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The second country that the Boy and I visited on our honeymoon, was Turkey (read about the first here). In the past couple of years Turkey has become a popular honeymoon destination for Pakistanis, and there is a general perception that it’s easy to get a visa – this was one reason why we chose Turkey. The second reason was that Istanbul is my FIL’s favorite city in the world, and he said he would pay for our honeymoon flights only if we went to Turkey. But I digress. Let’s talk about the visa process first.

It was complicated. I started the visa process a full month and a half before my travel dates, assuming it was going to be quite painless. Imagine my shock, once I started filling out the visa form, when I found that the first visa application appointment (for documents submission) that I was being offered was three days after my proposed travel date! 1.5 month out! A frantic back and forth of emails ensued, with me pleading with the embassies in Islamabad and Karachi to allow me to drop in with my documents before this date, so I could get my visa before my travel dates. The Islamabad embassy repeatedly sent the exact same copy-pasted email, not considering my case at all. Apparently appointments can now only be made through the online system, and if the system can’t give you a date before your proposed travel dates, you can’t even submit your application. It was a disaster.

Super worried, I read up on everything I could find relating to the Turkish visa process, and found that if you have a valid visa or residence permit from UK, US, Schengen or Ireland, you can apply online and get a Turkey e-VISA very easily. I didn’t have any of these visas, but at that point i figured I had nothing to lose – I actually put in an application for a travel visa to the US. Imagine my surprise when I received my US visa within 3 days! And for 5 years!! Super impressed with the way the US embassy has structured the visa process, btw. Good job, folks!

With the US visa, it took me all of 15 minutes online to get my Turkey e-Visa. They charge $60, paid online via debit/credit card, and all you have to do is print out the visa and staple it into your passport. You’re all set! The Boy already had a 5-year UK visa, so he was spared all this drama.

If you don’t have a valid visa or residence permit from UK, US, Schengen or Ireland, the process you will follow is this:

Visa Type: Tourist, Single Entry

Validity: 3 months

Stay: 60 days/entry.

Visa Fee: PKR 7350

Gerry’s Processing Charges: PKR 2500

Procession time: 4 working weeks, not accounting for Embassy holidays.

Required Documents:

  • Completed Visa Form (The form will be automatically downloaded)
  • Valid passport (valid for more than 08 months)
  • 2 passport size photographs (2’2’’)
  • Bank statement for the last 1 year
  • Hotel Bookings (These can be made without any payment on websites such as Expedia or Booking.com)
  • Flight Bookings or Tickets (These can be made online, or taken from a travel agent)

Drop-Off location:

  • Gerry’s Ltd. (Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Sialkot, Faisalabad)When you arrive at the Gerry’s visa drop box office you will collect a token, wait until your token is called to make your application at the submission counter.Please hold on to your receipt as you will need this later to collect your documents.

We were flying into Turkey straight from round 1 of our honeymoon, and there were no issues with our visas (though we were a little worried – our pieces of home-printed paper look nothing like official visas). Every airport spent a tiny bit longer checking out the Boy’s documents during immigration and border control conversations, but I breezed through.

And the amazing time we had in Turkey more than makes up for any inconvenience we faced getting there! Because this post is getting too long, photos and details of our adventures in Istanbul, and in Izmir, Seljuk, and Cappadocia are in posts to follow!

If you’re looking for some options for a 7 or 8 day itinerary for a trip to Turkey, here it is.