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Visa and money

We are going to Turkey on the May 12 tour, and would like to apply for our visa from home rather than wait in line at the airport upon arrival. How and when do we do this?

Secondly, in m reading I have received mixed information about what currency to carry; some say USD, others say both USD and TL. I assume there may be big differences between what is preferred by merchants in the rural locations our tour visits and Istanbul. I very much like to frequent the bazaars and do shopping with smaller merchants if this makes a difference.

Last spring I did a tour of Italy and we were mailed hardcopy Rick Steeves guides to Italy as part of our package. I will be bringing my Ipad this time, and wondered if our tour package will be supplying us with the Turkey guide? If so, can we get a downloadable copy?

Posted by
1306 posts

Evisa is easy. Just go online; you can check these two websites.

We did this last August and had no problem. You just fill in the information, pay, and print out the visa. We taped it inside the back cover of our passports. Don't remember how far in advance we did this but just read the info and decide for yourself.

As to money, we always use TL. Use of other currency leaves you open to someone else's conversion rate whereas you get the best rate using ATMs. Also, in smaller towns, shops, and markets, they would most likely only accept TL.

We went on our own so cannot help you with your tour question. Hope this info helps.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks, Carol. If anyone else can weigh in with their $$$ experiences, I would welcome their posts too.

I am still looking for answers to the question regarding getting e-books instead of hardcopy guides as part of our tour package.

Posted by
833 posts

Completely agree with Carol. Use Turkish Lira. You can keep some emergency USD as backup, but there's no reason not to use the lira. That's what the public transportation will take, that's what vendors on the streets take... in the bazaars people may take other currency but you have to understand that they're doing that for their own benefit. Because of the convenience it provides you, they can give you an exchange rate that is extremely favorable to them. Use lira! That's will be what is accepted everywhere and absolutely what you should use. Enjoy Turkey! I spent five days in Istanbul and it wasn't close to enough, I'm looking forward to getting back sometime.

Posted by
4637 posts

There is no line at the airport. To get visa took one minute. You will need TL. If they accept dollar you will lose at their exchange course.

Posted by
1940 posts

I agree with the others. Use TL, not dollars, for your purchases. If you don't already have a currency conversion app for your iPad, I recommend "xe currency." It's free and we found it very helpful.

Posted by
714 posts

Contact the Europe Through the Back Door Office (Rick Steves' company) for information about your tour guide - everyone gets one before they leave.

Posted by
65 posts

From what I've read, starting soon, you MUST apply for your visa ahead of time.

I recently did so (see the links posted earlier) and it only took a few minutes. Make sure to enter your information carefully.

Posted by
813 posts

If you are going in May, the new visa rules will be in effect. You should plan accordingly.

Message for U.S. Citizens: No More Visas on Arrival in Turkey
Beginning April 10, 2014, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs will no longer provide visas on arrival to foreign travelers. All foreigners must obtain their Turkish visas from Turkish missions abroad or from the e-visa application system, depending on eligibility.
PLEASE NOTE: The e-visa system is only usable for travelers entering Turkey for tourism or commerce. For any other purpose of travel, the applicant must obtain a Turkish visa in advance from a Turkish diplomatic or consular post.
Information regarding Turkish e-visas and the application process can be found at:
General information on Turkish visas can be found at:

Contact information for the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Turkey:
The U.S. Embassy in Ankara is located at 110 Ataturk Boulevard, tel: (90)(312) 455-5555, fax (90)(312) 468-6131.
The Internet address is

The U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul is located at Uçsehitler Sokagi No. 2, 34460, Istinye, Sariyer, tel: (90) (212) 335-9000, fax (90) (212) 335-9102. Istanbul-specific information can also be accessed via the Consulate's web site at

The U.S. Consulate in Adana is located at Girne Bulvari No. 212, Guzelevler Mahallesi, Yuregir, Adana, Turkey. tel: (90)(322) 346-6262, fax (90)(322) 346-7916, web site: