free transit visa

In the absence of actual travel, I make do with imaginary itineraries and verging-on-crazy drooling over travel photos. For the most part, I’ve kept my endless bucket lists and travel research to myself for fear of boring people into a slow and painful death. But I figured it was about time I tested the waters and started sharing, in the hopes that it may help someone who’s planning to take a legit trip.

In case you’re new to the blog, you can check out all my other travel-related posts here. For now, lettuce talk business (attempting to train my brain to eat healthier by randomly inserting vegetables into sentences).

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably come across the free transit visa option that Turkish Airlines is offering to peeps from Pakistan. Also totally cool if you know nothing about it and the rock is your permanent home. That’s why I’m here. When I first came across the news, I had a bunch of questions. So I’m gonna go ahead and assume that you had the same/similar ones and address them one by one.

What’s the Free Transit Visa?

Pakistanis travelling with Turkish Airlines to the Schengen countries, USA, United Kingdom, Ireland or Saudi Arabia (for Umrah) are eligible to apply for a free stopover visa to Turkey. This is a 7 day, single-entry visa. If your stopover is more than 20 hours, Turkish Airlines will also give you one night’s accommodation in a four-star hotel (for Economy Class) and two nights’ accommodation in a five-star hotel (for Business Class). I thought that sounded super awesome so I was determined to collect all the information and store it away for a later date when it could be of some use to me (a girl can dream).

Here’s a photo of a night cruise on the Bosphorus for some incentive:

istanbul cruise
Photo: Erkanyavas

Is the Visa Actually Free?

Unfortunately, not really. While The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has waived the visa fee, there are only two ways to apply for a Turkish visa from Pakistan:

1. Apply for an e-visa – This will cost you $60 and you require a valid visa OR valid residence permit from one of the Schengen Countries, USA, UK or Ireland in order to apply.

2. Apply through a Gerry’s dropbox – You will have to pay a processing fee of PKR 2,500 plus submit all the documents required for a normal tourist visa. Also, the processing time can be up to 5 weeks during peak season so you’ll have to plan your trip well in advance.

Another photo in case you’re still trying to decide if you want to go:

free transit visa
Photo: Haydar Tamer Ozturk

Other Important Things You Need to Know

  • Turkish Airlines only offers a free hotel stay for stopovers that are more than 20 hours. So, make sure you pick a flight with a longer stopover when you’re booking.
  • The transport cost and any other costs to and from the airport are at your own expense. Make sure you’re cool with that before you opt for this.
  • To get a free hotel voucher (and also to confirm if you qualify for a free hotel stay), you need to email with your ticket number.
  • In case your stopover is more than 6 hours but less than 20 hours, there’s another option you can pick – a free sightseeing tour of Istanbul. They have different tour options starting from 2.5 hours to 9 hours.
  • You can sign up for one of the tours at the hotel reservation desk in the International Arrivals Terminal at Istanbul Atatürk Airport. Also, you can check out the different options available here on the TourIstanbul website. (scroll all the way to the bottom).

Now that I have accomplished my mission of putting all this information out into the world, I can sleep in peace (my sheep will be slightly disappointed).

Let me know if you do end up using either of these options (not for any other reason except that I’d like to live vicariously through you).

Until next time.


If you, like me, are a fan of collecting visa information for no particular reason, you can check out my other visa-related blog posts here:

Malaysian E-Visa for Pakistanis
Malta Visa Info


31 thoughts on “The Free Transit Visa with Turkish Airlines – Everything You Need To Know”

  1. Thanks for endorsing your authenticity stamped on this information. but presumed it cost slightly increase the budget traveler who intent to go only for Umrah.

    1. Yes, it definitely would. That’s why I wanted to put all the information together so anyone wanting to go can make an informed decision 🙂

  2. Hi, Thanks for the informative comments, I also read your previous blog about Malaysian Evisa. I went to KL & Langkawi with wife recently on Evisa and it worked like a charm. It was my first visit ever on an Evisa doc but your post gave me huge confidence. Now about this Turkish transit + Umrah tour I got a few questions may be you could help.
    1) We are budget travelers (Globe trotters if u may:) ) and I book my flights,hotels and everything myself online and never approached any travel agent which saves me a fortunes, Can the same be done for Umrah or is it different and you have to go by tour only. Any Saudi rules about it? Dont know a bit about Umrah
    2) Whats the acceptance rate of Turkish Transit with Umrah because I got rejected of Turkey before at a peak time when they had influx of tourist and that also of a very lame excuse by them

    Thanks a Million 🙂

    1. I’m so glad I could help! Hope you guys had a great trip to Malaysia. Okay so, with regard to your first question, unfortunately, I won’t be able to help you much. I haven’t been for Umrah myself in quite a while so I’m not sure how important it is to have an agent. I don’t want to give you any information I haven’t personally verified. In terms of getting the transit visa for Turkey, as long as you satisfy all the requirements and submit the complete documentation, I think you should be good to go. Do keep in mind that it’s safer to apply much in advance so your visa arrives before your actual travel date! Good luck 🙂

