This is our experience crossing the Bulgaria-Turkey border on Saturday, 10 September 2016. Our party consisted of two people and two motorcycles.
The crossing we used is not the main crossing (at Svilengrad and Edirne) but was an alternate crossing to the north of the main one. We think the crossing we used was likely much quieter and with shorter lines. The officials on the Turkey side were very friendly and welcoming and most spoke English so it made for an easy crossing.
Border Name: Hamzabeyli Sinir Kapisi
Closest major cities: Lesovo, Bulgaria and Hamzabeyli, Turkey
*Turkey e-visa per person US$20.70
*Insurance per motorcycle for three months US$35.00
Note: we keep all originals in individual plastic sleeves. We labeled these sleeves clearly to avoid confusion as to what was what, to keep original documents clean, and to differentiate what is original and what is a copy. All border-crossing officials have respected the sleeve.
Drive past any trucks that might be in line and go to the booth.
Step 1 – Immigration: Hand the official your passport and vehicle title and they stamp you out of Bulgaria.
About five minutes.
Drive through a very short no-man’s land between the two borders. We only have about three cars ahead of us.
Step 1 – Window/booth 1 as you drive up: provide your vehicle title, which the official reviews and inputs your plate number into the computer. They give you the title back and tell you to go forward.
Step 2 – Immigration (window/booth 2): Provide your passport, vehicle title, and e-visa print out and the official will stamp you into Turkey. Prior to arrival we needed to purchase an e-visa online. The process took about 3 minutes. Be sure to check whether your nationality is required to do this or not. The website is: https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/. The cost was US$20.70 per person (the visa is $20.00 and there is a US$0.70 processing fee).
Step 3 – Customs (window/booth 3) part 1: There are two steps to this process. The first is that the customs officials search your vehicle. On ours they just had us open the side cases and one of the large bags. It took about two minutes. Then they pointed to where we could go park the bikes while we sorted our insurance and then returned to the customs window/both to get our vehicle registered.
Step 4 – Insurance: Insurance is required. If you have been traveling in the European Union you might have Turkey on your Green Card in which case this step is not necessary. Our EU Green card insurance did not cover Turkey so we needed to purchase insurance at the border. The insurance window is between window/booths two and three and it is well signed. Bring your passport and vehicle title to purchase insurance. The insurance was only available in 3-month increments that cost US$35. The funds are payable in Dollars, Euros, or Turkish Lira.
Step 5 – Customs (window/booth 3) part 2: Return to the customs booth and provide them with your passport, vehicle title, and proof of insurance. They log your vehicle into the computer system and it is stamped into your passport. It is very important to get your vehicle stamped out of Turkey when you leave.
Step 6 – Leaving the border area (window/booth 4): As you drive out of the border area you will proceed past one final check where you need to show your passport. The official confirms that the vehicle has been stamped into your passport. Then you are free to go.
There were very short lines and it took us about 45 minutes to enter Turkey.