Entry and exit
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest
Embassy or Consulate of Turkey, or visit the
Turkish government website for the most up-to-date information.
In March 2017, UK and US governments announced new restrictions on carrying electronic devices for passengers travelling from or through Turkey to the UK and the US. See the
Hand luggage restrictions at UK airports and/or the
US Department of Homeland Security website for further details.
Australians visiting Turkey for tourism or business purposes, for less than 90 days in a 180 day period, are required to obtain an e-visa. Apply online at the Turkish government's official
e-visa website. There have been reports of unauthorised visa websites charging for information on e-visas.
Foreign nationals who arrive at sea ports and intend to visit the seaport city or nearby provinces for tourism purposes are exempt from visas, provided that their stay does not exceed 72 hours.
Diplomatic and official passport holders must obtain a visa from a Turkish embassy or consulate before arriving in Turkey. Failure to do so is likely to result in refusal of entry.
Australians who enter or depart Turkey by land or sea borders, including those who make short trips to the Greek islands and then return to Turkey, should ensure that they are correctly processed by Turkish immigration and that their passports are stamped for all exits and arrivals. Failure to do so may result in difficulties when departing Turkey, including the prospect of fines, detention and/or deportation.
Failure to comply with Turkish visa regulations may result in fines, detention, deportation and a ban on future travel to Turkey for a period of time.
If travelling with children aged under 18 years, you may be asked to provide documentation proving you are the legal parent or guardian of the children.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. From 1 January 2015, foreigners entering Turkey must carry a passport with at least 60 days validity beyond the expiry date of their visa or residence permit.
All border crossings from Syria to Turkey are currently closed. Turkish authorities have, on occasion, opened border points to allow Syrian nationals to travel back to Syria. However, no entry is permitted from Syria to Turkey.
Safety and security
Exercise heightened vigilance in public places in Turkey at this time. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
On 16 April 2017 Turkey held a national referendum on constitutional reform. Political tensions remain heightened. Further rallies and demonstrations are likely. Avoid all political gatherings, protests and demonstrations. Even events intended to be peaceful may turn violent. Police may use tear gas and/or water cannons to disperse demonstrations. Follow local instructions, including curfews.
Due to the high threat of terrorist attack, reconsider your need to travel to Ankara and Istanbul. Exercise heightened caution and be vigilant about your personal safety and surroundings across Turkey.
There is a high threat of terrorism in Turkey. We continue to receive information indicating that terrorists may be planning attacks which could take place at any time. Further attacks in urban centres are expected. It is likely some attacks will target western interests, including tourists. Attacks have occurred across the country, including Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, Marmaris, Antalya, Mersin, Kuşadası, Çeşme, Muğla, Manavgat, Gaziantep and Adana.
Terrorists have recently called for attacks in Turkey, including in urban areas and at tourist destinations. Exercise heightened caution in these areas.
Terrorist attacks have targeted symbols, buildings and sites associated with the Turkish security forces (such as military barracks and police vehicles), government, judiciary and political parties, businesses, and places of worship.
Avoid large crowds and minimise time spent around potential targets for attack, including government and military interests, Western diplomatic missions and places commonly frequented by Westerners such as tourist sites, shopping malls and entertainment areas like Kizilay in Ankara and Istiklal Street in Istanbul. Avoid queues around shopping centre entrances, tourist attractions and symbols of Western culture. Exercise a high degree of caution in and around public transport throughout Turkey.
In the event of an attack, move to a safe location if possible, and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Significant dates and anniversaries are symbolic and terrorists have in the past used such occasions to mount attacks. Exercise particular care in the period surrounding significant dates including: 15 February (anniversary of Abdullah Öcalan's capture), 21 March (Nevruz, Persian New Year celebrations), 30 March (founding of Revolutionary People's Liberation Front (DHKP/C)), 4 April (Abdullah Öcalan's birthday), 1 May (May Day), 15 August (anniversary of Kurdistan Workers' Party's first attack), 27 November (anniversary of the founding of the Kurdish independence group, PKK) and 19 December (also a significant date for DHKP/C).
