Turkish Citizenship by Investment: a Complete Guide

The Turkish citizenship-by-investment program is one of the most popular among such programs in the world. You can become a rightful citizen of the country by investing US$ 250,000 in real estate. There are other investment options that will make you qualified for citizenship of Turkey too and they are also worth considering. Please read on to find out how you can acquire second citizenship by investment in Turkey.

The Turkish Government officially launched a national citizenship-by-investment program on July 28, 2016. The program allows foreigners to acquire Turkish passports in exchange for investments. Unlike naturalization, this is a fast way of obtaining citizenship of a foreign country.

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Please note that you can invest in any piece of real estate in Turkey when applying for citizenship of the country. However, one piece of property cannot be used for citizenship-by-investment purposes more than once.

Initially, the minimum required investment amount was set at US$ 1,000,000. However, the program was not popular with foreign investors and the local Government resolved to lower the required investment amount. On September 18, 2018, it was cut by four, which seriously boosted the popularity of the Turkish citizenship-by-investment program.

Reasons why you should apply for Turkish citizenship by investment

  • Turkey has an economy with a 2-trillion dollar turnover. It is a wealthy and rapidly developing country that serves as a bridge between Europe and Asia. Turkey is an international trade center.
  • Turkey offers one of the most affordable opportunities to acquire foreign citizenship by investing in real estate.
  • The prices for real property in Turkey are lower in comparison to the prices in European countries.
  • You can acquire Turkish citizenship by making the investment in a cryptocurrency.
  • You do not have to live in Turkey for any time prior to acquiring citizenship of the country by investment.
  • The Turkish passport will make you eligible for an E2 visa to the United States.
  • The Turkish passport will give you visa-free access to well over a hundred national states.
  • There are flights to almost every large city of the world from Turkish airports.  
  • The climate in Turkey is comfortable and the winters are mild.
  • There are hundreds of resorts in Turkey and the country is self-sufficient in terms of food production as the agricultural sector of the economy is very well developed.

Recent changes to the Turkish citizenship-by-investment program

In 2019, the Turkish authorities introduced two amendments to the citizenship-by-investment program that made applying for Turkish citizenship easier.  

  • First, offices were set up in Ankara and Istanbul where foreign nationals wishing to acquire Turkish citizenship by investment could get consultations on all aspects related to the process.
  • Second, since 2019, you can file an application for Turkish citizenship by investment to any municipal council in the country.

In addition to that, since 2021, the real property developers and owners cannot hire property assessors of their choice (they were allowed to do so before). To avoid price manipulation, the Turkish Government now appoints official assessors to perform the task. 

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Financial paths leading to Turkish citizenship by investment

You can choose from six investment options each of which will make you qualified for citizenship of Turkey:

1. Turkish citizenship by investment in real estate in the country

You can buy a piece or residential or commercial property in Turkey that is worth (the equivalent of) US$ 250,000 thus qualifying for Turkish citizenship. You will have to keep the property in your possession for three years only. You can resell it after that while retaining your Turkish passport. This is the most affordable investment option that is available.

2. Turkish citizenship by investment in a local company

You can invest (the equivalent of) US$ 500,000 in a Turkish company (buy its shares, for example) and this will also make you qualified for citizenship of the country. Similarly to the previous option, you have to hold the Turkish ownership shares in your possession for three years.

3. Turkish citizenship by creating jobs in the country

If you create jobs for at least 50 people in Turkey, you will also qualify for citizenship of the country. The investment amount is not specified in this case.

4. Turkish citizenship by making a bank deposit

You can make a three-year fixed-term deposit of US$ 500,000 in one of the Turkish banks. This will make you eligible to apply for citizenship of Turkey. If you terminate the agreement with the bank before the fixed term expires, you will lose your Turkish passport.

5. Turkish citizenship by investment in state bonds

You can also purchase Turkish state bonds and keep them in your possession for three years thus qualifying for citizenship of Turkey. The required investment amount is US$ 500,000.

6. Turkish citizenship by investment in a real estate investment trust or a venture fund

If you put US$ 500,000 in a real estate investment trust or a venture fund, you will also qualify for citizenship of Turkey. The conditions are the same: you cannot disinvest before three years pass.

The process of acquiring Turkish citizenship by investment

The process includes the following main steps:

  • You have to purchase a piece of real property in any part of Turkey or make an investment of a different kind in the sufficient amount (see above).
  • After that, you have to apply for a temporary residence permit in Turkey (the so-called ‘turquoise card’). You can apply for Turkish citizenship by investment only when you acquire the residence permit. When applying for citizenship, you will have to supply a document (or documents) that confirm your investment.
  • The application for Turkish citizenship can be submitted to any municipal council in Turkey. The council officer will make sure that all the application documents are in good order and pass the application to the Ministry of the Interior and the National Police for consideration.
  • These agencies will conduct the due diligence checks to determine if you might bring any damage to the national security of Turkey.
  • If the due diligence checks yield positive results, the application for Turkish citizenship will go to the President’s office.
  • The President of the Turkish Republic grants citizenship of the country to foreign nationals by signing the corresponding Act.

Turkish citizenship by investment in real estate

This is the most affordable and, consequently, the most popular investment option so we will dwell on it in a bit more detail. The choice of real property is diverse in Turkey and you can buy a very nice apartment in a new residential complex in Istanbul, for example, if you invest US$ 250,000. Please note, however, that some additional costs are going to be involved so the ultimate amount of the investment that you will have to make will exceed the said sum. The additional costs include the following ones:

  • Transfer of property rights involves a payment of 4% of the property cost. The payment is to be equally divided between the seller and the buyer so you will have to pay 2% (excluding the VAT).
  • The VAT of 18% is payable but there are discounts for those Turkish property owners who do not reside in the country.
  • A stamp duty of 0.95% was payable before and it is not payable at the moment. However, the state duty might be reintroduced.
  • Net profits derived from letting property on a lease are taxed in Turkey. The tax rate is progressive and it varies between 15% and 35%.
  • The capital gains tax is not levied in Turkey if you sell your property after holding it in your possession for five years. If you sell it before the period expires, you will have to pay the capital gains tax at the rate of the income tax.
  • When Turkish property is inherited, an inheritance tax has to be paid. The tax rate is progressive and it varies between 1% and 10%.

Most foreign nationals acquiring Turkish citizenship by investment choose to buy real property in Istanbul. The Turkish citizenship-by-investment program is especially popular with citizens of the Middle East countries even though Russians, Germans, Americans, and people from other countries also acquire Turkish citizenship by purchasing property in the country. 

Turkish citizenship by investment: answers to FAQs

The International Wealth team helps people from different parts of the world to acquire Turkish citizenship by investment. Below we give answers to the questions that we often hear from our clients

1. How fast can I acquire Turkish citizenship by investment?

You will need 3 to 4 months to become a citizen of Turkey by investment. As this is an accelerated citizenship acquisition procedure, you do not have to live in the country prior to applying for citizenship nor take any language or history tests.

2. I bought real estate in Turkey before 2018. Can I apply for citizenship of the country on these grounds?

The Turkish citizenship-by-investment program was amended on September 18, 2018. If you bought property that was worth US$ 250,000 after that date, you will qualify for citizenship of Turkey. If you bought property before that date, its value has to be at least US$ 1,000,000 to make you qualified for citizenship by investment.

3. Can my family members acquire Turkish passports if I apply for citizenship of the country by investment?

Yes, your spouse and your underage children (below 18) can be added to a family application for Turkish citizenship.

4. Is a Turkish passport a strong travel document?

As of today, Turkish passport holders have visa-free access to 110 countries and territories including Japan, South Korea, Brazil, South Africa, Montenegro, Panama, Thailand, Ukraine, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and other states. You have to bear in mind, however, that Turkish citizens require visas to enter the USA, Canada, Great Britain, as well as Schengen zone countries.

5. Do I have to visit Turkey to acquire citizenship of the country?

Yes, you have to visit Turkey at least once to submit your biometric data (fingerprints) and sign the documents. All other things can be done without leaving home if you issue a Power of Attorney to a Turkish lawyer.

6. Do restrictions apply to citizens of any national states applying for Turkish citizenship?

Officially, there are no restrictions as to the applicants’ nationalities. At the same time, the Turkish immigration authorities may refuse to accept applications for citizenship from citizens of Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Somalia, and Syria. Please contact us to find out if you would qualify for Turkish citizenship.

7.  Can I purchase several pieces of property to qualify for Turkish citizenship?

Yes, you can. Moreover, you may have to do so because a small apartment in a nice high-rise building in Istanbul, for example, may cost less than US$ 250,000 and you have to invest at least that much to qualify for Turkish citizenship.

8. Can foreign companies purchase real property in Turkey?

Yes, they can but the company owners will not qualify for Turkish citizenship.

9. Does the Turkish legislation allow dual citizenship?

Yes, it does. However, you have to make sure that your home country also allows dual citizenship before you apply for citizenship of Turkey.

10. Do I have to set up a bank account in Turkey when applying for citizenship of the country?

Yes, you have to get a tax number in Turkey and open a bank account there when applying for citizenship. However, this can be done remotely by a Turkish lawyer holding a Power of Attorney.

11. Do any restrictions apply to foreign nationals purchasing real property in Turkey?

Foreign nationals are allowed to purchase real property in Turkey and they do not need residence permits to do that. The following restrictions apply, however: the land plot cannot exceed 30 hectares; the property cannot be located close to military bases.

12. How profitable is it to rent property on a lease in Turkey?

It is not very profitable to rent property on a lease in Turkey. As of today, the profit can be between 2% and 3%. It is also rather inexpensive to rent an apartment in the country. An apartment located in the center of a large Turkish city is going to cost US$ 50 to US$ 100 per night depending on its size.

13. Can I use a mortgage to purchase real estate in Turkey?

Yes, you can but only if the cost of the property exceeds US$ 250,000. You have to pay the aforementioned amount to qualify for Turkish citizenship. You should also bear in mind that banks in Turkey are uneasy about lending money to foreigners.

14. Am I going to have voting rights in Turkey if I become a citizen of the country by investment?

Yes, you are. The rights and obligations acquired with ‘economic’ citizenship of Turkey do not differ from the rights and obligations that native-born Turks have. You will be able to vote and take public office too.

15. Are the Turkish authorities going to notify the authorities of my home country if I acquire Turkish citizenship by investment?

The names of economic citizens of Turkey are not published in any official sources. Neither are they disclosed to the authorities of the economic citizens’ home countries.

16. Can I acquire a legal residence permit in Turkey if I purchase some real estate there?

Yes, you can. Instead of the Turkish passport, a foreign investor can apply for a residence permit in the country. The permit will normally be valid for two years and it needs to be extended afterwards. Your residence permit will be annulled if you stay away from Turkey for more than six months.

17. Is Turkey a European country?

Ninety-five percent of the Turkish territory is located in Asia and five percent in Europe. You have to realize that Turkey is not an EU state and neither is it in the Schengen zone. The country is a member of the European Customs Union though. Turkey filed an application for EU membership in 1987 but by 2016, the negotiations reached a deadlock.

If you have not found an answer to your question above, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation on acquiring Turkish citizenship. We have reliable partners among Turkish immigration agents and law firms and we will be delighted to assist you in acquiring citizenship of Turkey by investment. Please write to info@offshore-pro.info or contact us in any other way that you prefer (see the ‘Contact us’ icon at the top of the page). We always respond promptly!

What advantages does Turkish citizenship bring?

A foreign national acquiring Turkish citizenship by investment or in any other way can enjoy several important benefits. The country is located between Europe and Asia, which makes it a perfect platform for trading with both continents. It is an economically strong country with high living standards, good education and healthcare. Besides, a Turkish passport will make its holder eligible to apply for an E2 investor visa to the USA.

How much does it cost to acquire Turkish citizenship?

Turkey offers one of the most affordable citizenship-by-investment opportunities. The minimum required investment amount is US$ 250,000.

Who can help me acquire Turkish citizenship by investment?

In accordance with the regulations, you have to hire a licensed immigration agent to file an application for Turkish citizenship. The International Wealth team has long-standing relationships with immigration agents and law firms in Turkey and we will be happy to put you through to them.

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