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Turkey relaxes formalities for yachts

By webmaster last modified Dec 08, 2004 05:10 PM

Published: 2004-12-08 17:10:34
Topics: Cruising Information
Countries: Turkey

Effective 2002, the Government of Turkey has relaxed certain provisions for yachtsmen. Kemer Marina has prepared a detailed report that lays out clearly all rules and regulations, as follows.




Yachts entering or leaving Turkey must make their entry or departure only at designated Customs entry and exit points. Governing Law No. 2634 (Official Gazette 17635) Article 28 (a) There they must obtain or surrender (as appropriate) a Transit Log, basically a cruising permit, referred to in some official documents as the "Yacht Registration Certificate ".

Ports of entry around the coast are Hopa, Trabzon, Samsun, Istanbul, Güllük, TekirdaÈ, BandÏrma, Çanakkale, Akçay, AyvalÏk, Dikili, Izmir, Çesme, KuêadasÏ, Bodrum, Dat¸a, Marmaris, Fethiye, Kaê, Kemer, Antalya, Anamur, Alanya, Taêucu, Mersin and Iskenderun.


The Transit Log is a permit to sail in Turkish Territorial Waters and to enter Turkish ports. On entry, formalities are completed with Health, Harbourmaster, Passport Police and Customs Patrol Authorities in this order. Marinas often assist with this procedure. Often there is an additional cost for this service although it is offered free at Park Kemer Marina.

Duration of Transit Log validity: 365 Days. Cost:30 USD.

Note that the yacht must not remain beyond the period of validity of the Transit Log. The intended ports of the cruise must be entered in the Transit Log.

Foreign flag yachts may cruise on the routes shown in their cruise documents and call and anchor at harbours along the route where there is no customs office, for sightseeing purposes, on condition that there are no other restrictions. Governing Law 2634, Article 28 (d) (i) and (ii), and Gazette No. 18125 Article 44 (2).

Change in yacht crew must be entered in the appropriate section of the Transit Log and authorised by the Harbourmaster at the port where the change takes place. Change of owner requires that the existing Transit Log is cancelled and a new one obtained.

If a yacht is leaving Turkish waters even for a brief period of time and planning to return within the time the Transit Log is valid, it must be surrendered on departure, and a new one obtained for 30 USD on re-entry.

When departing for foreign ports yachts are required to complete full clearance procedures and surrender of the Transit Log with, Harbourmaster, Passport Police, and Customs Patrol Authorities, in that order.

In general, Visas are valid for 90 days (see later). An important difference is that Visas are multiple entry, the Transit Log is not.


A private foreign-flag yacht of any type that spends the winter in Turkey or enters Turkey from a foreign port may be operated within the port or between Turkish ports only if the owner is on board.

There is one exception: if the owner is not able to join the trip, he can send a fax authorising his / her captain to deliver the yacht to the next port (according to new regulations 6th November 2001).

Foreign-flag yachts owned by several persons and yachts owned by foreign clubs, associations and unions may be operated by up to four of their owners in one year.

It is permissible to take Turkish or foreign guests (other than the owners' families) on board such yachts for excursion, sports or entertainment purposes on the condition that no money is charged for this. Governing Law 2634, Gazette No. 18125 Article No.47 amended by Gazette 20914.


Foreigners who enter Turkey on board their yachts, pursuant to Article 29 of the Law, may leave their yachts in a certified marina or yacht slipway for the winter or for a period of up to two years for maintenance and repair purposes and leave Turkey by another means of transport.

In such an event marina management shall file an application with the local customs administration. A yacht that spends the winter in a marina or yacht slipway in this manner and that is used by its owner at least once every two years may stay in Turkey for up to five years without need to obtain further permission. The Ministry is authorised to extend this five-year period at its expiry. Governing Law 2634, Article 29, Gazette No.18 125 Article 46, amended by Gazette No. 19252.

When the owner leaves Turkey (reference first paragraph above) the yacht has to be placed in Customs Bond. To take a yacht out of Customs Bond it is no longer necessary to obtain a new Transit Log if it has not expired.