There have been a number of deadly attacks over the past year, including:
- On 5 January 2017, an explosion occurred outside the courthouse in the business district of Bayrakli in central Izmir following a reported clash between armed attackers and the police. A small number of bystanders were killed and wounded.
- On 1 January 2017, a shooting attack in a central Istanbul nightclub has reportedly left 39 dead and 69 wounded. The alleged attacker has been apprehended.
- On 10 December 2016, explosions occurred outside a major football stadium in Besiktas and in the nearby Macka Park in central Istanbul, killing 44 and injuring over 100.
- On 24 November 2016, a car bomb was detonated outside the Governor's office in the southern Turkish city of Adana. Two people were killed in the attack and over 30 people were injured. A second car bomb was later discovered by police.
- On 20 August 2016, an attack on a wedding in Gazientep killed more than 50 people and injured over 100.
- On 28 June 2016, a terrorist attack on Istanbul's Ataturk airport killed 47 people and injured more than 250.
Areas bordering Syria: The threat of terrorist attack, violence and acts of war is highest along Turkey's long and porous border with Syria. Reconsider your need to travel to any area within 50 kilometres of Turkey's border with Syria and do not travel within 10 kilometres of the border and to the city of Diyarbakir due to the high threat of terrorist attack and the potential for the spill-over of violence associated with the conflict in Syria; including indirect attacks, such as rocket fire, from Syria and Iraq into southern Turkey. The Turkish government has declared some areas in villages along Turkey's border with Syria as special security zones. Turkish security forces' presence in these border areas has been strengthened.
South-Eastern Turkey: There are clashes between PKK and the Turkish security forces in Turkey's south-east and eastern provinces. There have been many attacks by PKK on infrastructure and incidents in which civilians have been affected.
Reconsider your need to travel to all areas within the provinces of Batman, Bingol, Bitlis, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hakkari, Hatay, Kilis, Mardin, Mus, Sanliurfa, Siirt, Sirnak, Tunceli and Van. In all these locations, the situation is more dangerous at night and in rural areas. Tensions are high and further clashes are likely.
Kidnapping: As a result of the ongoing conflict in Syria, there is an increased threat of kidnapping in the regions bordering Syria. Terrorist groups operating in Syria and Iraq have demonstrated their capability and inclination to kidnap and murder westerners. These groups have the capability to extend their operations across the border into Turkey. Reconsider your need to travel to any area within 50 kilometres of Turkey's border with Syria and do not travel within 10 kilometres of the border due to the threat of kidnapping.
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it does not make payments or concessions to kidnappers. The Australian Government considers that paying a ransom increases the risk of further kidnappings, including of other Australians. If you do decide to travel to an area where there is a particular threat of kidnapping, you should seek professional security advice and have effective personal security measures in place. See our
Kidnapping threat travel bulletin.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our
Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin.
Civil unrest/political tension
Demonstrations have occurred sporadically in major cities in Turkey. These may form without warning and quickly intensify into violent clashes between protestors and police. Extremists have targeted political protests in the past. In October 2015 an attack on a peace rally in Ankara killed over 100 people. Tourists in the vicinity of protests may be affected by violent clashes.
Follow local sources of information on curfews. Obey all curfews and other instructions from local authorities and be aware that curfews can be imposed or extended without warning. Domestic and international events and political developments, particularly developments in Syria, may prompt demonstrations.
Police have regularly used tear gas, water cannons and plastic bullets to disperse gathered crowds. The effects of tear gas may be felt in surrounding areas.
All public gatherings, celebrations, demonstrations and protests can be banned by local authorities in Turkey due to security reasons.
Past protests in Istanbul have centred around Taksim Square and Istiklal Street (including streets surrounding Istikal as far as the Galata Tower and down to Kameralti Street, Karakoy) and in Besiktas and in the Kizilay and Tunali areas of Ankara. Protests may also occur in other districts of Istanbul , in Ankara and other cities, including but not limited to Adana, Antalya, Hatay and Izmir.
