If you’re planning a trip to Istanbul, it’s important to understand the customs regulations in Turkey. Customs clearance can be a daunting process, but with a little preparation, you can breeze through it. Here’s what you need to know.
Useful Tips: Before Your Arrival to Istanbul Customs
Before you arrive at Istanbul Airport, research the prohibited and restricted items list. This will help you avoid any issues at customs. Additionally, make sure to check the amount of duty-free goods allowed so you don’t waste your money. If you’re interested in duty-free shopping at Istanbul Airport, check out our other article on the best duty-free shops for souvenirs and more.
If you plan to bring more than the allowed limit, you will need to pay customs fees. Finally, ensure you have all necessary documents, such as a passport and visa.
Arrival at Istanbul Airport Customs
When you arrive at Istanbul Airport, follow the signs for passport control. Afterward, retrieve your checked-in luggage and proceed to customs clearance.
Customs Clearance Process
At customs, present your necessary documents to the customs officer. Make sure to declare all goods exceeding the duty-free limit and any restricted or prohibited items. If necessary, submit to inspection. Customs clearance times can vary, but it typically takes between 30 minutes to an hour.
Duty-Free Allowance: Customs Rules
When importing items into Turkey, it’s important to remember that certain goods are subject to customs duties and taxes. If you plan to bring in items for commercial purposes, you may need to obtain a license or permit beforehand. Make sure to research the regulations and requirements for importing goods into Turkey before your trip. You can also check the official website of the Ministry of Customs and Trade for more information on duty-free goods allowed in Turkey.
This is what can be important for you:
- Imported Tobacco products (for travelers over 18 years of age): 200 cigarettes and 50 cigars and 200 gm tobacco (with 200 cigarette paper) or 200 gm pipe tobacco or 200 gm tobacco for nargileh or 200 gm chewing tobacco or 50 gm snuff
- Tobacco products in Turkish Duty-Free Shops (for travelers over 18 years of age): Additionally, it is possible to acquire 200 cigarettes, 100 cigars and 500 g of pipe tobacco in Turkish duty-free stores upon entry.
- Alcoholic Beverages (for travelers over 18 years of age): 1 (100 cl) or 2 (75cl or 70 cl) bottles of wine and/or spirits
- Perfume: max. 120 milliliter of perfume, cologne, eau-de-cologne, lavender water, essence or lotion
- Coffee & Tea: 1.5 kg coffee, 1.5 kg instant coffee and 500 gm tea
- Confectionery: 1 kg candies and 1 kg chocolate
- Medicine: medications for personal use
- Jewelry: up to a max. of USD 15,000
- Gifts & personal belongings: up to the value of EUR 300 (EUR 150 for those aged under 15)
Remember that if you plan to bring more than the allowed limit of any item, you will need to pay customs fees.
Export Regulations (Customs)
It is important to note that while some items, such as tobacco and alcohol, have a specific limit for export, others, like antiques and cultural goods, are completely prohibited. Make sure to research the regulations and requirements for exporting goods out of Turkey before your trip.
Free export of the following goods is allowed:
- Tobacco products: 2 kg/3 cartons of local tobacco products
- Alcoholic beverages: 5 liters of alcoholic beverages/12 bottles of Rakı/local drinks
- Food products: up to a total value of TRY 100, with each item not exceeding 5 kg
- Gift items: up to a value of TRY 5,000
- Jewelry: The value of personal jewelry may not exceed a total value of USD 15,000. A higher value must have been declared to the customs authorities upon entry.
Prohibited and Restricted Items
The export of the following goods is prohibited:
- Antiques & cultural goods (carpets, sculptures, statues, coins, icons, paintings, colored tiles and ceramics, metal objects, and similar goods)
- Grain products
- Narcotics and illegal drugs
- Weapons, explosives, and ammunition
- Pornographic material
- Counterfeit goods
- Animals and animal products
- Plants and plant products
Remember to research the regulations and requirements for exporting goods out of Turkey before your trip.
Cash Allowed without Declaration:
When you enter Turkey, there is no limit on the amount of foreign or Turkish currency you can bring with you. However, when you leave the country, you can’t take more than 5,000 US dollars or the equivalent in Turkish or foreign currencies without telling customs. If you have more than this limit, you must declared it.
Duty-Free Shopping in Turkey (VAT Refund):
The regular VAT rate in Turkey is 18%, but some products (like textiles, shoes, bags, and books) have an 8% VAT rate. If you don’t live in Turkey and spend at least 100 Turkish Lira plus VAT on something, you can get back the VAT. To do this, you need a tax-free invoice and the original packaging of the item. You must show these to customs, and they will approve your refund. You will get some of the VAT refunded in either Euros or USD. If you want to take the item with you, you need to check it in at customs.
Note that the VAT refund process takes time, so be sure to allow enough time at the airport. You can find tax-free offices in the departure area of Antalya Airport, Istanbul Airport, and some other major international airports in Turkey.
Contacting Turkish Customs
If you have any questions or concerns about customs regulations, you can contact Turkish Customs at Istanbul Airport by calling +90 212 463 3000.
Navigating Istanbul Airport customs may seem daunting, but with a little preparation, you can breeze through the process. Remember to adhere to customs regulations, declare all goods exceeding the duty-free limit or any restricted or prohibited items, and contact Turkish Customs if you have any questions. Enjoy your trip to Istanbul!
Answers to the Questions:
- How long does it take to clear customs at Istanbul Airport?
- Customs clearance times can vary, but it typically takes between 30 minutes to an hour.
- How long does it take to get through customs in Istanbul?
- This can depend on the number of passengers arriving and other factors, but the process typically takes less than an hour.
- What do you have to declare at customs Turkey?
- You must declare any goods exceeding the duty-free limit and any restricted or prohibited items.
- How do I contact Turkish customs?
- You can contact Turkish Customs at Istanbul Airport by calling +90 212 463 3000 or emailing email@example.com.
Navigating customs at Istanbul Airport can be an intimidating process, but with the right preparation, you’ll be ready to breeze through it. Remember to research the regulations and requirements for both import and export, declare all goods exceeding the duty-free limit, and contact Turkish Customs with any questions or concerns. By following these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to an enjoyable trip to Istanbul!