If you have been contacted by or on behalf of a loved one in Turkey who finds themself in an emergency situation, we can help. But first, continue reading to rule out the possibility that you may be the victim of a romance scam.
First, consider the following questions:
- Did you meet your loved one online?
- Have you been unable to meet in person?
- Has your loved one been arrested at the airport or hospitalized?
- Has your loved one or someone acting on his/her behalf asked you for money to assist?
If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, you may be the victim of a romance scam. U.S. Mission Turkey receives as many as 100 inquiries a month that turn out to be romance scams. It is not unusual for a scammer to spend months or even years building a relationship before ever asking for money. You can read more about them here and here.
What should you do?
- Remain calm
- Do not send money
- If they require assistance, have your loved one contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate directly.
- Do you own detective work? Use websites like http://www.scamdigger.com/ and http://www.tineye.com/ to search for any photos your contact might have sent to see if they have been previously used in scams or sourced online.
- Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate by email and provide them your friend’s name, date of birth, and passport number.
Did you know?
- The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Turkey do not refuse service to U.S. citizens in distress.
- The Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits the release of information regarding a U.S. citizen without their express written consent.
- The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Turkey receive direct notice of any U.S. citizen arrests and provide consular assistance as early as possible.
- The U.S. Department of State Guide to International Financial Scams contains descriptions of common scams, with sample e-mails and letters sent by perpetrators: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/emergencies/international-financial-scams.html.
Citizen Liaison Volunteer (CLV)
The American Citizen Services unit is in the process of building our American Liaison Network of Citizen Liaison Volunteers (CLV) to ensure that we are able to communicate as effectively as possible with U.S. citizens in the event of an emergency. We are looking for volunteers to serve as CLVs in various regions of Turkey. If you or someone you know may be interested, or you just want to learn more – let us know!
CLVs are private citizens who work with the Embassy and Consulates to help U.S. citizens in need. They assist travelers in distress, help us track down missing U.S. citizens, and, in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency, help us locate other American citizens so we can help get them to safety. Most often, however, CLVs are called on to be our ‘eyes and ears’ in the community, providing valuable feedback on what life is like for ordinary U.S. citizens living in Turkey. CLVs are usually American citizens who are longer-term residents of Turkey and, ideally, speak some Turkish. Please note that this is a voluntary position that does not imply financial reimbursement.
CLVs in smaller cities and rural areas are uniquely important because those can be the hardest places for us to reach in an emergency. We need CLVs in the following cities Antalya, Bursa, Diyarbakir, and Izmir. If you are living in Tekirdag, Canakkale, Nevsehir, Mugla, Aydin, Sanliurfa, Malatya, Kusadasi, Fethiye or Marmaris – we would like to hear from you as well.
If you would like to be a CLV, please provide us with your full name, date of birth, passport number, current address, and your contact details via email at CLV_Turkey@state.gov. Once you notify us of your interest, we’ll get back to you with more information and further instructions.
What is a Citizen Liaison Volunteer?
- A private American citizen resident in a foreign country who volunteers to assist consular sections in disaster preparedness, welfare & whereabouts, and alerting fellow Americans to emergency situations.
- Citizen Liaison Volunteers often have close ties to the U.S. expat community; therefore they are often the fastest and most effective route to distributing information to Americans and are essential when normal communication channels fail.
- They facilitate distribution of routine administrative information (changes in section work hours, procedures, embassy closures, and voting information) of interest to the U.S. private community.
- Citizen Liaison Volunteers provide important, timely safety and security information, which might include the times and locations of upcoming local demonstrations, areas of potential unrest due to local celebrations or elections, or information about a specific medical issue.
American Liaison Network Communication
- The U.S. State Department is constantly looking for new ways to distribute information to the public, so we are open to suggestions. U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide rely on different communication methods to disseminate information to wardens and stay in touch with them:
- Email/ text messages (SMS) are the most commonly used
- Telephone, radios and faxes: in distant locations that lack the infrastructure and communication technology
- Community online blogs and social networks (e.g., within your housing community or employee association, and sharing from our Twitter: @USEmbassyTurkey and https://www.facebook.com/usdos.turkey/ Facebook page
Beyond the Call of Duty
- Providing updates about situations in their district
- Assisting/encouraging the registration of newcomers in STEP
- Assisting in crisis: natural disasters, civil unrest, etc.
