COVID 2021 

No doubt, the one of the most affected industry around world is Travel Industry during the pandemic. As the countries went to complete lock-downs & curfews and all we had to delay our travel plans for unknown dates in future, leaving  famous airports was deserted.  According to Forbes, the net loss of 3 domestic airlines reached 14 billion dollars and the total loss summed up to 21 billion dollars with other smaller airlines in US during 2020 pandemic. if we have to calculate the total loss of entire tourism industry, we are reaching to a loss of multiple digit numbers, which is believed that it is 1.2 trillion dollars. The nations whose economies are highly depended on service industry are the one of the most suffered. Thankfully, with promising results from vaccinations in 2021, we see that travel restrictions are getting eased day by day or fully lifted by the last quarter of 2021. 




After long lasting of partial lockdowns, life in Istanbul may get back to normal in some cities as the country plans to start out a ‘normalization’ process based on the decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases 

Covid restrictions to ease in Istanbul, Turkey ?


Normalization is on the way…


By March 1st 2021, Turkish Authorities announced that covid restrictions are partially getting eased based on city risk map.

  • Weekend curfews will be lifted in low and medium risk cities, while restrictions on Sunday will continue “for a short time” in cities grouped as high risk or very high risk.
  • Businesses such as restaurants and cafes will be operating with 50% capacity from 7.00 am to 7.00 pm, in low-risk cities in which Istanbul is grouped while the curfew from 9.00 pm to 5.00 am will continue regardless the risk map. 

By June 1st 2021, Turkish Authorities announced that covid restrictions are getting gradually eased or near to be removed fully.

  • Weekend curfews have been removed and limited to Sundays for locals. Weekday night curfews changed by an hour, 22.00 pm. Night life is still not operational.
  • Businesses such as restaurants and cafes have started to provide indoor service from 7.00 am to 22.00 pm. 
  • Foreign Travelers are still exempted from any kind of curfew.

All restrictions were removed except for wearing masks in indoors.


Istanbul Layover in the Airport ? Istanbul Layover in the City ?

For Turkish Airlines, Istanbul Airport is main layover hub and it is still the leading airline in the flight numbers with 223 flight destinations by March, 2021. If you are planning to travel through Istanbul Airport with Turkish Airlines stopover and having a layover in Istanbul Airport, you may find some useful information below.

The restrictions and requirements regarding Istanbul and Istanbul Airport depends on whether you will leave the airport for a layover tour in Istanbul or just wait for your next flight in transit area.


  • Do I need Negative PCR test for transit in Istanbul Airport ? 

If you are only to wait at the transit area of Istanbul Airport during your stopover, you do NOT need the PCR test.  

“As of December 30, 2020, passengers arriving in Turkey are required to submit a negative PCR test (nucleic acid). The sample for the test must have been taken within 72 hours prior to the passenger’s scheduled departure from the country of origin. This applies to all passengers aged 6 years and over, except sailors and transit passengers.”  Turkish Airlines Updated Page regarding restrictions.


  •  I want to visit the city during my layover in Istanbul, Do I Negative PCR test for a layover tour from Istanbul Airport ?

In order to enter Turkey, travelers have to submit negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to the scheduled departure from the country of origin.

Effective as of June 1, 2021, Travelers departing from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and those who have been in these countries in the last 14 days will be asked  to submit a negative PCR test report 72 hours before entering to Turkey and these travelers will be quarantined for 14 days in places determined by the Turkish Authorities.

Passengers on direct flights from South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, passengers who have been to these countries in the past 14 days and planning to enter Turkey from another country are allowed to board the flight if they can submit a PCR test with a negative result taken within maximum 72 hours before arrival in Turkey.

Passengers on direct flights from these countries or who have been to these countries in the past 14 days and planning to enter Turkey from another country shall be exempt from quarantine if they can document that they have been administered minimum two doses of any of the vaccines approved by WHO and the Ministry of Health of the Turkish Republic (single dose for Johnson and Johnson) and minimum 14 days have passed since the last dose

Travelers departing from the United Kingdom, Iran, Egypt and Singapore will be asked to submit a negative PCR test result which has to be made maximum 72 hours prior to the entry.

The Passengers, not mentioned above, such as those departing from US, Canada and EU will not be asked to submit a negative PCR test result if they submit a document issued by the relevant country’s official authorities proving that they have been vaccinated at least 14 days before the entry to Turkey and/or have had covid and recovered within the last 6 months.


  •   What is HES CODE ? HES code requirement? Do I need it at Airport ? 

HES Code is a personal code to track citizens who are positive or have contact with a positive patient and to prevent them from entering in domestic flights, public transportation, ferries, restaurants. You don’t need to have it as long as you stay at the airport. However If you need to use airport shuttle or public transportation, you will need to obtain it.


  •  How to get HES Code? 

 Type HES, your passport number, year of birth, and last name. Leave a space between each item. Send an SMS from a Turkish Number to 2023. (HES 38656 US 1977)

In order to get the HES Code, the Turkey Entry Form, can be accessed on this page ,  is required to fill out within the last 72 hours before their flight. The printout of the filled form or the screenshot of the filled form on mobile devices will be checked at the stations before the flight. 

  • Our passengers (excluding transfer passengers and passengers under the age of 6) to enter Turkey by using our international flights from March 15, 2021 (Local time in Turkey) are required to fill in the Form of Entry to Turkey, which can be accessed via this page, within 72 hours prior to their flight. A printout copy or mobile screenshot of the completed form shall be checked at the stations before the flight. Passengers on transit flights and the crew shall be exempted from this requirement.


  • It is obligatory to submit an HES code for flights taken within Turkey. There is no HES code obligation for our non-Turkish citizens.