Since 2017, Turkey’s citizenship by investment program has helped thousands of investors gain a Turkish passport. It’s also provided a significant boost to the Turkish economy.
In 2018, the government reduced the investment threshold to US$250,000, sparking a flurry of interest and investment, particularly from Middle Eastern investors looking to invest outside their own countries in a destination with similar cultural values.
How to acquire Turkish citizenship by investment
There are a few ways foreigners can achieve a Turkish passport:
- By making a fixed investment of $500,000 in a Turkish business.
- Buying a real estate property valued at a minimum of $250,000, and holding it for at least three years.
- Generating employment for at least 50 people in Turkey.
- A deposit of at least $500,000 to a Turkish bank, to be held for at least three years.
- Purchasing state debt instruments valued at a minimum of $500,000, and kept in reserve for at least three years.
- Buying real estate participation fund share and capital investment trusts fund share with a minimum value of $500,000 and keeping in reserve for at least three years.
What is the process to gain Turkish citizenship by investment?
- First, you’ll need to fulfill one of the investment conditions, as mentioned above.
- Obtain a short-term residence permit;
- Apply for Turkish citizenship.
Different ways to obtain Turkish citizenship by investment
For a fixed capital investment:
This investment includes assets to produce goods and services. For example: land, machinery and equipment.
If a foreign investor acquires all shares or becomes a shareholder in a private company, the amount of the share must b e at least $500,000. The applicant might be required to submit a valuation report to determine the market value of the shares.
The investment must have been made after January 12 2017 for eligibility, and shares may not be transferred to a person or entity for at least three years.
Documents required for Certificate of Conformity
- Investment Information Form [containing information about the company and details of the investment]
- Copy of passport and notarised Turkish translation
- Copy of residence permit (if held)
- Accountant’s report showing the fixed capital investment of a minimum $500,000 or equivalent currency;
- If the investment is made through a legal entity, trade registry gazettes of this company outlining the shareholder structure and the capital amount.
Gaining Turkish citizenship by off plan property investment
Recently, it’s become possible to apply for Turkish citizenship by buying off plan property. The conditions are:
- A minimum $250,000 investment;
- A preliminary sale contract witnessed by a notary public;
- The title cannot be transferred for a minimum of three years.
Restrictions for Turkish citizenship by property investment
In the past, Turkey has had a reciprocity property purchase agreement with certain countries. However, this was abolished, and citizens of 183 states can buy property in Turkey.
However, there are certain conditions buyers need to adhere to, which includes a restriction on surface area: foreigners can’t buy up more than 10% of an administrative district; it can’t exceed 30 hectares, and it cannot be in a military forbidden or security zone.
What type of property can foreigners buy to gain Turkish citizenship by investment?
Foreigners can buy any type of property including a residential home, commercial property, or land. However, if land is purchased, the buyer must submit the project they are planning to construct within two years.
There is no limitation on the number of properties a foreigner can buy. If a foreigner buys more than one property at the same time and the sum is $250,000 or more, they are eligible for Turkish citizenship. The same condition applies: each real estate cannot be sold or transferred for at least three years.
Assessing the value of a property
To determine the value of a property, assessors take the following into account:
- The sum of the sale price indicated in the title deed and/or sale contract;
- The value listed in the real estate appraisal report
- The sum of the transferred payment in bank receipt.
Making bank payments
Submitting a bank receipt is a compulsory part of the purchase transaction. The transfer or payment of the sale or preliminary sale contract shall be made through the bank, and bank-approved receipts showing the amount has been deposited into the purchaser’s account must be submitted.
If the sale value is paid in lira, the sale amount must be converted into USD on the last business day before the date of each payment transaction. This must be done for the sale contract as well as the real estate appraisal report.
Obtaining a certificate of conformity
The required documents are:
- A Valid passport,with a notarised Turkish translation;
- Four colour passport photos
- Title deed or notarised sale contract
- Real estate appraisal
- Bank approved receipt confirming transfer of funds into vendor account
- Annotation of no-sale for three years.
Applications are considered by the Environment and Urban Planning General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastral Directorate of Foreign Affairs Department. Applications that meet all conditions will be processed within seven working days.
Gaining Turkish citizenship by generating employment
The documents you’ll need to provide to the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services for this citizenship route are:
- Notarised signature circular/signature declaration of the applicant
- Employment Information Form
- Valid passport and a notarised Turkish translation
- Four colour passport photos
- Trade registry gazette records and current trade registry certificate showing the partnership and capital shares of company employing at least 50 Turkish citizens.
- Current dated Employee List from the Social Security Institution system showing the list of insured employees in the workplace/workplaces.
- A document from the Revenue Administration showing the tax liability status of the workplace.
- A document from the Social Security Institution system showing the status of social security premium debt of the workplace/establishments.
- A written statement declaring whether the Company has been fined in the last six months in the administrative audits.
