On this page, we have listed the general sanitary Covid 19 rules in Turkey, as well as additional specific measures that apply in Istanbul.
To take control over the coronavirus outbreak and reduce the number of new Covid-19 cases, Turkey has implemented a series of preventive measures. Another important effort by the government is Covid-19 vaccination program. Currently, over 85% of the Turkish population at the age of 18 and above has received 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
The Turkish Ministry of Health has categorized the provinces of Turkey in four risk zones: low risk (blue zone), medium risk (yellow zone), high risk (orange zone) and very high risk (red zone) that are shown in a color-coded vaccination map. See the updated map on the official governmental website.
Istanbul is classified as a "blue zone" by the Turkish Ministry of Health, indicating that at least 77% of the population has been vaccinated with two doses and is at "low risk".
Let’s have a look at the general rules that apply throughout Turkey. After that, we will continue with Istanbul specifically.
1. General Regulations that apply Nationwide
Many Covid 19 rules and measures, such as the lockdown, have been lifted over time, leaving most services available in Turkey without restrictions. The following regulations are currently still in place:
Social (Physical) Distancing
You need to maintain social distancing (at least 3 steps) from others in public areas.
Wearing a face mask is no longer required. Only in medical establishments is it still necessary to wear masks.
The use of the HES (Hayat Eve Siğar) Code, the coronavirus contact tracing system, has been lifted in all institutions. The HES code, which was automatically generated when filling out the entry form, is no longer required for entry into the country as of March 2022.
Dining establishments (cafés, bars, restaurants etc.) are open without restrictions.
Grocery shops, shopping malls, boutiques and stores are open during the normal operation hours throughout the week.
Smoking in public areas is banned, but not very respected by the public.
Please remember that fines will be imposed on those who do not comply with the regulations imposed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
2. Additional Measures & Rules only in Istanbul
Vaccination rate with two doses (persons over 18 years of age): With a vaccination rate more than 77%, Istanbul, currently classified as a blue zone (low risk province).
Hotels in Istanbul: In Istanbul, more than 500 hotels and accommodation facilities have received a "Safe Tourism Certification" from the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and Culture. Read More about Hotels in Istanbul.
Disinfection: Mosques, museums, tourist attractions, government buildings, and hotels in Istanbul are disinfected periodically against the COVID-19 virus. Read more about Museums in Istanbul.
Airports in Istanbul: To ensure that passengers can travel safely to Istanbul, Istanbul Airport and Sabiha Gökcen Airport, the main arrival points for foreign travelers, have implemented numerous measures against the COVID-19 virus. See below the most important measures taken to protect travelers from the coronavirus:
- The same entry requirements apply to Istanbul as to the rest of the country. You will either need a negative Covid-19-PCR-Test, a negative rapid antigen test, proof of vaccination, or a documentation of recovery from COVID-19 to enter Istanbul.
- PCR and antigen testing is available 24/7 at the testing center of Sabiha Gökcen and Istanbul Airport for all passengers for a fee of 250 TL. Be sure to arrive at least 6 hours before your flight, as test results take up to 5 hours. To get a PCR test easily in town, please book it now in Istanbul Welcome Card Shop.
- Only passengers who have a valid ticket are granted access to the terminal. An exception is made only for passengers who require assistance.
- Inside Istanbul and Sabiha Gökcen Airport, wearing face masks is mandatory for everyone.
- At the entrance to the terminal, as well as at the check-in desk, there are thermal cameras which carry out body temperature measurements of all arriving passengers. Passengers departing from international lines are also monitored with thermal cameras. If necessary, passengers will be subjected to a COVID-19 test.
- Foreign passengers who test positive for COVID-19 upon landing will be referred to a private hospital by the Ministry of Health-Border Health Unit. Turkish passengers will be admitted to a state hospital.
- At Istanbul airport, an ultraviolet light is used to disinfect all baggage that passes through the X-rays.
- A hygiene team helps remind passengers inside and outside the airport of hygiene and social distance rules.
- Hand sanitizers are placed at key points throughout both airports.
- The terminal at Istanbul Airport is supplied with fresh air around the clock.
- To ensure social distance, there are social distance markings on the floor at all areas of the airport.
- Istanbul Airport houses pandemic help desks with quarantine rooms located within the terminal building.
- All airport personnel are trained in hygiene and sanitation. Body temperature measurements are also carried out at personnel entrances.
Now you are set to visit Istanbul safely. Don't hesitate to ask us for more questions and to consult our other articles for more help for your journey in Istanbul.