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My Turkish Embassy Visa application experience & interview tips
Photo of Ra'eesah Manack Ra'eesah Manack
10 min read
Updated on May 14, 2024

This is part of the Been There, Done That series, where our expert globetrotters travel the world to get the insights and information you need to have a seamless travel experience.

Turkey is an incredibly sought-after destination, drawing in more than 40 million visitors annually. It's easy to see why. This stunning country is a melting pot of European, Asian, and Middle Eastern cultures, boasting breathtaking architecture, rich historical sites, and picturesque landscapes.

It's truly a place that offers something captivating for every traveler.

And so, I too found myself on the path to applying for a Turkish Visa, faced with navigating the application intricacies and the all-important interview. Since I can't get the Turkey eVisa from Botswana, just like some other nationalities, my only option is to head to the embassy to submit my application.

In this article, I'll share my experience with the Turkish Visa process and interview tips for fellow travelers for a smooth and quick approval.

turkey woman skies view

Curious about my Turkey trip? Check out our airport guides from our travel reporter for Turkey for a smooth entry:

Also, check out my personal guide on what to see and do in Istanbul here, full of local tips and hidden gems!

Choosing the right visa for your trip to Turkey

When planning a trip to Turkey, it's important to choose the right type of visa based on your travel purpose and nationality.

For tourists like me, there are two main options: the Turkey Embassy Visa and the Turkey eVisa. Let's dive into what sets these two apart so you can pick the one that best matches your travel plans.

Turkey eVisa

The application process for the Turkey eVisa, also called the electronic visa can be done entirely online. You apply, pay, and get the eVisa via email. No need for embassy visits!

  • Convenience: Usually, it takes just a few minutes to fill out the form, and the visa often arrives in your inbox within 48 hours.

  • Who can apply: If you’re lucky enough to have a passport from one of these 29 countries, you can simply apply for your Turkey eVisa online:

Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, United Kingdom, British Nationals (Overseas), Canada, China, Cyprus, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Fiji, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Oman, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Suriname, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, and the United States.

  • Stay duration: Generally, you can stay up to 30 - 90 days in Total, depending on your home country.

iVisa tip: Use iVisa’s simplified online application process for the Turkey eVisa and get your eVisa even quicker!

Turkey Embassy Visa

If you're not eligible for the eVisa or visa-free access to the country like me, you must get the traditional Turkey Visa before you go by visiting a Turkish Embassy or Consulate.

  • Convenience: While there are more steps than the eVisa application, and you must provide more documents for the Turkey Visa application, I received mine just a few days after submitting it.

  • Who can apply: If you can’t get an eVisa, and are not from a visa-exempt country, you’ll need the Turkey Embassy Visa instead.

  • Stay duration: This varies greatly based on your nationality and your specific situation.

The bottom line

Choose an eVisa if you're eligible and just visiting for a short trip. Go for the traditional Turkey Visa if you aren’t eligible for the eVisa, or you require a longer or different kind of stay in Turkey.

Both get you to Turkey, but one's just a bit more click-click-done, while the other's more like the traditional route of paperwork and embassy visits.

How to apply for the Turkey Visa

If you're planning to get a Turkish Visa from Botswana or another country, let me give you the rundown based on my own experience. It's a bit of a process, but totally doable with this step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Reach out to your nearest Turkish Embassy or Consulate

I kicked things off by emailing the embassy in Botswana to ask about the visa application process. They got back to me with a detailed email and a PDF that explained everything – including how to pay the visa fees.

iVisa tip: Some embassies provide application details on their websites, while others might require you to reach out directly for more information. Either way, iVisa offers a convenient Embassy Directory where you can easily find the contact details of the Turkish Embassy nearest to you.

Step 2: Fill out the application form

Next up, I headed over to the official visa application site, for which you’ll receive a link by email. To get the right information and language, enter your home country and select the nearest Turkish Embassy.

After filling out the details, I uploaded all the necessary documents. These documents (more on these in the next sections) must all be uploaded in PDF format. You’ll also have to print them and bring them to the embassy.

Print, fill out, and sign the application form and also upload it to the online platform. In addition to uploading, you’ll also have to print all documents and bring them to the embassy during your appointment.

Step 3: Booking my visa interview

Following this, you’ll get to a page that states: Make booking. This is to make an appointment for your visa interview.

I selected an available date and time by clicking one of the blank squares on the calendar (gray squares are taken). You receive a confirmation by email with where to go.

iVisa tip: Make sure to plan your trip accordingly, as approval can take between 3 and 14 days from the interview date. I would recommend that you apply at least 14 days before your trip.

Step 4: Paying the Turkey Visa fees

The payment method for the visa fees depends on where you’re applying from, so be sure to follow the instructions in the PDF or on the website of your nearest Turkey Embassy.

I had to pay specifically at the ABSA Bank of Botswana into the Turkish Consular Account. Here are the fees from Botswana, but these may vary depending on your nationality:

  • Single-entry: US$60
  • Multiple-entry: US$190

Extra payment tips:

  • Visa fees paid in one calendar year won't carry over to the next, so plan your payment and application around this if you're planning a trip to Turkey around December or January.

  • Any transfer fees are on you.

  • Make sure your full name is on the proof of payment – they won't accept it otherwise.

  • And remember, the fees aren't refundable, so it’s critical that you double-check everything carefully before submitting your application.

What to expect at the Turkey Visa appointment

If you're headed to the Turkish Embassy for your visa, here’s the lowdown on what to expect:

Location and parking

I made sure to check the address and location of the embassy ahead of time. You can use iVisa’s Embassy Directory as a starting point, but it's always good to confirm the exact location.

