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Turkey citizenship by investment: who is eligible and how to get it

Turkish citizenship entitles you to permanently reside in the country and apply for an E2 business visa to the United States. To obtain a passport, investors most often buy real estate for $400,000 or more. Registration of status takes from six to eight months. The investment can be returned in three years.

We will tell you how to get Turkish citizenship, who is suitable and how this program differs from others.

Turkey Citizenship by Investment: Who is Eligible and How to Get It

Benefits of Turkish citizenship

Turkey is known as a resort country with a mild Mediterranean climate, stunning nature, rich cuisine and hospitable people. But its benefits are not only in the weather and culture. Investors become Turkish citizens in order to get the prospects of profitable investments, business development, purchase of liquid real estate, as well as the opportunity to obtain an E-2 business visa in the United States.

Travel without visas. Turkish citizens travel without visas to 113 countries, among them are Hong Kong and Singapore.

There is the opportunity to apply for an E-2 investor visa to the United States and move there with the whole family. Turkey and the United States have signed an agreement on the issuance of this type of visa.

E2 visa is nonimmigrant — with it, you cannot get a green card and apply for citizenship. It is valid for five years, after which it can be renewed for two years.

There is no minimum investment requirement for the E-2 visa. If you increase investment in the American economy to $800,000 or create ten jobs, you can get an EB-5 visa and a green card that opens the gate to citizenship.

Convenient conditions for becoming a Turkish citizen. Investors do not need to give up their current citizenship and do not take exams in the language or history of the country. Moreover, the investment program does not oblige the applicant to live in Turkey in order to obtain or maintain the status.

Social guarantees. Turkish citizens get the opportunity to receive treatment in the country's clinics or study at universities for free. There are also no restrictions on the inheritance of real estate and assets.

Until recently, one of the advantages of Turkish citizenship was the opportunity to move the whole family to the UK on a business visa (Turkish Businessperson Visa) in one to two months. No investment was needed, capital transferring or opening a business was enough. After moving to the Turkish Businessperson Visa, you could apply for permanent residence in the UK and citizenship of the country.

The Turkish Businessperson Visa program closed at the end of 2020. Its extension is currently being discussed.

The prospect of becoming a citizen of the European Union. Turkey claims to join the European Union and is negotiating visa-free travel to the Schengen area.

Turkish citizenship by investment
Ankara is the capital of Turkey and one of the most popular cities for buying real estate in the country

Who can get Turkish citizenship by investment

A foreigner who has not been convicted, has not violated Turkish immigration laws and has fulfilled the conditions of the program can obtain Turkish citizenship.

Citizens of Armenia, Cuba, Nigeria, North Korearnand Syria cannot participate in the program.

Turkish citizenship is granted to the spouse of the investor and children under 18 years of age.

If the adult children of the investor have their own sources of income, they cannot be included in the application. To obtain citizenship, they participate in the program as individual main applicants and fulfill the investment conditions.

How to get Turkish citizenship - Turkish passport
Turkish passport by investment is popular among residents of the Middle East, Russia and the CIS countries

How to get a Turkish citizenship by investment

You can obtain Turkish citizenship within six to eight months. Among foreigners, Turkish citizenship by investment is in demand. This is how up to half of all applicants receive a Turkish passport. During 2018—2019, over 35 thousand people have received Turkish passports in this way. The applicant can choose any of six investment options: 

1. Purchase of real estate worth $400,000. This is the easiest and most popular investment option when applying. You can buy any property: an apartment, a house, commercial or industrial premises and land.

It is not necessary to buy one object, you can buy several apartments with a total cost of over $400,000. The only condition: no more than two months should elapse between transactions.

In March 2021, the Turkish government amended the rules for real estate transactions between foreigners. The object can be used to participate in the citizenship program only once. If an investor bought an apartment and then sold it to another foreign citizen, he will not be able to obtain citizenship for the purchase of real estate. 

The property can no longer be sold to its previous owner – Turkish company or a citizen. If an investor buys housing from a developer and then sells it to him, the basis for obtaining Turkish citizenship will be revised. An exception is the return of real estate to its former owner by a court decision.

