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Second citizenship

Turkey citizenship: all ways to get a Turkish passport

The Turkish passport allows living in the country permanently, accessing 110 countries visa-free, and getting the E-2 business visa to the USA.

Turkey сitizenship could be held without renouncing other countries' citizenships. There are several ways to get a Turkish passport: investments, naturalization, and marriage. The fastest way to get it is an investment in the Turkish economy.

How to get Turkish citizenship

Benefits of a Turkish passport

Visa-free travel around the world. Citizens of Turkey can visit 110 countries without a visa or by getting a visa on arrival. A list of these countries contains almost all of South America, one‑third of Africa, and many countries of Middle Asia.

US E-2 business visa. A Turkish passport allows getting the E-2 business visa to the USA, which permits its holder to stay in the USA for five years with their family. 

C-2 Schengen visa for five years. Turkish citizens can get a C-2 Shengen visa for five years. Alongside, Turkey negotiates visa‑free status with the EU countries. 

The Republic of Turkey is on the list of the countries that can potentially join the European Union. If Turkey joins the Union, all countries of the EU will become visa‑free for Turkey citizens. 

Second choice for an emergency. Citizens can visit Turkey anytime, no matter of closed borders. They also can move to Turkey if something goes wrong in the country of their origin.      

Simple procedure. Generally, getting Turkish citizenship is simple: without language or history exams. Some ways of acquiring citizenship, such as marriage, assume some questions about history and culture, but it is more the exception than the rule.

Multiple citizenship options. Turkish laws permit having multiple citizenships: you can get both if a country of origin allows dual citizenships.

Turkish citizens can visit 110 countries visa-free or with a visa-on-arrival

Turkey citizenship requirements for applicants

Turkish citizenship law No. 5901 allows getting citizenship by foreigners without:

  • criminal records or violations of migration law,
  • socially dangerous sicknesses, such as HIV. 

There is an opportunity to get a Turkish passport for citizens of any country except Armenia, Cuba, Nigeria, North Korea, and Syria.

How to get Turkey citizenship by investment

There is a particular program for investors in Turkey. It was launched in 2017 to attract foreign direct investment. The investor can choose a suitable option by investment type and amount. If all program conditions are met, the investor gets the passport.

The program is available for adults without criminal records, violations of migration law, and socially dangerous sickness. There is no opportunity to join the program for Armenia, Cuba, Nigeria, North Korea, and Syria citizens. 

Investment options. There are several types of investing in Turkey to get citizenship: purchasing real estate or direct investments in the Turkish economy. These investments are returnable. You can sell it in three years after obtaining citizenship.

Options for getting Turkey citizenship by investment

Investment amount Investment option
$400,000Buy real estate in Turkey: apartments, houses, commercial or industrial buildings or lands
$500,000Deposit in a bank, in any currency. The deposit interest rate of Turkish lira — max 16.5%, of a dollar — 0.1% 
$500,000Purchasing national securities: government bonds and bills, venture investments, shares of investment funds of real estate or venture investments and holding them for three years   
$500,000Purchasing government bonds and holding them for three years
$500,000Opening a business with a capital of $500,000 or creating at least 50 jobs 
Pay attention to the real estate for investments

Our client wanted to invest in Turkish real estate to save assets. He applied to several companies for the selection of real estate. The investor found that some companies give him similar objects at lower prices.

The legal review of other objects shows that the prices of “cheaper” objects were overstated, and the photos of things were old. So, If the investor purchased one of these objects, he couldn’t get the passport because the actual estimation of objects was lower than the required investment amount.

Participation of family members. Investments also allow getting a residence permit and citizenship for investors' families: spouses and minor children. Spouses’ parents can only pretend on residence permits with an extra fee of $5,000 per person. Significant point: if parents or adult children have their source of income, they can't participate. 

Additional expenses. There are some extra costs of getting Turkey citizenship: 

  • $14,000 — related taxes and fees,
  • $574 per person — state fees for each family member, 
  • $5,000 per person — an extra residence permit fee for investors’ parents.

Turkey citizenship by naturalisation

Naturalisation fits cases when you are officially working or officially living in Turkey. If you stay in Turkey without work, you should prove that you have enough money to live — it is about $500 per person per month. It takes two steps and lasts for several years of permanently residing in the country.

The short-term residence permit, or “Kısa Dönem İkamet İzni”. This type is available for long-term tourists, students, alumni of Turkish universities, business people, foreigners with Turkish relatives, patients, and migrants for humanitarian reasons. You should support the occupation with documents.

The residence permit is granted for a maximum period of two years. The validity period depends on the applicant type. After the residence permit expires, you can renew it for up to two years.

2 years
The maximum validity period of a Turkey residence permit

The long-term residence permit, or “Uzun Dönem İkamet İzni”. A foreigner can get it after living in Turkey for eight years. They should live in Turkey for at least 180 days per year during this period. 

Citizenship can be claimed after five years of official living in Turkey. In this case, the period of residence is not the only criterion. A person should also demonstrate reasons for being a citizen, speak Turkish, have enough money to provide for themselves, and have no diseases with risk to public health. 

Turkey citizenship by marriage 

Getting a Turkish passport by marriage has advantages, but it is not universal. First of all, it is a lengthy process. What’s more important, you should have a Turkish suitor.    

