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What to expect when travelling to Turkey this year post-COVID

Turkey is a popular summer hotspot for many Brits and it’s obvious why, with the culturally diverse locations on offer, with influences from the Mediterranean, Middle East, the Balkans and Central Asia. Whether you’re looking to dive into the culture, catch a few rays or go on a foodie tour, Turkey has more than first meets the eye.

If you’re heading on a holiday to Turkey this year or looking to plan one, here is what to expect when travelling to Turkey year post-COVID.


Travelling to Turkey

Traffic light system

Before you’re planning to head off on your Turkey trip, you’ll need to see where it is on the new traffic light system for international travel. From May 17th, the international travel rule has been relaxed. The traffic light system has been introduced to know which countries you’re able to visit and what regulations are in place before you go, whilst you’re there and when you return home.

At the time of travel, see where Turkey is on the list. If Turkey is on the red or amber list, there will be regulations put in place when you return to the UK, including quarantine and testing. If on the green list, you should be able to travel freely without quarantine on return but a vaccine may be needed, it depends on what the country’s requirements are at the time of travel.

It’s important to be aware of what you’re covered for and of the quarantine measures on your return home before departing to an amber or red listed country. At Holidaysafe, we will provide some cover under our policies for customers travelling to amber countries and territories providing they are not travelling against the advice of the FCDO. For more information, visit our Coronavirus Travel Insurance page.

Rules and restrictions in place on arrival

Travellers of all nationalities should be able to enter Turkey as long as they’re in line with the immigration regulations which you can find out more information on here. It’s recommended to travellers to be mindful that rules are constantly under review and changing what is allowed and what isn’t.

Turkey’s borders are currently open to all tourists. There are some countries who have travel restrictions when travelling to Turkey but for most nationalities including the UK, you can follow the usual procedure of applying for an e-visa as long as you meet the requirements. The countries that have restrictions need to quarantine on arrival.

Before entering, there are a couple of things you need to do. Firstly, you’ll need to complete a ‘Traveller Entry Form’ 4 days before you enter the country. Children under 6 are exempt from doing this. The form will include your contact details such as where you’re staying in Turkey. The ‘Form for Entry to Turkey’ will need to be completed online and shown before you get on your flight to Turkey and upon your arrival to the country.

From May 16th, you will not need to take a PCR test (and negative COVID result/Fit to Fly certificate) to fly to Turkey when travelling from the UK. However, this may change and it’s worthwhile checking a week before you fly as the test will need to be done 72 hours before your flight.

On arrival at the airport, there will be general medical checks including temperature control. And, if you do test positive, the authorities will take you to a medical facility for treatment.

Restrictions in place for tourists out and about

The Turkish authorities have put many rules and restrictions in place to keep the country safe for tourists and locals, and it’s important to be mindful of these. Facemasks are mandatory when you’re out and about including in the streets, parks and on public transport. Restaurants and cafes have a curfew and are only open for delivery between 10am and 8pm, and hotel restaurants are open to guests only. Supermarkets, shopping malls, hairdressers and barbers are also open from 10am to 8pm. The entertainment facilities such as pools, Turkish baths, cinemas, saunas and amusement bars are closed.

In terms of curfews, none are put in place for foreigners travelling to the country. However, residents and citizens have the following curfews: on weekdays, 9pm to 5am and on weekends 9pm to 5am on Friday and on Monday.

Travelling safe in Turkey

When you’re travelling around Turkey, it’s important to be mindful of others and practise safety measures. This includes sanitising regularly, avoiding contact with those who are unwell, not visiting crowded events and wearing face masks. And, if you’re experiencing symptoms you must contact the doctors immediately or speak to our GP service.

Travelling back to the UK

Restrictions when you arrive back in the UK:

Green list

Returning home from Turkey can have a few implications, depending on where Turkey is on the traffic light system at your time of travel. If Turkey is on the green list, here are the things you need to do:

It’s also important to be aware, if the rules change when you’re away and the country gets moved onto the amber/red list or if you travel through a country on that list (in terms of stopovers), you’ll need to follow the amber or red list rules on arrival.

Amber list

If Turkey is on the amber list before you set off or changes whilst you’re away, the restrictions are slightly stricter than countries on the green list. Before heading home to the UK, here are a few things you need to do:

Red list

The red list needs to have more caution and the most preparation before your trip and here are the things you need to do:

All information correct at the time of writing and publishing 20th May 2021. For up to date information, visit the government website.

If you’re heading to Turkey soon and need protection for your trip, find the right travel insurance policy for you.

*Please note, Holidaysafe's online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices. This code entitles you to an additional 5% off your policy, and is a discount from the base price, not including the additional cost of optional extensions or any additional medical premium.
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