2. A deposit in a bank of $500,000 or more. You can save money in any currency accepted by the Turkish bank. The average interest on deposits in Turkish lira in 2023 is up to 23.5%. 

3. Purchase of national securities from $500,000: government bonds and bills, as well as shares of investment funds specializing in real estate or venture capital investments.

4. Purchase of government bonds in the amount of $500,000 with an obligation to preserve assets for three years.

5. Purchase of shares of investment funds for $500,000, specializing in real estate or venture capital investments, with an obligation to preserve assets for three years.

6. Open a business with a capital of $500,000 or create at least 50 jobs.

Investments in Turkish citizenship are returnable. Three years after obtaining citizenship, you can sell the purchased papers or real estate or close the deposit. If you are lucky, the investment will be profitable.

Turkey Citizenship by Investment: example of a villa for purchase to obtain citizenship
An example of real estate that an investor can buy. Two-storey villa with a swimming pool in the center of Belek for $ 350,000. 

Property prices in Turkey: market overview

The most popular option to obtain Turkish investment citizenship is to buy a property. Unlike some of these programs, foreigners do not need to obtain permits to buy real estate.

There are many real estate properties in Turkey for every taste: inexpensive apartments, apartments in modern residential complexes with their own infrastructure, penthouses, mansions, villas by the sea, commercial premises. Most often, investors buy housing in Istanbul, Antalya and Ankara.

The cost of a one-room apartment in a provincial city averages from $30,000 to $50,000, and of villas with several bedrooms — from $100,000. 

For $400,000 an investor can buy a choice of:

  • several inexpensive apartments in Kemer;
  • a two-room apartment in Istanbul with an arearnof 80 m²; 
  • three-room apartment in Antalya with an arearnof 170 m²; 
  • villa by the sea in Alanya with an arearnof 200 m².

Purchased Turkish real estate can be a profitable investment. As of June 2023, the prices for property in Turkey have increased by 96%, compared with June of 2022.

A square meter of Turkish real estate costs an average of $920. Housing is very liquid — usually properties are sold in a couple of months. 

The demand for housing amid Turkey's economic difficulties is largely supported by foreigners. The devaluation of the Turkish lira plays into their hands: there are many properties on the market at attractive prices.

Turkey citizenship by investment in real estate: an example of a villa for purchase
Three-bedroom villa in Belek worth $400,000 

Stages of obtaining Turkish citizenship by investment

Obtaining Turkish citizenship by investment goes in several stages.

1. Meeting the requirements of the program: searching and buying real estate, starting a business, buying securities or opening a deposit. To do this, you will also need to open a bank account and obtain a taxpayer number.

2. Collecting the necessary documents. In addition to standard documents, e.g. a questionnaire, a copy of a passport, confirmation of payment of state fees and photos, you will need:

  • a police clearance certificate;
  • a notarized permit for the processing of the applicant's data by local officials. Due to it, government departments will have access to information about your bank accounts, assets and real estate;
  • documents confirming the implementation of investments: for example, a certificate of conformity from the cadastral service, a market assessment report, an extract from a bank or investment fund, constituent documents.

All foreign documents must be translated into Turkish, notarized and apostilled.

3. Obtaining a short-term residence permit. This document is issued without problems.  It is enough to indicate the goal — to obtain investment citizenship.

4. Applying for citizenship at the Turkish registry office or at the embassy abroad. To the already collected package of documents, you must add a copy of the residence permit and submit biometric data. The application is considered within three months. During this time, the documents are studied by the Turkish Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the decision on granting citizenship will be signed by the president.

5. Obtain a Turkish passport. The applicant comes to Turkey and receives a passport. If this is not possible, the documents can be collected by a lawyer.