The above notes are relevant only to private yachts used solely in a non-commercial manner. Other Rules apply to yachts engaged in charter


In the references above:

Governing Law No.2634 is the "Law for the Encouragement of Tourism" Date of passage 12 March 1982. Published in Official Gazette 17635 dated 16 March 1982. Official Gazette No. 18125 dated 4 August 1983 titled "The Regulations on Yacht Tourism". Official Gazette No. 19252 dated 15 October 1986. Official Gazette No. 20914 dated 29 June 1991. Customs Ministry Regulation 6th November 2001




On arrival a Tourist Visa stamp will be placed in your Passport with the entry date. It shows a validity of 3 months, but note that the period is actually 90 days. This is a multiple entry Visa, allowing you to leave and re-enter Turkey as often as you wish by air, sea or land. You must renew your visa or leave Turkey before the existing visa expires as heavy fines are imposed for overstaying.

Important. Alternatively, if you go home, it is possible to obtain a Visa from the Turkish Consulate in your Country of Domicile. This takes time, but the issued Visa can be valid for a longer period up to five years maximum.


Citizens of almost all Countries can obtain Tourist Visas without difficulty on entry to Turkey at Ports of Entry or airports. The regulations concerning Visas differ for different Countries, principally concerning cost and validity, as shown below.

Australia 20 USD 3 Months

Austria 150 Sch 3 Months

Belgium 10 USD 3 Months

Brazil 20 USD 3 Months

Canada 45 USD 3 Months

England (United Kingdom) 10 GBP 3 Months

Finland Free 3 Months

France Free 3 Months

Georgia 15 USD 15 Days

Germany Free 3 Months

Greece Free 3 Months

Holland 10 USD 3 Months

Israel Free 3 Months

Italy 5 USD 3 Months

Ireland 5 GBP 3 Months

Morocco Free 3 Months

New Zealand Free 3 Months

Norway Free 3 Months

Portugal 10 USD 3 Months

Romania Free 2 Months

Russia 10 USD 1 Month

South Africa Free 21 Days

Spain 10 USD 3 Months

Sweden Free 3 Months

Switzerland Free 3 Months

Tunisia Free 3 Month

Ukraine 10 USD 1 Months

USA. 45 USD 3 Months

Citizens of Bulgaria and of Egypt can only obtain Transit Visas valid for 3 days.

Citizens of other Eastern European Countries should confirm their situation before arriving in Turkey.

Note carefully that although the visa validity period is given in months, the period is actually 90 days and this is strictly adhered to.


Having left Turkey and returning either after the expiry date of your Visa or within less than two weeks of its expiry you will be given another 90 day Tourist Visa. There is no restriction to the number of times this can be done. If on return there are more than two weeks remaining for your pre-departure visa, the Authorities may decline to issue a new visa. But this rule is old and some of the entry port immigration (passport) officers may not know of the new rule. You must insist on requesting a new three-month (90 days) visa on entry. If they still say NO, contact your marina.

The visa is valid until its expiry date before which you should decide to either leave Turkey and re-enter or apply for a new visa or Residence Permit


Residence Permits are in the form of a small book looking like a mini-passport and replace the visas. They are available for periods starting from 90 days up to 5 years. They are also multiple entry, however departure and entry dates continue to be stamped in your passport

A recently enacted Law has enabled a foreigner who is the owner of a yacht, his wife and children and crew to obtain longer term Residence Permits. This is conditioned on their having a fully paid contract to keep their yacht in a marina licensed by the Turkish Tourism Ministry for at least the length of time of the Residence Permit application.

The maximum permitted period on first application is 2 years. Longer periods up to 5 years are possible on subsequent application.

The local Police Department issues residence permits where the yacht under contract is located.

Turkish Interior Affairs Ministry in Announcements 00085 and 00113 dated 11 April 2000 and 13 April 2000 covers this recent Law respectively.


You should begin preparing the application not less than one week before your visa expires. Should your visa expire during one of the major holidays make your Residence Permit application before the start of that holiday. You should seek the assistance of the Marina when making your application.

