NOTE: January 2022 update. Foreign buyers are now required to send funds to a Turkish bank before buying real estate. This is for the transaction to be processed in Turkish lira. Click here for more information.
These days, many people want to know how to obtain Turkish Citizenship, and the lure is easy to understand. In the last 20 years, Turkey implemented many chances via investment to boost its international reputation. These all stemmed from the country’s 2023 vision program, implemented to transform the economy, the housing market, investment business sectors, healthcare, and general standard of living.
The program’s main aim was to make Turkey a top ten best-performing country globally in terms of Citizenship, investment, economy, and tourism. It was an ambitious vision, and despite setbacks, Turkey is now a significant global player for investment, and people want to tap into the lifestyle and Citizenship opportunities it provides.
The weather, gorgeous beaches, excellent healthcare, a Turkish passport, low cost of living and the opportunity to make money and build a career. Add to this investment potential low property prices and cost of living, and it is no wonder people want to live here all year round permanently.
Turkey already has many expat communities scattered around various towns, villages, and cities. They include nationalities from all over the world. So, let us look at the options available to any foreigner who wants to become a Turkish citizen and discuss in-depth how to go about it.
How to Obtain Turkish Citizenship Via Investment
For every foreigner, there are many ways to apply - see our Turkish Citizenship by Investment guide. They centre around marriage after three years, business investment, birth right, proof of five-year residency, and real estate investment. If you are not married, don’t have a birth right or haven’t lived in Turkey for a specific length of time, the best route to go down is the real estate Turkish Citizenship by Investment Programme.
The reason being is that it costs half the amount of any business investment. Additionally, fewer rules and regulations and criteria make it more of a stress-free opportunity. So, in this article, we concentrate on Turkey’s Citizenship by real estate investment programme. All applicants must do is buy a property worth $400,000 and pledge to keep it for at least three years. Simple!
Who is Eligible for the Citizenship Investment Programme?
Anyone who can legally buy property, so the only nationalities excluded from investment are Syrians, Armenians, north Koreans, Cubans, and Nigerians. Applicants must have a clean criminal record, and this will be checked at the application stage. In 2020, newspapers reported 7300 foreigners from 93 different countries had obtained Turkish Citizenship by investment in property. This proves the programme does work and is a verified investment opportunity with many benefits.
Dual Citizenship and Investment
Turkish law does not prohibit Turkish citizens from being passport holders to more than one country. However, some other countries do place limits, so check with local consulates or embassies about whether your nationality is allowed dual citizenship.
Why Invest in Turkey?
1: Visa-Free Travel
Let’s face it. Some passports are better than others because holders don’t have to jump through hoops to be allowed into another country for a holiday. A benefit of Turkish Citizenship is a Turkish passport to travel visa-free to over 100 countries around the world. Imagine the stress-free process of grabbing your Turkish passport, just buying a ticket, and jumping on a plane.
2: No Residency
Many countries around the globe operate a real estate investment programme to get citizenship. However, the rules and regulations require each year that applicants must live there for a specific period. The Turkish real estate investment scheme does not require applicants to live in Turkey at all. With Turkish Citizenship by investment, they come and go as they want, either for a few months or all year in the country. So, feel the freedom of using your Turkish passport whenever you want.
3: Family Members
When applicants receive Turkish Citizenship by investment in real estate, the citizenship also extends to spouses and any children. Additionally, any future children automatically receive citizenship at birth. This is a great incentive, for anyone with Turkish Citizenship who wants to move here with children, because international, private, and state schools offer an excellent curriculum. Turkish society also places high importance on the younger generations, providing a safe and secure environment for your children and another incentive for citizenship.
4: Right to Work in Turkey
Many people on a residence permit want to work in Turkey but can’t. This is because the residency rules and employment process for foreigners are two separate things. Obtaining a work permit is hard to do as well. However, when you get Turkish Citizenship by investment, you automatically receive the right to work. Additionally, with Turkish Citizenship by investment, you won’t face the same prohibitions foreigners do regarding the sector they work in.
5: Pensions and Retirement
All Turkish citizens residing in the county pay into what is known as the SGK scheme. Various versions depend on whether you are self-employed and the sector you work in. Part of the monthly payment also goes towards the Turkish pension you receive upon retirement.
6: Citizenship Investment and Healthcare in Turkey
The SGK scheme also covers applicants and their families for healthcare. Turkey has a marvellous healthcare system with top-performing doctors and physicians. That is why it ranks high on the list of medical tourism destinations. Cosmetic procedures aren’t included but have peace of mind knowing your health is well looked after by Turkish doctors.
7: One-time Application
The residence permit programme in Turkey is a quick and easy process to complete. However, they only issue one- and two-year permits. So, residents must re-apply every time. On the other hand, with the Turkish citizenship programme, apply once, and the citizenship is permanent.
8: Turkish Culture
So many people return year after year for holidays and want Turkish Citizenship because Turkish society still operates on old fashioned values. An old proverb says every stranger is a friend, and this is how Turkish people treat everyone regardless of race or age. It isn’t hard to settle down into a community irrespective of where you live because making friends is easy.
9: Gastronomy Scene of Turkey
Likewise, while other countries forge ahead in unhealthy, fast food trends full of sugar and fat, good old fashioned Turkish cooking still leads the way. This means buying healthy fruit and vegetables, dairy products, and a national diet that focuses on fresh, homemade, traditional food. Additionally, in most towns and cities, the range of restaurants and their menus means dining out is a delight, not a chore.
10: Weather and Climate in Turkey
Ah, now Turkey has several different climate zones depending on geographical regions. However, most of the country basks in sunshine. The Mediterranean region receives roughly 300 days of sunshine a year and offers exceptionally mild winters. Therefore, Turkey is one of the worlds top beach holiday destinations.
