The solution to the problems described above was sought within the framework of information technologies and took the form as Electronic Visa Application System. The idea was proposed and masterminded by HE Naci Koru, Ambassador and Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkey. He laid down the main architecture of the application, supervised (and still supervising) all processes related to it. Analysis, coding, design and tests were all conducted by the personnel of the Ministry. It is maintained and 24/7 assistance is given to the users, again, by the Ministry personnel.
Electronic Visa Application System is accessible at www.evisa.gov.tr It was launched on 3 December 2012 on pilot basis, and on 17 April 2013 to the public. Citizens of 96 countries were eligible for e-Visa by then. Later the number reached to 98 and more countries are planned to be included. The overall visa process takes an average of 3 minutes (Some applicants can conclude it in less than 2 minutes). Applicants should fill up all the necessary information about their identity and travel documents, make payment (unless they are exempt from visa fee) and download their visa. They do not have to upload any pictures or documents to the system. The information is processed by the system (no manual action taken) and the names are cleared from the database of the Ministry of Interior before the visa is issued. In these regards, Electronic Visa Application System differentiates itself from other e-Visa applications in the world. To our knowledge, it is the most comprehensive e-Visa application system, which does not require any manual processing.
The system solves the four major problems encountered in previous visa practice. First, foreigners who wish to visit Turkey do not have to line up at the airports in Turkey for visa anymore. Second, visiting Turkish missions for visa became unnecessary (for the majority of the visitors). Third, Turkish missions are largely relieved of visa applications and they can spare more time for other activities and services. Fourth, foreigners, who did not have a Turkish mission in the city or country where they live in, are now able to get Turkish visa over Electronic Visa Application System.
The application brought about additional advantages. First, it gives positive image of the country to the visitors before they begin their visit. Second, it increases the number of visitors as it makes visa process no obstacle. Consequently, more tourism income flows in. Third, it facilitates interaction of Turkish businessmen with their foreign counterparts as businessmen from various countries can travel to Turkey more easily. Fourth, less cash handling became possible for Turkish missions. Physical transfer of money from the missions to the banks has been rather problematic in certain countries. Now that e-Visa fees are directly transferred to the Treasury, fewer risks have to be taken by our missions.