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Turkish citizenship can be acquired in several ways, including by marriage or employment or living for a certain period of time. Another option is making investment in Turkey. Accordingly, those who fulfil the requirements set out in the law can easily get the citizenship after filing the required documents.
Although the most popular option for citizenship is to buy at least US$ 400,000 worth real estate, there are several other opportunities introduced by the Turkish Citizenship Law No. 5901. In this respect, the applicable legislation intruduces the following investments options to foreigners to qualify for Turkish citizenship:
Investment of Fixed Capital
Having invested a fixed capital investment at least for an amount of US$ 500,000.00 or its equivalent in any other currency (excluding TRL); and determination of such investment by the Ministry of Industry and Technology.
Making a fixed capital investment may include assets to produce goods and service such as land, buildings, machinery and equipment. Although only purchasing real estate may not grant a right to apply Turkish citizenship by way of making a fixed capital investment, expenditures for the purchase of real estate are considered as part of the investment.
In case foreign investor acquires all shares or becomes a shareholder at a certain ratio at a non-public company; the amount corresponding to the acquired share by the foreign investor should be at least USD 500,000 or equivalent foreign currency or equivalent Turkish Lira. In such cases, the applicant may be required to submit a valuation report provided by the relevant authorities in order to determine the market value of the acquired shares of the company.
In case of additional fixed capital investment is made in an existing investment, the increase in the amount of fixed capital investment as of the date of additional investment and the share of foreign investor in the company should be taken into consideration. In other words, if the foreign investor became a shareholder at a certain ratio in an investor company, the amount that will arise as a result of multiplying the share ratio of the foreign investor by total additional investment amount shall be at least USD 500,000 or equivalent foreign currency or equivalent Turkish Lira.
Fixed capital investment made before January 12, 2017 do not entitle foreign investor to apply Turkish citizenship. For future applications to be made after January 12, 2017, maximum three (3) year expenditures will be considered retroactively in the calculation of fixed capital expenditures.
Real person foreign investor who are entitled to acquire citizenship by making a fixed capital investment, shall not transfer their shares to another real person or legal entity for at least three (3) years.
Purchase of Real Property
Having purchased a real estate for at least US$ 400,000.00 (the respective value was increased from US$ 250,000.00 to US$ 400,000.00 as of June 13, 2022) or its equivalent in any other currency (excluding TRL), provided that an annotation restricting the sale of the purchased real estate for the next 3 (three) years is made in the title deed registry. Accordingly, any foreign individual applying for Turkish citizenship based on purchase of a real estate must undertake not to sell the relevant real estate for 3 (three) years as of the acquisition.
As a result of the amendment made in the Official Gazette on 03.05.2022, the acquisition of Turkish citizenship by investment was increased from $250,000 to $400,000. This change has become effective at the date of 13’th of June 2022.
Purchasing Real Estate at the Project Stage
Foreign investors could purchase only immovable property after the establishment of condominium ownership and construction is completed. However, with the new amendments introduced, it is now possible to apply for Turkish citizenship by purchasing real estates from the projects still under construction.
Online Purchase or Selling
If the customer cannot be in Turkey soon for some reason, that won’t be an obstacle to making the purchase. Property Advisor Turkey can make the whole procedure on your name after legally giving us the right to do it through the Power of Attorney. Thus, our lawyer or company representative will be in charge of all the transactions on your behalf.
The condition of reciprocity for foreigners who wish to buy property in Turkey is abolished. Turkey., therefore, allows citizens of 183 States to purchase real estate property in Turkey without being subject to any reciprocity principles. Citizens of such 183 countries are eligible to obtain real estate property and related rights subject to the below listed general limitations:
Firstly, the surface area of the real estate properties subject to foreign ownership or other limited property rights (including mortgages) shall not exceed ten (10%) percent of the administrative district area for all foreigners where such real estate is located at. The Council of Ministers is also authorized to double such limits if necessary.
Secondly, the surface area of the real estate property shall not exceed thirty (30) hectares (30 ha is approximately 300,000. – m² or 3,223,000. – ft²) per each foreign individual all-around Turkey. The Council of Ministers is also authorized to double such limits if necessary.
Thirdly, the subject real estate should not be located in a military forbidden or security zone. This clearance is provided by the title registry offices and is a standardized system.
Type of Immovable Property
Persons with foreign nationality can purchase any kind of property (house, business place, land, field) within the abovementioned legal restrictions. However, if subject property is purchased without a constructed building (such as a land or a field), the foreigners should submit the project which they will construct on the property to the relevant Ministry within two (2) years.
A preliminary sale contract, which should be executed before a notary public, is possible for immovable properties with condominium ownership or condominium servitude.
The real estate should not be registered to any other person, including the foreigner’s spouse or children. Also, the real estate should not have been purchased before January 12, 2017 by the foreigner himself, foreigner’s spouse or children.
The real estate should not be registered on behalf of the company where the foreigner is the partner or manager.
No Limitation of the Number of Property
There is no limitation on the number of immovable properties that can be purchased through a sale or executing a preliminary sale contract before notary.
If a foreigner purchases more than one (1) real estate at the same time or different time-scale and the sum of the values of such real estate are $400,000.- or more, each real estate shall also have an annotation of no-sale for at least three (3) years.
