The consequences of the misleading wording on Turkish tourist visas has been felt by an innocent visitor when he was served a fine and a ban for overstaying his visa.
Last June 2010 the Turkish immigration authorities started issuing new style tourist visa stickers at all their ports of entry to Turkey. The stickers contained new wording that suggested that individual visa holders would be restricted to a stay of 90 days in a 180 day period. The new rules were introduced with effect from 14 July 2010. Following diplomatic complaints the new rules were dropped but the revised visa stickers complete with 90/180 day wording continued to be used at certain ports of entry including Dalaman, Bodrum and Istanbul airports.
Dalaman airport immigration authorities have recently started to over stamp all Turkish tourist visas with revised wording –
But millions of visitors have been issued the 90/180 day visa with the misleading wording and some are finding that they are paying the consequences for the continuing use of the ‘new but old’ visa.
John Wilkinson is one such visitor was recently served with a visa violation order banning him from re-entering Turkey for 3 months and imposing a hefty fine.
“I am a regular visitor to Turkey and I assumed that the wording on the visa issued to me at Bodrum airport on 16 May 2011 was valid.
I left the country on 12 June 2011 and returned again on 11th July.
I was NOT told on entry to the country in May or July that the wording on the visa was invalid.
The visa was not stamped to indicate that it was a multientry visa valid for 90 days.“
“Furthermore, I went to Turkish Security Police Directorate (Foreigners Deaprtment) in Ankara, on 5th September 2011, to check that my visa was valid and would be so until my delayed return to the UK as a consequence of rearranging my flight following the entry of Aegean Flights into administration. The police officer assured me that the visa was valid.
You can imagine my surprise when I was served with a visa violation form, to be fined and banned from the country for three months when I sought leave to return to the UK on 13 September 2011.
The Police Officers in Bodrum airport behaved as if the 180 day rule did not exist and did not explain the background to their action. They were not impressed by the advice I had received in Ankara. “
With the season slowly drawing to a close and visitors returning home those who thought they were entitled to a longer stay on their visa could be in for a surprise fine and ban through no fault of their own.
It seems this problem just won’t go away quietly.