Romesh and Chandira are a couple from Dhaka. Romesh is a businessman and manages the company remotely most of the time. Chandira is a housewife. They often travel and love to relax on the beach.
The couple wanted to buy a house in a country with a warm climate to spend several months by the sea.
Romesh and Chandira decided to obtain Turkey citizenship for the purchase of the real estate. They learned they couldn’t apply for citizenship by themselves: only the program agent could. They flew to Istanbul and chose a company that helped foreigners obtain Turkey citizenship by investment.
The Turkish company was located in a new modern business centre in Bostanci, a prestigious district of Istanbul. The secretary escorted Romesh and Chandira to the manager.
The cost of the services of the Turkish intermediary was $1,000. Romesh and Chandira signed a contract and paid cash for the company’s services.
The manager of the Turkish company showed investors a real estate catalogue. The couple chose an apartment in Istanbul for $250,000 and made a cash deposit of $2,000. They agreed that after the weekend, Romesh and Chandira would come to the company’s office, and the manager himself would show them the apartments.
From June 12th, 2022, the minimum investment amount for buying real estate has increased from $250,000 to $400,000.
When the couple arrived at the appointed time, the office was empty. Nobody answered phone calls. Romesh and Chandira realised they had been deceived.
We were confused at first; we didn’t even know how to react. Then we exhaled and realised we needed to look for an international company that had stood the test of time. Looking for an agent only in Turkey was a mistake.
Businessman from Dhaka
Looking for another citizenship program agent
Romesh and Chandira began looking for another program agent, a well-known international company. By surfing the Internet, we found the Immigrant Invest website and read the materials and reviews.
The couple contacted Immigrant Invest on December 6th, 2021. They told about the situation with the Turkish company and asked if it was possible to find it and return the money. Immigrant Invest lawyers checked the Turkish company and explained to the couple how to identify scammers.
How to identify scammers
The contracted company was not registered in the Turkish Trade Register. The websites of regional chambers of commerce contain data that can be used to check the registration of a foreign company. For example, the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce.
Agent and real estate services are paid only by bank transfer. Employees of the Turkish company immediately asked to pay for the services and make an advance payment for the property in cash.
Romesh and Chandira ran into a fake agent. The scammers rented a prestigious office for a few days, collected cash from interested people and disappeared.
Unfortunately, such stories are not uncommon. Today, the demand among investors for Turkey citizenship is higher than ever, and scammers are in a hurry to make money.
If an agent of any citizenship or residence permit program asks you to pay for services or investments in cash, you probably deal with a scammer. All payments under the program and for real estate go only through a bank. The investor pays for the agent’s services by bank transfer on the invoice after signing a contract.
Suppose an investor buys real estate to participate in the citizenship program. In that case, the money for real estate is transferred to the seller’s bank account for related taxes — to the tax service account.
Head of the Legal Department, lawyer, Candidate of Juridical Sciences
Preliminary Due Diligence and conclusion of an agreement
Before signing an agreement, we preliminarily checked the investor against international databases of legal and business information.
A certified Anti Money Laundering Officer conducts almost the same Due Diligence as the Turkish CBI Unit. The preliminary check is confidential and takes one day. It allows lawyers to identify all “red flags” in advance and reduce the risk of failure to 1%.
Romesh successfully passed the check: we found no legal, reputational or other risks and concluded a cooperation agreement.
How Romesh and Chandira obtained Turkey citizenship
1. Registration of a TIN, opening a bank account and buying a home. The Immigrant Invest lawyers sent an offer to purchase an apartment to a real estate seller in Turkey and concluded a preliminary sale and purchase agreement on behalf of Romesh.
Romesh received an individual tax number in Turkey to register a property and open a bank account.
After registering the TIN and opening an account, the seller and Romesh signed a sale and purchase agreement, and the investor transferred the money to the seller. Romesh received a certified copy of TAPU, the certificate of registering a property in the land registry of Turkey.
Property appraisals for the citizenship program are carried out by companies licensed by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Authority (BRSA or BDDK in Turkish) and the Capital Markets Board (SPK in Turkish). The examination cost depends on the area and municipal fees, which averages $150.
Real Estate Chief Operations Officer, RICS certified professional
Examples of Turkish investment properties
2. Preparation of documents and application for a residence permit. To apply for Turkish citizenship, you must first obtain a residence permit. A residence permit is issued to investors immediately after the real estate purchase. At the same time, they do not need to live in the country.
A package of documents for a short-term residence permit includes:
- an application for a residence permit;
- copies of national and international passports;
- a bank statement confirming sufficient funds to live in Turkey during the period of the residence permit validity;
- receipts of payment of the fee for the issuance of a residence permit card;
- medical insurance;
- a sale and purchase agreement for a property;
- a certificate of ownership of real estate (TAPU).
The Immigrant Invest lawyers translated the documents into Turkish and apostilled them. Then they forwarded the documents to the Turkish CBI Unit. Two weeks later, Romesh received a residence permit card.
3. Applying for citizenship. As soon as Romesh received a residence permit, he applied for Turkey citizenship. To this end, Immigrant Invest lawyers prepared the second package of documents.
The main documents that the investor provides when applying for Turkey citizenship:
- the investor’s application in two copies;
- the investor’s CV;
- copies of national and international passports of all family members;
- birth certificates for all family members;
- a marriage certificate;
- medical insurance;
- a police clearance certificate;
- a copy of the residence permit;
- a bank statement confirming payment for real estate;
- a Certificate of Conformity proving the fulfilment of financial investment obligations from the General Directorate of TAPU and Cadastre;
- the investor’s power of attorney for an Immigrant Invest lawyer;
- a payment receipt of the state fee for the passport issuance.
Based on a power of attorney, the Immigrant Invest lawyers forwarded Romesh’s documents to the Provincial Civil Registry and Citizenship Office at the place of the property location.
From the Provincial Office, the investor’s application and documents are forwarded to the General Directorate of Civil Status Acts and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkey. There, the application and documents are considered for three to four months. Romesh received approval on April 30th, 2021.
4. Obtaining passports. In early May 2022, Romesh and his wife Chandira received their passports at the Turkish Embassy in Dhaka.
$282,992 were spent by Romesh и Chandira on participation in the Turkey citizenship program:
- purchase of real estate — $270,000;
- property tax of 4% — $10,800;
- an assessment from a licensed appraiser — $150;
- registration fee — $30;
- fee for applying for a residence permit — $216;
- passport fee — $330;
- tax number — $18;
- private medical insurance — $300;
- government processing fees — $1,148.
6 months for Romesh and Chandira to obtain Turkey citizenship by investment
Romesh and Chandira’s life with Turkish passports
The couple successfully obtained a second citizenship. An apartment in Turkey will be rented out from December to August, and they will live there themselves in the autumn. As citizens of the country, they will be able to come to Turkey at any time, even with closed borders.
Turkish passports allow the couple to visit 111 countries visa-free, including Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Jamaica.
We immediately applied for tourist visas. As citizens of Turkey, we got C-2 Schengen visas for five years and B‑1/B‑2 visas for 10 years for trips to the USA. We have bought tickets to Europe and will start with a trip to Paris and then to the States.
We plan to spend autumn in our apartment in Istanbul and hope to visit Japan and Hong Kong in early December.
Businessman from Dhaka