Flying in Turkey during Coronavirus

In August 2020, I flew from Berlin to Istanbul, from Istanbul to Izmir, and from Izmir to Berlin. This post contains information about the coronavirus restrictions, and how to get a PCR test at the airport.

This information will not be updated after September 1.

HES codes

If you are a Turkish resident or citizen, you must provide an HES code for all domestic flights. You enter this code during the check-in process. If you are not a resident or citizen, you don't need an HES code. No one will ask for it.

Coronavirus tests before flying

When flying from Berlin to Istanbul, and from Istanbul to Izmir, no COVID-19 tests were necessary.

When flying from Izmir to Berlin, you must get tested in Turkey before you fly. You can't fly without being tested. If you test positive, you cannot fly, and you must stay in quarantine for 14 days in Turkey. You do not need to be tested again when you land in Germany.

Coronavirus testing at Izmir airport

You can get tested at the Izmir airport. It takes around 30 minutes, but the test results up to 24 hours, so you must go a day before your flight. Many people missed their flights because they didn't know that.

I got tested on August 31. Your experience might differ.

  1. Go to the Izmir airport. The test centre is at the end of the international terminal. You need your passport and 250 lira.
  2. Get in the payment queue. It costs 250 lira (~30€). You can pay a credit card or with cash. Keep the receipt.
  3. Get in the registration queue. When it's your turn, give the receipt, your passport, and your Turkish phone number if you have one. You will receive a sticker with a bar code, and a vial. Do not lose that barcode! You need it to get your test results.
  4. Bring your vial to the testing booths to your left (next to the windows). A person will take samples from your mouth and your nose. It's not pleasant, but it doesn't hurt. It takes less than 30 seconds.
  5. You're done! Now you must wait until the results are available. You will not receive any notification, even if you gave your phone number. You must keep checking You will need the barcode on the little sticker they gave you, so don't lose it!

When I entered my barcode number and the last 4 digits of my passport number, it said "test result not found". It's not an error; the results just aren't ready yet. I tried again a few hours later, and my test results appeared. I was able to download the test results in Turkish and in English. My test was ready in less than 4 hours.

Where to get a Coronavirus test in Turkey

Use this list of COVID-19 test centres in Turkey. Many airports have testing facilities. The airports in Istanbul are really far from the city, so you might want to get tested elsewhere. This way, you won't have to spend a day at the airport before flying.

Airport restrictions

I did not notice any special airport restrictions. I just had to wear a mask at all times. This was not strongly enforced. At Berlin Schönefeld, many airport restaurants were closed, but it was still possible to buy food. At both airports in Istanbul, restaurants were open.