TURKISH CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT: 2023 GUIDE
What is a Citizenship by Investment Program?
Before diving into the details of the Turkish Citizenship by Investment Program, lets focus on immigrant investor programs in general.
A citizenship by investment program is where you are able to choose your nationality, by fulfilling the requirements of the government. These requirements are mostly paperwork and an investment threshold.
In other words, it is a naturalization opportunity given by states or countries to wealthy foreign investors.
There are numerous examples of such investment programs in different countries. All countries’ citizenships comes with their passports and these passports have different benefits. Some investors collect and combine different passports to extend their visa-free travel zones. Yet, that is not the only reason to invest in a passport.
Investing in passports can provide you the privilege of having hundreds of embassies and consulates worldwide at your service. Certainly, this opportunity will set you free.
Citizenship by Investment programs can either be in return of an investment or a donation. For instance, Turkish Citizenship by Investment Program is a real investment, not a donation.
Turkish Citizenship by Investment Program
Minimum investment limits for the Turkish Citizenship Program decreased, as of 19 September 2018.
Since the announcement of new investment limits, Turkish Citizenship by Investment program has become one of the most popular immigrant investor programs in the world.
Foreigner investors are now able to acquire Turkish citizenship by investing only $400,000. Whereas this minimum limit used to be $1,000,000.
In fact, before 2018, investment limits were starting from $1,000,000 to $3,000,000. Now, foreign investors can get Turkish passports for $400,000.
Of course, investment is not the only way to obtain Turkish passport. However, it is sure to be the fastest option. Whole procedure takes around 3 to 6 months after the investment is completed. Yet, timeline may differ, depending on the application file and investor’s background. Number of family members and variety of nationalities are also some other factors that affect the procedure.
Therefore, working with an experienced and professional team makes all the difference.
Investment Options and Minimum Limits of the Turkish Citizenship by Investment Program
Invest $400,000 in real estate or real estate development projects.
Keep the property for 3 years.
Earn rent from your property in Turkey.
Deposit $500,000 into a Turkish Bank account.
Keep your money for 3 years.
Earn interest from your bank in Turkey.
Fixed Capital Investment
Establish a business or invest in a company at least in the amount of $500,000.
Hire 50 Turkish Citizens.
Keep working with your employees for at least 6 months.
Invest in Government Bonds
Buy $500,000 worth of government bonds.
Keep the bonds for 3 years.
Buy $500,000 worth of real estate investment trust share or venture capital investment trust share.
Keep the shares for 3 years.
What is the best Turkish Citizenship by Investment option for you?
Investing in a property is the most popular option of Turkish Citizenship by Investment Program. This is probably because it is the cheapest option with the minimum limit of $400,000. Furthermore, there is no restriction on the type of property to purchase. You can buy a house, an apartment, a land or even a hotel. As long as it worth at least $400,000 you can apply for a Turkish passport via investment.
For sceptic investors or for ones that do not want to invest in a property, choosing the bank deposit option is a good deal. Considering the fact that you can generate interest from the bank, just like you can generate rent income from the property; no wonder the bank deposit option is second on the list. Moreover, you can withdraw your funds after 3 years, along with the interest, without any deductions.
On the other hand, due to the latest amendments, you have to keep your money in Turkish Lira for 3 years.
Other Investment Options
Remaining investment options are not as popular as these two. In fact, there are very little or no applications via some of the other options. Certainly, as an international investor who considers investing $500,000 in a foreign country, you wouldn’t like to complicate things with government bonds or shares. However, if you always wanted to start a business abroad, this might be a cherry-on-top-opportunity for you. Likewise, if you already have an existing business in Turkey with 50 employees, you can easily apply for citizenship with no further hustle.
In short, opportunities always have different values from different perspectives. Therefore, keep in mind that we are always here to present individual solutions for you and your family, considering your needs.
Steps of the Turkish Citizenship by Investment Program
We divide general procedure into 3 main steps. First one is completing the investment. Second, getting the residency permit and final step is applying for citizenship.
