ACQUIRING TURKISH CITIZENSHIP THROUGH INVESTMENT
• What are the conditions for obtaining Turkish citizenship?
A fixed capital investment of at least 500,000 USD or its equivalent in foreign currency or its equivalent in Turkish Lira [this amount was at least 2,000,000 USD before the change]. This investment shall be determined by the Ministry of Industry and Technology.
Purchasing immovable property for at least 250.000 USD or equivalent in foreign currency or Turkish Lira and on the condition that an annotation of not being sold for three (3) years is put in the land registry records or depositing in advance at least 250.000 USD or its equivalent in foreign currency or Turkish Lira for the immovable with condominium or floor servitude and on condition that an annotation to the land registry with the commitment that the contract drawn up by the notary public that promises the sale of the immovable property will not be transferred or cancelled for a period of three (3) years. Such annotation shall be determined by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization.
Employing at least 50 people [at least 100 employees before the change], which is determined by the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services.
Depositing at least 500,000 US Dollars or equivalent foreign currency or Turkish Lira [this amount was at least 3,000,000 US Dollars before the change] in banks operating in Turkey with the condition of keeping them for three (3) years, which is determined by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency.
To purchase government debt instruments of at least 500,000 USD or equivalent foreign currencies or equivalent Turkish lira [at least 3,000,000 USD before the change] providing that they will be kept for three (3) years, which is determined by the Ministry of Treasury and Finance.
Purchase real estate investment fund participation shares or venture capital investment fund participation shares of at least 500,000 USD or equivalent foreign currency or equivalent Turkish lira [was at least 1,500,000 USD before the change], with the condition of holding it for at least three (3) years, which is determined by the Capital Markets Board.
The effective selling rate and/or cross-exchange rate of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey on the date of determination shall be taken as a basis in determining the monetary values specified above.
• What are the stages of acquiring Turkish citizenship through investment?
The acquisition of Turkish citizenship by investment consists of three (3) stages:
1. Fulfilling one of the investment conditions specified in Article 20 of the Regulation and stated above and obtaining a Certificate of Conformity from the relevant institution,
2. Obtaining a short-term residence permit in accordance with subparagraph (j) of the first paragraph of Article 31 of Law No. 6458,
3. Application for acquisition of Turkish citizenship by investment.
• What are the Legal Restrictions that Foreigners Must Follow When Purchasing Real Estate?
Pursuant to Article 35 of the Land Registry Law No. 2644 amended by Law No. 6302, which entered into force on May 18, 2012, the reciprocity requirement has been abolished for foreign real persons to acquire real estate in our country. In this sense, Turkey has provided the citizens of 183 countries with the opportunity to purchase real estate without seeking reciprocity.
In this context, citizens of those 183 countries can buy real estate and acquire limited real rights, on condition that they comply with the legal restrictions stated below:
Real persons of foreign nationality can acquire real estate and limited real rights (including mortgages) up to ten percent (10%) of the district area subject to private ownership. The Council of Ministers is authorized to double these limits if it deems necessary.
Throughout the country, a foreign natural person can purchase a maximum of thirty (30) hectares (30 hectares corresponds to approximately 300,000 m² or 3,223,000. – ft²) real estate and acquire limited real rights. The Council of Ministers is authorized to double these limits if it deems necessary.
The relevant real estate must not be located in military forbidden and security zones. This openness is provided by the land registry directorates.
• Are there any limitations on the quality of the real estate?
Foreign real persons can acquire all kinds of immovable properties (residence, workplace, land, and field) in our country by following the above-mentioned restrictions. However, the promise of sale contracts to be drawn up at the Notary Public is only possible for immovable with established condominium or floor servitude. Further, the real estate should not be registered in the land registry in the name of the company of which the buyer is a partner or manager and not in the name of the buyer himself (including the spouse and children of the foreign person who will acquire the immovable property).
• Are there any restrictions on the number of real estates?
There is no limitation on the number of immovable to be acquired through sale or subject to the promise of sale.
In case the foreign person purchases more than one immovable at the same time or at different times, the total value of these immovable must be at least 250.000 USD and each immovable must have an annotation of not being sold for at least three years.
• How to make the payments?
With the Circular dated 15.10.2018 it became mandatory to submit a receipt for the transactions. The transfer/payment of the sales or promise to sell contract made after the date of the circular must be made through the bank.
In this context, it is required to certify that the amount has been deposited by the buyer or the relevant persons to the account of the seller or the relevant persons, with a bank receipt (with money order, EFT or blocked check). For transfers to be made from abroad, the receipt of the account to which the fee is sent must also be submitted.
The receipt date may also be after the sale date in the sales transaction. However, in the promise of sale, the receipt date must be before the contract is issued at the notary or at the latest on the contract issuance day.
In addition, with the newly introduced regulations, it has become possible to purchase the immovable in instalments, provided that the immovable is purchased after 19.09.2018 and each instalment price is after this date.
• Annotation that the real estate will not be sold for 3 years
Such an annotation will be added in the register of the real estate in question ; “it has a commitment that it will not be sold for 3 years from the date of annotation and that the promise of sale contract will not be transferred or cancelled for 3 years from the annotation date, Within the scope of Article 20 of the Regulation on the Implementation of the Turkish Citizenship Law.”
