What is it?
You used to be able to buy a paper visa at the airport of Turkey, but times have changed. Nowadays you have to get one online: the electronic Visa, or ‘e-Visa’. While it might sound easier to buy a paper visa at the border like in the past, e-Visas do have some advantages.
The e-Visa is much cheaper than the paper visa was, and instead of waiting in line for hours at the airport, you can complete your Turkish Visa application in as little as 15 minutes with E-visum.
Do I need one?
You need an e-Visa to be granted access to Turkey, unless you're a citizen from one of the e-Visa exempt countries (listed below). For most countries, the e-Visa is valid for 180 non-consecutive days, for stays of up to 90 days each, with many countries’ citizens allowed multiple entry (see below). You can find out how long an e-Visa issued to a national of your home country is valid for on the Turkish government website.
e-Visa exempt countries
Citizens of the following countries are exempt from needing an e-Visa to enter Turkey: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belize, Bolivia, Ecuador, Iran, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Jordan, Lebanon, Mongolia, Morocco, Qatar, Russia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
If you are a citizen from one of the following countries, you can get a multiple-entry e-Visa, meaning you can enter Turkey as many times as you want during the valid duration of your visa:
Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Grenada, Haiti, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, USA, United Arab Emirates, and the UK.
Traveling to Turkey with an e-Visa
You need to show your visa at the airport, but as it is an electronic visa you can simply have it stored on your phone or tablet - there is no need to print it off. However, it might be a good idea to carry a paper copy with you, just in case your device malfunctions or runs out of battery.
Once you're in Turkey, you're legally required to carry your e-Visa on you at all times so the authorities can identify you without any problems. Again, the fact that you can store this on your phone means this isn’t really a problem.
Once you get your residence permit you don't need your e-Visa anymore and you don't have to worry about that any longer!