Article 12 of the Turkish Citizenship Law regulates the requirements concerning foreign natural persons who are entitled to acquire Turkish Citizenship under exceptional circumstances. As per an amendment of 28.07.2006 to the said article, “… those who have obtained a residence permit in accordance with the subparagraph (j) of the first paragraph of article 31 of the Law No. 6458 on Foreigners and International Protection (those who do not work in Turkey, but will make investments in such scope and amount as designated by the President and, their foreign spouses, as well as the minor or dependent foreign children of them or their spouses)…” may acquire Turkish Citizenship under exceptional circumstances. And the second paragraph of article 20 of the Regulation on Enforcement of the Turkish Citizenship Law regulates the scope and amount of investments required to be made in Turkey in order to acquire Turkish citizenship under exceptional circumstances.
Accordingly, foreign persons who have fulfilled any of the following conditions may acquire Turkish Citizenship upon the President’s decision.
a) Persons determined by the “Ministry of Industry and Technology” to have made a fixed capital investment of at least USD 500.000 or equivalent thereof in foreign currency or Turkish Lira,
b) Determined by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization to have purchased the real estate for at least USD 400,000 or equivalent thereof in foreign currency Turkish Lira with a condition of three year retention or to have annotated the contract issued at the notary regarding that the sale of real estate whose price in the amount of at least USD 400,000 or equivalent thereof in foreign currency or Turkish Lira was paid in cash is promised with the undertaking of that its transfer and abandonment will not be made for three years,
c) Determined by the” Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services” to have created employment for at least 50 persons
ç) Determined by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency to have invested deposit of at least USD 500,000 or equivalent thereof in foreign currency or Turkish Lira to the banks operating in Turkey with a condition of three-year retention,
d) Determined by “the Ministry of Treasury and Finance” to have purchased Public debt instruments for at least USD 500,000 or equivalent thereof in foreign currency or Turkish Lira with a condition of three-year retention,
e) Determined by the Capital Markets Board to have purchased real estate investment trust share or venture capital investment share for at least at least USD 500,000 or equivalent thereof in foreign currency or Turkish Lira with a condition of three-year retention.
Foreign persons can make the necessary procedures to become a Turkish citizen either in person or through a Turkish lawyer according to Turkish law. It is against the law to perform such works by giving power of attorney or representation to real estate agents or other professions other than lawyers.
It takes about 4-12 months to complete the citizenship procedures if the person who wants to become a Turkish citizen has all the documents or if he or she does not have a situation posing an obstacle in respect of national security and public order, he or she may be a Turkish citizen. In case of complete preparation of documents and due diligence in the follow-up of work in public institutions, Turkish citizenship procedures are completed in a period of 4 months to 8 months.
In practice, mostly foreign persons prefer to purchase real estate in the amount of USD 400,000 as an investment type in order to apply for Turkish citizenship. While trading in Turkish lira, in determining the payment to be made in Turkish lira being equivalent to USD 400,000 is based on the effective selling rate and/or cross exchange rate of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey at the date of transfer of the deed from seller to buyer foreign person. As a result of the legal change, it was decided to base the exchange rate on the day before the transfer date of the title deed and to calculate the TL/USD price accordingly.
In the case that selling procedure is made under a mortgage determined by the buyer during the selling procedure or with a mortgage on the real estate title deed to obtain Turkish citizenship; the residue after the credit amount is deducted from the selling price should be at least USD 4000,000 or equivalent thereof in foreign currency or Turkish Lira indicated in the Regulation on the Practice of the Turkish Citizenship Law.
For example, in case USD 300,000 worth of the real estate becomes subjected to the mortgage, for the residue amount after the mortgage amount is deducted to be at least USD 4000,000 or equivalent thereof in foreign currency or Turkish Lira, the established mortgage value should be at most USD 50,000 or equivalent thereof in foreign currency or Turkish Lira. In the case of legal mortgage sales, the amount paid in advance, except for the mortgage price, must be at least the amount specified in the relevant regulation.
There are no restrictions for the type of real estate being housing, work place, vineyard, garden, and land to be purchased for the purpose of acquiring Turkish citizenship. However, during the acquisition of an agricultural land, a commitment is required to obtain preliminary permits within the scope of agricultural legislation and submit an agricultural project within two years, and a commitment to submit a construction license project to municipalities/institutions within two years for land-qualified immovable properties. In the case of acquiring shares in the joint-owned properties, the statement that the legal pre-purchase rights of the other shareholders are known must be added during the issuance of the official bond.
