Because of the seamless ease of obtaining an entry visa on arrival, there is no need to acquire one prior to departure. The visa windows, where functionaries collect payment (in US$, £, €, or Turkish lira) are prominently located adjacent to the Customs area. Be sure to pay up (and get your visa sticker affixed to your passport) before queuing in the Customs line. An entry visa for Turkey is required for citizens of Australia (US$20 or 15€), Canada (US$60 or 45€), the U.K. (£10), and the U.S. (US$20). All of these visas are valid for 3 months and multiple entries. A valid passport is sufficient for citizens of New Zealand.
The Turkish "consulate online" at www.e-konsolosluk.net provides up-to-date, country-specific information and, although completely unnecessary, processing of visas in advance of arrival.
The Turkish government has established a list of items that may be brought into the country duty-free. In addition to personal effects, travelers are permitted one video player; one laptop computer; one portable radio/tape player; one pair of binoculars (no night vision allowed); one camera and five rolls of film; one typewriter; personal sporting equipment; necessary medical items; gifts not exceeding $300; spare car parts; and various other relatively improbable items for the average tourist. (A complete list is available through the Turkish Embassy website.) Sharp instruments and weapons may not be brought into the country without special permission (diving and camping knives included). Obviously, the importation, buying, selling, and consumption of marijuana and other narcotics is strictly forbidden. You shouldn't need to watch Midnight Express to figure that one out.
What You Can Take Home from Turkey -- For valuables purchased during your stay, be prepared to provide receipts or other proof of purchase -- particularly for that 4*6-foot prize silk Hereke -- to avoid problems with Turkish Customs when you leave and to aid in declarations in your home country. Forget about having your carpet salesman lie on the official Certificate of Origin, because the U.S. immigration police are prepared to consult their little carpet blue book if you try to slip through without paying up. Be aware that the authentic 16th-century porcelain soup tureen that you bought or those authentic ancient coins attached to your new necklace are either fake or unable to make the journey with you; it is illegal to take antiquities or anything of historical value out of the country. To enforce this, the Turkish government requires that anything dating to the end of the 19th century be authenticated by a museum official before its exportation can even be considered. It is also illegal to carry out tobacco seeds and plants, or hides, skins, or clothing made from wild animals. For items dating prior to the 20th century, permission plus a certificate of authenticity from a museum official is needed. Minerals require special documentation obtainable from the General Directorate of Mining Exploration and Research in Ankara (tel. 0312/287-3430; www.mta.gov.tr).
For information on what you're allowed to bring home, contact one of the following agencies:
Australian Citizens: Australian Customs Service at tel. 1300/363-263 or log on to www.customs.gov.au.
Canadian Citizens: Canada Border Services Agency (tel. 800/461-9999 in Canada or 204/983-3500; www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca).
New Zealand Citizens: New Zealand Customs, the Customhouse, 17-21 Whitmore St., Box 2218, Wellington (tel. 04/473-6099 or 0800/428-786; www.customs.govt.nz).
U.K. Citizens: HM Customs & Excise at tel. 0845/010-9000 (from outside the U.K., 020/8929-0152), or consult their website at www.hmce.gov.uk.
U.S. Citizens: U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20229 (tel. 877/287-8667; www.cbp.gov).
There are no severe health risks in travel to western Turkey, nor are vaccinations required. Visitors journeying to southeastern Turkey may want to consider a prophylactic treatment for malaria, particularly prior to travel near the Syrian border and between the months of May and October when transmission rates are highest. Because of globalization and the increasing ease of physical movement across borders, travelers should also ensure that their and their children's vaccinations are up to date, including measles, the incidence of which has been growing in the U.K., as well as parts of Africa.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.