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COVID-19: Frequently asked questions

Here, you will find simple answers to our most frequently asked questions. Please read this before contacting the Embassy in Ankara or the Consulate General in Istanbul) to allow our team 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 our offices and the Government of Canada.  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 continues, as it did on March 16, 2020, to advise all Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada and to avoid all cruise ship travel outside Canada until further notice and that Canadian travelers should return to Canada while commercial flight options remain.

For more information on the Global Travel Advisory, consult Travel.gc.ca.

If you are a Canadian citizen living and/or working in Turkey, or if you are a dual-citizen of Turkey and Canada, you are not obligated 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. On July 12th, Turkish government has started to resume commercial flights gradually and has lifted the restrictions to travel to Turkey. Nevertheless, there may be additional restrictions and measures introduced and flight disruptions. 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 viable commercial options are available, there might be price fluctuations and last-minute schedule changes.

We urge you to consult  the Istanbul Airport website for commercial flight availability and contact the airlines directly for flight options.

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?

Please consult the website of your provincial authority for travel restrictions, which are set by each province. Please visit the travel advisory on Turkey for the latest updates.

Inter-city travel by domestic commercial means within Turkey requires authorization. Please consult the Hayat Eve Siğar website for further information.

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. Canadians may contact us for assistance via 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.

5. 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.

6. 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 +90 541 888 0184.

7. 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 and use ArriveCAN to provide mandatory travel information on and after your entry into Canada.

Most travellers will quarantine in their own home or in the same place that they are visiting in Canada. If this is not possible, travellers should consider alternative arrangements for quarantine accommodations that are within their own financial means. The Government of Canada does not reimburse travellers for expenses incurred for quarantine accommodations.

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.

8. 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.

At this time the Embassy of Canada and Consulate General in Istanbul are limiting in-person services. Please expect delays in processing times; due to remote working conditions, reduced staff capacity and high volume of applications received. Please note the applications received are being dealt with as time permits and in order of priority. As such, we are doing our best to provide the majority of consular services remotely.

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, to the attention of the Consular section.

Please allow us 10 working days after your courier company confirms delivery before contacting us via email about the status of your application.  Reducing email traffic will allow our team to dedicate more time to processing applications. We thank you for your understanding and cooperation. 

Please note that we try our best to meet our current service standards to deliver passports on time. We receive a high volume of applications and there may be delays. You shouldn’t finalize any travel plans until you get your passport.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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 IRCC.COVID-TravelExemptions-Exemptionsdevoyage-COVID.IRCC@cic.gc.ca or if you have specific questions about travel documents contact ANKRAIMMIGRATION@international.gc.ca.

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.

12. 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.

13. If I need a notarial service, can I book an appointment?

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.

At this time the Embassy of Canada and Consulate General in Istanbul are limiting in-person services; due to remote working conditions, reduced staff capacity and high volume of inquiries and urgent applications received. As such, we are doing our best to provide the majority of consular services remotely as time permits and in order of priority.

Please note during these unprecedented times due to the situation regarding COVID-19; routine in-person notarial services are unavailable, until it can be done safely.

14. If I wish to travel to Turkey, do I need to get tested for COVID-19 and upon arrival do I have to quarantine myself?

Please be advised that health checks will be applied to all Turkish citizens and Foreign Nationals who wish to enter to Turkey.  If you show symptoms upon arrival, you will be required to undergo testing for Covid-19.

At this time, for travelers with no symptoms, there is no self-isolation requirement. Please note Global Affairs Canada is limited in terms of other countries’ regulations around isolation/quarantine and specific health check requirements in place. 

This information can change at any time. You may verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.

For most up-to-date information regarding the restrictions in place to travel to Turkey please visit the COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map.

Please be advised that airlines and airports have implemented new procedures for travelers, and passengers must comply with these to travel. Please check airport and airline websites for more information and specific regulations.

For guidelines in place, please visit following websites: 

Airlines

Airports

Government

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