TURKISH CITIZENSHIP BY
REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
Turkey welcomes foreign investors to apply for citizenship by investment program. With the recent changes in the legislation Turkish Republic started to grant citizenship to individuals who invest in Turkey without a minimum residence requirement.
In line with the The Regulation Regarding Application of Turkish Citizenship Law (“Law”) and new regulations in Turkish immigration law, foreign persons who would satisfy one of the investment requirements regulated in the Law are able to obtain Turkish Citizenships together with their family members.
A. Advantages of Turkish Citizenship
Turkish citizenship by investment program provides the following opportunities to holders:
Permanent right of residence
Permanent right of work and investment opportunity in Turkey without any limitations
Visa-free travel to many countries
Simple assessment process for visa applications to many countries
All international incentives granted to Turkish citizens with bilateral or multilateral agreements including but not limited to Ankara Agreement*
[*] The Agreement Creating An Association Between The Republic of Turkey and the European Economic Community allowing Turkish Citizens to establish business in the related countries (including the UK), move immediately and be eligible to apply for permanent residence and citizenship in those countries.
B.Investment Options for Turkish Citizenship
As per the new regulations published in the Official Gazette on September 18, 2018, foreigners who meet any of the following conditions may be eligible for Turkish citizenship, subject to the decision of the President of the Republic of Turkey:
Proven by the Ministry of Industry and Technology to have made a minimum fixed capital investment of USD 500,000 or equivalent foreign currency or Turkish lira.
Proven by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization to have acquired a real estate worth a minimum of USD 250,000 or equivalent foreign currency or Turkish lira with a title deed restriction on its resale for at least three years.
Proven by the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services to have created jobs for at least 50 people.
Proven by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency to have deposited at least USD 500,000 or equivalent foreign currency or Turkish lira in banks operating in Turkey with the condition of not to withdraw for at least three years.
Proven by the Ministry of Treasury and Finance to have bought at least USD 500,000 or equivalent foreign currency or Turkish lira worth of government bonds with the condition that they cannot be sold for at least three years.
Proven by the Capital Markets Board of Turkey to have bought at least USD 500,000 or equivalent foreign currency or Turkish lira worth of real estate investment fund share or venture capital investment fund share with the condition that they cannot be sold for at least three years.
C. Turkish Citizenship by Real Estate Investment
Among the above mentioned options, the most cost-effective option for investors to qualify for the Turkish citizenship program is to buy a real estate in Turkey. The Law stipulates that, to be able to obtain Turkish citizenship with real estate investment, a minimum amount of property investment shall be made for $250.000-USD (or equivalent foreign currency or the equal value in Turkish Lira), on the condition to not sell the property within the next 3 years. The property can be leased to provide rental income.
The Law allows the investors to invest into multiple properties/units, provided that the total amounts exceed $250.000-USD, you can proceed with the ownership of multiple properties.
The properties shall essentially meet certain criteria including having a verified expert valuation report in place as well as a building license, and the title deed shall also be ideally clear out of any restrictions on the Title Deed. Otherwise it will not be suitable to proceed for Turkish Citizenship. A certificate of eligibility regarding the real estate shall be obtained from the General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadaster of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization.
1. Phases of Application Process
Basically, the application process consists of two phases:
(a) the application for residence permit, and
(b) the application for citizenship.
Each of these two applications are filed with separate authorities; however, in order to facilitate the process, the government opened special offices in major cities which serve as single points of contact where both the residence permit and the citizenship application are filed.
a) Residence Permit Process before the Directorate General of Migration Management
The residence permit is granted with a fast-track approach, requiring significantly reduced bureaucracy compared to the standard procedure. The residence permit will be obtained by the applicant or the authorized representative through the Directorate General of Migration Management (“DGMM”) by getting an appointment from the DGMM web site and submitting the necessary documents which will be listed below, to the DGMM desk at the private/joint office, if the applicant meets the requirements for the residence permit. Normally, the investor does not have to be physically present at the appointment if represented by a lawyer. However, in some cases within this process the applicant may be requested to be present at the office and an interview can take place. In the event that applicant is unable to be present, the application can only be accepted if the applicant has a valid excuse on condition that the excuse is justified with documentation.
b) Citizenship Application Process Before the General Directorate of Civil Registration and Nationality
After the residence permit is obtained from DGMM in accordance with the procedure explained above, the required documents shall be prepared and the application shall be made before General Directorate of Civil Registration and Nationality (“GDCRN”) desk at the private/joint office.