11: Leisure and Pleasure
The gorgeous weather encourages an outdoor lifestyle, and Turkey offers numerous options to pursue passion or interests. Whether this is exploring all the beachside destinations, historical sites, adventure sports, golfing, spa tourism, or simply lounging around the pool. In free time, pursue photography, painting, reading or brush up on language skills to become a Turkish citizen who also speaks the language.
12: Other Benefits of Investment
The last benefits of the real estate route in Turkey are applicants buy into a housing market that is still in the early transformation process, hence low prices. What this means is mass potential for capital appreciation. So as well as looking at the scheme to get Turkish Citizenship, bear in mind this is also an ideal opportunity to add to your international real estate portfolio and make a wise investment.
Of course, after the three years, owners can sell if they want, but to avoid incurring capital gains tax, keep it for at least five years. Another option when not living in Turkey is buy-to-let. There are two markets in Turkey, the short-term holiday market and long-term tenancy. Both can provide a lucrative source of monthly income. If this is a factor on your buying checklist, be sure to research the market carefully to find out rental yields.
Be careful, because some places are flooded with holiday rental properties which bring prices down. Therefore, landlords need clever marketing and advertising skills. Additionally, long term tenants will want contracts. Finally, don’t forget to declare short term residences and pay tax on income over a certain level. However, with the right frame of mind, achieving a passive income is possible.
Investment Programme Application Process
1: Decide Where to Buy in Turkey
Some applicants for the Turkish citizenship real estate route already know where they want to buy property. If you don’t, we can advise on the best and most popular places for foreigners buying houses. Those who want an ideal real estate investment should look towards Istanbul. Even though it is not Turkey’s capital, this is the centre of business and investment in Turkey.
On the outskirts of the European side of Istanbul, mass development is taking place on lifestyle residences that feature apartments with communal facilities. Many sell at off-plan prices and offer a discount for cash and long-term interest-free payment plans. Otherwise, if you plan to buy property for citizenship, based on lifestyle instead, choose from many places along the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts.
Places like Bodrum, Fethiye, and the Antalya region lead the way of where to buy beachside homes. Their portfolios also include a healthy selection of apartments, villas, resale, off-plan, and new build property. On our viewing trips, we don’t just show houses. We also show the local community and amenities like banks, shops, transport networks, bars, and restaurants. Gain an idea of where to buy by browsing our area guides for many parts of Turkey.
2: Get a Turkish Tax Number
We assist during the whole process of buying property and applying for Turkish Citizenship. We guide all buyers from the start, but for information, the following is the process we follow, and this starts with getting a tax number in the district where you plan to buy. Always keep your tax number for future processes besides purchasing a property.
3: Open a Bank Account in Turkey
All transactions related to the property must be made via bank account, so we help open one. Popular choices include HSBC, Garanti, Akbank and Halk bank. Buyers pay for a property in Turkish lira, so they need to convert currency. We recommend an excellent foreign exchange company like TransferWise that offers reasonable exchange rates and low transfer fees. When you buy a property with us, we give a payment plan outlining what needs to be paid and when. In addition, we also inform about the extra purchasing costs.
4: Choose the Investment Property in Turkey
Remember, the house must be worth at least $400,000 to make applicants eligible to receive Turkish Citizenship. It must also be completed or near completion, have a habitation certificate, be title deeds ready or in possession, and be prepared for a valuation report.
To start the process for Citizenship, browse our portfolio of apartments and villas for sale in many areas of Turkey. Each listing contains everything to know, including price, location, home features, and contact details to find out more via email or telephone. Alternatively, contact us to receive a portfolio of suitable properties via email.
5: Start the Turkish Home Buying Process
Once you have chosen the property for your Turkish citizenship application, employ a solicitor. From here, they draw up a contract between buyer and seller, and we also arrange a notary. Other steps include legal checks and an application to the title deeds office. When signing for deeds, state your reason for buying as the Citizenship by investment scheme. You will also pledge to keep it for at least three years.
6: Residency in Turkey and Investment Conformity Certificate
Before applying for citizenship, you will to obtain residency in Turkey. This is a quick and easy process we assist with. The only criteria are healthcare coverage and financial funds to support yourself. At the same time, we obtain the certificate of conformity for the property and submit bank transactions to the Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation.
7: Apply for Turkish Citizenship by Investment
To apply, we collect the following documents
- Birth Certificate
- Turkish residency cards
- Translated and notarised Marriage and Birth documents
- Proof of Health insurance
- 12 biometric photographs
- Copy of power of attorney
- Application forms
Once submitted, they go to numerous government departments in Ankara for background checks before final approval. After approval, congratulations because you have Turkish Citizenship.
Living in Turkey as a Citizen
As you can see from our list above, there are many benefits to becoming a Turkish citizen, but there are some other lifestyle changes to make if you want to live in the country all year round. For example, as well as managing and maintaining your new home, arrange for bill payment.
While it is possible to live here and not speak Turkish, it dramatically enhances day-to-day living, so start learning now. Also, change your drivers’ licence to a Turkish version, or leave the country every so often to carry on using your old one. Finally, don’t be surprised if homesickness strikes because this is normal and only temporary. We discuss all these issues and more in our expat guide to living in Turkey.
We are Property Turkey, a real estate sector and investment specialist with offices all around the country. We’ve helped thousands of foreign house buyers to become homeowners in Turkey and make a wise real estate investment at the same time.
We hope we have answered your question on how to obtain Turkish Citizenship. As you can see, it is, by far, the quickest, cheapest, and most efficient way to get it. However, if you have any more questions, call us today and chat with a local agent. Also, see our blog about Turkey, which talks more about the real estate investment programme and living here.
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