08 Dec Turkey citizenship by investment [2023 Guide]
Turkey is known as the ‘gateway to the East’ and, in terms of strategic location it is ideal – with easy access to Eastern Europe and the Middle East, which makes it an ideal place to live, especially if you own a business.
The government has been actively trying to attract high net worth people to Turkey, and the Turkey citizenship by investment program was established for this purpose. It enables people to invest in Turkey and gain citizenship of the country.
But how do you go about doing it? Our guide will show you how, including:
- What is the Turkey citizenship by investment program?
- Benefits of Turkey’s citizenship by investment program
- Turkey Citizenship by Investment options
- Turkish citizenship by investment eligibility requirements
- How to apply for Turkish citizenship through the program
- Turkey citizenship by investment required documents
- How much does Turkish citizenship by investment costs?
- How long does it take to get Turkish citizenship by investment?
- Does Turkey give citizenship by investment?
- Turkish residence permit new rules 2022/2023
What is the Turkey citizenship by investment program?
The Turkey citizenship by investment program was launched by the Turkish government in January 2017 to encourage foreign direct investment in the country and boost its real estate sector.
Initially, there was little interest due to the high minimum investment figure of US$1 million. However, in 2019 this was reduced to US$250,000, which had the required impact, and the program now brings in around US$250 million per month from overseas investors. Even though the minimum investment required has been raised recently, there seems to be no slowdown in the number of people wanting Turkish citizenship through this route.
Benefits of Turkey’s citizenship by investment program
The Turkish citizenship by investment program has numerous benefits for participants. For instance, investors can live, work and study in Turkey freely, and they can also access healthcare facilities and have the same rights as a person born in Turkey.
Applicants can hold dual citizenship, meaning they do not have to relinquish their home country passports. This is particularly attractive to those who have business commitments or investments in their home country.
In addition, it is easy to get a visa to travel in the Schengen zone, as long as you have the right documentation for it. Being part of Schengen also enables visa-free travel to other countries Turkey has a bilateral agreement with, including Hong Kong, Mexico and Japan.
Applicants are also able to apply for an E2 visa, which allows citizens of countries with a trade agreement with the USA to travel there. This is especially useful if a person cannot apply for this visa through their original citizenship, such as Chinese or Indian nationals.
Being a Turkish citizen enables you to travel to 110 countries without having to apply for a visa beforehand or on arrival or require an Electronic Travel Authorisation.
Turkey citizenship by investment applicants are also entitled to bring their spouse, children under 18 and dependent parents with them. Once in Turkey, they can access healthcare facilities in the same way as local people.
There is also no obligation to make a donation to receive a passport, as is the case with many similar programs in other countries. Instead, other investment routes are offered.
Furthermore, there are no obligations to learn the local language and no rules for how long you can stay in Turkey once you have completed the citizenship by investment process.
Once you have been successful in your application, you will enjoy the considerable benefits of living and working in Turkey. Turkey is a prosperous nation, politically and economically stable, and with a relatively low cost of living, even in the capital city. It is also a historic country with many sites of cultural interest, several miles of beautiful coastline and a warm climate. It also offers easy access to many countries in Europe and the Middle East.
Turkey citizenship by investment options
There are several investment options, with purchasing real estate, creating new jobs for Turkish people and capital transfer some of the most popular.
For investing in real estate, a minimum of US$400,000 – excluding taxes – is required. This investment can be in a one or several properties. You must retain any properties you buy for three years before they can be sold on.
Investing in property is a popular option because it can be very profitable. House prices across Turkey have been growing consistently for many years, often between 5-20% per annum. Property prices are still relatively reasonable too – the average price of residential housing in Istanbul is US$130,000, according to figures released in September 2022.
A second option is to deposit US$500,000 into a Turkish bank. This can be in US dollars, euros or Turkish lira, and the sum can earn interest. However, the funds must stay for a minimum of three years in the bank without being withdrawn.
Thirdly, US$500,000 can be invested, either in a Turkish investment vehicle or government stock bonds. As with depositing money in a bank, it must be kept for at least three years. The investee must also provide audit forms from the fund being invested in. A private pension system can also be invested in, but again that investment must remain in place for at least three years.
