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COVID-19: Frequently asked questions

You will find simple answers to our most frequently asked questions on this page. Please read this before contacting the Embassy to allow us to focus on assisting Canadians in distress and requiring urgent assistance.

Canadian citizens who live, travel or are planning to travel in Turkey, please register yourselves as Canadian citizens abroad on the Registration of Canadians Abroad page to receive updates from the Embassy.  Please note that you are responsible for your personal security abroad, and are subject to local health regulations in the country while you are there.

You can also find much reliable, up-to-date information on the following sites:

1. If I am a Canadian citizen travelling in Turkey, should I leave and return to Canada because of the COVID-19 pandemic?

The Government of Canada advised, as of March 16, 2020, that Canadian travellers should return to Canada while commercial flight options remain.

If you are a Canadian citizen living and/or working in Turkey, or if you are a dual-citizen of Turkey and Canada, you do not have to return to Canada. If you choose to stay in Turkey, please ensure that you have the sufficient financial means and first-necessity items, including medication, to support yourself. We advise you to check with your insurance company that you are properly covered.

If you are planning to return to Canada soon, you should consider doing so immediately. Flight options are very limited and unpredictable with prices also fluctuating a great deal, and last-minute schedule changes.

2. What assistance can I expect with return flights to Canada?

The Embassy of Canada in Ankara and the Consulate General of Canada in Istanbul are doing their utmost to support Canadians in Turkey. On March 27, the Government of Turkey announced the suspension of all commercial international flights. Nevertheless, there are still a few limited international commercial flights available and we continue to urge Canadians who intend to leave Turkey to do so via commercial means.

Having provided two successful commercially assisted flights to return to Canada, we do not anticipate any additional such flights in the future.  We continue to urge Canadian citizens and permanent residents along with their families wishing to leave Turkey to do so by commercial means. While some viable commercial options are still available, flights are limited and unpredictable with prices also fluctuating a great deal, and last-minute schedule changes.

The Embassy of Canada in Ankara and the Consulate General of Canada in Istanbul will continue to advise on new viable options for commercial flights to Canada and other developments within Turkey.  As the situation is evolving rapidly, we urge you to consult regularly the Istanbul Airport website for any available commercial flights and make all immediate efforts to depart Turkey by those means.

To receive important information, it is essential that your Registration of Canadians Abroad service contact information is complete and up to date for us to contact you quickly and to confirm your current status. Share this important information with other Canadian citizens in your area and encourage them to register with Registration of Canadians Abroad for important safety updates from the Government of Canada.

3. Are there any restrictions on my ability to go to the airport to get my flight back to Canada?

Yes. Movement restrictions are in place across Turkey, including for inter-city travel and curfews. Please see the Travel page for Turkey for the latest travel advisory on Turkey.

Turkish authorities will strongly consider those requests by foreign nationals seeking to undertake inter-city travel for the purposes of repatriating to their home country. If you require a travel permit to go to the airport, it can be obtained online, through e-devlet for those with a Turkish ID. Further information can be obtained by contacting the designated local phone line: 199 (for Turkish or dual citizens) and 157 (for non-Turkish citizens). You may also go to bus terminals, district governorships or provincial offices to obtain a travel permit and should allow for at least four hours. A travel permit should be obtained in advance of any planned travel.

Please see the Turkish Airlines site for important information for individuals traveling to airports during a curfew.

4. What should I do if I need to travel to receive Consular Services?

We stand ready to provide consular services to Canadians to the extent possible, while respecting the decisions of local health authorities as they manage this public health emergency. As movement restrictions are in place across Turkey, including for inter-city travel and curfews, you will require a travel permit to visit the Embassy of Canada in Ankara if you reside outside that city. Please note that you should visit the Embassy by appointment only, by contacting us by email at ANKRA-Consular@international.gc.ca.

If you require a travel permit, it can be obtained online, through e-devlet for those with a Turkish ID. Further information can be obtained by contacting the designated local phone line: 199 (for Turkish or dual citizens) and 157 (for non-Turkish citizens). You may also go to bus terminals, district governorships or provincial offices to obtain a travel permit and should allow for at least four hours. A travel permit should be obtained in advance of any planned travel.

5. What is the new COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad announced by the federal government?

To help Canadians outside Canada return home, the Government of Canada has created a temporary financial assistance program, the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad. If you are eligible, are outside Canada and are directly impacted by COVID-19, you will be able to apply for an emergency loan of up to $5,000 to help you return to Canada and to cover your short-term needs while you work toward returning. This emergency assistance is a repayable loan to the Government of Canada. Please see the Emergency Loan Program FAQ page for further details, which will also be provided upon application.

6. Who is eligible for the new COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad?

You are eligible if you are a Canadian citizen impacted by COVID-19 who plans to return to Canada and has exhausted all other funding options (contacting friends, family and insurance providers, bank, etc.). We will consider that you plan to return to Canada if you: had a return flight booked and your flight was cancelled or delayed; or attempted to book a flight, but cannot due to the travel restrictions or exorbitant pricing. Exceptionally, if you are a Canadian permanent resident facing a threat to life or other grievous harm, you may be eligible, even if not travelling with a Canadian citizen who is a family member.

7. What expenses are covered under the new COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad?

Each situation is unique and the amount of the loan will be determined and approved on a case-by-case basis by consular officials. Expenses covered by the loan include, but are not limited to, the most economical transport costs, and medical costs not covered by either local public health services or private insurance.