Applications fulfilling all conditions will be concluded within seven working days. Applicants are given 30 working days to provide any additional or missing information.
Conditions for gaining Turkish citizenship by depositing money into a Turkish bank
Foreigners must deposit at least $500,000 or equivalent in foreign currency into a Turkish bank for at least three years. The amount does not need to be confined to a single bank.
Banks must operate in Turkey, not (for example) a Turkish bank with a branch office in another country abroad. Joint account owners are welcome to apply for citizenship together, with the proviso that both agree to keep the deposit in a bank for at least three years. It’s possible to change the currency or type of investment in the three-year period. However, the process must be instantaneous, with no interruption for the three-year period.
During the three-year period, a foreigner may benefit from any interest or returns from the deposited amount. The deposit will be blocked for three years. However, the amount can be withdrawn at any time. In this case, the bank will inform the relevant departments and the citizenship process will be cancelled.
How to get Turkish citizenship by buying government debt instruments
There are nine types of debt securities: (i) Government Debt Securities, (ii) Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey Liquidity Bills, (iii) Revenue Sharing Certificates, (iv) Revenue Indexed Bonds, (v) Private Sector Bonds, (vi) Commercial Papers, (vii) Bank Bills, (viii) Asset-backed Securities and (ix) Asset-based Securities.
An investor is required to have a minimum of $500,000 worth of shares for three years.
Turkish citizenship by investing in real estate or venture capital investment funds
The minimum requirement is a $500,000 investment in these types of funds. To be eligible for citizenship, the investor must hold the shares for three years and cannot be reduced in value by sales or transfers. However, if the value dips below $500,000 due to changes in the exchange rate or matters beyond their control, the shareholder isn’t deemed liable and the citizenship process is not affected.
- A Valid passport,with a notarised Turkish translation;
- A copy of a valid residence permit, if held;
- Written application with investment information.
Obtaining a short-term Turkish residence permit
Any foreigner who applies for Turkish citizenship by investment needs to obtain a temporary residence permit. Usually, this is obtained by entering Turkey on a valid visa, then applying for a short-term residence permit.
The application process for this permit is quite long - up to five months. However, when it’s tied to a citizenship by investment process it can be finalised within 10 days of applying online, in a special office of the Immigration Directorate in Istanbul and Ankara.
Foreigners can issue a power of attorney so they have a proxy to complete the short-term residence permit application on their behalf.
Residence permits can be for a term of five years, but generally are issued for one year. The length is dependent on the validity term of a passport, and the health insurance policy term.
Documents required for short-term residence permit in Turkey
- Valid visa
- Valid passport (with enough time left for residence term)
- Four passport photos
- Private health insurance covering the duration of the residence permit
- A Turkish address
- Conformity certificate relevance to investment type
- Bank receipt
- (Optional) Power of Attorney to authorise someone to handle financial and bureaucratic procedures in your absence.
Procedures and Principles for Turkish Citizenship Application
Foreign investors can apply for citizenship at the special office of the Immigration Office in Istanbul and Ankara. If you have a family in tow (spouse and children under 18), it’s possible to add them to your application, with some additional documentation (passports, birth and marriage certificates etc).
Documents you’ll need
- Application form (VAT-4)
- Current passport and notarised Turkish translation
- Two colour passport photos
- The Identity Registry of foreign investor, from your home country, with apostille verification or verification of Turkish Consulate and notarised Turkish translation
- Birth certificate, as well as apostille verification or verification of Turkish Consulate and notarised Turkish translation.
- Marital status certificate from your home country, with apostille verification, or verification of Turkish Consulate and notarised Turkish translation.
- Marriage Certificate and Identity Registry Copy of the spouse and children, from your home country, with apostille verification, or verification of Turkish Consulate and notarised Turkish translation.
- If investor is divorced, divorce certificate obtained from your home country, with apostille verification, or verification of Turkish Consulate and notarised Turkish translation.
- If investor is widowed, a death certificate from your home country, with apostille verification, or verification of Turkish Consulate and notarised Turkish translation.
- If you’re including children in your application, the consent of your spouse is required from the relevant authority from your home country, with apostille verification, or verification of Turkish Consulate and notarised Turkish translation.
- Receipt confirming service fee has been deposited into the office of Ministry of Treasury and Finance.
Applicants have the right to pick a Turkish name/surname. If you wish to do this your Turkish ID/passport will be issued with this name.
Finalisation of Turkish Citizenship Application
Each application is assessed by relevant ministries and submitted for approval to the President. Applications can be handled remotely via power of attorney. However, the final stage of the application requires the applicant and their immediate family to provide fingerprint samples for their Turkish ID and/or passport.
As a guideline, applications for short-term residency permits are completed within three weeks, and citizenship applications take between three and six months.
It’s important to tick all boxes: mistakes in your application might result in delays or rejections.
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