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Flying through Istanbul airport without a visa

I am considering a Turkish Airline flight from San Francisco to Cape Town through Istanbul. I understand that if you do not leave the airport, a Turkish visa is not required.
I wanted to spend a night to recover from jet lag before proceeding to Cape Town, but with the visa restriction, I don't want to plan that. Has anyone used the TAV Airport Hotel in the Ataturk airport and could I spend an overnight there without a visa?
Thank you

Posted by
6618 posts

I haven't stayed there (I've spent time in the city in my prior layovers), but found something on TripAdvisor about it. There is a distinction between "airside" and "landslide" sections that has particular meaning. Read the responses and then (I would) clarify directly with the hotel so that you get the proper room.
https://www.tripadvisor.co.za/FAQ_Answers-g293974-d498943-t825986-I_would_like_to_know_is_this_airport_hotel_in_the.html
http://www.ataturkairport.com/en-EN/shoppingdinning/Pages/AirportHotel.aspx

Posted by
208 posts

I stayed at this hotel, but on the landside before an early morning flight after visiting Istanbul. The AIR side allows you to stay in the international part of the airport, so no visa required. You want to be sure to reserve in the proper section of the hotel. Also, you’ll want to get directions to the entrance. The airport is big and I understand it can be tricky to find.

The landside was huge and the room was very nice. I also had a delicious meal in the restaurant (a bit of a surprise since it was empty). The staff were friendly and helpful. I can’t tell you what the airside is like, but I’m sure it is more restful than the airport!

Posted by
2119 posts

At this time, there is a visa dispute between Turkey and the US, and so I would be very careful about any issues with Turkey.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you for the clarification. It is good to know that we can book the air side at TAV Hotel and not have to worry about the visa situation.

Posted by
208 posts

Another note about using the airside of the TAV hotel -

You will not be able to retrieve any luggage that you checked in at SFO, as that would mean leaving the international part of the airport. Your luggage will be checked all the way to Cape Town. So everything that you need for your overnight should be in your carry-on bag.