After completing the preferred investment option, the procedure goes same with all investment options as follows.
The program starts after client chooses the preferred investment method and completes the funds to invest.
As the investment is completed, we apply for a conformity certificate from the related Ministry for our clients (i.e. for property purchase, related authority is Land Registry Directorate). Conformity Certificate shows the investment is adequate for citizenship application. In other words, it is the proof that allows the investor to move to the next steps.
Following the acquisition of conformity certificate, next step is to apply for a residence permit. Getting a residence permit is only mandatory for the main investor. In other words, you do not have to waste your time and money on getting residence permit for your family. They will all get Turkish citizenship in the end, why bother with more paperwork?
After submitting required documents, Migration Authority issues a special type of residency permit, approximately in 1-2 days.
When the residence permit is issued, we collect the last documents and prepare the final folder for citizenship. Directorate of Civil Registration and Nationality checks the file and sends it to General Directorate in Ankara. Then, related offices run investigation on the file.
Final decision of Turkish Citizenship by Investment program belongs to the presidency. Following the decision of Presidency, investor becomes a Turkish citizen. This process usually takes 3-6 months.
Who can apply for Turkish Citizenship by Investment Program?
Any foreign investor who is older than 18 years old can apply for the Turkish Citizenship by Investment Program. On the other hand, of course there are some restrictions. For instance, conditions that cause loss of citizenship also prevents the applicant to acquire Turkish Citizenship.
If the applicant is involved in sabotage, riot, espionage, treason, arms, drugs or human trafficking, forgery or some other crimes; he/she can’t acquire Turkish citizenship. Likewise, crimes against the constitutional presence of Turkey and terrorist actions against Turkish government are also among forbidden crimes. Moreover, applicants who have criminal records that caused jail time exceeding 6 months, can’t apply for Turkish Citizenship by Investment program.
As a final note, citizens of North Korea, Cuba, Armenia, Syria and Republic of Cyprus can not own real estate in Turkey. This does not means that citizens of these countries can not apply for Turkish citizenship. It just means that they would have to choose another investment option.
Advantages of Getting a Turkish Passport
Easy to open a bank account
As a foreign investor, you can easily open a bank account in Turkey without going through an investigation. Moreover, you can directly open the account with your passport, without providing tons of documents. For instance, documents to prove occupation, monthly income, education level, criminal eligibility are not required. Likewise, there is no residency condition in Turkey to open a bank account. Also you can easily bring your funds to Turkey.
Possible to get a new name & surname
During the last step of the Turkish Citizenship by Investment application, you can choose a new name and surname. This new name must be written in Latin alphabet and must be in Turkish. However, you can also keep your current name as long as it is written in Latin alphabet.
This is a no strings attached citizenship option. You do not have to live in Turkey or become a tax resident. Above all, you do not have to declare your wealth, overseas assets or income. Certainly, you will not have to pay income tax for your earnings outside of Turkey. Moreover, you do not have to learn Turkish or take a citizenship exam if you are applying via Turkish citizenship by Investment program.
Multiple citizenships, multiple advantages
Turkey accepts multiple citizenships. Therefore, when you get your Turkish passport, you don’t have to renounce your original citizenship. But, keep in mind that some countries do not allow multiple citizenships. In such case you might have problem with your origin country, nonetheless you won’t have issues with Turkish government.
Not a donation, it is a real investment
You can withdraw all your money after 3 years if you choose the bank deposit option. Likewise, you can sell your property after 3 years. Most importantly, you can gain interest from the bank or collect rent for your property during 3 years.
One investment for all family and future generations
Turkish citizenship by investment program allows you to invest once for whole family. In other words, your spouse and children under 18 years old can also get Turkish passports, without any extra work. Furthermore, Turkish citizenship is hereditary. Which means that, your grandchildren and even their children can get Turkish passports with your investment.
Easy access to E1 and E2 visas of USA
Turkish citizens allowed to apply for USA’s E1 (trader) and E2 (investor) visas. Therefore, Turkish passport can be your key to become a resident of USA along with your spouse and children. You can even extend the scope of your E1 and E2 visas to some employees of yours.