Violence has occurred regularly during May Day rallies on 1 May in Istanbul's Taksim Square. In previous years, the Persian New Year (20-21 March), celebrated by Turkey's Kurdish communities as "Nevruz", has been accompanied by mass rallies nationwide to support the Kurdish cause.
Muggings, assaults, pickpocketing and bag snatching occur in Turkey, especially in the tourist areas of Istanbul including Taksim Square, Sultanahmet, the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar.
Foreigners, including Australians, have been drugged and had their passports and other personal effects stolen after being befriended by English-speaking strangers. Drugs may be administered through drinks, food, chewing gum or confectionery. The victim becomes disorientated and compliant and may even become unconscious.
Tourists may be befriended by English-speaking locals, taken to a bar for food or drinks and then expected to pay an inflated bill, often thousands of dollars for a few drinks. Violence is threatened with the demand for payment. These scams are common, particularly in Istanbul. See
Tourists should be alert for scams when purchasing carpets in Turkey. Be particularly wary of purchasing agreements involving carpets purchased in Turkey and delivered by post.
Sexual Assault: There has been an increase in the number of violent sexual assaults against female tourists travelling alone or in small groups in popular tourist areas of Turkey, including in Istanbul and coastal resort areas such as Antalya.
Assaults are often committed by someone the victim has recently met. Women travelling alone should be particularly cautious. Female travellers are advised to avoid isolated locations and travelling alone after dark. See our travel information for
Women and advice on
Sexual Assault Overseas.
There have been reports that minors visiting toilet facilities alone have been sexually assaulted.
Money and valuables
Turkey's currency is the Lira (TRY). Major credit cards are widely accepted and EFTPOS and automated teller machines (ATMs) are widely available.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to
report a lost or stolen passport online or contact the nearest
Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
Following a number of terrorist attacks and an attempted coup, the Turkish government has increased security measures at major airports in Turkey. Airports are crowded and additional security and identity checks can cause delays for travellers. Reconfirm your travel arrangements, and check in time, before travelling to the airport.
Other local travel issues
Take extra care when driving in Turkey. With the exception of major freeways and arterial roads, the standard of road construction is generally poor. Travel at night on most country roads can be very hazardous due to inadequate lighting and local driving practices. For further advice, see our
road travel page.
Train travel is generally safe and efficient, but on occasion, accidents and derailments have resulted in deaths and injuries. Turkey has an extensive inter-city bus network which is inexpensive and reliable, however accidents resulting in deaths and injuries regularly occur.
When travelling to the Gallipoli Peninsula Peace Park, be prepared for the variable climatic conditions. Obey safety signage and directions; and do not wander off marked roads and tracks within the Park. If travelling as part of a tour group do not separate from the group and wander the Park alone.
Be aware that winter storms and the heavy volume of traffic seriously affect many coastal roads around Gallipoli, including those in the Park. Traffic restrictions may apply to the Anzac Cove road. However, pedestrians will still be able to access places of interest in the Park.
The safety standards you might expect of transport and tour operators, including adventure activities such as diving and ballooning, may not be of the same level as in Australia. Sufficient safety equipment may not be provided and recommended maintenance standards and safety precautions may not be observed. Always use available safety equipment, such as lifejackets or seatbelts, even if others don't. If appropriate safety equipment is not available, you should use another provider.
Turkish airports and commercial aircraft have been the subject of terrorist attacks, including a number of rocket attacks in recent years and the attempted hijacking of an Istanbul-bound passenger plane in 2014.
The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the
Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Turkey.
Refer to our general
air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.
You are subject to the local laws of Turkey, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our
Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
The Turkish government recognises dual nationality but, in accordance with legislation, will consider Turkish/Australian dual nationals to be Turkish citizens in relation to any legal matter. Our ability to provide consular assistance is likely to be very limited if you are a Turkish/Australian dual national detained in Turkey. Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the
Consular Services Charter.
If you are arrested in Turkey, you have the right to request that the local authorities inform the nearest Australian diplomatic mission.
