Obtaining an International Student Visa
Depending on nationality and bi-national agreements, there is more than one visa or entry option available for exchange/international students. These are traditional consular visa, e-Visa, passport, national ID, or airport visa entries. Once you have a clear understanding of how you will enter Turkey and what is most convenient for you, you will be able to make your choice.
See below for a step by step guide for deciding how you will proceed:
STEP 1: Visit http://www.mfa.gov.tr/visa-information-for-foreigners.en.mfa. This is the official website of Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Find your country in the A-Z list for visa information.
STEP 2: Understand the visa/passport terminology. ORDINARY refers to TOURISTIC; OFFICIAL refers to SERVICE or DIPLOMATIC. If a visa is necessary, students MUST look at rules associated with ORDINARY (regular) passport unless they hold diplomatic passports.
STEP 3: Depending on the situations given below, we have written the corresponding action you must take. Please go to your country of citizenship in the list and follow these actions. IF THE VISA RULE READS:
- “Ordinary and official passport holders are exempted from visa for their travels up to 90 days.” – Enter Turkey with your valid passport. NO visa required.
- “Ordinary, Special and Service passport holders are required to have visa to enter Turkey. These passport holders with a valid Schengen members or USA, UK, Ireland visa or residence permit may get their single entry e-Visas valid for one month e-Visas via the website www.evisa.gov.tr, provided that they meet certain conditions.” – If you meet the requirement mentioned above, visit www.visa.gov.tr to make your visa application appointment and go to the nearest consulate for an in-person visa interview to obtain your visa for Turkey.
- “Ordinary passport holders are required to have visa to enter Turkey. They can obtain three month multiple entry e-Visas via the website www.evisa.gov.tr.” – Visit www.evisa.gov.tr and obtain your touristic visa, pay online, print it, and travel to Turkey. Note: Students can also purchase a touristic visa upon arrival to Turkey at airports whenever e-Visa option is available for them. However, buying the visa online will cost less.
Even though the visa website mentioned above states, “Please note that e-visa is only valid when the purpose of travel is tourism or commerce. For other purposes, such as work and study, visas are given by Turkish Embassies or Consulates” international students admitted to a higher education program are officially eligible for touristic visa or passport entry if either of these options are available for their country.
- STUDENTS ARE RECOMMENDED TO TRAVEL TO TURKEY WITH A TOURISTIC e-VISA or VISA EXEMPT VALID PASSPORT if these options are available to them. A student visa obtained at a consulate is NOT RECOMMENDED unless there is no other option available for a student. A student visa is a single entry visa, and therefore restricts traveling until a student has a residence permit in Turkey. Most touristic visas are valid for 90 days and allow for multiple entries.
- Since each incoming international student is required to apply for a residence permit in Turkey, he/she must travel with a VALID PASSPORT. Immigration Authorities do not accept any other travel document for the residence permit application.
- Passports must be valid at least 60 days longer than the duration of the study period. The longer, the better.
- Students with Turkish citizenship or holding a Blue Card are not required to seek visa or residence permit to Turkey. Entry with a valid passport is recommended, yet valid Turkish ID’s are also accepted. Students with dual citizenships are advised to carry both passports they possess.
For more information about passport and visa rules, visit http://www.mfa.gov.tr/visa-information-for-foreigners.en.mfa and you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for your questions. Please note: We have answers for all your visa/immigration related questions; you do not need to seek this information elsewhere and any other information you might rely on might be misleading.