Less expensive, more qualified health care
Public and private healthcare in Turkey are available to foreigners. That is why Turkey is one of the top countries when it comes to health tourism. From hair implant to dental examination, Turkey is the address of affordable and qualified healthcare services.
Visa free travel to 110+ countries
Turkish passport holders can visit 68 countries totally visa-free and benefit from visa on arrival at 38 countries. Most noteworthy, Turkey has 140 embassies, 81 consulates, 12 permanent missions worldwide. Which makes Turkish passport 6th strongest in the world, higher than Germany, Canada, Grenada and many more.
Why invest in Turkey?
Turkey has a strategic location between Europe and Asia. Moreover, Turkish Airlines connects 323 destinations in 127 countries. Both expats and investors prefer Turkey due to Turkey’s central location. More importantly, Turkey has 229 diplomatic missions in 166 countries. Which provides safety and protection in case of an unpleasant situation.
Aside from its location, Turkey is a party to customs union with EU. Which allows direct access to EU market that consists +900 million consumers. Consequently, Turkey has become the 11th largest economy by GDP in the world as of 2020. In other words, it’s one of the highest GDP rates/capita among other countries that offer citizenship by investment programs.
Turkey, with half of its population under the age of 33, has the largest youth population and 3rd largest labor force in Europe. With many competent senior managers and qualified engineers, Turkey has a dynamic labor force that’s in favor of investors.
Turkey has equal treatment for international and local investors and many bilateral investment protection and double taxation agreements that you can benefit.
It offers tax deduction and exemption in many sectors as well as payroll and training supports for employers. Corporate tax reduction, social security premium support, VAT refund, interest rate and capital contribution supports are also among incentives.
In addition to business-wise opportunities, its culture, gorgeous sceneries, delicious cuisine and hospitable people attracts tourist worldwide. A privileged passport that connects Western Europe with Middle East is now available to your family, only with a single investment.
What to be aware of during the Turkish Citizenship by Investment Program?
Since purchasing a property is the most popular option, we will mainly focus on the common scams of the real estate market.
Title deed (tapu), sales agreement and unfinished projects
You should know that signing a sales agreement at seller’s office means nothing. In Turkey, official title deed transfer process is handled at the land registries and solely by the government officials. That is to say, you do not own the property by signing a piece of paper. You have to go to the land registry and complete the process there, or hire a professional team to handle it for you.
With that being said, if you are purchasing an unfinished property, you can apply for citizenship with “preliminary agreement to sales”. This agreement is only valid if issued by a notary and signed at the notary. Nonetheless, this document doesn’t gives you the ownership, but the right to push the seller to complete construction and deliver the title deed.
No, you can’t pay the property price with Bitcoin. Likewise, you can’t apply for citizenship only after paying the first installment of the property price.
Buyer has to provide a receipt from the bank that shows the transaction of the property price. Because, land registry wants to see the proof of transaction. In other words, Turkish government wants to be sure that the investment amount has really been paid and successfully received. Since you can’t prove that the full purchase price is paid in case of a bitcoin transfer, you can’t apply for citizenship this way. Similarly, since seller will not transfer the title deed without getting the full price, you can neither own a property after the payment of first installment nor apply for citizenship.
In case of a property sale to a foreigner, getting an evaluation report is mandatory. While this rule was formed to protect the investors, some agencies and real estate developers found a way to “encourage” valuation companies. Thankfully, government noticed this and changed the structure of the evaluation reports. To clarify, developers and some agents -mostly foreign agents- used to have close evaluation company friends that they kept getting overpriced evaluation reports. However, with the last changes it is no longer possible for anyone to choose the valuation company. It is now appointed by land registry’s automated system.
Aside from all, as long as you choose your representatives cleverly, you do not have to worry about scenarios like this. Hence, please keep in mind that we are always happy to hear from you.
