A recent diplomatic spat between Turkey and the US has resulted in both countries suspending the issuance of visas for travelers to their respective countries. The tit-for-tat actions have been going on for months and have recently escalated when an employee of the American consulate in Istanbul, who is a Turkish citizen, was arrested. That caused the US missions in Turkey to announce they would be scaling back visa services to Turkish citizens due to security concerns. This was followed by a response from the Turkish mission in the US, also saying due to security concerns they would be suspending visa processing for Americans. The e-Visa system has also stopped allowing online visa applications for American passport holders.
So, what do this mean for someone wanting to visit Turkey? If you already have a visa and your plane tickets, you will be allowed in to the country. If you do not have your visa but have plane tickets, please check with your carrier about their policy or changing your ticket or getting a refund. Currently, Turkish Airlines is waiving change fees if you are flying between now and October 31st. They will also refund your ticket in the same time frame. If you are scheduled to fly after that date, please check with them your airline. They may be taking a wait and see stance because most experts do not expect this to be a protracted standoff.
If you have plans to travel later in the year or next year, please wait to see how this resolves itself. As we mentioned, experts don’t expect this to last long and will be issued again soon. Turkey in particular, can’t really afford to block travelers for very long.