Tedious visa application processes are struggles Nigerian passport holders are awfully familiar with. As a Nigerian, applying for visas can be so stressful. The struggle begins right from downloading and filling the visa forms. I remember researching the procedure for obtaining an Indonesian visa. After seeing what it entailed, I immediately put my EAT.PRAY.LOVE dreams on hold. It almost seems impossible to live your best travel life with this passport. People say the reason for this is our international reputation. I agree that our international reputation isn’t one to emulate however, some of these visa processes are just plain ridiculous!
My personal visa struggle experience was with the Canadian embassy. I got my first rejection. Here I was, working as an associate in reputable law firm in Nigeria with a good travel history. I had lived in England as a student for over a year and never breached any visa conditions. It was shocking to say the least and it burnt a hole in my heart. The ground for rejection was “no ties with my home country”. It was so strange because this application was a family one. I applied with my parents and my sister. While my parents’ application was granted, my sister’s application got rejected as well (though she had visited Canada the previous year). It took a perfectly worded letter from my father to the High Commission to get our visas out.
A country becomes more attractive when the visa process is easy and Turkey is one of such countries with an easy visa process. It’s even better when all we need to do is show up and get the visa on arrival! These days, most Nigerians will opt for destinations with less visa struggles than their counterparts with tedious processes. A visa process should be a prerequisite and not a barrier to entry.
My first visit to Turkey was in 2012. I flew to Istanbul from London via Turkish Airlines and I got my visa on arrival. It was exciting as this was my first visa on arrival country. Back in London, prior to my trip, I visited the embassy physically in spite their website having all the relevant information. I was (still am) a Nigerian passport holder and I did not want to take any chances. I imagined a scenario where after paying for my ticket, booking accommodation and relevant tours I get told at the airport “this visa on arrival option is not applicable to Nigerian passport holders”. Haaaaaaaaaaaa! This clearly had me shook and I headed straight to the Turkish embassy! After I heard from the “horse’s mouth” aka embassy officials, I was more comfortable. Subsequently, I prepared for my trip and ensured I met all the necessary requirements.
Five years after my first visit, I got invited for a Thermal Tourism Conference in Pammukale and I discovered the visa process had changed. Nigerian passport holders can no longer obtain visas on arrival. You are now required to get an E-visa before departing Nigeria. Side Note: It’s important to stay up to date with the visa processes because things change quickly. I applied for my E-visa here www.evisa.gov.tr/en/. and it’s the easiest visa I’ve had to obtain to date.
Truthfully, I was not going to begin this TRIP TO TURKEY series with the visa process. I assumed this information was common knowledge. Boy was I wrong! On 23rd September, one day to my trip, I was applying for my visa via mobile when a friend walked in. She wondered what I was up to; phone in one hand and international passport in the other. “Mofe are you trying to take a photo of your passport?” she asked. “Before I go on a trip, I do that too”. I sat there wondering what in the world she was talking about. “I have a soft copy of my passport. I’m just applying for my visa”. – I responded.
” Say what now???? Applying for your visa via your phone? How is that possible? Show me the process, I cannot believe you can apply for a Turkish Visa over the phone! How did I not know this? I have been trying to schedule traveling to Abuja to apply for my visa!”
It was quite hilarious seeing her go from surprised to perplexed to angry. It felt good sharing this information with her. I also shared this information via my Instagram, particularly via Instastories and I got the same reaction as well! Loads of “oh I did not know that” and “thank you for sharing this information”! Again, it felt good to share.
Though the visa on arrival option is not open to Nigerians anymore, the E-visa process is very easy. Here are a few things to note before you begin.
- Have all your information handy; passport details, address, phone number, etc.
- You’ll require an international debit or credit card to make payment for the visa.
- You’ll need to have a valid U.K., USA, Ireland or Schengen visa. These visas must be multiple entry.
- Your flight must be on Turkish Airlines, Onur Air, Atlasglobal or Peagasus.
- Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months and have free pages for stamping.
APPLYING FOR YOUR TURKISH E-VISA
Once you select your arrival date in Turkey, the platform automatically works out 180 days which is your validity period. However you can only stay for a maximum of 30 days. Additionally, your visa is a single-entry visa i.e you can only enter the country once on that visa.
Finally, you’ll be required to pay for your E-visa via the link sent to your email. Unfortunately, Nigerian cards don’t work here. I tried using three different cards and they just did not work. You’ll need an international debit or credit card to pay for your E-visa.
Most times, visa processes determine my destination of choice and you are likely to see me explore countries with an easy visa process. What has been your easiest visa process yet? As a Nigerian passport holder, visa struggles are so close to home; though we might not have experienced any, someone around us has! I’ll love to read your visa experiences good or bad.
*This post is sponsored by www.hermesconsulting.org. Hermes consulting is a healthcare management consulting firm which specializes in International medical tourism facilitation to countries all over the world.