Options other than Turkish Citizenship by Investment Program to get Turkish Passport
Of course, children of Turkish citizens can automatically get Turkish citizenship, regardless of their birthplace. As a result, future generations can also get Turkish passports after you become a fellow citizen.
In addition, if a child born in Turkey without a nationality, such child can get Turkish citizenship.
Other than citizenship by birth, there are some situations conditioned upon residency in Turkey.
A foreigner can apply for citizenship if he/she has been living in Turkey continuously for 5 years with residence permit. Such applicant also has to speak Turkish and provide proof of sufficient income in Turkey. In the end of 5 years, applicant have to pass an interview and prove serious intention to live in Turkey. That is to say, foreigner can’t leave Turkey for more than 12 months within 5 years.
Aside from these, there are some exceptional situations. For instance, in case a Ministry presents an offer with valid reason regarding the citizenship acquisition of a foreigner. Such offer must be about a foreigner who has provided or is expected to provide extraordinary services in Turkey. Of course, final decision of citizenship acquisition belongs to the Presidency.
Another option is re-acquisition of citizenship for limited loss of citizenship situations. Whereas, this option also requires 3 years of residency.
Finally, there is citizenship by marriage option. Couple must be living within the marriage union for 3 years and applicant has to pass the interview afterwards.
As you see, Turkish Citizenship by Investment is the fast-track to Turkish Passport.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
We have gathered the answers to frequently asked questions by our clients. This way, you can extend your perspective by going through previous investors’ questions. Have the insight of a recent Turkish citizen by reading below.
How long does it takes? Do I have to wait 3 years to get my passport?
Whole process takes between 3 – 6 months. Timeline depends on applicant’s choice of investment, cooperation in collecting the required documents and pace in completing the investment.
Can I pay in installments for the property?
Seller and the buyer decides on the payment structure in case of a sale. However, to apply for Turkish Citizenship by Investment, you must complete the minimum investment limit. That is to say, you can only apply for Turkish citizenship when you complete the payment of all $250,000. In addition, a seller would not likely to transfer the official title deed to a buyer unless the payment is complete.
If my company makes the investment, can I still apply for citizenship?
It is strictly regulated by the law that the investor must be the applicant in person. In other words, it is not possible for the applicant to invest (i.e. purchase the property) under the name of neither a company nor any legal person or entity. The rule is same even if there is a Turkish company.
Is there an announcement or a notification to the origin country regarding the citizenship acquisition?
According to Turkish Constitution, there are two types of official documents which President can compose. These are “Presidential Decree” and “Presidential Decision”.
Presidential Decree, regulates general and important matters. However, Presidential Decision is about regulating small matters and subjects.
By law, a presidential decree must always be published on the Official Gazette no matter it’s content. While publishing a presidential decision with low importance is decided by the President of Turkey.
Namely, decision of accepting into Turkish citizenship is a presidential decision and therefore highly unlikely to be published.
Can I pay the property price from someone else’s account?
No, it is not possible for your relatives/friends to pay the purchase price, when the property will be registered in your name.
It is mandatory for the investor to provide a signed and stamped bank receipt that shows the full purchase price. Which means that the property price must be sent from an account that belongs to the investor in person.
However, if you have a Turkish bank account, you are free to fund that account from any account under anyone’s name. In other words, as long as you provide a receipt of the latest transaction to the seller, it does not matter who puts the money to your account.
Do I have to open a bank account in Turkey or can I send property purchase price directly from my overseas bank account?
Transferring funds directly from an overseas bank account to seller’s account used to be possible. However, there were technical problems that caused delays and affected the purchase. On the other hand, with the latest updates, investors have to open a bank account in Turkey before the purchase.
On the bright side, opening a bank account in Turkey is not hard at all. Moreover, this way investor can deposit the total purchase amount in the bank beforehand. Thus, a flawless transaction occurs on the title deed transfer date.
Is it possible to open a Turkish bank account by proxy?
Opening a bank account in Turkey via proxy or appointing an attorney is possible. The operation requires a special Power of Attorney (“PoA”) or a special wording in the PoA.
