Holiday-Maker's Guide: Getting a Turkish Visa
While the debate over whether to accept Turkey's long standing application to accede to the European Union continues to rumble on, getting a hold of a travel visa remains a prerequisite for a Turkish holiday. The good news is that, thanks to renewed diplomatic ties between London and Istanbul, the whole process of obtaining one has been made much easier in recent years.
How to apply
One thing to bear in mind from the outset is that tourists - particularly inexperienced ones - are considered easy fodder for scam artists looking to make a quick buck. No matter how good the offers seem elsewhere, you should always make sure you source your documentation through the official channels, which in this case is the Turkish government's eVisa website.
The website states that it accepts applications as little as 48 hours before a tourist's expected arrival in Turkey, but it's usually a good idea to get things sorted out in advance in order to ensure any errors on your paperwork can be rectified in good time.
In the spirit of the EU - a community the country has been keen to join for a couple of decades now - Turkish regulations on tourists have been relaxed somewhat in recent years. This is, of course, contingent on your country of origin - but British holidaymakers, automatically eligible for an eVisa, should encounter few obstacles.
When it comes to documentation, you need to make sure your passport has at least six months validity from the date of your expected arrival, and an accompanying photo that is undamaged and up to date.
If you're travelling the breadth of the world's oceans on a cruise ship and happen to get the opportunity to explore a Turkish seaport city during a changeover, you won't require a visa - provided your stay lasts no more than 72 hours.
For everyone else, the eVisa permits UK nationals to stay a period of up to 90 days on their holidays (these can be extended at some additional cost if you are visiting the country for work or study). Typical eVisas allow only one entry per person, though as a British citizen you can also look into getting one that permits multiple entries - which can come in handy if you planning to stop over at a neighbouring country for a night or two.
The good news is eVisas are among the cheapest to get your hands on, costing around £15 per person for British nationals. This includes the cost of the service itself (although it does not include any extra expenses incurred through sourcing support documents, photographs, and so forth).
You should also be wary of the fact that these visas are completely non-refundable, and any mistakes made on your application or changes to your expected arrival date will mean you have to re-apply at the full price.