Acquiring Turkish Citizenship by Investment

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Turkish citizenship can be acquired in several ways, including marriage, employment, or living for a certain period of time. Another option is to invest in the country. As a result, those who meet the conditions set forth in the law can easily obtain citizenship after filing the required documents.

Although the most popular option for citizenship is to purchase real estate worth at least 400,000 USD, there are several other opportunities introduced by the Turkish Citizenship Law No. 5901. In this regard, the applicable legislation provides the following investment options for foreigners to qualify for Turkish citizenship:

  • Fixed capital investment: Have invested a fixed asset investment of at least an amount of USD 500,000.00 or its equivalent in any other currency (excluding TRL); and determination of these investments by the Ministry of Industry and Technology.
  • Purchase of real estate: Have purchased real estate for at least US$400,000.00 [the respective value was increased from US$ 250,000.00 to US$ 400,000.00 as of June 13, 2022] or its equivalent in any other currency (excluding TRL), provided that an annotation limiting the sale of the purchased property for the next 3 (three) years is made in the title deed register. Accordingly, any foreign natural person applying for Turkish citizenship based on the purchase of real estate must undertake not to sell the relevant real estate for 3 (three) years from the date of acquisition.
  • Provide employment: Have generated employment for at least 50 (fifty) employees; and determination of such employment by the Department of Family, Labor and Social Services.
  • Cash deposit in Turkish banks: Have cash deposited at least an amount of USD 500,000.00 or its equivalent in any other currency (excluding TRL) with banks validly incorporated and operating in Turkey, provided that the deposit is kept with the relevant bank for 3 (three) subsequent years; and the determination of this deposit by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency.
  • Purchase of public debt instruments: Have purchased public debt instruments worth USD 500,000.00 or its equivalent in any other currency (excluding TRL), provided that the instruments are kept in reserve for the following 3 (three) years; and determination of this purchase by the Ministry of Treasury and Finance.
  • Purchase of a stake in a real estate investment fund or a stake in a venture capital investment fund: Have purchased equity shares of a real estate investment fund or a venture capital fund established in Turkey in exchange for at least 500,000.00 USD or its equivalent in any other currency (excluding TRL), at provided that these participation shares are kept in the relevant fund for the following periods 3 (three) years; and determination of such purchase by the Capital Markets Board.

It is important to emphasize that Turkish citizenship acquired through one of the above investment categories grants the applicant the same status as Turkish citizens who acquired citizenship by birth. That is, those who obtain Turkish citizenship by investment will have the same citizenship rights enjoyed by other citizens.

Foreign currency requirement

As stated above, the applicant must invest in a foreign currency other than Turkish Lira. Previously, the respective thresholds were also accepted in Turkish liras. However, according to recent changes in the legislation, the investment must be made only in a foreign currency and the applicant is required to exchange the foreign currency invested through a bank operating in Turkey. Additionally, the relevant bank is required to exchange the foreign currency through the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey. The investment amount will be kept at the Central Bank through a Turkish deposit account or Turkish debt securities for a period of 3 (three) years as mentioned above.

Who is eligible to acquire Turkish citizenship?

Besides the foreign applicant, his/her spouse and minor/dependent children can also obtain Turkish citizenship, without requirement of separate investments by family members. In other words, citizenship can also be granted to dependent family members of the applicant, without each of these members being required to meet the respective investment requirements.

Application and deadline

The process of acquiring Turkish citizenship through one of the above investment categories consists of three stages. These steps are as follows:

(1) Fulfill one of the investment requirements set out above; and obtain receipt of a certificate of compliance from the competent authority;

(2) Obtaining a short-term residence permit [It is worth noting that foreign individuals meeting the investment thresholds requirements are not required to reside permanently in Turkey for a certain period of time. Contrary to the acquisition of Turkish citizenship based on permanent residency as per Turkish Citizenship Law, the mandatory period of permanent residence (i.e., 5 (five) years) does not constitute a criterion in the acquisition of Turkish citizenship by investment.]; and

(3) Apply for Turkish citizenship from the competent authority.

It should also be noted that the authorities may request several other documents from the applicant depending on the investment option. In this regard, in order to benefit from the ‘purchase of real estateAlternatively, a valuation report attesting to the value of the property purchased must be obtained from a property valuation institution licensed by the Capital Markets Board. Following the expert report, the certificate of aptitude must be obtained from the General Directorate of Cadastre and Cadastre of the Ministry of the Environment, Town Planning and Climate Change. Only those who have obtained a certificate of proficiency will be eligible to apply for Turkish citizenship.

Once an application is deemed acceptable by the competent authority, the respective applicant will be able to acquire Turkish citizenship upon the decision of the President of the Republic of Turkey. Acquiring Turkish citizenship by investment would take 3 (three) to 12 (twelve) months in total.

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