Turkey Register Travel insurance Destinations
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Latest updates: Natural disasters and climate - earthquake in eastern Turkey
Turkey - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Turkey due to the threat of terrorist attacks and the possibility of demonstrations throughout the country.
Border region with Syria - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to within 10 km of the border with Syria, due to a deteriorating security situation.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Border with Syria (see Advisory)
In early October 2019, the Turkish government launched the “Peace Spring” military operation in northeastern Syria. This intervention involves troop movements and military operations in southeastern Turkey.
- Exercise extreme caution, particularly around military or security forces
- Avoid areas near the border
- Monitor local media for the latest information
Extremist groups regularly carry out attacks at border crossings and other locations in Syria close to the Turkish border. These attacks are indiscriminate, often result in deaths and injuries and spill over into Turkey. The Turkish government has declared some areas in villages along the border with Syria special security zones as part of military cross-border operations. Expect a heightened military presence and movement restrictions in these areas.
The security situation remains unpredictable.
- Exercise extreme caution
- Review your security measures regularly
- Monitor these events very closely
The three-year ceasefire between the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) ended in July 2015. The TAF has conducted several air strikes against PKK targets in the Turkish–Iraqi border area. The PKK have launched deadly terrorist attacks against Turkish security personnel in several cities and regions in the south and southeast of the country. The Turkish government has added security measures in some provinces, including 24-hour curfews in some southeastern towns.
- Remain vigilant
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local and international media
Protests and civil unrest in several southeastern cities have led to violent clashes between police and protesters. Gunfire and small-scale bomb explosions have resulted in deaths. Other incidents have caused injuries and property damage.
There is a risk, particularly to foreigners, of kidnapping in the area (see Kidnapping, below). Maintain a high level of vigilance at all times.
Avoid overland travel. If you must, drive during the day and stay on major roads. Do not use public transportation.
On July 15 and 16, 2016, an attempted coup took place in Turkey. Conditions remain volatile and the situation can change rapidly, especially in large cities. Monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Expect an increased presence of security forces in large cities, random ID checks and roadblocks. Cooperate during ID checks and always carry your passport and visa or residence permit. Failure to produce these documents or non-compliance with Turkish officials during identity checks could result in fines, detainment or deportation.
Turkish authorities have detained and prosecuted large numbers of people over social media posts criticizing the government, state officials, president, military operations, etc.—even to authors of posts published in the past or while in another country. Keep in mind the sensitivities, think twice before posting or reacting to online content criticizing the government, and restrain/limit your social media footprint.
Even if a case does not go to trial or ends in acquittal, people can be labelled as terrorism suspects, face adverse consequences due to investigations and criminal proceedings, including possible loss of employment and social exclusion.
In addition, authorities have targeted people and groups for publishing statements and organizing news conferences, organizing or participating to nonviolent activities, critical writing and online activism protesting the government, its policies, decisions and/or actions.
Turkish citizens belonging to certain occupational groups may be required to produce a letter from their employer when leaving the country. This may affect dual Canadian-Turkish citizens trying to leave Turkey.
There is a threat of terrorism from domestic and international terrorist groups in Turkey. Many attacks have occurred throughout the country. Although most have occurred in the south and east, some also took place in major cities, including Ankara, Bursa, Istanbul and Izmir. Attacks have targeted:
- Turkish military and government facilities
- tourist attractions and popular public places
- night life
- public transportation
Further attacks are expected to occur and terrorist groups have indicated that they will specifically target foreigners and tourists.
Terrorists may also target:
- crowded places
- places with high pedestrian traffic and where foreigners may gather
- commercial establishments
- local government offices
- public transit stations
- busy streets
- long queues at tourist attractions
- places of worship
Increased security measures are in place throughout the country. Authorities have prevented several attacks. Turkish security officials may set up roadblocks or close streets when they receive reports on specific threats.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times in public places
- Avoid large crowds
- Follow the instructions of local authorities at all times
There is a threat of kidnapping along Turkey’s borders with Syria and Iraq, where Muslim extremist groups take advantage of porous borders and an unpredictable security situation to carry out operations. Groups such as Daesh and Jabat al-Nusra, who use kidnapping as a means of raising funds, may target the local population, foreigners and even foreign aid workers for kidnapping-for-ransom.
