On May 4th, President Erdogan announced initial steps to reduce restrictions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, including;
Updated: May 6, 2020
Turkish Airlines has indicated it plans to operate four direct flights to the United States next week. These would be commercially-operated flights, NOT U.S. government-operated, and only the airline will be able to advise regarding ticket conditions (ability to take pets, luggage allowances, etc.).
If you intend to take one of these flights, please fill out this form so we can flag your intention to purchase a ticket to both Turkish Airlines and Turkish authorities. You will still need to book the flight directly with Turkish Airlines. These flights are not yet available for sale, and we will message again when sales are open.
Please contact us at one of the email addresses below if you require financial assistance to return to the United States.
Press reports indicate that Turkish Airlines has presented a three-month plan for its operations, which would not include regularly-scheduled, direct flights to the United States until July 2020.
CURRENTLY PROJECTED DIRECT FLIGHTS TO THE UNITED STATES
- Istanbul (IST) to New York (JFK) departing Thursday, May 14 at 14:40
- Istanbul (IST) to Chicago (ORD) departing Friday, May 15 at 16:05
- Istanbul (IST) to Houston (IAH) departing Saturday, May 16 at 14:05
- Istanbul (IST) to Miami (MIA) departing Saturday, May 16 at 18:30
On May 4th, President Erdogan announced initial steps to reduce restrictions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
- Travel restrictions will be removed from seven provinces – Antalya, Aydin, Erzurum, Hatay, Malatya, Mersin, and Mugla. However the restrictions on entry/exit and inter-provincial travel remain in place for 24 others, including Adana, Ankara, Gaziantep, Istanbul, and Izmir;
- Hair salons, shopping malls, and some stores will reopen on May 11, but they must require social distancing and restrict the numbers of people who can enter;
- Children under the age of 20 and individuals over 65 will be allowed to go outside for four hours, one day per week. Individuals over 65 will be allowed to go outside on May 10, children as old as 14 will be allowed on May 13, those aged 15-20 on May 15, all during the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m..
- Turkey has confirmed cases of COVID-19 within its borders.
- U.S. citizens who seek to travel to the United States should book commercial options as the U.S. government does not anticipate arranging repatriation flights in Turkey at this time. Limited international commercial flight options exist in Turkey. U.S. citizens who choose not to make commercial arrangements should be prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.
- For information related to available flights, please see the section below. When buying a ticket, we also recommend that verify any transit country’s entry requirements before booking.
- If you have plans to return to the United States in the near future and you have not yet been in touch with us, please inform us by filling out this form.
- While Turkish citizens can call “199” to seek an inter-city travel permit, U.S. citizens traveling by road to reach an airport in a different province must still , please contact the district governor’s office to obtain permission to travel by land for your international departure. You can inform us by filling out this form and we will prepare a document for you to present in support of your travel permit application. We also may share your information with the Turkish authorities, but the decision to grant travel permissions lies with district governor.
Entry and Exit Requirements:
- According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey will not pursue overstay penalties against foreign nationals unable to depart due to COVID-19. Residency permit information is available at https://en.goc.gov.tr/
- Nationals of listed countries or passengers who have transited from or been in the following countries in the past 14 days are not permitted to enter Turkey: Algeria, Angola, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Mainland China, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Niger, North Macedonia, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan. Turkish citizens/residents who were in these countries in the past 14 days are allowed to enter Turkey but are subject to a 14-day quarantine requirement.
- Turkish Ministry of Health officials screen travelers at airports and maritime ports, as well as some land crossings, using thermal cameras.
- To date, travelers do not need any specific health documentation to enter/exit Turkey.
- If an individual presents with COVID-19 symptoms, Turkish Ministry of Health may send that person to a designated hospital for testing and possible observation under quarantine for 14 days.
- Turkish Airlines has suspended all domestic and international flights. For more information, please consult the Turkish Airlines website.
- Vehicles are not permitted to enter or depart Adana, Ankara, Balikesir, Bursa,Denizli, Diyarbakir, Eskisehir, Gaziantep, Istanbul, Izmir, Kahramanmaras, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Konya, Manisa, Mardin, Ordu, Sakarya, Samsun, Sanliurfa, Tekirdag, Trabzon, Van, and Zonguldak. Foreigners are permitted to conduct inter-city travel in order to reach a flight back to their home country, however, travel permits are required.
