We just spent a beautiful month in Istanbul. The arrival was pretty smooth since Turkey now extends an eVisa facility for Indian passport holders who have any valid visa from the US/UK/Ireland/Schengen states (tourist/work/residence/student/etc).
If you have a valid tourist visa, residence permit, work permit, or permanent residence in any of these countries, you can apply for a Turkey eVisa online and fly right after.
The eVisa for Indians costs 43 USD (plus a $0.70 service fee), allows you a single entry, and you may stay up to 30 days. If you leave Turkey in the 30 day period, you will have to apply and pay for another eVisa before you can re-enter. The eVisa itself is valid for 6 months so if your plans change and you don’t use your single entry, you still have a little time to use it.
The online process is very smooth and the eVisa customer support is pretty impressive. All I had to do was go to the Turkish eVisa website, fill in the application form, fill in the relevant details of my supporting visa (I used my Schengen visa), and pay via credit card. When I reached the payment stage, my internet went off and I wasn’t sure if my payment went through or not. I sent the eVisa support an email and received a response within 10 minutes! Incredible! They said the payment had not gone through on their end so I could resume my application and re-try.
On my second attempt the payment did go through. I instantly received the confirmation via email and attached to it was a PDF with my eVisa. The whole process took about 10 minutes and would’ve taken five minutes if I didn’t have to retry my payment because of my unreliable internet connection.
I took a print out of the eVisa. It does mention that you must have a return/onward ticket, 50 USD/day of expenses, and hotel reservations for your entire stay. Although I carried a bank statement, had an onward ticket printout, and also an AirBNB booking, I was not asked for anything at immigration.
The only question the immigration officer asked me was “Where is the Schengen visa?“. I showed it to him, he stamped an entry stamp on my passport and also stamped the eVisa printout. That was it, I was in Turkey!
I must say that I am impressed with the way the eVisa system works. The website is very well designed and you might almost think that it’s not a government website based on its quality! The customer service was also very quick in responding to my question. I hope a lot more Indian tourists use this route to visit Turkey.
Update 11th Feb 2016 – eVisa rules changed
Unfortunately it looks like the eVisa rules have changed for Indian passport holders. Earlier, you could support your eVisa with any valid OECD country visa or residence permit. So, for example, if you had a visa for Chile, or South Korea, or Mexico, you could use this to get the Turkey eVisa. However, now, you can only use a valid US, UK, Ireland, or Schengen visa as a supporting document to enter Turkey. It seems like the rules have been tightened a little bit but the good news is that if you have any of the above visas you can still visit Turkey by applying for an eVisa.