8. How do I apply for the new COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad?

Eligible Canadians currently outside Canada who need financial assistance can contact us by email at ISTBL-Consular@international.gc.ca, if they are in Istanbul, or at ANKRA-Consular@international.gc.ca, if they are elsewhere in Turkey. Canadians can also contact Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613-996-8885 (call collect where available) or CAN.finances.CV19@international.gc.ca.

9. Can I travel to Canada if I have symptoms of COVID-19?

No. You must self-isolate if you have symptoms (fever, cough, respiratory difficulties). In this situation, you should follow the Government of Turkey’s procedures. In health or other emergencies, you should call 112.

Please also keep us informed by contacting us by email at ISTBL-Consular@international.gc.ca, if you are in Istanbul, or ANKRA-Consular@international.gc.ca, if you are elsewhere in Turkey. You may also phone the Consulate at +90 212 385 9700 or the Embassy at +90 312 409 2700 and leave a clear message with your name and phone number. The voicemail box is monitored continuously.

In case of emergency outside working hours, you may contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa. The centre operates 24/7 and may be reached directly at +1 613 996 8885 (call collect where available) or sos@international.gc.ca.

You may also choose to apply for a COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad if this situation leads you to require financial assistance.

10. I am concerned about contracting COVID-19 while here in Turkey. Can I access local healthcare?

Emergency health care services are free of charge in Turkey. As with any illness abroad, we would recommend that you contact your health insurance provider to make enquiries about your particular situation.

The present advice is that if you live alone and you have symptoms of COVID-19 or flu like symptoms, however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. You can also check the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 advice and the World Health Organization’s health advice for further information.

For health issues or emergencies, consult your local family physician or dial 112. You may also call 184 for further information about COVID-19, or message the official WhatsApp account of the Ministry of Health at 0 541 888 0184.

11. If I am leaving Turkey, do I have to quarantine myself when I get back to Canada?

Yes. All persons entering Canada, by air, sea or land, whether or not they have signs and symptoms of COVID 19, must undergo a mandatory quarantine for 14 days. This means you must stay at home and monitor yourself for symptoms, even if mild, once you arrive in Canada. You will be asked to show a credible plan for your 14-day mandatory quarantine and accommodations before being allowed to board your flight.

If you’re travelling by air, you need to pass a health check before you’re allowed to board your flight, and you also need to wear a non-medical mask or face covering for the duration of your journey. Anyone, including Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada, who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Canada by air.

12. If I need a new passport or to register a birth, do I have to apply in person?

We stand ready to provide consular services to Canadians to the extent possible, while respecting the decisions of local health authorities as they manage this public health emergency. Some limitations may be in effect limiting our capacity to do so. Citizens wishing to apply for or renew a passport, or register a birth should mail or courier their applications to the Embassy of Canada in Ankara or the Consulate General of Canada in Istanbul.  These applications will be dealt with as time permits and in order of priority.

13. Is there a means to register with the Canadian Embassy to let you know that I am a Canadian presently in Turkey?

Yes. We would encourage you to register as a Canadian abroad to stay in touch with the Government of Canada. You will be asked to provide your contact details and emergency contact information.

14. If I am a Canadian citizen living in Turkey and my long-stay visa or my residency permit is due to expire in the coming weeks, do I have to leave Turkey and return to Canada?

Following Prime Minister Trudeau’s call on March 16th for travelling Canadians to return to Canada, we strongly urge you to make arrangements immediately while commercial flights remain. If you are concerned about your visa status within Turkey, please consult with the local authorities. Issues concerning other countries’ visa and immigration rules are beyond the Government of Canada’s control and therefore need to be raised with the relevant country’s authorities.

15. I know there are some restrictions in place to prevent certain persons from boarding flights to Canada due to COVID-19. Are there any exemptions applicable to immediate family members of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident?

Immediate family members of a person who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who are travelling to Canada for an essential purpose are exempt from Canada’s COVID-19 travel restrictions and are allowed to board a flight to Canada. In all cases, you must still possess the required travel documents for entry into Canada.

Please see the exemption information page for more information on who is exempt from travel restrictions. We recommend you check these carefully before purchasing any plane tickets. Please contact ANKRAIMMIGRATION@international.gc.ca if you have specific questions about travel exemptions or travel documents.

You should have on hand documentary evidence to demonstrate to the airline your immediate family relationship to the Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada. You must also bring evidence that you are travelling for an essential purpose. If you can’t provide this information, you won’t be allowed to board your flight to Canada.

You must undergo a mandatory quarantine for 14 days. This means you must stay at home and monitor yourself for symptoms, even if mild, once you arrive in Canada. You will be asked to show a credible plan for your 14-day mandatory quarantine and accommodations before being allowed to board your flight.

If you’re travelling by air, you need to pass a health check before you’re allowed to board your flight, and you also need to wear a non-medical mask or face covering for the duration of your journey.

16. What should I do if I am not allowed to board an aircraft because of illness?

Should a Canadian traveller not be allowed to board an aircraft because of illness, they should follow the instructions of local authorities and if consular services are required, contact us by email at ISTBL-Consular@international.gc.ca, if they are in Istanbul, or ANKRA-Consular@international.gc.ca, if they are elsewhere in Turkey. You may also phone the Consulate at +90 212 385 9700 or the Embassy at +90 312 409 2700 and leave a clear message with your name and phone number. The voicemail box is monitored continuously.

In case of emergency outside working hours, you may contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa. The centre operates 24/7 and may be reached directly at +1 613 996 8885 (call collect where available) or sos@international.gc.ca.

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