Date:April 22, 2020
From:Bener Immigration Team
SubjectCOVID 19 Turkey Alert

This information is updated as of April 14, 2020 in relation to many COVID 19 restrictions for Turkey:


INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL:  Turkey suspended the vast majority of international commercial flights into Turkey, with Turkish Airlines banning all international flights extended through May 20th. Note some evacuation flights have been scheduled into and out of Turkey which may require proof of residency in destination country. Please check with the air carrier directly for up-to-date information. Turkish Airlines also banned all domestic flights through May 1st.

Since March 23, Turkey has suspended flights and barred admission to travelers who have recently transited through or visited the following 68 countries in the last 14 daysAlgeria, Angola, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, India,  Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Mainland China, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Niger, North Macedonia, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Uzbekistan (see additional note below on Bulgaria and Greece). 

Recall the exceptions made for Turkish nationals and work and residence permit holders.


DOMESTIC TRAVEL:  Turkish Airlines has banned all domestic flights through May 1st. Regardless, note that those who wish to travel domestically (by air, car, train, bus etc) must obtain permission from the “Travel Permit Council” of Turkey. Note two important points:

  • Entries/exits made by land, air and sea (via public transportation, private vehicle and pedestrian, etc.) from 30 cities that are metropolitan status* and Zonguldak borders will be temporarily stopped as of 3 April 2020. (certain exceptions apply)
  • It is essential for all citizens living / staying in these provinces to remain in their cities for the specified period.

The 30 cities that are metropolitan status include: Adana, Ankara, Antalya, Aydın, Balıkesir, Bursa,  Denizli, Diyarbakır, Erzurum, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, Hatay, İstanbul, İzmir, Kahramanmaraş,  Kayseri, Kocaeli, Konya, Malatya, Manisa, Mardin, Mersin, Muğla, Ordu, Sakarya, Samsun,  Şanlıurfa, Tekirdağ, Trabzon, Van.

Also note a weekend shut down/curfew was implemented during weekends and national holidays in April in the main 31 municipal areas (Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, etc).


Since March 18, Turkey has closed its land and sea borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Also Greek and Bulgarian nationals, and those in Greece or Bulgaria within the last 14 days, are barred into Turkey. Note that as of March 14th, the land border with Georgia is also reported closed. As of March 1, the land border with Iraq is closed and as of February 23, the land border with Iran is closed. Recall the exemption for Turkish nationals and those with work or residence permits. For them, no barring but are quarantined. 


As of March 19, the Istanbul Migration Directorate has automatically rescheduled residence permit appointments for the next 30 days, to newly specified dates in June 2020. On April 15th, the next 30 days of appointments (April 20 to May 22nd appointments) were similarly rescheduled for dates in July and August. The MD may again reschedule later appointments for future 30 day increments.


Turkish consular posts around the world are so far having varied responses to the virus. Checking for most up-to-date status for posts is imperative. Posts are either:

  • Only allowing visa filing by post or bonded courier (ie. No in-person applications)
  • Restricted to limited appointments
  • fully closed to visa services


March 16, a posted notice at the main gate of the MOL states that the Public Relationships Department was closed because of COVID -19 until further notice. This means that Bener will not be able to enter the MOL building to make queries in person on work permit cases. All queries will need to be by phone which we have found is not particularly effective.

Bener has also noted a severe slow-down on work permit adjudications as seen by the on-line system. Cases appear to be taking longer to move through the steps of processing from upload to officer review, final approval and card issuance. Please anticipate longer timelines.

Useful links for travel to Turkey amid COVID 19 period:

  • See International Airport Transport Association-IATA country-by-country English language alerts. Countries can be easily added to this list so please check for updates:
  • Related to air travel restrictions on boarding and reservation changes. Please check for updates:

Turkish Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure website 

Turkish Directorate General of Civil Aviation website

As with many countries, these changes are in flux on a daily basis. Please look for further updates in this topic.