Foreign nationals involved in any judicial process which results in their arrest or detention may be deported from Turkey after finalisation of court hearings or completion of their sentence. Deportation may occur even where an individual is not convicted.
Penalties for drug offences in Turkey are severe and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences. See our
Drink driving carries a minimum penalty of an on-the-spot fine and confiscation of your driver's licence.
It is illegal to photograph military installations in Turkey.
Mount Ararat, in the east of Turkey, is a special military zone. You need permission from the Turkish government to visit.
The unauthorised sale and exportation of antiquities is prohibited and carries long jail sentences. You need a receipt and an official certificate to export these items legally. Failure to do so could result in your arrest, detention or deportation.
The use of metal detectors to search for historical artefacts is illegal.
Homosexuality is not illegal, however it is not widely accepted. See our
LGBTI travellers page.
Public displays of affection could result in prosecution for public order offences.
It is illegal to insult Turkey, the Turkish nation, the national flag and to deface or destroy Turkish currency. It is also illegal to insult the Turkish President, Turkish Government institutions and the name and image of the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Severe penalties, including imprisonment, can be, and have been, imposed for these offences.
It is illegal not to carry photographic identification with you in Turkey. Carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years' imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.
State of Emergency Law
Following an attempted coup in July 2016, the Turkish President declared a three-month State of Emergency starting from 21 July. The State of Emergency has been extended a number of times and remains in force. This has led to an increase in police and military activity and a significant increase in the extra-judicial power of authorities.
Possible measures available to authorities under the State of Emergency Law include: the ability to ban people's movements, to search people and vehicles and to confiscate suspicious materials; limited or full curfews; restriction of media and restriction of printing and distribution of publications; bans on meetings and demonstrations; and suspension of activities of associations. International travel bans have been imposed on foreigners as well as dual nationals.
The Turkish Government has issued a number of decrees under the State of Emergency which contain measures that may impact on the rights and freedoms of residents and travellers to Turkey, including measures that substantially weaken the rights of detained suspects.
The Ministry of the Interior has implemented additional documentation requirements for public servants and their dependents undertaking overseas travel, regardless of nationality. Turkish official passport holders are now required to submit a letter from their employer authorising their overseas travel.
Dual nationals are reminded that, while the Turkish government recognises dual nationality, in accordance with legislation, Turkey will consider Turkish/Australian dual nationals to be Turkish citizens in relation to any legal matter.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected to begin in late May 2017. During Ramadan, Australians travelling to countries with significant Muslim communities should take care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. In particular, people who are not fasting are advised to avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and in the presence of people who are fasting. While some parts of Turkey are very familiar with tourists and/or have many locals who don't fast, other areas are more conservative. For more information see our
Ramadan travel bulletin.
There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in many parts of Turkey. Some regions are more conservative than others. Respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities. If in doubt, seek local advice.
Visitors should dress modestly, particularly at mosques and religious shrines.
Information for dual nationals
Australian males who hold Turkish citizenship may be required to undertake military service upon their return to Turkey. Prior to travel, Turkish/Australian dual nationals should seek advice from the nearest
Embassy or Consulate of Turkey.
The Turkish government recognises dual nationality but, in accordance with legislation, will consider Turkish/Australian dual nationals to be Turkish citizens in relation to any legal matter. Our ability to provide consular assistance is likely to be very limited if you are a Turkish/Australian dual national detained in Turkey.
If you are travelling or relocating to Turkey please assess your welfare requirements as the services you receive in Australia may not be available in Turkey.
Dual nationals page provides further information.
Take out comprehensive
travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The
World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our
health pages also provide useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
The standard of medical facilities throughout Turkey varies. While private hospitals with international standard facilities can be found in major cities, services can be limited elsewhere. Private hospitals generally require confirmation of insurance or a guarantee of payment before admitting a patient. Costs can be high. Generally, serious illnesses and accidents can be treated at private or teaching hospitals in Ankara and Istanbul. However, medical evacuation, at considerable cost, may be necessary in some serious cases.
Australians who reside in Turkey for more than 12 months may have access to Turkey's Universal Health Insurance (UHI). Information on this can be found on the
Australian Embassy in Ankara website.
