NOTE: Since January 2022, foreign buyers are now required to send funds to a Turkish bank prior to purchasing real estate. This is so that the transaction can be processed in Turkish lira. For details, please click here.
If you are wondering about the pros and cons of Turkish citizenship, rest assured there are more benefits, and there are quite a few ways to receive citizenship. These are by marriage after three years, birthright, business investment programme, long term residency and real estate investment. In this article, we discuss the Turkish citizenship by real estate investment program, look at the benefits and why choose it for a Turkish passport over other options like business or long-term residency.
Out of all citizenship investment programs globally, Turkey ranks as one of the cheapest and easiest to apply for. When first released, the program did not take off due to the high entry-level price of 1 million USD, but in 2018, this all changed. The Turkish government openly wanted foreign investment into the country; hence they dropped the minimum investment level, and investors flocked in worldwide.
To date, more than 7,200 applicants who bought real estate received Turkish citizenship and now get to reap the benefits of their investment. So, if this is something you are considering, the basic summary is to invest $400,000 into a house and then pledge to keep it for at least three years. Simple, but let's look at the benefits and how to apply.
The Benefits of Turkish Citizenship
1: Right to work, live and study in Turkey
Presently, to live in Turkey, you must get a residency permit regardless of whether you own real estate or not. While this is a simple, straightforward procedure, residency means constantly reapplying every year or two for as long as you want to stay in Turkey. This is costly and time-consuming. Likewise, to work, you need a work permit, of which there are tightly regulated rules. For example, employers can only get a work permit for a foreigner in specific sectors if they already employ five Turkish people. This dramatically limits chances in the job market and lessen the possibility of finding a suitable job. The same goes for study. Again, you need a permit to do this. The Turkish citizenship program gets lifetime access to all the above without the need to keep reapplying.
2: Invest in Turkey For Freedom of Movement
Did you know applicants for the citizenship by investment program in Malta must have 36 months of residency before they even consider approval? Other citizenship investment programs worldwide insist you reside in the country for a certain amount of days each year. Well, Turkey does not. It gives complete flexibility, and citizens can come and go as they please.
3: Potential Rental Income
So, you can either live in the home you buy, use it as a holiday home or if you are not going to live in Turkey as a full-time citizen, have the potential for a real estate rental income. There are two types of rental programs in Turkey; short term and long-term contracts. The first focuses on holidaymakers, who rent either for the night or weekly. Full occupancy ensures a healthy passive income source. It would help if you had creative marketing skills and someone to run the maintenance side like deposit, keyholding and cleaning. Some property owners choose to go down the route of long-term rental simply because there is less work involved but do make sure you get a contract. On both types of rental income from real estate investment, landlords pay tax over a certain level.
4: Capital Growth Potential
The current Turkish citizenship investment programme states applicants must keep a property for at least three years. However, suppose as a citizen, you keep it longer than five years. In that case, you do not pay capital gains tax when selling, and additionally, have the potential for profitable real estate capital growth. Moreover, many areas, like the outskirt districts of European Istanbul, are transforming themselves and present higher capital growth potential than other districts. So, this is also a chance to make a healthy real estate investment and add diversity to your property investment portfolio.
5: Visa-Free Citizen Turkish Passport
When you obtain Turkish citizenship, you also get a Turkish passport that allows visa-free travel. For many nationalities worldwide, travel is a problem since they must spend lots of money applying for a visa that might not get approved. So when you get a Turkish passport, travel visa-free to more than 100 countries around the world. Oh, enjoy the ease of just getting on a plane to go where you want.
6: Family Members and Education
So, of course, if you are a parent, you want Turkish citizenship for your spouse and children, which is where Turkey delivers in abundance. What’s more, is children born after you gain Turkish citizenship automatically receive their citizenship based on Turkey's birthright laws. From here, parents can choose public or private schools for education. While the public offers the set educational system, international schools in Turkey offer worldwide recognised curriculums; hence other countries recognise your children's academic achievements. Turkey's culture also focuses heavily on family dynamics, so you will feel right at home.
7: Healthcare and Retirement
Once you receive Turkish citizenship, you pay into the government-run SGK social security system. This entitles healthcare, and this is where Turkey delivers with a state-of-the-art method. Some hospitals, like the university establishment in Izmir, class themselves as the best in the world. Additionally, your monthly payments also go into the pension scheme you receive monthly upon your retirement.
8: Turkish Culture
One reason tourists keep coming back to Turkey every year is because of the welcoming hospitality of Turkish people. It is ingrained in their culture that every stranger is a friend, which shines through in day-to-day life. Therefore, if you choose to live in Turkey, you will find it easy to settle in and find friends when you receive Turkish citizenship. Do not forget to return the favour in kind if you receive a knock on the door and it is a neighbour with a plate of food welcoming you to the neighbourhood.
9: Exploration and Leisure
For beautiful landscapes of natural beauty and historical sites, Turkey is a treasure chest. These landscapes make it one of the world's top tourist destinations, from the green plateaus of the Kackar mountains to the stunning beaches of the Mediterranean. However, to explore Turkey on a tourist visa, you must do it within 90 days, then leave the country for another ninety days before coming back in. By gaining Turkish citizenship, you can explore and travel within Turkey at leisure, when you want and how you want. Be sure to get out to see the prominent landmarks like Pamukkale and the rock fairy chimneys of Cappadocia. They are quite unlike anywhere else in the world.