Foreigners who wish to apply for Turkish citizenship through real estate purchase must first apply to the directorates of land registry (https://randevu.tkgm.gov.tr/). Documents required for application are as follows: title deed certificate of real estate or the information of neighborhood/village, island, parcel, independent section, identity document/ passport (with translation if necessary), real estate appraisal report, compulsory earthquake insurance policy for buildings (housing, business… etc.), 1 photo of the buyer and 2 photos of the seller (taken within the last 6 months, 6×4 size), “real estate market value document” taken from the municipality, tax number (if he or she has no foreign identification number beginning with 99), an approved receipt from the bank regarding the paid real estate fee, sworn translator (authorized by justice commissions of first instance court for jurisdiction) for parties who don’t know Turkish, representation document relating to attorney or the representative (in the case of procedure being done with a power of attorney held abroad), holding the requirements needed with the circular letter with no 2015/5 (1767).
For the determination of the USD 4000,000 referred in the applications referred to obtain Turkish citizenship by purchasing real estate, “real estate appraisal report” about that the current value of the real estate is USD 400,000 must be taken from real estate appraisal companies listed in the websites of “The Capital Markets Board (CMB)(http://www.spk.gov.tr/SiteApps/SirketIletisim/List/gds), or “Appraisers Association of Turkey (AAT) (http://www.tdub.org.tr/Web/CompanyListForm.aspx?UID=a11d0b4-de56-4ab0-9bb8-7c2c8863ba92). The date of issuance of the real estate appraisal report to be submitted during application must be no more than three months prior to the date of application.
During the selling process in the land registry of the real estate purchased In order to obtain Turkish citizenship, it is needed for purchaser or his/her representative that an annotation to be put to the title deed registry of the real estate for 3 years and a conformity report to be asked on this subject from the land registry. After the commitment of not to sell the real estate for 3 years, the procedure documents are sent to the authority that will issue the conformity report. If a conformity report was not requested during the purchase of the real estate and/or a declaration of not to sell for 3 years was not made or the land registry officer forgot to write this request or declaration, this declaration and request can be made by the buyer or his/her agent within three months when the real estate valuation report is valid. Accordingly, the registration of not to sell the purchased real estate for 3 years is entered into the title deed document and the conformity report is prepared.
According to Article 31/j of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection; a residence permit is required to be taken during the application process for Turkish citizenship due to the purchase of real estate.
The documents required for obtaining a short-term residence permit in an average period of 4 months to 8 months until the acquisition of Turkish citizenship are as follows:
1.Residence Permit Application Form (must be signed by foreign and/or legal representative or lawyer)
2. Original and photocopy of passport or alternative document (the page containing identification information and photograph and the processed pages) for a period of 60 days longer than the requested residence permit period
3. Four photographs (taken within the last 6 months, the background must be white and biometric.)
4. Declaration showing sufficient and regular financial means have been obtained during the period of stay (Declared in the application form. The administration may request supporting documents.)
5. Valid health insurance. The insurance period must cover the requested residence permit period.
6. Official, e-signed/signed and sealed/stamped document (title deed) showing that the residence belongs to a person
7. The receipt regarding that the fee paid to the state and the card fee was paid.
In order to acquire Turkish citizenship by purchasing real estate worth USD 400,000, an application is made to the General Directorate of Population and Citizenship affairs with the necessary documents. The documents requested for this application are:
-Application form (VAT-4),
-2 50×60 mm white background, biometric photos,
-Passport or similar document and their notarized Turkish translation,
-A document showing the identity information of the person applying to become a Turkish citizen (such as birth certificate, identity register copy etc.),
-If the applicant for Turkish citizenship has 1st or 2nd degree Turkish citizen relatives, identity register copy of them,
-If the applicant for citizenship is married, the marriage certificate, the identity register copy indicating the spouse and children, if the applicant is divorced, the document proving this condition, if widow, the death certificate of the spouse,
-If a little child under 18 being in the applicant’s custody is wanted to acquire Turkish citizenship, the document showing the consent of the spouse issued by notary at homeland or foreign missions at abroad and duly approved Turkish translation,
-If only the birth year of the applicant is known and the month and day are not known, the document taken from his / her country for the inclusion of these dates,
-A receipt showing that the service fee for citizenship procedures was paid to the Treasury pay-desk.