• What are the required documents for the Certificate of Conformity for purchased real estate?
The following documents are required for obtaining a Certificate of Conformity for the purchased real estate:
- Four (4) colour passport-size photographs
- Valid passport and notarized Turkish translation of the passport
- Official promissory note or notarized real estate sales promise agreement regarding the sale transaction
- Real estate valuation report
- Bank-approved receipt (with money order, EFT or blocked check) that the amount is deposited to the account of the seller or related persons by the buyer or related persons.
- An annotation at the relevant land registry office stating that the immovable will not be sold for three years
Applications will be evaluated by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre, Department of Foreign Affairs. Applications without any deficiencies shall be finalized within seven working days.
• What is a short-term residence permit application in accordance with Article 31/1(j) of Law No. 6548?
The foreigner who will apply for Turkish citizenship by making an investment must first obtain a short-term residence permit in accordance with subparagraph (j) of the first paragraph of Article 31 of the Law No. 6458. Applications for the special residence permit type issued for the acquisition of Turkish citizenship through this investment are concluded within 1 to 10 days after the online application date. In case the foreigner issues a special power of attorney to make the relevant application, the applications can be concluded remotely with a power of attorney without requiring the foreigner to enter Turkey.
Residence permit cards are sent by mail to the address provided by the applicant during the online application within 4 weeks after the application process is completed.
• What are the Documents Required for Short-Term Residence Permit pursuant to Article 31/1(j) of Law No. 6458?
- Four (4) passport-size pictures
- Valid visa or exemption period that has not expired after the foreigner’s entry date on the application date
- Valid passport (valid for the duration of the residence permit applied for) and notarized Turkish translation
- Private health insurance [This health insurance must be obtained from Turkey and the duration of the policy should cover the residence permit period applied for.
- Address information [The residence address of the foreigner in Turkey is requested during the online application. A hotel address statement may be sufficient for the first application, but the foreigner can also submit a notarized rental agreement (if any) or declare a workplace address. Address information is important since the residence permit card will be delivered to the address that is notified by the foreigner.]
- Certificate of conformity according to the investment made
- Receipt of payment of tuition fee and card fee (Fees and card fees vary according to the nationality of the foreigner.)
- Special Power of Attorney (optional) – is issued to receive professional support within the scope of the execution of these transactions.
• How to apply for citizenship in the last stage?
The foreign investor, who has obtained a certificate of conformity from the relevant institution according to the investment made and has completed the short-term residence permit application in accordance with clause 31/1(j) of the Law No. 6458, can apply at the special offices of the Immigration Administration with the required documents.
In addition, foreigners who apply for Turkish citizenship through investment can apply on behalf of their family members (for their spouse and children under the age of 18). There is no requirement to apply for a residence permit or make an additional investment. Other family members can benefit from the citizenship application with additional documents (identity, passport documents, birth certificate, document showing marital status, picture, etc.).
• What are the documents required for citizenship application?
- Application Form (VAT-4)
- Valid passport and notarized Turkish translation
- Two (2) colour passport type photographs
- Apostille-approved or Turkish Consulate-approved identity register copy from the foreign investor’s country of citizenship and its notarized Turkish translation
- Apostille-approved or certified birth certificate from the country of citizenship of the foreign investor and its notarized Turkish translation
- An apostille-approved or Turkish Consulate-approved marital status document from the foreign investor’s country of citizenship, clearly showing that the foreigner is single, married, divorced or widowed, and its notarized Turkish translation. In addition to this document:
- If the foreign investor is married, an apostille-approved or Turkish Consulate-approved Marriage Certificate obtained from the foreigner’s country of citizenship, and a copy of the identity registration document stating the spouse and children, and its notarized Turkish translation
- If the foreign investor is divorced, the Divorce Certificate/Decision approved by the Turkish Consulate or apostille-approved from the foreigner’s country of citizenship and its notarized Turkish translation
- If the foreign investor is widowed, the death certificate of the spouse approved by the apostille or approved by the Turkish Consulate and its notarized Turkish translation obtained from the foreigner’s country of citizenship
- If the child under the age of 18 who is in the custody of the applicant is also required to acquire Turkish citizenship, a document approved by the apostille or approved by the Turkish Consulate, and a notarized Turkish translation of the other parent’s consent
- Receipt showing that the service fee has been paid to the Finance Desk
• Do people who apply for Turkish citizenship by investment have the right to get a new Turkish name and surname?
Persons who apply for Turkish citizenship by investment have the right to obtain a new Turkish name and surname. In this case, the foreigner’s Turkish identity and/or passport will be issued according to the preferred name and surname. This procedure is not obligatory, and foreign investors can obtain a newly issued Turkish ID and passport under their own names if they wish.
Foreigners and Citizenship law
Although the procedure seems not complicated, it is extremely important that the application is made completely and that the process is followed accurately.
Therefore, it is substantial to get support from an experienced lawyer during all these procedures. Making mistakes may cause the rejection of the application or can prolong the application process.
As Antalya Law Firm, we provide all kinds of legal and technical support regarding foreigners and citizenship law. We are ready to help you to achieve your goals with our experienced and English speaking lawyers.