- The Government of Turkey has announced a weekend curfews until after the Ramadan Bayram (Eid al-Fitr) holiday in late May. These curfews run Friday through Sunday, but this is subject to change. The next curfew is from Saturday, May 9, through midnight, Sunday, May 10.
- All museums and archaeological sites are closed.
- All onsite classes at primary, middle and high schools and universities (public and private) are closed.
- Most venues deemed non-essential are closed, including: theaters, cinemas, museums, archaeological sites, exhibition centers, concert halls, wedding halls, casinos, pubs, coffee houses, indoor playgrounds (including inside shopping malls and restaurants), tea gardens, clubhouses, amusement parks, swimming pools, hair salons, Turkish baths, saunas, spas, and sports centers.
- Restaurants are closed except for take-away or delivery service.
- Residents under the age of 20, and aged 65 and above, have been directed not to leave their homes. The limited exceptions are noted above.
- All individuals must wear cloth face coverings where people are collectively located, including supermarkets, marketplaces, and workplaces as well as in all forms of transportation (including private vehicles) with at least two persons inside.
- Local authorities may put in place additional COVID-19 restrictions, including curfews, with little or no advance notice.
International Commercial Flight Information:
Next week, there are several flights departing Turkey. In addition to the Turkish Airlines direct flights mentioned above, there are additional non-direct flights. These are commercial flights and are not operated by the U.S. government. Any questions related to the flight (baggage, pets, seating preference) should be directed to the airlines. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates are providing this information as a reference only; the list is not exhaustive and is subject to change. U.S. citizens should research their transit options at these destinations prior to purchasing tickets. In all cases, U.S. citizens must purchase tickets for onward travel to the United States.
Belavia Airlines to Minsk:
Most Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 04:55am: Belavia airlines offers itineraries from Istanbul (IST) IST via Minsk, connecting to the U.S. via Paris, London, Frankfurt or Amsterdam. See links below for information on transiting these cities, which offer direct flights to the United States. Travelers must work with airlines or a travel agent to book flights to ensure luggage can be checked to the final destination.
- Airline: https://en.belavia.by/
- Transit Information:
- Belarus: https://by.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
- France: https://fr.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
- The U.K.: https://uk.usembassy.gov/covid-19-coronavirus-information/
- The Netherlands: https://nl.usembassy.gov/health-alert-update-regarding-covid-19-u-s-consulate-general-amsterdam-netherlands-5/
- Germany: https://de.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
SunExpress flights to Frankfurt:
SunExpress has been offering occasional flights to Frankfurt (FRA) from various cities in Turkey, including Adana, Antalya, Izmir, and Ankara. Generally flights depart on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays, sometimes selling out quickly. Flight availability from any of these cities depends on the week, so it is best to search the SunExpress website for available options. You may need to search for a flight on a later date and then scroll back to find available flights. It is important to note that Frankfurt (FRA) is the only airport in Germany that U.S. citizens should use to transit from Turkey to the United States. Frankfurt (FRA) offers direct onward flights to the U.S. and has an airside transit hotel. Tickets are available for purchase on the airline website. Currently, flights are scheduled:
- From Izmir on May 12th
- From Antalya on May 7thand May 13th
- From Ankara May 13th
- Airline: https://www.sunexpress.com/en/
- Transit Information: https://de.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
Pegasus flights to London-Stansted:
Pegasus has been offering occasional flights to London-Stansted. From London-Stansted, passengers must self-transfer to London Heathrow, which has direct flights to the United States. passengers must have booked onward tickets to the United States. Please see the U.S. Embassy London website for transit details and hotels in London. Travelers should research routing and layovers carefully. Tickets are available for purchase on the airline website. Currently, flights are scheduled:
- From Ankara and Istanbul-SabihaGokcen (SAW) to London-Stansted on May 7th
- Airline: https://www.flypgs.com/en
- Transit Information: https://uk.usembassy.gov/covid-19-coronavirus-information/
- View U.S. Mission Turkey’s most recent Alerts here
- Dial 184 within Turkey to access the Turkish Ministry of Health COVID-19 Telephone Hotline (Turkish/English/Arabic)
- Turkish Ministry of Health COVID-19 web page
- Turkish Presidency’s interactive COVID-19 web page
- Turkish General Directorate of Civil Aviation
- COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov
- CDC page on COVID-19
- Turkey Country Information and Travel Advisory page
- IRS.GOV – Economic Impact Payment Information