Late February, we decided it was high time we took a mini vacation! That, and the fact that we did not have the time, energy or the inclination to sort out visas, helped us zero in on Turkey- a country we have wanted to visit ever since our trip to Greece.. Visiting Turkey would now complete our Byzantine adventure!
The 4 hour flight seemed short, thanks to the entertainment system on Emirates.. and we landed at Ataturk airport- Istanbul, in record time..
Visas are always the most irritating part of planning a holiday… how I wish I had another passport, only because it would enable me to travel without having to fill numerous forms and minute details..This post is mainly about the visa on arrival in Istanbul, as I don’t see any point in duplicating this on tripadvisor!
On disembarking, there weren’t any proper signs directing passengers who needed to procure visas on arrival, (except for the one tiny sign in the picture above, which I only noticed now.. But on second thought- no.. this couldn’t be it, as it was a long walk away and not in the direction of the counter where we got our visas)!
We hence followed the other passengers right up till immigration (Zone ‘A’) , and were then told that we needed to go to the other end of the arrival terminal near the Turkish airlines business class immigration, having had to turn right instead of left, on disembarking…
One would’ve thought that this was the end of it… but nope! On showing them our US visas (at a small gate left unmanned- where you needed to yell out for someone to come assist you (Zone ‘B’), and then moving to another counter (Zone ‘C’) to pay the visa fee, we (a few other people and us) were asked to go back to the original immigration line – Zone A… We looked for visa stamps in our passports, but they were not stamped yet.
Walking to the other end of the terminal, we stood in line at Counter A only to be told- that another counter would stamp Turkish visas..’ Which other counter?’ we asked…. ‘Oh just go to the other end- you will find it!’ was their answer.
Trudging back to the little gate cum desk where our American visas were first checked (Counter B), they finally stamped our visas on checking our receipts, and back to the first immigration (Zone A), after which we were done!
My first impression of Istanbul- not all that great….But all said and done- it was totally worth not having to procure visas from Dubai!
A few hours later, I tried looking up the web for details on airport counters for procuring visas on arrival at Istanbul, but failed to come up with anything concrete. Hence this post!, which may be confusing to a third party, but will help give an idea of the layout, once you land at Istanbul airport…