Türkiye Lifts Visa Requirements for Six Countries, Boosting Travel and Diplomacy

In a decisive move to fortify international ties and invigorate its tourism sector, Türkiye recently announced a significant visa policy adjustment. As of December 22, a presidential decree, endorsed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and published in the Official Gazette on December 23, waived the visa requirement for nationals hailing from the United States, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. 

This monumental decree holds great significance, symbolizing Türkiye‘s strategic initiative to foster diplomatic relationships while catalyzing tourism influx. It permits tourists from these six nations to luxuriate in Türkiye‘s charms for up to 90 days within a 180-day period sans the necessity of a visa. The electronic visa costs between 61.50 to 78.50 US dollars depending on the applicant’s nationality. On the other hand, citizens of these countries planning to stay in Türkiye longer, for study or work purposes will have to meet the same rules as before and undergo the visa procedures.

* For more information about visa application and requirements click here: https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/apply/

Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy hailed it as a step towards deepening ties with these vital partner countries, foreseeing a potential surge in tourist arrivals and increased revenue opportunities.

The Ministry further revealed that in the first 11 months of this year, around 127,000 visitors from the United Arab Emirates and around 57,000 visitors from Bahrain entered Türkiye for tourism purposes.

Turkey, cappadocia hot air balloon

United Arab Emirates:

This visa exemption cements the blossoming bilateral relations between Türkiye and the United Arab Emirates, escalating from shared economic interests to the realms of diplomatic camaraderie. Historical ties intertwine through centuries-old trade routes, fostering a mutual admiration for cultural nuances.
Fun fact: Did you know that the UAE and Türkiye share a love for equestrian sports, notably horse racing, accentuating the cultural affinity between these nations?

Saudi Arabia:

From January until November of this year, data show that 784,000 Saudi Arabians visited Türkiye – 70 percent more than a year ago. Türkiye and Saudi Arabia have a history peppered with diplomatic engagements and mutual economic ventures. With this visa exemption, Türkiye beckons Saudis to explore its rich history, encompassing the Ottoman Empire’s influence and the enduring legacy of shared Islamic heritage.
Fun fact: Turkish coffee, an iconic cultural element, traces its roots to Yemen, establishing a cultural connection with Saudi Arabia through the region’s historical trade routes.

United States:

The influx of tourists from the United States showcased a significant surge this year, boasting a remarkable 33.4 percent increase in arrivals. For American travelers, this spells fantastic news, easing their access to Türkiye, fostering cultural exchange, and opening up new business vistas. The historical association between Türkiye and the United States spans centuries, reflecting strategic alliances and shared democratic values.
Fun fact: Türkiye gifted the United States with the tulip, a symbol of friendship, which thrives in the gardens of diplomatic residences in Washington, D.C.

Canada:

Türkiye‘s ties with Canada epitomize cordial relations bolstered by trade agreements and mutual respect for multiculturalism. Arrivals from Canada also experienced a noteworthy upswing, recording a substantial 27 percent increase, highlighting a growing interest in visiting Turkey from Canadian travelers.
Fun fact: Ice hockey, a beloved Canadian sport, is gaining traction in Türkiye, symbolizing the fusion of cultures through sportsmanship and camaraderie.

Bahrain:

Türkiye’s bond with Bahrain epitomizes a convergence of modern economic interests and historical ties dating back to ancient trade networks.
Fun fact: Both countries treasure their traditional cuisines; while Türkiye cherishes its baklava, Bahrain takes pride in its delectable halwa.

Oman:

The visa exemption strengthens the historical connections between Türkiye and Oman, epitomizing a shared maritime history and ancient trade routes.
Fun fact: The art of shipbuilding in Oman finds resonance in Türkiye‘s rich maritime heritage, bridging the two nations through craftsmanship and seafaring traditions.

The visa waiver is poised to make a significant impact on Türkiye‘s tourism, which faced severe setbacks due to the pandemic and geopolitical complexities. The World Tourism Organization‘s data showcased a substantial drop in international tourist arrivals. For instance, in the first 11 months of the previous year, Turkish shores welcomed 784,000 Saudi Arabian visitors, marking a staggering 70 percent increase from the prior year. Similar upward trends were witnessed in arrivals from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, the United States, and Canada, signaling a reinvigoration of tourism prospects for Turkey.

Istanbul, Hagia Sophia

This strategic move has been met with enthusiasm by tourism operators, forecasting a promising future with an anticipated 50 percent surge in the entire tourism sector, notably propelled by an influx of visitors from the Gulf countries.

However, some analysts caution that the effects might not be immediate. Despite the undeniable long-term benefits, short-term outcomes could be more nuanced, influenced by factors such as global economic uncertainties and constraints in airline capacities during the initial phase. Yet, this visa exemption signifies a monumental stride towards a more inclusive and inviting Turkey. With its wealth of cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and lively ambiance, the nation is poised to attract an even more diverse array of visitors from around the world in the years ahead.

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