10: Turkish Food
Another benefit of gaining Turkish citizenship is getting to learn all about the cuisine. Now what you must remember is the current day Republic of Turkey rides on the back of the old Ottoman empire. At one point, they governed nearly half the world. In their four hundred plus years of rule, they conquered many civilisations and incorporated their cuisine with their own. These recipes are still used today and make Turkish cuisine one of the most unique in the world. So, when in Turkey, do be sure to try the Turkish food sellers from the street carts to the five-star restaurants. We are pretty sure you will become a fan of Turkish cuisine in next to no time.
11: Weather and Outdoor lifestyle
Turkey has several different climate zones, so daily temperatures vary depending on which region you choose for a property investment. However, if you select the Aegean or Mediterranean for your citizenship investment, expect to receive at least 300 days of sunshine a year. This naturally means a life spent outdoors, which all doctors agree is excellent for our health. So whether it is lying around the pool, pursuing hobbies like golf or romantic alfresco dining on rooftop terraces, everyone loves the outdoor lifestyle of Turkey.
12: State of the Art Transport Network
Over the last 20 years, Turkey has invested billions into the transport network. New highways were built and existing highways, re-laid. They built bridges in Istanbul to ensure residents get around quicker and easier. They also pumped money into their airports. The latest endeavour, the new Istanbul airport, will offer flights to more than 300 destinations around the world when fully operational. This means when you get your citizenship, you can come and go with the ease of movement.
13: Dual Citizenship of the Investment Program
Another significant aspect of the Turkish citizenship by investment scheme is that Turkey recognises dual citizenship to keep your place of birth identity. Do check with your own country's consulate, though, because some countries of the world do not recognise dual citizenship.
14: Running a Business
Anyone can set up a company as a foreigner in Turkey, but the process is longwinded and costs more than investing in Turkish citizenship. However, once you get it, setting up that company becomes more accessible and more streamlined. Indeed, Turkey offers other ways to get citizenship by business investment rather than real estate, but this works out to be cheaper and more stress-free.
15: Short Processing time
In other countries, receiving citizenship is a long-drawn-out process with much paperwork and a lengthy wait. Turkey steps up to the podium as the king of fast processing times, and every applicant typically receives their Turkish passport within nine months, if not before.
The Cons of Turkish Citizenship by Investment
So, as you can see, there are many benefits to obtaining Turkish citizenship by investment. But you might be asking what the cons are? We cannot think of a lot. The only aspect is that there will be running and maintenance costs within the three years that you must keep your property. These are minimal, though, and many western nations remark on how cheap it is to run a home in Turkey. So, as you can see, when weighing up the cons and benefits, it makes sense Turkey's citizenship by investment is an all-around winner. We guide all our clients through the process of obtaining citizenship, but the following is a brief outline of how to do it.
The Citizenship by Investment Process
1: Tax Number and Bank Account
Regardless of whether you invest in the citizenship program, before starting property investment in Turkey, you need a tax number and a Turkish bank account. The bank account is because all transactions must leave a paper trail. When you decide where you want to buy, we take you for the tax number. This is a straightforward application and is given immediately. You can also choose from a wide choice of banks, including HSBC, Garanti, and Akbank. Once again, the process is simple, and you will have a bank account on the same day. One tip is when you send money to that account, to use a foreign exchange company rather than your existing bank. They often offer better exchange rates when transferring money to the Turkish lira and lower transfer fees.
2: Find the Property You Want to Buy
Bear in mind, the price of the property investment for citizenship must be $400,000, but not all properties are eligible for the program. Either get in touch with us, letting us know what you are looking for in a property, investment, and we will send a portfolio via email. Alternatively, please browse our online listings of Turkish properties for sale. Each listing contains the price, location, home features and contact details to find out more via email or arrange a viewing. Do not forget to let us know if you specifically want a property for the citizenship investment scheme.
3: Start the Home Buying Process
Once again, we walk homebuyers through the process, but for a little bit of information, it starts with making a deposit and getting contracts drawn up. Turkish law does not require home buyers to use a solicitor, but we always recommend using one. The contracts will also be notarised and translated for peace of mind and extra-legal safety. Next, we apply to the title deeds office to transfer ownership, and if everything is in place, this can be approved in as little as a week. It is easy to buy a property in Turkey. For a more detailed breakdown of the home buying process, read our buying guide.
4: Residency and Eligibility certificate
To apply, you need an eligibility certificate for the property. Leave that to us. You also need to hold a residency permit, which we help complete. This involves proving you can financially support yourself and have healthcare coverage. We only apply for a year's residency because Turkish citizenship will be approved before that.
5: Make the Turkish Citizenship Application
We collect the final documents to make the citizenship application. These are birth certificates for you, your spouse, and your dependents. You also need to submit translated and notarised copies of your marriage certificate. In addition, we show proof of residency and healthcare, include the certificate of eligibility and a power of attorney to act on your behalf. This should be your solicitor. We then make the final application, which goes to Ankara, the capital of Turkey, for review by numerous departments before approval. Once you receive Turkish citizenship, celebrate with style. See our complete detailed guide to the Turkish Citizenship by Investment program.
Living in Turkey
So, when you receive Turkish citizenship, you might decide you want to live in Turkey permanently. In which case, you must make some lifestyle adjustments and get used to a new way of living. The good news is it is easy to do, and within next to no time, you should feel right at home. However, there are a few things to navigate as a citizen, and we discuss them in our article about living in Turkey all year round.
We are Property Turkey, a real estate and investment specialist with offices in many different parts of Turkey, including Istanbul, Antalya, Fethiye and Bodrum. We hope we gave a good idea of the pros and cons of Turkish citizenship and the process to apply and receive it. However, call us if you have any more questions. Alternatively, we also took all our teams' combined knowledge and years of experience to form our blog about Turkey, which is helpful to anyone planning to apply for Turkish citizenship.
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