Corona PCR test in Istanbul: old town, airport & hotel
A COVID-19 PCR test is required for the return flight to UK.
This is possible in state hospitals, private clinics, in the airport, your hotel and certified laboratories in Istanbul.
Now in all of Istanbul the test costs 170 Turkish Lira.
The difference is the waiting time for the PCR test and the duration for the result.
Here I will quickly explain the easiest way for you to take a valid test in a laboratory, hotel or at any address (Airbnb).
Also I will explain the easiest way to reserve an appointment for the test online.
Where can I do a Covid-19 PCR test in Istanbul?
The test must be carried out by a laboratory which has been certified by the Turkish Ministry of Health.
The result must be issued in English. Otherwise the PCR test will not be accepted at home in UK, Austria or Switzerland.
The cost is the same everywhere – 170 Turkish Lira.
Here are the following options. :
- Public hospitasl: not all public hospitals do tests. Unfortunately I have not found a list of hospitals in either German or English. The French embassy has a list for this (it is self-explanatory even in French). Currently there is a long waiting time in the hospitals and the staff usually only speaks Turkish. The result usually comes within 24 hours.
- Private hospitals: the basic price of 170 Turkish Lira also applies to private clinics. For faster results, a price of up to 700 Turkish Lira is possible. The staff in the clinics speaks at least English and the result comes back 24 hours, depending on the surcharge.
- IST or SAW Airport: Tests are carried out in the arrival halls at Istanbul Airport IST and Sabiha Gökcen Airport SAW. The result is available in 2.5 to 4 hours at a price of also 170 Turkish Lira. Therefore, plan to get to the flight at least 4 hours before check-in or 6 hours before boarding. Check-in for a flight to UK is not possible without a negative test result! In addition, entry to airports is only permitted with an HES code.
- Laboratory in the center: The simplest solution is a laboratory in the center of Istanbul. The price of 170 Turkish Lira also applies there. Appointments can be reserved online. As a result, there is hardly any waiting time on site and the result arrives on the same day at the latest in the evening between 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.
- Hotels or other ways to be tested : For an additional charge of € 15 to € 25, the test staff will come to your hotel or any address in Istanbul between 8:30 in the morning and 5:00 in the afternoon. You cannot agree on an exact time. The test staff will communicate with you via WhatsApp depending on the route. The result will also arrive at the latest between 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on the same day.
How does the Covid-19 PCR test in the Cihangir laboratory work?
Reserve the test online
- Select test in laboratory or hotel
- Date and number of people
- Pay (with Visa, Mastercard, Amex or PayPal)
- Confirmation by email with the address
- Take documents with you (ID card or passport)
- PCR test: Go to the laboratory on the selected day between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. without prior appointment.
- Registration: Your ID will be copied together with the recording of your data for the confirmation. It is necessary. It also has to be the ID you want to travel with.
- PCR test: a quick swab from the throat and one nostril.
- Retrieve the result online in the laboratory’s online portal (available in English and Turkish)
- Print out the test result or show it on your smartphone at the airport
The result can be viewed after a few hours on report.cihangirlaboratuvar.com.
To do this, you have to enter the number of your ID card that you used for the test.
I did my last test at 10:15 am with a result at 1:40 pm.
You can print out the result as a PDF document under the opened page or show it online at the airport.
You reserve the test in the hotel online.
The staff will come to your hotel or other selected address in Istanbul between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on the selected day.
There is no fixed time for this.
The exact test time depends on the traffic and the planned route.
Communication works with WhatsApp.
This will give you the information when you should be at the hotel or your address for the test. The result is also available online in the evening for printing or on your smartphone.
The surcharge of 10 € is comparatively cheap. A taxi costs 2 to 5 € for the outward journey from the center of Istanbul with Uber from a central hotel in Sultanahmet, Beyoglu or Taksim.
Therefore, this option is not my first recommendation.
How much does a Covid-19 PCR test cost in Istanbul?
A PCR test in Istanbul currently always costs 170 Turkish Lira.
Depending on the currently volatile exchange rate between the euro and the Turkish lira, this is around € 16.50 to € 17.
With IstanbulWelcomeCard.com it is also possible to order a test in a hotel or a private address. The test costs an additional € 15 to € 25 per person. The IstanbulWelcomeCard.com support team speaks German as their mother tongue if there is still a question about the test at home.
Private clinics also charge a surcharge of up to 700 Turkish Lira for a faster evaluation.
The result arrives in normal laboratories within 24 hours. That is why it is hardly necessary.
How do I get the result of my PCR test?
It depends on the test method chosen.
Depending on the method chosen, the test will arrive within 24 hours or the same day.
Most laboratories, hospitals and clinics use the Turkish health portal Enabiz.gov.tr for this.
The login usually works with the ID number you provided during the test (ID card or passport) and a code. The test result from the Cihangir laboratory is available online at report.cihangirlaboratuvar.com with your ID number.
For the quick result in the airport you have to queue in front of the test station.
Do I have to print out my test result?
That depends on the airline and the entry requirements of your destination country.
Most Turkish airlines accept the online result from the laboratories. But I can’t tell you that with any guarantee. I therefore always recommend taking a look at the provisions of Turkish Airlines, SunExpress and Pegasus beforehand.
Just print out the result to be on the safe side, then everything is fine.
Also drive to the airport a little earlier than usual. Online check-in is currently not possible because the airlines are checking the result. As a result, the queue at the bag drop counter is currently longer than usual.
The hotel receptions have got used to printing.
This has been part of her daily work for months.
Conclusion on the PCR tests
In the meantime I have had myself tested several times in Istanbul.
Fortunately, a lot has changed between my first test last August and today’s options.
For my first test, a friend drove me to the IST airport the evening before. Even though we arrived around midnight, the whole test took more than 3 hours.
In addition, there is the one-hour journey and the one-hour return journey from the center.
Fortunately, the test options in the old town now make traveling to Istanbul much easier. The last test didn’t cost me an hour of my time.
In the future there should be even more locations for tests that can be booked online.
Once that’s the case, I’ll update the article.
If you have any questions about the PCR test in Istanbul, the test in Cihangir Laboratory or would like to share your own experiences or tips, please write to me in the comments below.