Making Payments Through Bank
Submitting a bank receipt is mandatory for the purchase transaction subject to Circular No. 2018/12 (1792) dated October 15, 2018. Therefore, bank receipts are not required for sales made before such Circular date.
The transfer or payment of the sale or preliminary sale contract made after October 15, 2018 should be made through the bank. Within this regard, bank approved receipt (transfer, electronic fund transfers or bank receipt regarding blocked check) confirming that the amount has been deposited into the account of the purchasers or other relevant person by the vendors or relevant person should be submitted. For the transfers from abroad, the receipt of the bank account which the sale amount is transferred should also be submitted.
The date of bank receipt can be after the date of selling. However, in case of a sales through executing a preliminary sales contract, the date of bank receipt should be before the contract is issued before a notary public or should be on the day of the executing date of the contract at latest. The payment receipt made after the date of preliminary sale contract should not be taken into consideration since it is not as a “cash payment”.
Having generated employment for at least 50 (fifty) employees; and determination of such employment by the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services.
Cash Deposit in Turkish Banks
Having deposited cash at least in the amount of US$ 500,000.00 or its equivalent in any other currency (excluding TRL) to banks validly incorporated and operating in Turkey, provided that deposit will be held with the relevant bank for the following 3 (three) years; and determination of such deposit by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency.
Purchase of Public Debt Instruments
Having purchased public debt instruments with a value of US$ 500,000.00 or its equivalent in any other currency (excluding TRL), provided that the instruments are kept in reserve for the following 3 (three) years; and determination of such purchase by the Ministry of Treasure and Finance.
Purchase of Real Estate Investment Fund Participation Share or Venture Capital Investment Fund Participation
Having purchased participation shares of real estate investment fund or venture capital fund established in Turkey in exchange of at least US$ 500,000.00 or its equivalent in any other currency (excluding TRL), provided that such participation shares are kept in the relevant fund for the following 3 (three) years; and determination of such purchase by the Capital Markets Board.
The same status as Turkish citizens by birth
It is important to emphasize that Turkish citizenship acquired through one of the above investment categories provides the applicant the same status as Turkish citizens who have acquired citizenship by birth. That is to say, those who obtain Turkish citizenship by investment will have the same citizenship rights as enjoyed by other citizens.
As a result of the amendment made in the Official Gazette on 06.01.2022, the phrase “or its equivalent in Turkish Lira” in the text of the regulation has been removed. After that, foreigners who want to acquire Turkish citizenship must make the investment amount specified above either in American Dollars or in the corresponding foreign currency. Investments made in Turkish Lira will no longer grant Turkish citizenship to foreigners. The principles to be applied in determining whether the investment conditions are met or not will be determined by the institution making the determination.
The dependent family members of the applicant
In addition to the foreign applicant, their spouse and their minor/dependent children are also eligible to obtain Turkish citizenship, without the requirement for separate investments by family members. In other words, the citizenship may be granted to the dependent family members of the applicant as well, without each of those members being required to fulfill the respective investment conditions.
The Process to be Followed
The process for obtaining Turkish citizenship by way of the abovw investment categories consists of three stages. These stages are as follows:
(1) Fulfilling the one of the investment conditions stated above and obtaining receipt of a Conformity Certificate from relevant authority; and
(2) Obtaining a short-term residence permit (It is worth noting that foreign individuals meeting the investment thresholds requirements are not required to reside permanently in Turkey for a certain period of time. Contrary to the acquisition of Turkish citizenship based on permanent residency as per Turkish Citizenship Law, the mandatory period of permanent residence (i.e., 5 (five) years) does not constitute a criterion in the acquisition of Turkish citizenship by investment.) and
(3) Applying for Turkish citizenship to the relevant authority.
New ‘Turkish’ Name and/or Surname
Furthermore, please also note that foreigner who applies to Turkish citizenship by way of investment has also a right to pick up a new ‘Turkish’ name and/or surname (last name). In such a case, the foreigner’s Turkish ID and/or passport will be issued with such preferred name and last name. This procedure is not mandatory, and foreigners may also use their current names for their Turkish ID’s and passports as well.
Finalization of the Turkish Citizenship Application
A commission is formed by the relevant ministries, the citizenship application of foreigners is evaluated and submitted to the approval of the President. The final decision is made by the President.
The application process including obtaining certificate of conformity, short-term residence permit, receiving residence permit card and submitting all information and documents regarding citizenship can be handled remotely via special power of attorney without need for foreigners to enter to Turkey. However, in the last stage of the application, the applicant and his/her immediate family (spouse and children under 18) shall provide their fingerprints in order to obtain Turkish ID and/or Turkish passport.
Although there is no official regulation or confirmation, applications for short term residency permits are resolved within 2 to 3 weeks and citizenship applications are shall be resolved within three 3 to six 6 months.
Although Turkey has facilitated the procedure for citizenship by investment, it is important to comply with the procedure giving attention to details. Mistakes or deficiencies in the application process may result in delays or rejections.
Bıçak Law is a full-service Turkish law firm covering all parts of Turkey, with a long quality and professional competence history. Our Turkish citizenship expert lawyers are ready to assist you with your investment-based Turkish citizenship application.
Our Turkish immigration lawyers also handle work and residence permit applications. Our Turkish citizenship specialists also advise clients in various Turkish immigration law matters, such as extending residency and work permits, applying for Turkish citizenship, and initiating a lawsuit to overturn any obstacles.