Turkey citizenship cannot automatically be acquired by marriage to a Turkish citizen. The spouse can aspire to a Turkish passport three years after the wedding. There are some conditions applicants should meet: 

  1. The marriage must be unbroken for three years. If the applicant divorces and remarries again, the "counter" of years starts from the beginning. 
  2. Another meaningful criterion is that the marriage is not a sham. The core idea of getting through the citizenship process is to prove that marriage isn't the one of convenience for obtaining citizenship. 

There are some nuances. If you divorce during the application process, the probability of failure increases to the maximum. Similarly, if you are a widow or widower at the moment of application, the likelihood of failure increases to the max. If you became a widow while obtaining citizenship, you have a chance to get citizenship. If you divorce after getting citizenship and a former spouse sues to declare the marriage a sham, you could lose citizenship. 

Getting a Turkish passport by marriage could take from one to three years.

Getting a Turkish passport by marriage could take from one to three years
Getting a Turkish passport by marriage has advantages but could take from one to three years

Turkey citizenship by birth and descent

This method is suitable for applicants who have Turkish relatives or were born in Turkey. 

Citizenship for newborns. When we talk about a newborn, we should consider the citizenship of its parents:

  • If the parents are Turkish nationals, the newborn gets citizenship in Turkey automatically. 
  • If one parent is Turkish and another is a foreigner, but they are in the marriage, the newborn automatically gets Turkish citizenship. 
  • If the parents aren't married, but the mother is a Turkish citizen, the newborn could also get Turkish citizenship by birth. 
  • If the parents aren't married, but the father is a Turkish citizen, the baby could get citizenship only if paternity is officially recognized. 

Here is another opportunity to get citizenship in Turkey by birth. The situation: parents are foreigners, and the baby is born on the territory of Turkey but has no chance to get citizenship of its "homeland" for any reason. In this situation, parents could request Turkish citizenship for their baby. The same case if parents are stateless.

Descent. Minors could also apply for a Turkish passport by descent. So, for example, the Turkish parents' child who lost citizenship could claim Turkish citizenship by descent. Also, Turkish migrants have the right to get citizenship by their ancestry.

The process of getting Turkish citizenship by descent or birth
Getting citizenship by descent is suitable for applicants who have Turkish relatives

Applying for Turkey citizenship

You should be ready to pass some stages when you get Turkish citizenship. In general, there are five stages: 

  1. Meet the requirements of the citizenship program. 
  2. Collect the necessary documents for a residence permit. 
  3. Get a residence permit.
  4. Apply for citizenship. 
  5. Get a passport. 

You can find an accurate list of the documents on the official website — e-ikamet. Applications are also submitted on the e-ikamet website. 

There are some specific stages connected with the way of getting citizenship. For example, when you apply for citizenship through naturalisation, you should live in Turkey during the required period after getting a residence permit. 

If you apply through marriage, you have two interviews. One is with your spouse, there are a lot of personal questions, for example, the favourite food of a spouse, the job of their brother, etc. Another is a personal interview in Governorship, and there are questions about living in Turkey, plans and reasons for citizenship application. You also should pass an inspection of the Security Service: officers can visit your home and talk with the neighbours. 

The process is more precise if you apply under the investment program: you can apply for citizenship just after getting a residence permit.

The fastest and the most trustworthy path to citizenship is by investment. It takes about three or six months and has a predictable result.

6 to 8 months
Takes obtaining Turkey citizenship by investment

Naturalisation is trustworthy too, but it takes much more time — at least five years, and if you get it through a job, you entirely depend on your employer. Marriage is faster than naturalization — you need only three years, but the level of dependency is much higher because it is based on human relationships. Birth or descent is very exceptional.

Frequently asked questions

Can foreigners get citizenship in Turkey?

Yes, there are several ways to get it: investments, marriage, and naturalisation.

How long does it take to become a citizen of Turkey?

The waiting time depends on the immigration stream that you choose. Investment takes about three or six months, naturalisation — five years, marriage — almost three years.

Does Turkey sell citizenship?

No, it doesn’t. There is a particular investors’ program: you can obtain citizenship if you buy real estate or invest in Turkey’s economy. The investment amount starts from $400,000.

What are the benefits of having Turkish citizenship?

A Turkish passport allows living in Turkey permanently, accessing 110 countries visa-free or getting a visa upon arrival, and getting the E-2 business visa to the USA. Turkish citizenship could be held without renouncing other countries’ citizenship.

How strong is a Turkish passport?

Turkish passport holds 50th place in the Henley Passport Index, a global ranking of countries according to the travel freedom by country’s ordinary citizenship. It’s higher than the passports of India, China, RSA, and Azerbaijan.

Does Turkey support dual citizenship?

Yes, you could hold Turkish citizenship without renouncing other countries’ citizenship if a country of origin allows dual citizenship.

Can you get Turkish citizenship by marriage?

Yes, you can, but Turkish citizenship cannot automatically be acquired by marriage to a Turkish citizen. The spouse can aspire to a Turkish passport three years after the wedding.

Can I get Turkish citizenship if my father is Turkish?

Yes, you can. If your parents are married, you get it automatically at birth. If not, you can get citizenship if paternity is officially recognized.

How to get Turkish citizenship by investment?

If you invest in Turkey $400,000—$500,000, you could apply for a Turkish passport after getting a residence permit. It takes three to six months.

Is Turkish citizenship worth it?

It depends on your goals and the terms of your current citizenship. If you want to have alternatives to your current citizenship, or you need to have options for the USA business visa, it’s a good deal.

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Turkey citizenship: all ways to get a Turkish passport