Required with the application - for EACH PERSON.

a)Type-written completed application form for each person. Hand written applications are not acceptable. You must use a manual typewriter.

b)5 passport size coloured photographs against a plain light coloured background.

c)Photocopy of appropriate pages of your passport identifying: the passport holder; passport number and expiry date; the issuing country of the passport; the current visa and entry date stamp; the Customs stamp recording the yacht.

d)Your Passport

e)Ships Papers

f)Transit Log or evidence of the yacht being in Customs Bond.

g)A copy of your receipted Contract with the Marina valid for at least the duration of the application for a Residence Permit. This may require an accompanying letter from the Marina

h)Receipts etc. showing that during the validity of your current visa 100 USD per month has been spent. This is most simply achieved with currency exchange dockets or slips from ATMs. These will not be returned to you.

i)The Authorities will require to see the card or cards used in an ATM and will check that the number matches the withdraw slips. They may also request a photocopy of the card(s) which they will retain. Proof of holding an account with equivalent funds in a Turkish Bank is also acceptable.

j)A pink-coloured folder called a DOSYA, available in all stationers.

k)Money, in Turkish Lira; (from 01.01.2002 to 31.12.2002): For the Residence Permit booklet: 30.000.000 TL; for a six months permit: 102.120.000; for a one-year permit: 204.460.000. An additional charge of 61.150.000 TL is due from citizens of some countries, such as Germany, that don't pay for a visa on entry.

The sums of money given above are a guide only and the precise sums should be confirmed before making the application.

When making the application at the Immigration Office each person applying for a Residence Permit must present himself or herself at the office.

Note: Residence Permits may take several days to process. When completing formalities enquire when it will be ready for collection. During this waiting period your passport will have been retained by the Immigration Office, make sure you have prepared a photocopy for yourself in advance.




At a limited number of ports duty free fuel is available to visiting foreign yachts but to qualify it is necessary to be able to load a minimum quantity of 3 tonnes on commercial base, and filling has to be certified by the presence of a Custom Officer. This minimum quantity has to be taken by a single vessel. It is not permissible for a number of yachts to collectively take the minimum quantity. In practice, it is no longer possible for smaller yachts to obtain duty free fuel.


Spares or replacements can be brought into Turkey without payment of tax as long as the regulations are followed precisely. The principal requirement is that the consignment is correctly addressed and invoiced, and the accompanying list of contents is clear and unambiguous and relates easily to the items. It is strongly recommended that you clarify every aspect with your Marina or you select an Agent before any order is placed with suppliers. It is also helpful if your yacht is adjacent to a major airport or seaport, e.g. Antalya, Istanbul or Izmir.

Receiving spares Duty Free does not mean without payment of other costs such as airline freight clearance and Customs clearance. There could be additional charges including notary and translators fees and possibly temporary warehousing.

It is possible to receive duty free spares more easily in certain regions of Turkey with the assistance of your marina. For example, customs agent service in Park Kemer Marina costs only 65 USD and all formalities can be completed within a half day even for a brand new engine. The process is more complicated at Istanbul, however, where the shipping company seems to be vitally important. For example, United Parcel Services (UPS) may be superior to DHL there. Again, before placing any order discuss all details with your marina.

It is always easier to bring spares into Turkey with you. If a Customs Officer considers the part to be valuable, you will need a customs agent to clear the parcel.

One difficulty with large spares, such as engines, can be disposal of the redundant pieces. If a new item is received Duty Free the regulations prohibit sale to local market or even disposal of the original.


Foreign yachtsmen are allowed to use foreign vehicles registered in their name in Turkey for a period of six months (3 + 3 months) in any twelve. Particulars of the vehicle will be entered in the owner's passport. At the end of the six-month period the vehicle must be removed from Turkey.

A vehicle can be left in Customs Bond for up to four months, but application may be made for extension by a further two months. The penalties for failure to remove a vehicle from the Country before expiry of the Bond date are stringent,


The above information prepared by Park Kemer Marina is believed correct at the day of writing. Noonsite accepts no responsibility for any omissions or errors or for any subsequent changes made by any Government Authority.01.01.2002