Visa + Layover at IST

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by sc9457, Feb 17, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. sc9457

    sc9457 Silver Member

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    I'm flying to AUH via IST on Thursday and have a 4 hour layer. It's obviously not enough time for me to get a visa and visit Istanbul but has anyone had experience with getting a visa at IST and then continuing on to their connecting flight? I want to get the visa during my first layover to save time on my second layover which will be about 5 days later coming back from AUH to IST where I then have a layover from 6:45am to 1:30pm. I want to save time by getting the visa first so then I don't have to spend as much time at the airport before leaving to head into Istanbul for a few hours.

    Is this feasible or should I just forget trying to head into Istanbul for a few hours? I will check my luggage so I won't have to worry about carrying around luggage and then rechecking my bag on the return.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    My experiences getting the visa have all been that you stand in line and get the sticker in your passport. You then stand in a different line to immigrate. The visa itself is not dated so I don't think you'll have any issues getting it the first time through and using it the second time.

    Also note that the visa should be a multi-entry visa valid for 180 days, with each entry valid for 90 days. So if you want to you can use the same one both times on your trip.

    And I would definitely head into town on the 6 hour layover. It is a tight timeline but with no bags you can definitely get in to see some cool things quickly and then back to the airport.
     
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  3. sc9457

    sc9457 Silver Member

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    Awesome, thanks!
     
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  4. dc1956

    dc1956 Silver Member

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    To perhaps clarify the above a bit, the 90 day, $20 visa you purchase on either side (meaning left or right not inside or outside) of the passport control lines, is good for multiple entries. You can only get one every 180 days but that does not apply to your circumstance. Hopefully, I have not muddied the issue for you! You will love Istanbul. You can easily take the train and tram to the old city and enjoy some of the central delights of Istanbul. Be sure to have some fresh squeezed juice!
     
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  5. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    The first time I went to IST was on my way to AYT (Antalya aka "Turkish Riviera") but I purposely included a layover of 10 hr in IST to do exactly what you are planning: I got in IST at 10 pm, but I took my luggage and dropped it off at a cheap hotel ($50) that was recommended to me at the airport. I then just went to explore the city where I managed to have an incredible time for the few hours that I was there, mostly around Taxim Square, which I would recommend because you can go from there to other places fairly easily. Getting the visa on arrival (VOA) was quick and painless and it sounds like it still costs just USD 20. It looks like this:

    TK-VOA.jpg

    Enjoy!:)
     
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  6. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I forgot that my old one was still valid on my last trip. They had no qualms about taking another $20 from me. :oops:

    Also, the text on the current versions (going as far back as January 2012) have slightly different language than the above photo. The current text is:
    The net effect of this is that it is now a 180 day visa rather than a 90 day visa, but you can only be in Turkey a total of 90 days during that time. At least that's my understanding of it.
     
  7. sc9457

    sc9457 Silver Member

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    Thank you very much for your replies! Since I will check my bag on the return, I am going to take the Metro to go to Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque if I have time (at least just see the outside if there is not enough time), get some fresh juice, and head back to the airport! Looking forward to it!
     
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  8. dc1956

    dc1956 Silver Member

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    And don't forget the Grand Bazaar. All those things are nicely in walking distance from each other. A quick peak is very fun.
     
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  9. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I would. ;)

    I'm not a huge fan of it as a destination/site. There are many other things I'd spend time visiting in Istanbul before heading there.
     
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  10. akcae
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    akcae Silver Member

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    From the visa line to the metro stop should be no more than 30-45 min. Then the metro ride to the transfer station for the tram is another 20 min, and then another 25 or so to Sultanahmet stop, where you would get off to see Ayasofia, the Blue Mosque, etc. So, budget about 1.5h each way for transit/check-in.
     
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  11. sc9457

    sc9457 Silver Member

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    Just got visa at IST. Line was less than 5 min and super easy. I transited through the international departures line and security took about 5 min as well. Off to Abu Dhabi now and will head into Istanbul Tuesday on my return layover. Thanks everyone for your suggestions!!
     
  12. sc9457

    sc9457 Silver Member

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    Thanks to everyone for all of their suggestions! Today was my short layover in Istanbul! I hopped on M1 to the T1 tram and got off at Sultanahmet around 8:40am. I walked around the Blue Mosque and then decided to go into the Hagia Sophia which was very nice. I sat in the little cafe outside the museum store and had a tourist priced pomegranate juice (I should have known that it would be double the price but when in Istanbul and of course the juice was delicious!) Got to take some great pictures and then walked up the street with the tram and stopped in a nice little bakery where I got a Turkish bagel. Took the tram back to the Metro and got to the airport with time to spare before my flight departed. I liked the tram since I got to see more along the way back to the Metro. Will definitely return for a longer stay hopefully in warmer weather!
     
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  13. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Sounds like a great layover. I've likely got 7 hours in late April and I'm planning something eerily similar. :cool:
     
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  14. skyvan

    skyvan Gold Member

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    That's how I read it too, as many entries as you like but no more than 90 days in Turkey over 180 day period...and I'm sure they have no qualms about issuing someone two of those in a year.
     
  15. Efilon87

    Efilon87 Silver Member

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    Regarding the visa, my parents are traveling to Istanbul for one night and I told them they need to get the visa at the airport. As I was looking through the internets I came across a Turkey e-Visa program. So I guess you are also now able to apply and pay for your tourist visa online. All you would have to do is print off the confirmation page with the bar code. Still the $20 USD fee. Though I would prefer to have that visa pasted in my passport :).

    https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/
     
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  16. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Yes, there is now the eVisa program. My parents used it earlier this year and it was just fine.
     
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  17. SM105

    SM105 Silver Member

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    e-Visa is a very easy and painless process. I've spent anything from 30 seconds to 90 minutes in the visa line at Istanbul before, so it can be a real time saver.
     

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