I planned some extra time to deal with traffic and parking hassles – trust me, it's better to be early. I aimed to be there at least 15 minutes before my appointment. Also, consider public transport delays if you’re opting for that.

Once you’re there

Once I got inside the building, the first stop was the security desk, where they checked the appointment schedule with my full name.

To find the right area for the Turkey Embassy, check the signs for the right floor/room, or ask someone. If you see the Turkish flag, you know you’re at the right spot.

I had to show my passport and sign in on a register to enter the embassy. There was a metal detector to pass through, so I checked my visa instructions beforehand to ensure I wasn't carrying anything I shouldn't.

After that, I was directed to a waiting area.

The interview process

When it was my turn, I went up to the window in the waiting room. That's where the interviewer and I chatted about my travel plans, and they checked my documents.

turkey office waiting
A short wait before my Turkey Visa interview.

If you want a sneak peek into the questions they might ask, scroll down for some useful tips.

Providing my biometrics

After the interview, I was taken to another room to have my fingerprints taken digitally (no inky hands!).

The person taking my fingerprints didn’t speak English, but it was all pretty straightforward. If you need help or clarification, be sure to ask.

Visa and passport collection

One thing to keep in mind is that they will keep your passport for processing. Make sure you don’t need your passport for anything important in the next week or so, or have an alternative form of ID available for important things.

They’ll let you know when your visa is approved by phone and give you a time and date for pickup.

iVisa tip: Keep your reference number on hand when picking up your visa.

The Turkish Visa will be placed in your passport as a sticker. Always check if the dates and other details on the visa are correct before leaving the embassy (mistakes happen).

Common Turkey Visa interview questions

When I went for my Turkey Visa application interview, I was asked various questions to assess my travel plans and intentions. Here's a snapshot of the common questions they asked:

  • Purpose of visit: They wanted to know why I was traveling to Turkey, whether it was for tourism or to visit family and friends.

  • Travel itinerary: They asked about my planned itinerary in Turkey, including the places I intended to visit and the duration of my stay in each location.

  • Accommodation details: Questions about where I would be staying were also asked. I provided them with hotel booking details and addresses.

  • Financial means: They inquired about how I planned to finance my trip, asking for proof of funds or a bank statement to ensure I had sufficient financial means for the duration of my stay.

  • Employment status: I was asked about my job and the nature of my work in Botswana. This also included questions about who would cover my responsibilities while I was away, if applicable.

  • Family and social ties: They were interested in my family and social ties in my home country to understand my reasons for returning after I visited Turkey.

  • Previous travel: They also asked about my travel history, especially any previous visits to Turkey or other countries.

Remember, these questions can vary depending on individual circumstances and the specific requirements of the Turkish Embassy in your country.

Being prepared and honest in your responses is key, and make sure to provide proof of your plans in your documentation, such as hotel bookings, bank statements, and more.

Required supporting documents for the Turkey Visa application

Here’s what you need to submit for your application for a Turkey Visa:

  • Passport: It must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of arrival in Turkey and have at least 2 blank pages.

  • Completed application form: You’ll receive this from the embassy or can find it on the Turkish government website.

  • Proof of visa fee payment: The receipt must show your full name as it appears on your passport.

  • Hotel and flight bookings: Confirmations of your flights to and from Turkey and where you’ll be staying in the country.

iVisa tip: While the application asks for booking confirmations, we recommend booking a flexible ticket or accommodation with free cancellation to account for any delays in the visa application process.

  • Travel insurance: Not having proper travel insurance that covers Turkey is one of the most common reasons for rejection. Make sure to take out specific travel insurance, and don’t just rely on your medical insurance, as this won’t be seen as sufficient.

  • Two passport photos: The specifications for these can be found here. All regular passport specifications and regulations must be followed.

  • Invitation letter (if you have one): If you’re staying with family or friends.

  • Bank statements: Show statements from the last three months with a balance of at least US$1200 (or equivalent in your local currency) and regular income.

  • For self-employed people: Proof of employment, business registration, and bank statements.

  • If someone’s sponsoring your trip: A support letter, their bank statements showing a balance over US$1800 (or equivalent in your local currency), and their employment/business documents.

The embassy might ask for more details, such as bank statements from the last 12 months. Visa fees aren’t refundable, so make sure everything’s spot on before you submit.

Neatly organize everything in a folder.

Need extra assistance during your visa interview?

Do you have any special requirements or require a bit of extra help with your Turkey Visa? No problem at all! Just give the embassy a ring or email them to check the available options and accessibility. For instance, my partner has hearing difficulties, and he was welcome to bring someone along to help with interpreting.

There's no need to worry – the embassy staff isn't there to trick you. In my experience, they're generally quite helpful and approachable, so don't hesitate to ask questions if you need to. A friendly and open attitude can go a long way!

Once you're traveling

Since the visa will be placed in your passport as a sticker, keep it safe and secure throughout your trip. Without it, you can't board your flight and enter Turkey.

iVisa tip: Traveling from a lesser-known country, such as Botswana in my case, might mean facing additional inquiries from immigration officials upon arrival or departure. To navigate this smoothly, always have your visa and passport readily accessible. It's also wise to carry any confirmations and relevant documents related to your trip.

Being prepared with these items can streamline the process, even if you're subject to a bit more scrutiny. With everything in order, you'll be ready to answer questions confidently and continue on your journey quickly.

Have more questions about visas for Turkey or another destination? We’re happy to help! Chat with us or email us at [email protected].

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