      1. Hi , I have a travel group by the name of voyage .. we r from Pakistan .. can u join our group n assist there with any help that u can giv with the visas ..
        we wil be great ful

    2. There’s no such need of a tour company for Umrah even. We have done Umrah twice very recently and have booked flights and hotels myself

  3. hello i want to know i have umrah visa and i want to know if i book my ticket from turkish airline and i want to stay in istanbul for 5 days so may i know what exactelly requirmnt i need for dat kind of transit visa with valid umrah visa ….do i also need to provide them also my bank stamnt emplomnt letter etc or just with valid umrah visa and turkish airline paid ticket will be ok ..for get turkey transit for 5 days ,,,,

    1. Hello, I’ve compiled all the information I had into the blog post. I’m not sure if you can extend your transit to 5 days etc. I think you’ll be better off contacting Turkish Airlines for more specific queries about the visa 🙂

  4. Thank you so very much for the info. I have been looking for this free transit visa for a while but came to dead ends including Garry’s. I intend to travel to UK with 3 days transit at Ankara. Just two question please;
    1. How many days processing time does it take for eVisa with UK visa?
    2. Do we need to send copies of any documents with eVisa reques?

    1. I think it just takes a couple of days. Just make sure your UK visa date is starting before you reach Turkey. So, if you’re reaching Turkey on 16th Feb, for example, your UK visa should be valid from an earlier date. Also, as far as I know, the transit takes place in Istanbul, not Ankara.

  5. Hello and thanks from heart for such a beneficial information, I have read and heard a lot about transit visa for Pakistani but the only question that I always ask and no one answers it , I have a residence of Saudi Arabia (IQAMA) and I’m a student and travelling from Pak to KSA by TURKEY , I’m I eligible or not ( don’t have Umrah visa , I have resident visa ) , thanks in advance

    1. I think the transit visa is only applicable to people travelling on the Umrah visa but you can always email Turkish airlines and find out for sure 🙂 Good luck!

  6. hello. thanks for all the information. just clear one point plz. if we apply through gerrys drop box with valid ticket….it will cost 2500+60$ or only rs2500 processing fee

  7. Hello.thanks for information.but I just want to know if this visa is for those pakistani.who are going to umra with turkish airline.or only those peoples are eligible who have the uk, USA or any other country visa holder.

  8. Hi good day thanks for all the info to share .I’m Pakistani and living in Malaysia planning to go for umrah soon Insha Allah but i plane to go via turkey . Here in Malaysia we don’t have Garry service and all so how if I got turkesh airline ticket and my transit in turkey is more then 10 hours they will give me transit Visa or will have to wait for the next flight in airport or I have to go to turkesh embassy and apply for visa B4 fly because the embassy is very far from us that’s why if you have any info please share it thanks in advance

    1. I’m really not sure. You can try writing to Turkish Airlines directly to find out. I’m sure they will be able to help.

  9. I am Pakistani national & I have brazil tourist visa . do I need to apply for E-visa fore turkey or visa is on arrival ,while I am going to brazil..

  10. This article is really informative and i believe a great opportunity for Pakistanis to visit Turkey which wasn’t as easy as it is now. Turkey has great ancient and modern places and one of the top attraction in last half decade as more and more people are visiting it. Umrah plus Turkey is really a great trip for those who wants to see the places of ancestors.

    Thank you again for sharing a wonderful article 🙂

  11. Thank you for gathering such useful information and helping others.
    I have a question regarding tour Istanbul offered by Turkish airline to those who have a connecting international flight in Istanbul with a layover between 6-24 hours.
    They said you can just proceed to Hotel Desk in the International Arrival Hall at Ataturk Airport just half an hour before the tour start.
    For Pakistanis do we need to obtain Turkish visa in advance to avail this offer?
    Or we can directly apply for this tour at the airport.

  12. Hi
    Thanks for the info
    Please let me know which hotel they make you stay in or is it different every time
    The location of the hotel really matters when travelling with kids

  13. Ended up here while searching for (read dreaming) visa free stopover in Turky for this year’s family trip. A Pakistani friend reported availing it successfully (unplanned) while transiting Istanbul between Georgia and Azerbaijan through Pegasus airlines. I’m trying to materialize that while traveling from Karachi, hope it becomes a reality 😀

  14. Hey there! I am travelling through Turkish airline from Pakistan go Germany and I have a stopover of 22 hours in Istanbul. Airline is providing one night hotel stay for free. Do I still require a Visa to be there in hotel?

  15. Thanks for the information but it seems like this is a general E-Visa not a 7-day stopover visa as you have stated at the beginning of the article. Please clarify.

  16. Hi
    I have a transit in Istanbul Airport (less than 20 hours) and I wanna explore Istanbul for the day. Any recommendations?

  17. AOA, just gone through all through comments, it is still unclear how to have a flight that gives you transit of exactly 7 days or about 7 days. as i have searched on the internet Turkish airline is giving me flights to Jeddah with a layover of no more than 12-20 hours, My question is how can i extend my stay of transit to 7 days

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