Holidaymakers with plans to go to Turkey this year have been warned to make sure they carry a paper copy of their visa, or risk being turned away before they board the plane.
This comes after a number of tourists were reportedly not allowed to board their flights to the country because they did not have printed out versions of their visas.
However, according to Turkish and UK governments, it is not essential that you have a paper copy. They do both recommend that you have a saved digital copy on a device, or a paper copy, in case the electronic visa system crashes.
‘Turned away before boarding the plane’
Travel agent Lyndsey West posted on Facebook, “To anyone travelling to Turkey, you will now need to show a paper copy of your VISA at UK airports. If you don't have this you are not allowed to board the plane.
“There's been loads of people turned away and missed out on their holiday. The tour operators don't always inform you of this when you book. Please allow extra time at the airport.”
British nationals are required to have a visa in order to enter Turkey, unless they are cruise ship passengers with ‘British Citizen’ passports who arrive at sea ports for tourist visits to the port city or nearby cities, provided that the visit doesn’t exceed 72 hours.
Printouts or digital copies needed in case the computer system crashes
Visas are issued as eVisas, which can be applied for through the Turkish government website. These eVisas are linked electronically to the applicant’s passport and a download version of the eVisa is also emailed to you.
But the system that processes the documents is prone to malfunction, and travellers are recommended to carry copies of their visas in case this happens.
The Turkish government’s eVisa application website says, “You are advised to keep your e-Visa with you either as a soft copy (tablet PC, smart phone, etc) or as a hard copy in case of any failure on their system.”
The foreign travel advice section on the UK government’s website also says, “In case of technical problems at the Turkish port of entry, carry a printed copy of your e-Visa or keep an electronic copy on a smartphone or other device to show at immigration.”
It is believed that this is why travel agents are now warning people in advance and telling them to take paper copies of their visas to be on the safe side.