Good news for unvaccinated Indians who are subject to the US Presidential Proclamation 10199! Unlike Doha and Dubai where only fully-vaccinated Indians can take a stopover before traveling to their final destinations in the US, Turkey is open to unvaccinated Indians, with effect from September 4, 2021. Unvaccinated Indians can bypass the US entry restrictions by quarantining themselves for 10 to 14 days in Istanbul, whereas fully-vaccinated travelers from India are allowed quarantine-free stopover in Turkey.
Turkey’s entry guidelines for travelers from India
Travelers from India to Turkey, whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated, must take an RT-PCR test not more than 72 hours before boarding Turkish Airlines flights at Mumbai or Delhi International Airport. Turkey’s pre-arrival rules are relaxed for Indians under the age of 12. They need neither be vaccinated nor take an RT-PCR test.
Turkey’s rules for unvaccinated Indians require them to declare such details as where they will undergo quarantine on arrival. Taking a COVID PCR test is highly recommended on the 10th day of their quarantine or arrival. If they test negative, they will be set free from quarantine. They can access public places and tourist sites in and around Istanbul in the remaining days of their stopover period. If the test result is positive, they will be treated in isolation as per the guidelines of Turkey’s Ministry of Health. If they refrain from taking a PCR test on the 10th day of their arrival, the quarantine period will be extended to 14 days for them.
Turkey’s rules for fully-vaccinated Indians require them to certify that they are immunized with two doses of any of the vaccines approved by the government of Turkey or the WHO for emergency use. The last dose must have been taken at least 14 days before the date of scheduled departure for exemption from quarantine on arrival in Turkey. If they are not able to produce the vaccine certificate with a QR code on arrival, they will be subjected to quarantine. Below is the list of WHO-approved vaccines that make Indians eligible for quarantine-free stopover in Istanbul.
- Janssen/J&J (single dose)
- Sputnik V
How to apply for an e-visa to Turkey
Indian nationals need a visa to enter Turkey for tourism and business. Turkey’s single-entry tourist visa for Indians is valid for a stay of up to 30 days. Neither a visit to the Turkish Embassy in New Delhi or a Turkish consulate, nor an interview is required. Indians planning on bypassing the US entry restrictions via Turkey can apply for an electronic visa. Turkey’s e-visa system is fast and efficient. Reportedly, the Turkish e-visa is issued to Indian citizens within 24 hours of the submission of their applications.
Turkey’s e-visa application process entails only three steps: Complete the electronic visa form; Pay the fees using a debit/credit card; Send the application for approval. The applicants receive the e-visa by email on approval. While applying for Turkey’s tourist visa online, Indians need to answer several security questions and mention a tentative date of arrival in Turkey.
Turkey’s visa requirements for Indian travelers
- Indian passport with minimum 5-month validity from the date of arrival
- A valid visa or residence permit of the US, the UK, Ireland, or a Schengen member state
- A valid email address
- A debit or credit card to pay the fees for e-visa
Turkish Airlines flights to USA
Turkish Airlines operate flights to 12 major destinations in the United States, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Newark, Columbus, and Washington DC. Vaccinated or unvaccinated Indians, if they don’t meet NIE eligibility norms, can travel on Turkish Airlines to USA from Istanbul following a 14/15-day stopover.