You need a tax ID to open a bank account in any Turkish bank as a foreign individual (whether via proxy or not). Provincial tax office issues this tax ID.
Please note that obtaining a Potential Tax ID Number does not require any declaration of tax responsibility. It is only required for the taxation of your further actions in Turkey such as obtaining a real estate, banking transactions etc.
Is there a military service obligation for those who recently acquired Turkish Citizenship?
Turkish citizenship by investment applicants and their dependents can avoid military service obligation. Under certain circumstances, it is possible for foreigners to be exempt from mandatory military service obligation.
There is a military service obligation in Turkey that is only applicable to males. According to the Military Law, “Those who acquired Turkish citizenship shall do their military service, as if the local recruits of their age group, according to their educational status and age on the date of the acquisition.”.
However, there are exceptions in below described situations;
- if you can prove that you have (or deemed to have) already completed military service in former (origin) country.
- if you are older than 22 years old on the year you acquire citizenship.
In any way, we advise our clients to contact a professional to get an individual solution for their families.
Am I obliged to inform Turkish Government about my earnings, assets, accounts or business abroad, even though I live out of Turkey?
Turkey doesn’t ask citizens to declare their overseas assets. Similarly, Turkish citizens do not have to report their overseas earnings.
Only certain public servants and government officials are required to declare their owned assets regularly. However, citizens do not need to do that. There is no obligation to declare international income, assets or businesses for residents in Turkey.
Should I visit Turkey to buy property or to apply for Turkish Citizenship by Investment Program?
We are pleased to inform you that we have reputable real estate consultancy firms as our solution partners nationwide. With their assistance, it is faster to find a real estate that meets your needs without exceeding the anticipated budget.
Attorneys with a special Power of Attorney (“PoA”) can handle all process of Turkish citizenship by investment program. On the other hand, if you want a bank account in Turkey, please keep in mind that you can not get online/mobile banking service without visiting the bank in person. Of course this is a precaution to protect you and the bank.
If I lose my citizenship, will my family lose it too?
Decision of deprivation of citizenship is normally individual; it shall not affect the spouse and children.
On the other hand, the decision of annulment shall be applied to spouse and children who acquired Turkish citizenship for having links with the concerned person.
Are there any situations that may cause loss of citizenship?
Some conditions may cause loss of citizenship according to Turkish Citizenship Law.
For instance, if the applicant hides the key issues, lies about the required information or forges a document. Furthermore, Turkish citizenship may be deprived by a decision of the President, in below situations.
- Rendering services for a foreign state which are incompatible with the interests of Turkey.
- Foreigner continues rendering services without the permission of Presidency, for a state that is at war with Turkey.
- If a person is voluntarily rendering military service for a foreign state without the permission of Presidency.
- In case there’s investigation or prosecution indicted against applicant due to listed crimes. And such person is unreachable for three months since he/she is abroad.
What happens to my property if I die?
Turkey has a favorable inheritance law. Thus, your family can easily inherit your properties and assets in Turkey in case of passing away.
Are there any restrictions for certain nationalities?
Neither being from certain nationalities, nor holding multiple citizenships is linked to a restriction with regard to acquisition of Turkish Citizenship. However, citizens of North Korea, Cuba, Armenia, Syria and Republic of Cyprus can not purchase property in Turkey.
Also, please be aware that there are some countries that doesn’t allow its citizens to hold multiple citizenships, however Turkey is not one of them.
Will I lose my previous citizenship after Turkish Citizenship by Investment Program?
Turkey allows multiple citizenships. In other words, you do not have to renounce your other citizenships to become a Turkish citizen.
Is it guaranteed that I get Turkish Citizenship?
According to the first paragraph of the article 20 of the Regulation on the Implementation of the Law on Turkish Citizenship; “the investors may get the Turkish citizenship”. Hence, it is neither a promise nor a guarantee. Even if the investment is successful and the document bundle is perfect, final decision is Presidency’s.
We are always happy to hear from you!