A biometric passport is one with a computer chip embedded in it. Look at the front cover of your passport. Do you see the symbol?—>
If your passport bears that little rectangular symbol, it contains a microprocessor which holds a photograph of you and enables other means of identification such as facial, fingerprint and iris recognition.
If your passport does not have the symbol, you have an old, traditional passport.
Starting on November 25, 2015, only biometric passports will be accepted for travel anywhere in the world, including Turkey. Traditional passports will no longer be valid for travel.
(If your home country and the country to which you are traveling allow you to travel with some other identity document, such as a national ID card, that may still be acceptable. But as for passports, only biometric will be accepted.)
Do You Need a Visa?
Most visitors may enter Turkey without a visa or by buying an e-visa online from the official Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs e-visa website in advance of arrival in Turkey.
Do you need a visa? This Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs consular website can tell you, and you can find out on the e-visa website's eligibility page if you can get your visa easily online. More...
Basically, the visa fee is just a tourist tax.
Must You Buy Your Visa Online in Advance?
In December 2014, the e-visa website FAQ showed this:
"I do not want to apply for an e-Visa. Can I get a visa on arrival?"
"Yes. If you are a citizen of one of the countries listed below and you meet the required criteria, you can obtain a visa on arrival. Kindly visit the Ministry's website (www.mfa.gov.tr) to learn more about these requirements."
There is no way of knowing whether, in 2015, you will be able to obtain a visa upon arrival in Turkey. The Ministry does not always announce its decisions in advance, or even in arrears.
You can get your visa in advance, before you arrive in Turkey, from any Turkish consulate, but it entails time, trouble, and extra expense (you'll pay a "visa processing fee.") It's much simpler to just buy an e-visa online if you're allowed to do so. More...
As stated above, according to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs e-visa website FAQ, as of January 1, 2015, there was still information regarding buying your visa upon arrival in Turkey, but it will cost you substantially more money. Here are the fees.
You can buy a visa from a visa machine upon your arrival in Turkey...if the machine works. I received this report from a TTP traveler on October 1, 2014:
I went to istanbul for a short holiday on 24th Wednesday August, 2014 and I was told to pay an entry visa at the e-visa machine at the atturk airport. I had completed my transaction( 20 USD) at the machine but it refused to print my visa. The machine was not working and there were no staff to help me. After some searching around, I called the airport staff (secrity guard, Turkish airline counter personnel) but none were helpful. I was told to go to a counter to speak to the manager but, after the queue, the manager was not available and told me to go to another counter and after some wait at the queue, I was told to go to the VISA counter. At the VISA counter, I was told to pay 30 USD. By then, I was furious and told them that I had already paid at the e-VISA machine, but they just said that I needed to pay my Visa at the counter again because they did not have my record of payment. Reluctantly, I had to pay the 30 USD again. When I checked my bank acount after my holiday, my worst fear was confirmed- they have taken 50 USD + transaction charges.
Turkish Visa Renewal
Pursuant to Turkish government regulations instituted on January 12, 2012, "90-day tourist visa" means that you can visit Turkey for up to 90 days within any 180-day period. This means that, after staying 90 days, you cannot simply cross the border into another country, stay outside of Turkey for a day or two, then re-enter Turkey on a new 90-day tourist visa. Instead, you must apply in advance at a Turkish consulate for a residence visa and, when you arrive in Turkey, for a residence permit (İkamet Tezkeresi).
You May Not Need a Visa
If your passport is from one of the countries below, you probably don't have to obtain a visa from a Turkish consulate in advance of your trip. (Who does?)
The information below was obtained from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, but I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information! For definitive information you must check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website or contact a Turkish consulate. (Please do not contact me—I have no more information. I will just tell you to contact a Turkish consulate.)
(S) means you may buy a sticker visa, valid for the number of days shown, upon entry to Turkey. Have the exact amount of euros or US dollars (or, for British passport holders only, UK pounds sterling)—in CASH!—to pay for your visa. No travelers checks, no credit cards, no other currencies, no change given, no exceptions!
No (S) means you may enter Turkey for the number of days shown with just a valid passport; you do not need a visa.
*“Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the PRC (SAR) Passport” holders are exempted from visa for their travels up to 90 days. "British National Overseas“ (BNO) passport holders may buy 90-day visas at Turkish borders. Holders of “Certificate of Identity-Hong Kong ( C.I. )” and “Document of Identity for Visa Purposes-Hong Kong( D.I. )” must get their visas from the Turkish representations abroad.