After almost a year of vacation in my home country, the Philippines, I am now going back to Serbia, my husband’s home country.
For this trip, we booked through Turkish Airlines because they are the most affordable and I specifically asked my husband to choose the flight with a very long layover (13 hours!!) even when he wanted the get the one with only less than 3 hours of waiting, so we can join TourIstanbul, a free tour of Istanbul provided by Turkish Airlines.
Since I hold a Philippine passport, for me to be able to join this tour, I would need to apply for a visa. My husband and daughter are both holders of a Serbian passport so they don’t need a transit visa.
There are two ways to apply:
- Online at https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/, only if you have a valid visa OR valid residence permit from one of the Schengen Countries, USA, UK or Ireland. Fee is 20usd.
- By visiting any Turkish Embassy near you. You will need to submit your pre-application and make an appointment first at https://www.konsolosluk.gov.tr/. Fee is 60usd.
Since I don’t have a Schengen, USA, UK, or Ireland Visa yet, I had to go to the Turkish Embassy in Manila. I submitted my pre-application to https://www.konsolosluk.gov.tr/ and scheduled my appointment.
There are 10 types of tourist visa according to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website:
a) Touristic Visit
b) Single Transit
c) Double Transit
d) Business Meeting/Commerce
g) Sportive Activity
h) Cultural Artistic Activity
i) Official Visit
j) a Visit to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
and there are different requirements for each type.
When you fill out your pre-application online and choose Touristic Visit – Single Transit, it will tell you to submit ONLY the following online and bring the originals when you visit the Embassy:
I was confident to get a Single Transit Visa because I have and submitted all three online. I didn’t expect to received arrogantly at the Embassy when I went there. I was early for my appointment and when the staff asked me what I need, I said I’m applying for a Tourist Visa – Single Transit. The staff arrogantly (yes, I am stressing arrogant here because the lady was dismissive and disrespectful) replied that they don’t issue transit visas and that transit visas are only for seafarers. Then she gave me a list of requirements that I need to bring if I’m applying for a Touristic Visit which includes an invitation from a Turkish citizen/resident and a hotel reservation, which I do not have because no one is inviting me and we are not even going to stay there. I explained that when I submitted my pre-application, it only instructed me to bring the 3 requirements stated above.
I have a booked and fully-paid ticket to Serbia (with a 13-hour layover in Turkey) from Turkish Airlines, a Serbian Visa, and photo. I have a Travel Insurance even when it’s not required. The staff didn’t even look at my application form nor my requirements. I was (again) arrogantly dismissed.
It’s okay to be strict with implementing regulations, I understand that it’s for your country and citizen’s security, but to have an arrogant (and probably uninformed about policies) staff at a Turkish representation in another country is unacceptable. How can you promote your country’s tourism?
Our flight is at the end of July, and since I can’t find any other way to get a transit visa (no visa on arrival for Philippine passport holders, unfortunately) to Turkey, we’ll have to spend 13 hours in an airport. My bad, I should have listened to my husband when he said we should have booked the one with the shortest layover. T.T
Is it really like this in other Turkish Embassies or just the one in Manila? How about you, what’s your Turkish Visa experience in Manila?
I was applying for a Tourist Visa – Single Transit. Haha!