Demonstrations may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Petty crime, including pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs, particularly Istanbul. Avoid showing signs of affluence and ensure that personal belongings and passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.
Muggings, assaults and sexual assaults occur. Drugs may be administered through drinks, food, chewing gum or other means, and drugged victims are usually robbed. Do not accept food and drinks from strangers, even if the wrapping or container appears intact.
Do not go to down-market bars and neighbourhoods. One scam, particularly common in Istanbul, involves locals inviting tourists to bars for food and drinks and then forcing them to pay a steep bill.
Do not accept letters, parcels or other items from strangers. Drug traffickers sometimes attempt to convince foreigners to deliver packages and messages into and out of Turkey.
There is a greater risk of sexual assault during the summer holiday period in coastal resort areas.
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.
Turkey has a modern road network that is constantly being improved. Uneven surfaces and poorly marked lane changes near construction zones, however, are common. Exercise caution, especially when driving in the rain. Severe weather conditions may seriously affect road conditions.
Accidents are common. Reckless driving, perilous road conditions, inadequate lighting, poor signage and high traffic congestion pose hazards. Avoid driving after dark.
If you are involved in an accident with a vehicle, do not move your vehicle, regardless of whether or not you are blocking traffic or anyone is injured. Wait until the police have made an official report.
Pedestrians do not have the right of way.
The Government of Turkey tightly controls traffic at the borders with Iran and Iraq.
Consult the General Directorate of Highways for more information on road travel in Turkey.
Turkey is modernizing its main railroads and has introduced a high-speed corridor between Istanbul and Ankara.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Mount Ararat, between the eastern provinces of Agri and Igdir, is a special military zone. Access is currently restricted. Permission will not be granted to enter the area or climb the mountain.
There is a threat of kidnapping in this area.
General safety information
There are numerous stray dogs and cats in Istanbul, Ankara and other cities. Dogs often travel in packs and could attack pedestrians and joggers. Do not attempt to feed or pet stray dogs, as they might not be vaccinated.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from Turkish authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 60 days beyond the duration of stay indicated on your visa, e-Visa, visa exemption or residence permit.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Work visa: Required
Tourism visa: Required Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Canadians travelling to Turkey for tourism or trade should purchase an e-visa prior to entering the country. Canadians can also obtain a visa on arrival, however, an e-Visa saves time that you would otherwise spend on visa applications at Turkish missions or at the ports of entry into Turkey (if you are eligible). If you are planning on studying or working in Turkey, you must obtain a visa at a Turkish embassy or consulate before arriving in Turkey.
To renew a 90-day visa, you must leave the country for at least 90 days before being allowed to re-enter. If you wish to remain in Turkey for longer than 90 consecutive days, you must obtain a residence permit from the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management in the province in which you reside. When your e-Visa expires, you are not allowed to apply for a new e-Visa without departing from Turkey. If you overstay your visa, you might be fined, deported or banned from future travel to Turkey for a specific period of time.
More information on the e-visa application system - Republic of Turkey
Ensure Turkish immigration officials stamp your passport on arrival. Failure to produce a stamped passport is punishable by a fine, detention and deportation, and can lead to significant delays at departure.
Dual Turkish-Canadian citizens must present a valid Turkish passport or piece of identification to enter the country.
Additional exit requirements
Turkish citizens belonging to certain occupational groups may be required to produce a letter from their employer when leaving the country. Dual nationals may also be so required.
If you wish to travel to Syria, you must obtain a visa from the Syrian embassy in Ottawa prior to departure from Canada. The Syrian embassy in Ankara does not issue visas for non-residents in Turkey. Turkish border crossings to Syria are closed. The Turkish government restricts passage to humanitarian aid workers.
Seek advice from local authorities if you intend to travel outside tourist areas, as Turkish authorities have restricted access to some areas and have declared some areas as military zones.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
- Global Measles Notice - July 23, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
- Tick-borne encephalitis is present in some areas of this country.
- It is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
- It is spread to humans by the bite of infected ticks or when you consume unpasteurized milk products.
- Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks during outdoor activities.
- A vaccine against TBE does exist but is only available in countries where the disease is present.
- Learn more on what you can do to prevent tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)?
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Western Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Western Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that typically causes fever, bleeding under the skin, and pain. Risk is generally low for most travellers. It is spread to humans though contact with infected animal blood or bodily fluids, or from a tick bite. Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals. There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. The mosquito that spreads the virus is found here.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites and other diseases spread by insects.
