Although my first attempt didn’t go so well when I applied for a Turkish tourist visa (read: My Visa Horror Story), I was finally able to get one from the Turkish Embassy here in the Philippines on my second try. But before I tell you how and what I did to get my application approved, let me first talk about e-Visas.
WHAT IS AN E-VISA?
It is an official document that permits entry into and travel within Turkey which can be obtained electronically or online through Turkey Electronic Visa Application System. Filipinos are eligible to apply for an e-Visa provided that we meet the following requirements below:
- Your passport covers the period that you will be staying in Turkey.
- You can prove that have a return ticket, hotel reservation and at least 50 USD per day.
- You are travelling for the purposes of tourism or business only.
- You hold a valid supporting document. (Schengen, UK, US and Ireland visa)*
- You confirm that you meet each and every one of the conditions listed above.
*They used to accept visas from all OECD member countries, but have since changed their requirements. They now only accept valid US and Schengen visas as supporting documents. Always check first if you are qualified to apply for an e-Visa.
If you are not able to meet those conditions, then your next option is to apply for a sticker visa (or what they call traditional visa that is obtained through a lengthy application process) given at Turkish embassies.
I am going to give a bit of disclaimer here and tell you that I got my Turkish tourist visa way before the new process was in place. They used to do everything by paper, but THEY NOW REQUIRE APPLICANTS TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT and go through the pre-application process online before applicants can go Turkish consular office in person.
PRE-APPLICATION AND APPOINTMENT
Here’s a step by step guide on how to make a scheduled appointment:
|1||Visit to Consular Procedures at konsolosluk.gov.tr > Visa > Visa Pre-Application|
|2||Select Country > Philippines and Consular Mission > Turkish Embassy in Manila|
|3||Input your details under “Nationality & Visa Details” form and submit.|
|4||Assess if you qualify for an e-Visa otherwise click to proceed online if you do not.|
|5||Specific conditions and required documents will be shown in the next page.|
|6||Agree to the terms and a form will appear where you can input your personal details.|
|7||You will then be asked for your contact information and travel history.|
|8||Upload all the required documents online (scanned copies of your files).|
|9||Double check your details and submit your application once done.|
|10||You can now schedule for an appointment when to lodge your visa application.|
You will need to bring the following documents with you:
— Printed online application form and confirmation e-mail
— Original Passport (valid for 6 months prior to departure)
— Biometric Photo (2 x 2 passport picture, white background)
— Flight reservation and Hotel Booking or invitation
— Supporting documents on the applicant’s commitment to return
For those applying with a sponsor, you also need to submit:
— Notarized invitation letter from the person(s) in Turkey
— Documents attesting to the income status of the sponsor
I will elaborate further so please make sure to read these notes:
- If you have an invitation letter from your sponsor, it needs to include the sponsor’s citizenship number, detailed personal identification, permanent address, contact numbers, length and purpose of stay and affinity with the applicant.
- Documents that can attest to the income status of your sponsor includes certificate of employment and bank account statement. If the sponsor is self-employed, ask for a copy of business certificate.
- Supporting documents on the applicant’s commitment to return are the following: Certificate of Employment, bank account statement/certificate, ITR or Form 2316. If self-employed, copy of business certificate or Land Registry.
- There are visa fees online which are non-refundable. The price changes from time to time, but to give you an idea how much the cost is, it will be around Php 1,000 for e-Visas and Php 2,000+ for traditional or sticker visas.
- The processing of the visa takes 7 to 10 working days from the receipt of application. On the day of the release, you have to go back to the embassy to pick up your passport along with your claim stub.
VISA APPLICATION – TURKISH EMBASSY IN MANILA
Back when I lodged my application, I only had to submit copies of my sponsor’s birth certificate/ID and notarized invitation letter as supporting documents aside from the basic requirements such as visa application form and documents attesting to the status of my income. Although this time around, I made sure that I had good travel history and a decent amount of money in my bank account.
I wanted to show them I was capable of funding my trip even without a sponsor and that I was well traveled. It was hard to convince the consul when I first applied. I was young and naive, it was only right they denied me a tourist visa (even if it scarred me for life). They consider your status, as well as your affinity with your sponsor, so always keep that in mind.
A FEW PICTURES FROM MY TRIP IN TURKEY
As you can see even if I was denied the first time I applied, I didn’t stop there. A year after, I reapplied for a Turkish tourist visa (though I had to wait which was a huge inconvenience). But, with patience and determination, I was finally granted one and was able to visit Turkey three times since then.