Turkey has launched a new online-based visa system for foreign nationals visiting the country, boosting Istanbul’s bid for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
The new e-visa would allow tourists to apply and pay for their visas online and print them out before they travel, which would eliminate the need to line-up for a “stamp-type” visa.
The e-visa will be available to citizens of 94 countries.
Istanbul 2020 has also guaranteed a visa waiver for all accredited persons during the Games and up to one month before and after the Games.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a press conference, “this is a revolutionary practice and there is no other country implementing this system at the scale we are implementing it”.
Ali Kiremitcioglu, CEO of Istanbul 2020, said, “this is an important step in Turkey’s commitment to providing the best possible visitor experience commitment for the ever-increasing number of tourists that visit our country. Istanbul 2020 will be characterized by a simple and enjoyable end-to-end experience for every guest. That starts with user-friendly entry procedures that minimize bureaucracy for the preparation and celebration of the Games, with no compromise on security. The entire Olympic family can be guaranteed the warmest of welcomes with Turkey’s famous culture of hospitality and compassion”.
It’s expected that visa issuance at the borders will be replaced entirely by e-visas within three to four months and that 7.5 million visas will be issued annually through the online system, which will initially only be available to visitors travelling with Turkish airlines.