Think you can’t visit the country you want because you’re not allowed to get the visa? Don’t give up hope! The recent ban on visas for Turkish and American citizens, which was recently lifted, had a lot of people scrambling to find a way to get the visa they wanted so desperately.
In fact, some friends of mine needed to go to Turkey on a business trip, during the visa ban. They had already bought their plane tickets before the ban began, so they had to make it happen anyway! Here’s how they did it. Maybe these principles can be applied to your own travel plans.
1. Understand the Ban
Ignorance is anything but bliss when it comes to travel and visas. If you want to make your trip happen, you have to know the situation and limitations so you can find a legal and appropriate way around them. For instance, the ban my friends were dealing with for their Turkish trip was not that Americans could not travel to Turkey, it was that neither the Turkish embassies or consulates in America would issue a visa to an American; likewise, neither the American embassies or consulates would issue visas to Turkish people.
Solution: Get a visa from a Turkish embassy or consulate outside the United States. My friends got theirs in Canada.
2. Find the Rules
When traveling, it’s imperative to follow the rules (even jump through the hoops!) at all times. When finding work-arounds for a trip like this, it’s even more important. Once you know where you can get your visa (like Canada), find out what exactly the rules and procedures are. Do a quick Internet search and don’t give up until you find the answers! Here’s the link for one of the Turkish embassies in Canada.
3. Make Your Plan
If you can only get your visa from another country, you really want to get it right the first time! Do you need to go there in person? Can you get your visa entirely online? Can you mail it in? And if so, do you have enough time? Speaking of time, how long does it usually take? Can you get it expedited? How much will that cost?
It’s all doable and attainable, but make sure you have all the information you need before you send anything in or make plans to visit the embassy or consulate in person! My friends chose to go to Ontario in person because they could walk in and walk out with their visa the same day–within a few hours, in fact!
4. Get Your Information in Order
Now that you know what to expect and you have a plan, get all your materials in order. Do you need a tourist visa, work visa, business visa, or some other kind of visa? Make sure you have the correct information for the kind of visa you need. Will you need a single-entry or multiple-entry visa? The requirements and cost will likely differ for the type of visa you need for your trip, so make sure you have the correct dates for entry and exit, amount of money, and documentation to get your visa. And once you get it, you’re good to go!
5. Keep Yourself Organized
Even though this was completely legal, the situation was still on the precarious side of things. That’s why it was important for my friends to keep their travel documents in order. For your own purposes, I suggest keeping all the originals together (perhaps with your passport), as well as making copies to keep in a separate place (like in your purse or carry-on luggage). Want to go the extra mile? Keep photos of your paperwork in your phone. Just make sure you can access them without Internet access, just in case!
6. Keep Checking!
Unfortunately, the rules can change at any time. It all depends on each country’s political atmosphere, which can change on someone’s whim! Keep an ear out to hear the current events in international news, and periodically check the consulate or embassy’s website for updates during your visa process. Be patient–and thorough!
Want more? Check out my post on How to Get a Tourist Visa! Have you had an interesting visa experience? Tell me about it below!