Turkish citizenship has become the focus of attention of a large number of Arab and foreign investors, given the powers it gives to its holders and the advantages it provides, that the matter became more interesting in late 2018 following the naturalization law, according to which the Turkish passport is no longer an unattainable dream. There are many questions that are always raised about Turkish citizenship, methods of obtaining it, and the laws regulating this matter. All these questions and more are answered in the following paragraphs.
Ways to obtain Turkish citizenship
The Turkish naturalization law for the year 2010 - and its amendments issued in 2018 - allowed foreign citizens the opportunity to obtain Turkish citizenship through investment, and the law specified the nature and type of investment programs granting this right and also clarified the set of special requirements that must be met, and these programs are as follows:
- Purchase a property worth a minimum $ 250,000 or the equivalent in any other currency provided that it’s kept for 3 years.
- The owners of investment institutions can obtain citizenship if at least 50 job opportunities are provided to Turkish citizens.
- Create a Real Estate Investment Trust or Venture Capital Fund Participation Shares with a value of $ 500,000 for 3 years.
- Deposit an amount of 500,000 Turkish Lira in a Turkish bank for 3 years.
Citizenship Through Real Estate Investment
In addition to the investment programs referred to, some other cases in which Turkish law allows foreigners to apply for citizenship, such as marrying a Turkish citizen for a period of 3 years or more, or residing in the country for 5 years and obtaining a work permit, this is in addition to citizenship. The exceptional situation that is granted directly to foreigners by government decision for private reasons. Of course, this is considered rare.
Conditions and specifications of the property granting the right of nationality
Turkish law has defined a set of controls and conditions that must be met in the property sold in Turkey so that its foreign owner has the right to apply for citizenship and obtain a Turkish passport, some of these conditions relate to the property itself and its price value and others are related to the sale procedures, and these conditions can be summarized. In the following points:
- The value of the property purchased in Turkey must not be less than $ 250,000 or equivalent in Turkish lira.
- That the real estate purchase process is made through a Turkish citizen or construction company.
- The purchased property must be legally registered with the Official Real Estate Department (TAPU).
- The value of the property is determined by a valuation survey through the authorities announced by the Banking Supervision Board.
- The entire payment of the real estate property value must be done through certified bank transfers
In addition, this applies to any purchased property worth $ 250,000 that was purchased after the amendment to the regulations of granting the citizenship that was announced on the 09/19/2018. This does not apply to any real estate properties that were purchased before this announcement. Therefore, to obtain citizenship through investment, the minimum value of a property must be $ 1000,000.
Turkish Citizenship Application Process
To follow the process of acquiring Turkish Citizenship, the Turkish Immigration Department stated that the applications for obtaining citizenship are subject to an examination by several government departments and agencies, and in general the citizenship applications from the time of their submission until the decision will go through the following seven stages:
Submission Of Application
Applicants must submit the application form and documents to the Provincial Directorate in which the applicant resides.
Correspondence To The Capital
The file is sent from the state to the capital, Ankara, for examination and investigation of the application.
Review & Certify The Papers
A committee formed of the Naturalisation Department - affiliated to the Directorate General of Civil Registration - to examine the file and ensure that all conditions are eligible for citizenship.
The file is examined by the security services and the various ministries of the state and upon approval of the file by all the competent authorities, it finally moves to the next stage.
Submission Of Attestation
The Turkish law reviews and checks all documents for conformity. When the applications reach a certain number they are sent to the Turkish Cabinet.
Acceptance Of The Application
At this stage, the file is subject to a final evaluation process by the cabinet, and then a decision is issued accepting the request.
Civil Registry Approval
After the cabinet approval, the request is sent again to the Public Civil Registry Department.
After the completion of the citizenship stage, the applicant is requested to direct to the Civil Affairs Department to complete the final procedure and receive the new ID card. It is important to know that the Immigration and Citizenship Department allows foreigners to track their files via the Internet and follow the status of the application, the procedures, and review the on-going approval.
Required Documents To Complete The Citizenship Procedures In Turkey
The documents to be fulfilled and the procedures that must be completed in order to obtain Turkish citizenship - when you own a property that matches the specifications - are simple and easy compared to the procedures in force in most other countries, which are as follows:
- A copy of the property title deed (Tapu Deed).
- Real Estate report issued by the evaluation institution.
- Payment documents of the property.
- Two copies of the private agency document from the buyer.
- The buyers translated and certified copy of their passport.
- The translated and certified copy of the buyers birth certificate.
The naturalization process in Turkey passes through several stages after submitting the application for citizenship with the aforementioned documents, but the matter usually does not take long, and most of the naturalization applications submitted are formally decided within a period ranging between 50 to 90 days at the latest, after which it receives the original investor (the buyer) as well as his family members have Turkish identity cards and they will be able to obtain Turkish passports.
The Nationalities Prohibited From Real Estate Ownership In Turkey
The Republic of Turkey used to follow the law of “reciprocity”, which means prohibiting any foreign citizen from owning a real estate if their country deprived Turks of this right. But starting from March 2012, amendments to the Land Registry Law have removed the reciprocity principle allowing many nationalities the opportunity to purchase Turkish real estate for the first time.
Some countries remain banned from real estate ownership in Turkey for a variety of reasons, such as wars, political conflicts, and ancient historical agreements. These five nationalities are:
FAQ: Turkish Citizenship Inquiries
There are many questions related to Turkish citizenship that are frequently asked amongst those wishing to obtain it through real estate investment, the most prominent of these questions are as follows:
Foreign applicants are entitled to apply for Turkish citizenship through real estate investment by purchasing property through an installment payment plan. As the law stipulated that the total of the installments that has to paid - up to the date of applying for naturalization – should be an amount of $ 250,000 or an equivalent foreign currency.
A foreign investor who has acquired a property worth a minimum of 250,000 USD or equivalent foreign currency or Turkish Lira, is to be held in their possession for at least three years from the date of purchasing the property. The law also requires the foreign owner to apply for citizenship to sign an official document within the title deed. The property can be let for rental income, or sold after three (3) years
The Turkish naturalization law did not make any announcement neither restricting freedom of movement. Therefore, there are no permanent residence restrictions for obtaining citizenship through investment programs, especially through real estate.
The Turkish legislation does allow multiple citizenships. But under one condition that you have to clarify with your home country authorities if you are going to face any problems when applying for foreign citizenship.
Turkish law has allowed foreign investors the right to obtain citizenship by owning more than one property inside Turkey. The total value of these real estate combined is an amount of 250 thousand US dollars or more, and all properties sold must comply with the terms and conditions for granting citizenship as previously referred to and mentioned.