- Alerting American citizens without immediate e-mail or internet access to emergency situations
- Disseminating information about routine topics such as voter registration, income taxes, etc. If you are interested in serving as a Citizen Liaison Volunteer, please email the ACS unit of the nearest embassy or consulate where you reside or work in Turkey.
- Citizen Liaison Volunteer agreement
- Citizen Liaison Volunteer responsibilities
Thank you for completing DS-5506 – Local United States Citizen Skills/Resources Survey.
For all information about customs and border protection of the United States, including entry and exit procedures and customs declaration regulations, please visit the website of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection at https://www.cbp.gov/.
Visas for Travel, Business, or Residency in Turkey
Obtaining a visa for Turkey
U.S. passport holders may apply for an e-visa for Turkey at https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ for tourism or short-term business travel.
For any other purpose of travel, the applicant must obtain a Turkish visa in advance from the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
Official/Diplomatic Passport holders: Holders of official and diplomatic passports on official business must obtain a visa from a Turkish embassy or consulate before arrival in Turkey.
Please direct all of your questions regarding visas for travel to Turkey to the appropriate government of Turkey authority. The U.S. Embassy, Consulate General or Consulate is unable to provide detailed information about visas for travel to Turkey.
If you require legal advice, view our list of attorneys.
I have my visa. What do I do now?
Read the Country Information for Turkey.
U.S. citizens planning to remain in Turkey for more than 90 days must also obtain a residence permit after arrival in Turkey. The Directorate of General of Migration Management (DGMM) is the authority in Turkey which may issue residence permits.
U.S. citizens should have a passport that is valid for six months beyond the planned entry date to Turkey. Passports should have enough blank space to allow for entry and exit stamps.
Please direct all of your questions regarding residency permits in Turkey to the appropriate government of Turkey authority. The U.S. Embassy, Consulate General or Consulate is unable to provide detailed information about residency permits in Turkey.
If you require legal advice, view our list of attorneys.
It is a crime to remove antiquities from Turkey. All national parks and historic sites such as fortresses, castles and ruins, and everything in them or on their grounds, are the property of the government of Turkey. Individuals should check with local authorities if they intend to purchase or transport any article which may be considered a cultural artifact. One may buy certain antiquities, but they must include a museum certificate, and can only be purchased from authorized dealers. Offenders are prosecuted and if convicted, sentences may range from five to ten years.
Please exercise caution and beware of pickpockets while shopping and sightseeing. Pickpockets tend to operate in areas most frequented by tourists. Pay attention to your surroundings and be aware of unusual behavior. Situational awareness is your best defense. Read the Country Information Sheet for Turkey before travelling.
Each country has its own guidelines about which medicines are legal. Medicines that are commonly prescribed or available over the counter in the United States could be considered unlicensed or controlled substances in other countries.
The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Turkey cannot provide legal advice or assurances regarding the import of substances, including personal medications. You may reach out to your local Turkish Embassy or Consulate to inquire.
Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. The quality of health care in Turkey can vary. People seeking health care in Turkey should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations.
If you are considering travel to Turkey for elective surgery such as hair transplants, dental procedures, or other cosmetic surgery, be mindful of the following:
- Have a medical evaluation from a U.S. doctor to determine if you are a good candidate for surgery.
- Before travel, carefully research the doctor (e.g. qualifications, experience performing the surgery, complication rate) and credentials of the recovery facility you plan to use.
- Share all health information (e.g. medical conditions, medications, allergies) with your doctor before your surgery.
- Obtain international travel insurance that covers medical evacuation back to the United States and repatriation of remains. For more information, see: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/insurance.
- See a travel medicine professional in the United States at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to discuss healthy travel and to learn about specific risks related to your surgery and travel. For more information on the risks of medical tourism, see: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/medical-tourism.
- Your legal options in case of malpractice are very limited in Turkey.
Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. U.S. citizens should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing services or may be required to pay their bill in full when discharged.
For more information about Your Health Abroad, visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/your-health-abroad.html