Travel looks strange these days: masks are the norm, your temperature will be taken at the airport, and hotels have quarantine rooms. Here, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Covid travel in Turkey.
Is it safe to travel to Turkey right now?
The Covid-19 situation is constantly evolving, and that includes Turkey. However, the country has opened its borders to non-essential travellers, which includes tourists from all countries. Coronavirus cases have stabilised in Turkey, and a dedicated team of tracing detectives is helping curb the spread. The work done by Turkey's Ministry of Health has meant Turkey has escaped the worst case scenario, and the high death rates of other countries.
With tourism an integral part of Turkey's economy, hotels and tourist destinations have worked hard to provide safe places for tourists. However, conditions can always change, so check your country's travel advisory before you book a trip.
Do I need a Covid test to travel to Turkey?
Currently, no. However, passengers will undergo screening when they land in Turkey. Please see below for more information.
Do I need Covid insurance to travel to Turkey?
It's not compulsory, but you can buy a specific Covid-related insurance before you travel to Turkey. This is valid for anyone up to the age of 65, and is for a maximum of 30 days. It costs up to US$120, depending on your length of stay, and covers you for Covid treatment at public and private hospitals, including intensive care. Please note that you will still need travel insurance, as you would any other trip. There are several ways you can do this:
- Via your airline
- Online through covidinsurance4turkey.com
- From kiosks in Turkish airports
What is a public health passenger locator card? And do I need one?
To help with passenger contact tracing, the World Health Organization has developed a locator card to gather travellers' data. You will be asked to fill this out before you hit the runway at your destination. If you'd like to fill it in beforehand, you can download it here.
Will I be tested for Covid when I arrive in Turkey?
Upon arrival, each passenger goes through thermal screening. If you're suspected to have Covid-19, you will be put in an isolated waiting room in the airport. If you have no symptoms other than a raised temperature, you will be able to leave, but you'll be given instructions.
If you have symptoms, you will be tested and asked to wait for the results. This takes about two hours.
What happens if I test positive for Covid at the airport?
If your result is positive, you'll be transferred to a hospital. There, staff will assess you and decide whether you will stay in the hospital, or be able to be spend the isolation period in your hotel.
What happens if my isolation period is longer than my holiday?
Any extra accommodation costs will be covered by the hotel. However, if you don't wish to spend your isolation period in Turkey, you can request a flight home. This is completely up to an airline's discretion.
What if I develop Covid symptoms while in Turkey?
You will need to self isolate, and call the hotline for the health department on 184. The subsequent procedures will be along the same lines as outlined above, for arriving passengers.
Can I get tested for Covid in Turkey before I fly home?
If you're required to return home with a Covid-negative result, visitors can get a test at a testing area, there are 135 around the country or there are testing areas in the airport, before passport control.
What is the Safe Tourism Program, and how can I find out if my hotel is part of it?
This non-compulsory program allows hotels, cafes and restaurants to apply for a certificate that shows they have taken all precautions around Covid-19 safety. If your hotel doesn't appear on the list, it doesn't mean they aren't "safe"; many small businesses will make efforts to comply without joining the program. The list of Safe Tourism locations can be found here.
What is a HES code? Do I need a HES code?
A HES (Hayat Eve Sigar – Life Fits Into Home) code has been implemented by the Ministry of Health. It's a tracing tool to help limit the spread of Covid on public transport. Only Turkish citizens and residents are required to have a HES code for domestic travel.
However, some smaller bus operators might not have heard about the exemption for foreign visitors. If this happens, it's easy for tourists to obtain a HES code by texting 2023: Write "HES", followed by your nationality, your passport number, birth year and surname. For example, if your surname is Brown and you're from the UK, you might text: "HES UK 1234554321 1976 BROWN".
Do I have to wear a face mask in Turkey?
Face masks are mandatory in Turkey whenever you're in a public space. However, in a bar, cafe or restaurant, you may remove your mask once seated. If you're poolside, or sunbathing at the beach, you also don't need a mask. But any other public place: including museums, historical sites and institutions like libraries or municipal buildings, you will be refused entry without a mask.
Can I go to bars and clubs?
Yes. However, from midnight the music will be turned off.
Can I take public transport?
Yes, but you're required to wear a mask. Taxis can carry a maximum of three (mask wearing) passengers.
Is there a curfew?
Turkish residents over 65 are only allowed out between 10am and 8pm. It's up to local authorities as to whether they enforce this for tourists. However, in Antalya, Bodrum and Fethiye this curfew is not in place for tourists.
For more information, please get in touch with us.
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