Att.Cansu YILDIRIM, Att. Mensur ÖGÜT
GENERAL OVERVIEW ON OBTAINING TURKISH CITIZENSHIP THROUGH INVESTMENT
Under the Turkish Citizenship Law (Numbered 5901), Turkish citizenship can be obtained either by birth or later through various means. Obtaining Turkish citizenship through investment is one of these exceptional methods.
According to Article 12 of the Turkish Citizenship Law, individuals listed below may obtain Turkish citizenship by Presidential decree, provided that they do not pose a threat to national security and public order:
- Individuals who have brought industrial facilities to Turkey or have provided or are expected to provide exceptional service in the fields of science, technology, economics, social affairs, sports, culture, or the arts.
- Foreigners who have obtained short-term residence permits under Article 31/1(J) of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection.
- Holders of the Turquoise Card (Turkuaz Kart) and their foreign spouse, as well as their dependent foreign children who are not of legal age.
In this information note, we will focus on how foreigners who have invested in Turkey by obtaining short-term residence permits under Article 31/1(j) of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection may obtain Turkish citizenship and the conditions for doing so.
In this context, foreigners who do not work in Turkey but are willing to make investments in an amount and scope determined by the President, along with their foreign spouse and their non-adult or dependent children, will be eligible to apply for Turkish citizenship under Article 31/1(j) of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection. It should be emphasized that, in accordance with the principle of state sovereignty, the approval of the application is ultimately subject to the discretion of the President, even if all the conditions are met.
The amount and scope of the investment to be made by a foreigner within the scope of Article 31/1(j) of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection, are regulated in Article 20 of Regulation on the Implementation of the Turkish Citizenship Law by the Presidential Decree. According to Article 20:
“A foreigner who meets any of the following conditions may acquire Turkish citizenship by a Presidential decree within the scope of Article 12, paragraph (b) of the Law:
a) Having made a fixed capital investment in the amount of at least 500,000 USD or its equivalent in foreign currency, as determined by the Ministry of Industry and Technology.
b) Having purchased immovable property worth at least 400,000 USD or its equivalent in foreign currency, with the condition that a no-sale clause is imposed on the title deed records for three years, or having acquired real estate through establishing a condominium or easement, with at least 400,000 USD or its equivalent in foreign currency paid upfront, and with a commitment on the notarized contract that the property will not be transferred or abandoned for three years, as determined by the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change.
c) Having created employment for at least 50 people, as determined by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.
ç) Having deposited at least 500,000 USD or its equivalent in foreign currency in banks operating in Turkey, with the condition of maintaining the deposit for three years, as determined by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency.
d) Having purchased government debt instruments worth at least 500,000 USD or its equivalent in foreign currency, with the condition of holding them for three years, as determined by the Ministry of Treasury and Finance.
e) Having purchased real estate investment trust shares or venture capital investment trust shares worth at least 500,000 USD or its equivalent in foreign currency, with the condition of holding them for at least three years, as determined by the Capital Markets Board.
f) Having deposited at least 500,000 USD or its equivalent in foreign currency as a contribution, in funds determined by the Insurance and Private Pension Regulation and Supervision Authority, to the individual retirement system with the condition of keeping the contribution and remaining in the system for three years, as determined by the Insurance and Private Pension Regulation and Supervision Authority.”
PROCEDURE AND RELATED DOCUMENTS
First and foremost, it should be noted that the processes for obtaining Turkish citizenship through investment may vary depending on the type and amount of investment made. In this context, we will focus on the 3 common steps that apply to every type of investment for obtaining Turkish citizenship. Below you may review the procedures, principles, and necessary documents in detail for the three-stage process to be followed:
After fulfillment of at least one of the investment conditions specified in Article 20 of the relevant regulation, you must apply for an Eligibility Certificate from the relevant institution. The application procedure for the Eligibility Certificate varies depending on the type of investment to be made under Article 20 and, consequently, the institution to which the application will be submitted. For example, if an application for Turkish citizenship through Real Estate Investment is to be made, the following conditions must be met to obtain the Eligibility Certificate:
- The value of the property to be acquired must be at least 400,000 USD, and this should be proven with a real estate appraisal report (obtained no more than 3 months prior to the application date).
- A Foreign Exchange Purchase Certificate must be issued by a resident bank in Turkey for the corresponding amount of the property’s value.
- At the time of the sale transaction at the Land Registry Directorate, an annotation must be made on the title deed indicating that the property is acquired for the purpose of obtaining Turkish citizenship and cannot be sold to another party for a period of 3 years.
- The payment for the property must be made through a bank, and a receipt or a blocked check related to this payment must be obtained.
- Four biometric photographs must be taken along with a valid passport and its notarized Turkish translation.
Short- Term Residence Permit
Before applying for Turkish Citizenship, obtaining a Short-Term Residence Permit in accordance with Article 31/1(j) of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection is obligatory. Short-term residence permit application must be done to the Provincial Directorate of Immigration Administration where the investor plans to reside. In general, it is not possible for a foreigner to apply for a residence permit without being in Turkey. However, with a power of attorney, a lawyer can apply for residence permit in the scope of Article 31/1(j) of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection on behalf of the investor. The documents required for a short-term residence permit application are as follows:
- Eligibility Certificate
- Notarized translation of the Investor’s passport
- Signed VAT-4 Form
- Health Insurance Policy ( it must cover the term of residency)
- Biometric Photo
- Copy of Birth Certificate (with Appostile and notarized translation)
- Photocopy of visa (if only If the investor is in Turkey)
- Receipts that proving the fees and taxes have been paid
- Power of Attorney (if any)
It should be stated that a short-term residence permit is a right granted only to the investor. If they do not intend to stay in Turkey, no right is granted to the investor’s family in this context.
Additionally, the residence permit application can be made online at e-ikamet.gov.tr only if the applicant is in Turkey. In this case, the required documents are delivered to the Provincial Directorate of Immigration Administration on the appointment day.
Finally, the Provincial Directorate of Immigration Administration may ask the investor to provide fingerprints for the residence permit application.
Turkish Citizenship Application
After obtaining an eligibility certificate and a short-term residence permit, the next stage would be submission of the Turkish citizenship application through investment. The file must contain the required documents to submit to the Provincial Directorate of Census and Citizenship. In Istanbul and Ankara the immigration administration and citizenship administration affairs are managed at the same office. Other than these cities, the Provincial Directorate of Census and Citizenship is authorized to receive the file of applications. The application file must include documents as below:
- Copy of Residence Permit Card
- Eligibility Certificate
- Signed VAT-4 Form
- Birth Certificates of the Investor and his/her family members
- Marriage Certificate, Divorce Decree, Single Status Affidavit (obtained no more than 6 months prior to the application date)
- Notarized translation of passports of the Investor and his/her family members
- Biometric photos of the investor and his/her family members
- Receipt that proving application fees and other fees have been paid
- Power of Attorney
After the completion of all stages, a commission formed by the relevant Ministries evaluates the citizenship applications of foreigners and submits them for the approval of the President. The decision to grant citizenship is at the discretion of the President.
It is imperative to prepare a multitude of information and documents meticulously for the Eligibility Certificate, short-term residence permit, and citizenship applications. In case of missing documents in the applications, your application may be rejected or it may take time to complete the missing requirements. It is essential to work with a specialized attorney in this field to understand what information and documents are required for citizenship application and for the proper management of this process.