Decompression chambers are located near popular dive sites throughout Turkey in Çubuklu, Izmir, Bodrum, Oludeniz, and Eceabat.
Malaria is a risk from May to October mainly in the south-eastern part of the country, and in Amikova and Çukurova Plain. There is no malaria risk in the main tourist areas in the west and south-west of the country. Other insect-borne diseases (such as leishmaniasis and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, CCHF) also occur. CCHF is prevalent in central Anatolia to the north and east of Ankara. Seasonal outbreaks (from early summer) of CCHF have been fatal. Consider taking medication against malaria, and to take measures to avoid insect bites including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing, and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.
Water-borne, food-borne, and other infectious diseases (including tuberculosis, typhoid, hepatitis, measles and rabies) occur with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food, and avoid unpasteurised dairy products.
Avian influenza: The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed human deaths from avian influenza in Turkey. See our
health pages for further information.
Where to get help
The Australian Embassy in Ankara continues to deliver essential consular and passport services. But all visitors to the Embassy are required to make an appointment in advance. To make an appointment you should call (+90 312) 459 9500.Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider. Your travel insurer should have a 24 hour emergency number.
For criminal issues in major cities, contact the local police on 155 (English speakers are not always available). In rural areas, the Jandarma can be contacted on 156. The emergency number for ambulance assistance is 112. The Police departments of Ankara, Antalya, Istanbul and Izmir have dedicated tourism police units. The Istanbul Tourist Police can be contacted on +90 212 527 4503. You should also obtain a police report when reporting a crime.
To complain about tourism services, contact the service provider directly. If you are not satisfied with their response, you may contact the tourism police on 155 (within city limits) for more advice.
Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and cannot do to assist Australians overseas. For consular assistance, see contact details below:
Australian Embassy, Ankara
The Australian Embassy in Ankara continues to deliver essential consular and passport services. But all visitors to the Embassy are required to make an appointment in advance. To make an appointment you should call (90 312) 459 9500.
88 Uğur Mumcu Caddesi
Gaziosmanpaşa Ankara TURKEY
Telephone: (90 312) 459 9500
Facsimile: (90 312) 446 4827
Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
Australian Consulate-General, Istanbul
The Australian Embassy Consulate-General in Istanbul continues to deliver essential consular and passport services. But all visitors to the Consulate-General are required to make an appointment in advance. To make an appointment you should call (90 212) 393 8542.
Süzer Plaza (Ritz Carlton Hotel),
Askerocaĝı Caddesi No. 15, Elmadağ
Telephone: (90 212) 393 8542
Australian Consulate, Çanakkale
Telephone: (90 286) 218 1721
Facsimile: (90 286) 218 1724
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the missions, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
Severe drought conditions can affect water supply to a number of cities in Turkey. Running water may not be available in many places, including in hotels and other forms of accommodation. You should take additional care to guard against water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (see
health for more information).
Bush and forest fires often occur during the summer months (usually June to September), particularly in heavily forested areas and during periods of high temperatures and low rainfall. In the past, fires have burned close to holiday areas on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts and in the Gallipoli Peninsula.
Turkey is in an active earthquake zone. Our
earthquakes page provides further information on travel in earthquake prone areas.
In early February 2017 a series of large earthquakes occurred in Canakkale and surrounding towns, approximately 25kms north west of Anzac Cove, injuring a number of people and destroying hundreds of homes. The largest measured 5.5 on the Richter scale and strong aftershocks were felt for many days. On 24 May 2014, an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale occurred in Canakkale, injuring 90 people. On 28 December 2013, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake occurred in Antalya in southern Turkey. On 30 July 2013, a 5.3 magnitude earthquake occurred in Canakkale. On 23 October 2011, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake occurred near the city of Van in eastern Turkey, killing hundreds and injuring thousands. Many buildings collapsed and infrastructure was damaged.
Information on natural disasters can be obtained from
GDACS. If you are in an area affected by a natural disaster, you should monitor the media and follow the advice of authorities.