Following the application before the GDCRN desk, an investigation will be made through the archives in order to check if the applicant is not in a situation that threatens the national security and public order. If the investigation results in favor of the applicant, the application will be sent to the Ministry for the approval of the President. Upon the approval of the President, the applicant can obtain the Turkish citizenship. The whole process is planned to be completed within 45 days, however, implementation may last longer than planned.
If the process explained above is followed, application fees, service fees, circulating capital fee, consular fee and other fees may apply. Moreover, health insurance fees, notary and translation fees are other expenses that might be paid by the applicant.
2. Status of the Spouse and Children
A residence permit is not compulsory for the spouse and children of the applicant who wants to obtain citizenship alongside with the applicant. However, if the spouse and children will be residing with the applicant in Turkey, the residence permit will be necessary. Specifically, for the citizenship application, the spouse and children may benefit from the same investment made by the applicant for the citizenship, on condition that the necessary documents are prepared for them as well. In addition to the documents listed below, consulate approved family registry, birth certificates and if there are no birth certificates available, notary certified civil registry records shall also be submitted.
Minor children can obtain citizenship within the scope of this application, however if there is only one spouse applying for the citizenship, the other spouse shall also give a notarized statement of consent. If the process will be carried out by a representative, a special power of attorney is only necessary for the spouse but not for the children.
3. Necessary Documents for the Application Process
a) Required Documentation for Residence Permit
The required documentation for residence permit is as follows:
Application form for Residence Permit
Certificate of Conformity for the investment, from the relevant ministry or public authority
Passport (original) and the copies of the pages which include identification information and pictures
Four (4) biometric photographs which are taken within the last six months, taken in front of pattern-free white background
Original stamped/sealed, signed insurance policy valid through the requested duration of residence permit. (In order to have a valid insurance policy, the insurance company should have agencies in Turkey and these agencies shall approve the policy. If the policy will be taken out in Turkey, it should be stated that the insurance is done for the residence permit. The maximum duration for the residence permit that can be obtained, is determined based on the duration of the health insurance.)
b. Noteworthy Documentation Required for Citizenship Application
The noteworthy documentation required for citizenship application is as follows:
Notary certified Turkish translation of the passport or similar document indicating the country of nationality
Two (2) photographs which are 50x60 mm, taken in front of pattern-free white background, and biometric,
Birth certificate (or a similar document)
A certificate verifying the marital status
A certificate verifying the family bonds between the applicant, his/her spouse and children.
A similar set of documents must be prepared for each dependent wishing to acquire Turkish citizenship alongside the investor. Documents prepared in the applicant’s country of birth/domicile need to be approved either by Turkish consulate or authenticated with apostille by the competent local authority if such country is a party to Apostille convention.
D. Frequently Asked Questions
Does Turkey allow dual citizenship?
Yes. Turkey allows for dual citizenship.
Is the Turkish citizenship valid for life?
Yes. Once the Turkish citizenship acquired, it will be valid for life and it would be valid and transferable for the next generations, your decendants as well.
Is there any language requirement to apply for Turkish Citizenship?
No. There is no Turkish language knowledge requirement to apply for Turkish citizenship by investment.
Do I have to travel to Turkey to start Turkish Citizenship procedures?
No. Due to coronavirus pandemic and international travel restrictions, we can now open the bank account remotely, and we can also finalize the property transfer as well as other necessary tasks remotely. We can proceed on behalf of you with an apostilled or legalized PoA (Power of Attorney) including bank account opening, property sale transfer as well as further Turkish Citizenship application procedures without your travel to Turkey required. However, ideally it is advisable to visit Turkey first for the initial procedures and then secondly once the citizenship is obtained for submission of fingerprints.
How can we help you?
Our English speaking Turkish immigration lawyers and Turkish citizenship lawyers offer their services during the real estate/property purchase process and Turkish Citizenship by Investment application process, to their clients from including but not limited to South Africa, Pakistan, India, Qatar, Iran, Canada, United States of America.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions via info[at]yonet.av.tr or +90 (533) 714 55 77.
This brief information note is provided by YÖNET Attorneys at Law to keep interested parties informed of current legal developments that may affect or otherwise be of interest to them. The information is not intended as legal advice or legal opinion and should not be construed as such. This brief information note shall not create client-attorney relationship.
All information in this note is up to date as of 17.11.2020.