Covid PCR Test at IST Airport

Old Sep 4, 20, 10:31 am
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Covid PCR Test at IST Airport

Sharing my experience with the covid test at IST airport. Many hospitals in the city offer a covid test with results in 24 hours but it is cheaper at IST although they recently increased the price from 110 TRY to 250 TRY. I previously read on the internet that they give results in 2 hours but that is somewhat misleading so hopefully some FTers can avoid pitfalls based on my experience.

I had a flight at 1pm and I arrived at IST at 8:30am to have some room for error. You need to walk to the ground floor (arrivals) all the way to the end of the building near door 14 which is where covid tests are given. The various steps are fairly well explained on signs at the entrance but there was a queue for step 2 which is only to pay for the test. Then step 3 you need to go to another counter to get a bar code sticker - this seemed like an unnecessary extra step which could have been combined with step 2. Then step 4 was for the test itself, there was another queue but no more than 10 minutes for the swab test.

For me the main surprise is that I expected to get the test result in two hours so before my flight (according to articles on the internet published early July), but it was not the case. First off, there was maybe 45 minutes between the time I arrived at the airport and the time of the swab test, then 1.5 hours until they sent the results to the lab, and then another 2 hours until results were available online. In fact the sign at the airport says 4-24 hours which is more accurate than the overly optimistic reports online. Given the timeline, I was already sitting on the aircraft ready for takeoff by the time results were available online, fortunately I did not need the covid test for that flight but rather for my flight the next day, otherwise I would have been doomed.

So for anybody planning to need the test results for a flight on the same day, you need to plan to be at the airport at least 6 if not 7 hours before departure time and even then it might not be safe. For such scenarios might as well get the test in the city although it will be more expensive



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Old Sep 4, 20, 12:11 pm
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Thanks for sharing - Quite useful for prospective IST travellers
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Old Sep 5, 20, 8:28 am
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Thank you for sharing your experience. I had wondered what the process was like since I first read about the Covid testing at IST.
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Old Sep 5, 20, 1:09 pm
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A very fair assessment IMO

We departed IST on Friday morning and stayed in the Yotel on the Thursday evening (3rd Sept)

We didnít need to do it but since we planned to visit family decided to get a test on departure. We arrived at the airport at 6pm and took a number - we ended up getting the test at 8.25pm (there was a fairly lengthy queue to pay for the test - once that was done it was fairly quick).

the lab received the sample at 11.05pm and the results were posted at 12.15am Friday morning - so about 6 hours from arriving to result being posted.

After we arrived the queues subsided so I think it is very much up to luck as to how long you will have to wait. When we passed by the test center later in the evening (around 11pm) it was very busy again with a queue even to get a number to enter the queue.

overall a positive experience though and was only interrupted by idiots trying to queue jump because they hadnít arrived early enough - that clearly irked the staff behind the counters as they had to shout in various languages to get people under control.
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Old Sep 8, 20, 7:31 pm
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any good place for COVID test in Istanbul ?
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Old Sep 13, 20, 1:11 pm
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escape4, do you by chance have morle of the left side of your picture which would show the EFT information so that one could make a bank transfer before showing up at the airport and saving a lot of time? Thanks,
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Old Sep 14, 20, 4:23 am
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What is the process for obtaining a paper copy of the results, since most countries will not accept an email?
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Old Sep 14, 20, 4:00 pm
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Originally Posted by hfly View Post
escape4, do you by chance have morle of the left side of your picture which would show the EFT information so that one could make a bank transfer before showing up at the airport and saving a lot of time? Thanks,
Unfortunately not, sorry

Will try to remember next time I am there, maybe towards the end of the year
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Old Sep 14, 20, 4:03 pm
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Originally Posted by Explorer8939 View Post
What is the process for obtaining a paper copy of the results, since most countries will not accept an email?
They will give you a paper print-out at the airport a few hours after your test, if you don't want the online version. Note that the ladder is not an e-mail - you can retrieve your test result on the website with the bar code number and your passport number so your destination country would have less need to think it's a fraudulent document since they could access the website themselves to verify that it's genuine.
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Old Sep 14, 20, 4:46 pm
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It would seem that this is the EFT number that I have been able to find from some Google sleuthing. Perhaps not so useful to foreigners, but incredibly useful to Turks, people who live in Turkey and have Turkish bank accounts, in order to avoid the payment queue.
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Last edited by hfly; Sep 14, 20 at 4:48 pm Reason: trying to post graphic
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Old Sep 24, 20, 2:25 pm
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Has anyone been to the test centre recently? I am just wondering what the queues are like and when the best time to go is. I might go for an extended transit at IST, but will need the test result for my destination.
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Old Sep 25, 20, 7:07 am
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Account details for COVID test at IST airport

I was yesterday at IST airport for the COVID test, as the hospitals in Istanbul now need more time to process. I needed to wait 3 hours in the payment queue, then 15 minutes in the barcode queue and then another 30 minutes to get tested. With going to and from airport it stole about half a day. If you need to get the test at the airport I recommend to pay the 250 lira to the above mentioned account ahead and take a payment receipt with you in order to jump the lengthy payment queue. Obviously you need someone with a Turkish bank account.
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Old Sep 25, 20, 7:44 am
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Originally Posted by delta2308 View Post
Account details for COVID test at IST airport

I was yesterday at IST airport for the COVID test, as the hospitals in Istanbul now need more time to process. I needed to wait 3 hours in the payment queue, then 15 minutes in the barcode queue and then another 30 minutes to get tested. With going to and from airport it stole about half a day. If you need to get the test at the airport I recommend to pay the 250 lira to the above mentioned account ahead and take a payment receipt with you in order to jump the lengthy payment queue. Obviously you need someone with a Turkish bank account.
Thanks, very useful. What time were you there? I put the bank account number into an IBAN checker and it shows as valid, so it should be possible to transfer the payment from a foreign account. Just allow a few days and pay the fees.
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Old Sep 26, 20, 11:15 am
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I was there about 1600 , you need to have a bank able to send Turkish currency though and I donít know if and how they verify the receipt of money by bank.
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Old Sep 26, 20, 1:36 pm
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Originally Posted by delta2308 View Post
I was there about 1600 , you need to have a bank able to send Turkish currency though and I donít know if and how they verify the receipt of money by bank.
When you send an international payment the receipt for that will show how much the recipient gets in local currency. That is how it works here with UK banks anyway. You can specify the amount in the local currency.
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