When we last left off in early October, Turkey had suspended visa application services for Americans. Turkish Airlines was offering refunds on Turkey-bound flights through Christmas. And U.S. citizens with plans but no visa were stuck in limbo, likely hyperventilating over the recent development.
Americans, you can now exhale.
Early last month, the country partially lifted the directive. U.S. travelers can apply for visas at Turkish embassies and consulates, including the mission at 2525 Massachusetts Ave. NW in Washington. However, Americans cannot obtain the document through two previously available channels: the online system called e-Visa and visa booths at Turkish airports.
To apply for a visa, start by filling out the online form and select a date for an in-person appointment with consular services. The next available time could be two weeks out, so plan accordingly. For the interview, bring a bank statement, proof of travel insurance, one passport photo, a passport valid at least six months after time of entry, your travel itinerary and $160 in cash. The process should take about five business days, and travelers can pick up their visa-adorned passport at the consulate.
Companies that help tourists obtain travel documents have also resumed their visa services to Turkey. Justin Chapman, director of sales at VisaHQ, said the firm's average processing time is 20 to 25 business days. He added that travelers typically do not have to step foot inside the consulate, but never say never. "The embassy may request an appointment," he said.
Peggy Goldman, founder and president of Friendly Planet Travel, was relieved to hear the news. The company offers a 15-day Turkey tour, with its first departure in April.
"We have not had to cancel any departures for Turkey, and, in fact, we have been getting a growing number of reservations for our Best of Turkey tour," Goldman said. "While the volume is nothing like in previous years, it's enough to give us some optimism that Turkey is still a viable destination for American travelers."
Goldman said that after a rough patch, Turkey appears to be bouncing back as a vacation spot. As an incentive, the tour operator is discounting its Turkey trip by $400 on bookings made by Dec. 14.
And while on the topic of visas, Brazil plans to expand its online application service to Americans. Before, only Australians could apply from the comfort of their beanbags and recliners, whereas we Yanks had to trudge to the Brazilian Consulate. Once the system is in place — the target start date is the third week of January — travelers can conduct the entire proceeding online (price to be determined). Check the Brazil consulates in the United States for more information on the eVisa.
More from Travel: