Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Turkey sets date for e-visa switch

IN a move that might (or might not) make travelling to Turkey simpler, a new visa procedure will be in place from April 11. It means visitors will no longer have to queue at the airport to get a visa stamp. Instead, an electronic visa application system will enable people to obtain an e-visa online on www.evisa.gov.tr.  Visitors must fill in their details, make an online payment and download their e-visa up to 24 hours before travelling. 
The e-visa fee for UK passport holders is £27.99, which can be paid only by debit or credit card.
Arrangements are being made to also allow visitors to obtain e-visas from authorized airline offices and travel agents.
To apply for a Turkish e-visa, visitors must have passports that are valid for at least six months at the time of arrival in Turkey. 
For full details, go to www.evisa.gov.tr

Go Holiday comment

As anyone with a computer and an internet connection knows, e-things can make life simpler … yet also much more complicated. Under Turkey’s old visa system, you got off the plane, went through immigration and walked to a kiosk at which you handed over a £10 note (only clean, crisp, un-used ones were acceptable) in exchange for a stamp in your passport. Sometimes the queues were long, sometimes short. But the waiting times were never impossible because all the clerks in the kiosks had to do was take your cash and stamp your passport. As a process, it couldn’t have been simpler.

Getting a Turkish visa now will not be so simple for people who a) do not have computers b) do have computers but do not trust them to make payment card financial transactions safely c) do not have debit or credit cards. These people will have to ask airlines and travel agents to apply on their behalf, or use a friend’s payment card.

 Turkey’s ‘visa’ fee was and remains an ill-disguised tourist tax. I’ve no objection in principle to tourist taxes, but let’s not try to pretend it’s something it clearly isn’t. And let’s not try to fool people into believing that anything with an e in front of it is going to be easy.

David Kernek, Go Holiday editor

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