airport and airline websites for more information and specific guidance.
- Turkey lifted the ban on importing and exporting of pets as of May 1, 2020. We refer you to the airline websites for more specific details.
- Please note: There are a series of Presidential Proclamations related to the suspension of entry of certain additional persons who pose the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 outbreak. These restrictions do not apply to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.
- Please see the U.S. Embassy Immigrant Visa page and the Non-Immigrant Visa page for further information if you are a visa holder seeking entry to the United States.
- The Government of Turkey requires everyone traveling in Turkey to present a Hayat Eve Sigar (HES) code All persons must request a HES (Hayat Eve Sigar) Code for domestic and international flights, while staying in hotels, using inner city public transport, and at inter-city bus travel rest stops. This does not apply to foreign tourists.
- Information on how to obtain this HES code is available at Hayat Eve Sigar web portal. The procedure is as follows:
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE TURKISH CITIZENSHIP: Send a text message to phone number 2023 that includes:
— the letters “HES”
— your Turkish Kimlik number
— the last four digits of the series number of your ID
— the number of days you will be traveling, (we recommend adding 7 days as a safeguard)
NOTE: Put a single space between each item (e.g., HES 1234567 1234 09).
FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT TURKISH CITIZENS BUT ARE RESIDENTS AND POSSES A KIMLIK: Send a text message to phone number 2023 that includes:
— the letters “HES”
— your Kimlik number
— your year of birth
— the number of days you will be traveling (we recommend adding 7 days as a safeguard)
NOTE: Put a single space between each item (e.g., HES 1234567 1972 14).
- Airlines also have information on their websites in English about the HES code including:
– Turkish Airlines
- If you require financial assistance through the U.S. Government’s repatriation loan program please review the Department of State’s information on emergency financial assistance and contact us.
- International Air Transport Association (IATA)
- For information on transiting European Union countries
Fines for Non-Compliance:
We understand that a fine of 900 TL will be imposed on those who do not comply with the requirement. Similar to a traffic fine, these fines will be mailed to the individual’s home address, and be payable only at the following government-affiliated banks: Halk Bank, Vakif Bank, and Ziraat Bank.
- We are offering limited routine services to American citizens, prioritizing repatriation loan assistance, passport, Consular Report of Birth Abroad services, and limited notarial appointments. Please see information at the following link for more information: American Citizen Services Unit
- We are offering limited, emergency in-person services for immigrant and non-immigrant visa applications. Please see information at the following links for more information:
- View U.S. Mission Turkey’s most recent alerts and messages here.
- Dial 184 within Turkey to access the Turkish Ministry of Health COVID-19 Telephone Hotline (Turkish/English/Arabic)
- Turkish Ministry of Health COVID-19 web page
- Turkish Presidency’s interactive COVID-19 web page
- Turkish General Directorate of Civil Aviation
- Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism
- COVID-19 Crisis page at Travel.State.Gov
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) page on COVID-19
- Turkey Country Information and Travel Advisory
- Internal Revenue Services (IRS)– Economic Impact Payment Information