COVID-19 Rapid PCR Test for Travel – Istanbul International Airport
Asia Middle East Turkey

COVID-19 Rapid PCR Test for Travel – Istanbul International Airport

These photos are from the main international airport in Istanbul. We didn’t visit the other airport, so we can’t be sure that testing is also being done there, but I’ve heard that COVID-19 PCR testing is also being done there.

The rapid PCR tests at the Istanbul airport cost approximately $33 per person and the results come back within about 5 hours (give or take). We waited in line for nearly 2 hours, so be prepared! The wait can be long. When you enter the testing center, you will take a number, and you will need to wait until your number is called before going up to one of the payment counters.

At this particular testing center, first you must wait to pay for the test. Then you go on to the next window (ask for help if you need it) to receive your barcode and a receipt you can use to receive your test results later. After paying, you will wait in another short line before actually getting the test (which, here, was mostly painless).

We had the test done at 5pm and received our results back by 10pm that same evening, and we were able to use them to successfully board our flights to Beirut and Dubai (more on that later).

It should also be noted that entering Istanbul as American citizens was fairly simple, and dare I say, almost like normal. You still have to wear a mask and there aren’t as many people as there likely normally would be, but overall, the process went very smoothly when we entered the country. For reference, we did have visas that we got online at this link (they cost about $50 per person and you get them instantly), and we did not have an onward flight at the time we arrived in Turkey. Even if we had an onward flight when we arrived, no one asked us for proof.

NOTE: When you get your ORIGINAL test results, make sure to also get copies, especially if you’ll be transiting through one or more places on the way to your destination! You want to make sure you have paper copies at every step of the way. Even if some places accept digital test results, it’s always best to have the paper version whenever possible. 

Below are some photos of the testing area and an overview of the process.

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