VISA POLICY AND THE LOCAL SCHENGEN COOPERATION NETWORK IN TURKEY

The EU Member States’ embassies and consulates in Turkey are responsible for implementing the Visa Code. There is a shared responsibility and solidarity among the Member States for controlling the external Schengen borders.

Currently, 24 out of the 26 Schengen Member States are represented in Turkey. (Schengen MS not represented in Turkey: Iceland and Liechtenstein.)

Consular offices delivering Schengen visas: 

  • Ankara: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden. NB: Switzerland has transferred their consular office to Istanbul
  • Istanbul: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Malta (only in Istanbul), Switzerland (only in Istanbul).
  • Izmir: Germany, Greece, Italy.
  • Edirne: Greece

The common visa policy is based on Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009, establishing a Community Code on Visas, commonly known as the Visa Code. The Visa Code sets out the procedures and conditions for issuing visas for the purpose of short stays and airport transit.

Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 of 15 March 2001, and its successive amendments, list all third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external Schengen borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement. Turkish citizens are currently subject to visa obligation. 

Operational instructions for the application of the Visa Code are further specified in the Handbook for the processing of visa applications and the Handbook for the organisation of visa sections and local Schengen cooperation.

Given the number of visas issued and the geopolitical importance of EU-Turkey relations, the Local Schengen Cooperation (LSC) is considered an important platform for the exchange of information and experiences enabling Member States to ensure a harmonised approach when it comes to visa issuance. 

Public outreach meetings are organised to explain the Schengen visa system to the wider public and, in particular, to business associations and local chambers of commerce in various locations throughout Turkey.

LSC in Turkey continues the harmonization work within the framework of the EU Visa Code. The approach of the Turkish public administration towards the Schengen Visa Regime remains critical, especially given the ongoing visa liberalization dialogue and the entry into force of the Readmission Agreement.

The LSC will closely follow the Visa Liberalization process until a final decision is reached.

 

C-Visa Applications

C-Visas
Issued

Total
not issued

Refusal rate
(%)

2011

568,917

550,338

28,007

 4.90

2012

655,205

611,562

29,383

 4.40

2013

766,610

586,848

33,811

 4.40

2014

824,432

750,968

33,353

 4.62

2015

899,851

853,724

34,129

5.35

       Total

3,715,015

3,353,440

158,683

4.73

 

 

The EU has a common visa policy for short stays (up to three months), which is applied through the Schengen visas. A common list of countries whose citizens must have a visa when crossing the external borders and a list of countries whose citizens are exempt from that requirement were adopted. Generally, a short-stay visa issued by one of the Schengen States entitles its holder to travel throughout the 26 Schengen States for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Visas for visits exceeding that period remain subject to national procedures. Turkey is among the countries for which that visa is required.

Turkish visa policy is largely aligned with the EU policy. It is also significantly stirred by political and commercial priorities, however, and encompasses countries that are on the EU’s negative list as a result. This poses an additional layer of complexity to EU-Turkey relations in this field for harmonisation of the visa lists.

The European Union launched the Visa Liberalisation Dialogue with Turkey on 16 December 2013.

 

Useful Documents