The Malta Independent 3 December 2021, Friday

COVID testing requirements for entry to Turkey

Tuesday, 27 April 2021, 08:00 Last update: about 5 months ago

The global COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in disruptions to travel around the globe, with new restrictions for various countries being implemented on a daily basis. This has been no different for those who wish to travel to Turkey during coronavirus, and now there are added testing requirements that foreign visitors must meet.

In addition to checking if they need a Turkey visa to gain access to the country, foreign passport holders are now strongly advised to familiarize themselves with Turkish COVID-19 test requirements to ensure they do not face any problems boarding a flight or at border entry points.

Turkish travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic

Although Turkey lifted its coronavirus travel ban for the majority of foreign citizens back in June 2020, it continued to impose restrictions such as weekend curfews for all residents of the country and the closure of non-essential businesses. Furthermore, safety measures such as obligatory face-mask use on public transportation and in enclosed spaces continue to be enforced in Turkey.

Additionally, on December 30th, 2020, Turkey introduced a mandatory COVID test requirement for anyone planning to board a flight for the country. The measure was implemented in order to further contain the spread of coronavirus and safeguard the health of Turkish residents and visitors alike.

Who needs a COVID-19 test to travel to Turkey?

A negative COVID-19 test is now required for all Maltese travelers boarding a flight for Turkey, as well as all other passengers including Turkish nationals and permanent residents. This is a mandatory requirement regardless of whether the traveler is intending to stay in Turkey for an extended period or simply transit through to an onward destination.

However, a few exceptions apply. Passengers under the age of 6 are not required to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test to enter Turkey, nor are merchant seaman.

In addition to having a negative coronavirus test. passengers should also ensure that they meet the necessary travel document and visa requirements for Turkey.

The majority of foreign citizens are required to present a valid passport to Turkish immigration authorities to gain entry to the country. The minimum validity required on the passport differs depending on nationality, although residents of Malta are able to enter Turkey using their national ID card in lieu of a passport.

It should be noted that Maltese passport holders are permitted visa-free entry to Turkey for short stays up to 90 days for tourism, transit, or business activities..However, they are required to obtain a Turkish visa from an embassy for longer stays and other purposes such as to work or study.

Coronavirus test requirements for Turkey

All passengers intending to fly to Turkey must now present a medical certificate showing a negative coronavirus test result in order to board a plane for the country, regardless of whether they are flying with Turkish Airlines or with another aircraft carrier.

If you are traveling to Turkey as a Maltese resident, this means that you'll have to take a coronavirus test in Malta in the days leading up to your flight. The test must be taken a maximum of 72 hours before departure from the first embarkation point.

Additionally, Turkey specifies that the testing method used must be a COVID-19 PCR test. Other types of coronavirus tests are not accepted as valid proof of testing negative for COVID-19 by the Turkish government. This requirement is expected to remain in force until April 14th, 2021 at the earliest. 

Other restrictions to visit Turkey during Coronavirus

In addition to the requirement to present a negative COVID-19 test to airline crew and to immigration authorities on arrival, the Turkish government has implemented several other coronavirus safety measures for arriving passengers.

These include the need for all passengers aged 6 and over to complete an online  "Traveler Entry Form" on the Turkish government website before departure. The form must be presented at check-in for a flight as well as to border officials on arrival to guarantee entry to the country. All arriving passengers and airline crew must also undergo medical screening at the port of entry in Turkey.

Maltese travelers should note that if they have been in or transited through  Brazil, Denmark, South Africa, or the United Kingdom, they will not be permitted to enter Turkey unless for humanitarian purposes. In these cases, they will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in addition to having to present a negative coronavirus PCR test to board their flight.

Passengers arriving from these countries who only intend to transit through Turkey are not required to meet the coronavirus testing requirement. However, they are advised to check flight restrictions regarding mandatory PCR tests for their final destination.

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