- There is a limited risk of malaria in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
There have been human cases of avian influenza in this country.
Avian influenza is a viral infection that can spread quickly and easily among birds. In rare cases, it can infect people.
- avoid high risk areas such as poultry farms and live animal markets
- avoid areas where poultry may be slaughtered
- avoid contact with birds (alive or dead)
- avoid surfaces that may have bird droppings or secretions on them
- ensure all poultry dishes, including eggs, are well cooked
Medical services and facilities
Modern medical care is available in major cities but may not be in outlying areas. Immediate cash payment is often required.
There are decompression chambers near popular diving sites.
Universal health coverage
Foreigners with residency permits living in Turkey must register for universal health coverage under Turkish Social Security (SGK). Although Canadian citizens are exempt, you may enroll if you have no other coverage and you have been a resident in Turkey for at least one year. If you were a resident of Turkey when this requirement came into effect and chose to register later, premiums are levied retroactive to January 1, 2012. For more information, consult local SGK offices.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
If you are a citizen of Canada, but also a citizen of Turkey, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited.
Illegal or restricted activities
The use of illegal drugs is prohibited. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and heavy fines. Do not agree to carry any baggage that is not yours.
It is illegal to denigrate, desecrate or insult the following:
- the name or image of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey
- the president of the Republic of Turkey
- the Turkish flag and the national anthem
- Turkish currency
- State organs and institutions and its judicial bodies
- the police and the military
It is forbidden to photograph military or public installations. Avoid photographing public demonstrations or members of police or security forces. Cameras may be confiscated. Do not photograph people without their permission.
Turkish antiquities and other cultural artifacts that are considered of historical value or of national importance cannot be exported. Seek advice from Turkish authorities prior to departure from Turkey. If the item can be exported, you will require a sales receipt and the official museum export certificate issued by the Turkish customs office.
Although religious proselytizing is not illegal, some activities may be considered illegal and could lead to detention. Avoid physical contact, including holding hands, in public.
Avoid discussions (including in social media) on historical and religious issues as well as on politics.
Turkish authorities have detained and prosecuted large numbers of people over social media posts criticizing the government, state officials, president, military operations—even when the posts were published in the past or while the author was in another country.
Authorities have also targeted people and groups for:
- publishing statements
- organizing news conferences
- organizing or participating in nonviolent activities
- critical writing and online activism protesting the government, its policies, decisions and actions
Even if a case does not go to trial or ends in acquittal, people can be labelled as terrorism suspects and face adverse consequences due to investigations and criminal proceedings, including possible loss of employment and social exclusion.
Keep in mind the sensitivities, think twice before posting or reacting to online content criticizing the government, and restrain/limit your social media footprint.
Turkish law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely socially accepted.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Turkey.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Turkey, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
An International Driving Permit is recommended. There is a zero tolerance policy regarding drinking and driving. Consequences could include heavy fines payable on the spot.
Dress and behaviour
Islamic practices and beliefs are closely adhered to in many parts of the country. Behave discreetly and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), use discretion when drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. In 2020, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around April 23.
Dress conservatively, especially in areas outside major cities and coastal resorts. Women should cover their head with a scarf and all visitors should cover their arms and legs in all places of worship.
The currency is the Turkish lira (TRY). U.S. dollars, euros and major credit cards are widely accepted. Automated banking machines are widely available.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Earthquake in eastern Turkey
On January 24, 2020, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck the eastern province of Elazig. The tremor damaged infrastructure and caused several casualties. Aftershocks could occur.
If you are in or around the affected area:
- monitor local media
- follow the instructions of local authorities
Turkey is located in an active seismic zone. Landslides are possible in affected areas, and strong aftershocks may occur up to one week after the initial earthquake.
Severe rainstorms can cause flooding and landslides, resulting in extensive damage to infrastructure and hampering the provision of essential services.
Droughts, wildfires and snowstorms can also delay travel and disrupt essential services.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 155
- gendarmerie: 156 (if you are in a rural area)
- medical assistance: 112
- firefighters: 110
Ankara - Embassy of Canada
Istanbul - Consulate General of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Ankara or the Consulate of Canada in Istanbul and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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