Surge of US interest in Turkey as Americans tire of pandemic conditions

2020 has been a year of evaluations. The pandemic and the conditions it's brought have prompted many to examine their lives from every angle: what is important? What do I want my life to look like? Where should I live?

For an increasing number of Americans, the answer is: somewhere new. With golden visa programmes available in an increasing number of countries, it's never been easier - or more appealing - for US citizens to make a move elsewhere.

British law firm Henley & Partners, who advise wealthy would-be expats on golden visa options, recently reported that enquiries by US citizens had leaped by 150%. 

Property Turkey director Cameron Deggin said the enquiries he's been fielding about Turkish property reflected that figure. 

"We've definitely had a lot more American interest than usual, particularly from people wanting to gain citizenship in Turkey," Deggin said. 

He believed the pandemic was a tipping point for many. "It's a catalyst. Maybe they were already thinking of making a change, but the rollercoaster conditions the world is experiencing has given them that extra push."

A second passport is increasingly becoming a golden ticket, Deggin said. "It's not called a golden visa for nothing. With the volatility we're seeing, Americans are seeing just how valuable it is to have a parachute option. It's like a form of insurance." 

Turkey's increasing popularity with US buyers is nothing new

Even before the pandemic, Turkey was already on American horizons. 

Last year saw an uptick in US interest in Turkish property, with Americans making the top 20 list for the first time ever. This was driven in part by a low lira making property purchase attractive, and partly by political fatigue in the US.

Californian Camila Hunter is one of a number of Americans hoping to make the move to Istanbul this year. 

"I've done a lot of thinking this year," Hunter said. "Considering what's really important, and what what you need in life."

Hunter is a financial consultant, and works long hours. She's also a mother of three. "Something had to change," she said. 

She hopes to work remotely, or network her way into Istanbul's own financial landscape. 

Turkey had a number of draws, she said.

"Fantastic healthcare, especially compared to famously dire US system: that was definitely a point in Turkey's favour. Also great schools, opportunities to travel in Europe and within Turkey, and a fascinating culture and history," Hunter said.

Turkish citizenship by investment

Like a number of countries, Turkey offers citizenship to any investors buying a property valued at $250,000 or more. Applicants don't need to live full-time in the country, but they must hold onto the property for at least three years.

The streamlined process means it's fast and easy, Deggin said. "We have walked a number of clients through this process and the bumps in the road are fewer than you'd expect." 

Read more: how to get Turkish citizenship by investment 

Deggin believes, however, that the offer won't be on the table indefinitely. With an election on the not-so-distant horizon, it's likely that the scheme will be shelved to appease voters.

"But while it's on offer, people are seeing it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a real change."


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