Risks of investments in the Turkish economy

Investments in the Turkish economy include many risks: 

  • slowdown in economic growth; 
  • high inflation and depreciation of the lira against the dollar; 
  • political instability: in 2016, there was an attempt at an armed coup d'etat in the country; 
  • the neighbor Syria, where there is a civil war and the turbulent situation on the border with Armenia. 
Turkish Lira per US Dollar
Graph of the value of the dollar against the Turkish lira. For nine years, the country's currency has depreciated almost five times against the dollar. Source

Other ways to obtain Turkish citizenship

In addition to investing in the Turkish economy, there are several other ways to obtain Turkish citizenship: 

  1. By marriage, after three years of marriage. 
  2. By birth. It is suitable for those who have at least one parent who is a Turkish citizen. 
  3. By employment, after five years of work under a contract. 
  4. By naturalization, after five years of living in Turkey. An important condition: during this time, you cannot leave the country for a total of more than six months. To apply, you will also need to prove knowledge of the Turkish language, have a job or prove a sufficient level of income.

    The easiest way to get an initial tourist residence permit is to buy any property. Another way is to get a permanent residence permit by purchasing real estate worth $100,000. A permanent residence permit will be given for two years, then it can be extended for another three years. 
  5. For special merit (Turquoise Card): for outstanding achievements in science, business, culture, or sports.
Turkey citizenship: different ways of obtaining
Kilyos Beach in Istanbul 

Who might consider obtaining Turkish citizenship

Citizenship by investment in Turkey is suitable for those who want to live permanently in the country, obtain an American E-2 investor visa or have a "safe haven" in case of an emergency at home. Also, the status of a citizen allows you to buy real estate at preferential mortgage rates.

Turkish citizenship is not suitable if the investor wants to visit the USA, Canada, Europe, Great Britain, China, optimize taxes or develop business in Europe. 

In these cases better choose citizenship of Malta, the Caribbean (Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Vanuatu). All of them allow you to obtain citizenship for the whole family without living in the countries stated or knowing their native languages. 

A Maltese passport allows you to live, work and conduct business in any country of the European Union, travel without visas in Schengen, the United States and the United Kingdom, and also provides access to the European banking system. 

Frequently asked questions

How to obtain Turkish citizenship?

A Turkish passport can be obtained in several ways: 

  • by investments from $400,000; 
  • through marriage; 
  • by birth, if at least one parent is Turkish; 
  • through employment after five years of work; 
  • through naturalization after five years of living in Turkey;
  • for special merits and outstanding achievements.
How much does Turkish citizenship by investment cost?

To get a Turkish passport by investment, you need to choose one of the options: 

  • buying real estate worth from $400,000; 
  • opening a bank deposit from $500,000; 
  • purchasing of securities in the amount of $500,000; 
  • starting a business with a capital of $500,000; 
  • creating of 50 jobs. 

After three years, real estate and securities can be sold, and business can be closed.

What does Turkish citizenship give to an investor?

The main advantages of Turkish citizenship:

  • registration period from six to eight months;
  • the opportunity to obtain citizenship immediately for the whole family; 
  • the opportunity to apply for an American E2 investor visa and move to the United States with the whole family; 
  • the prospect of becoming a citizen of the European Union if Turkey is accepted; 
  • investments can be returned in three years; 
  • no need to give up your current citizenship; 
  • it is not necessary to know live in Turkey and know the language;
  • citizenship can be inherited.
If a child was born in Turkey, will he receive Turkish citizenship?

A child will receive Turkish citizenship if at least one of his parents is a Turkish citizen, in this case, the country of birth is irrelevant. However, If both parents are foreigners, the child will not acquire Turkish citizenship, even if born in Turkey.

What taxes must be paid when becoming a Turkish citizen?

It depends on which country you are tax resident in. If you live outside of the country of citizenship for more than 183 days a year, then you cease to be its resident. 

If you live in Turkey for more than 183 days a year, then you become a tax resident and must pay taxes only to the Turkish tax office. There is no need to pay twice if Turkey has concluded an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation with the country of your first citizenship. 

When selling real estate, you must pay sales tax — 2% of the value of the property from the seller and the buyer. 

Is it possible to have dual citizenship in Turkey?

Turkish legislation allows foreigners to obtain citizenship without renouncing theirs.

There is a conscript army in Turkey. Should an investor or his children serve in the army?

An investor who has acquired Turkish citizenship is exempt from military service. His sons become liable for military service and are subject to conscription after 18 years. However, the call can be waived by paying a fee of $6,000.

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Turkey citizenship by investment: who is eligible and how to get it