It is also permitted to invest US$500,000 into a real estate investment fund or venture capital fund.
Other ways to invest include committing at least US$500,000 in a fixed capital contribution.
Finally, an applicant can create new jobs for 50 or more people – but this must be verified by Turkey’s Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services.
Turkey citizenship by investment eligibility requirements
The eligibility criteria for this program are relatively simple. The main applicant must be aged at least 18, must not have stayed illegally in Turkey at any time and must pay the taxes and costs involved in the application process. Applicants must also prove that they have no criminal record in other countries.
Apart from that, anyone who can provide the required investment is welcome to apply for the Turkey Citizenship by investment program. There are no minimum education or management criteria, nor is there a stipulation that you must know at least some Turkish – speaking the domestic language is a requirement in similar schemes in other countries.
How to apply for Turkish Citizenship through the program
If you have decided to take this route to citizenship, there is a set process to go through, and this is largely the same whichever type of investment you have chosen to make.
One of the first steps required is to set up a Turkish Tax ID number. Without this, you will not be able to acquire a property or open a bank account. Applying for a tax number is relatively straightforward through the website of the Turkish Tax Office, where you can access the relevant forms.
Once a tax number has been allocated to you, you can open a bank account and make capital purchases.
Once this has been completed, you can begin the process of identifying and acquiring your property or making an investment. If you are investing in property, you will need to obtain a certificate of eligibility, which can only be issued once you have qualified for the Turkey citizenship by investment program.
For the application process, you must be a legal resident of Turkey, so you will need to sort out your residence permit. However, this is straightforward and is often issued on the same day as an application is made.
Finally, the required paperwork must be completed. It is advisable to hire a third party to assist you with this, and there are plenty available for reasonable fees. The paperwork must be submitted along with the required documents to the Provincial Directorate of Census and Citizenship.
These steps can be completed quickly and without the need for the applicant to be physically present in Turkey.
Turkey citizenship by investment required documents
Applying for citizenship by investment requires numerous documents to be submitted along with the application forms.
Documents needed include the birth certificates and passports of everyone on the application along with biometric colour passport-sized photos of every applicant. This will be the main applicant, along with, for instance, spouse, dependent children aged under 18 or disabled children of any ages and dependent parents.
Other documents required include proof of residence, such as a utility bill from the past six months, proof of health insurance that is valid in Turkey and your Turkish Tax ID number. You will also be required to show proof that none of the applicants have a criminal record.
Other documents are required depending on your circumstances, such as a marriage certificate or certification of divorce or the death of a spouse.
You also need to include proof of your investment into Turkey, whether it is property, investment or deposit into a Turkish bank account.
How much does Turkish citizenship by investment cost?
There are various costs that must be considered to achieve Turkish citizenship by investment. The first, and most important, is the investment sum. The minimum amount you can invest to qualify for Turkish citizenship is US$400,000 through property. This minimum has increased recently – until 2022, it was $250,000.
Buying property is one of the most popular options in the Turkey citizenship by investment scheme, and, as mentioned, the investment can be in one or more properties. However, note that you are required to obtain a certificate of eligibility from the authorities to show the value of the property.
If you are choosing other investment options, then the minimum investment amount increases to $500,000. You can invest more, should you wish.
Other costs include those relating to the application process. If you are moving to Turkey from another country, there are various other related costs.
How long does it take to get Turkish citizenship by investment?
After you have decided how you will make your investment into the Turkish economy, the next step is to complete the application forms for a residency permit. Once the documents have been readied, the application can be sent to the government for approval. However, the process is time-consuming, and you will need to fill in a lot of paperwork, and may also require documents to be translated, if you are not conversant in Turkish.
The approval generally takes up to 120 days from start to finish and may require the main applicant to be interviewed by the authorities. However, you are not required to be in Turkey yourself to complete this process or attend an interview in person. Once approved, citizenship documents are issued.
Once the documents have been sent out, you can then apply for a passport.
Does Turkey give citizenship by investment?
Yes, Turkey does give citizenship to people in return for an investment, which is standard among countries that offer citizenship for investment or Golden Visa programs. People who have the means to make an investment can choose their route and start the process, which can be completed within six months in many cases.
Turkish residence permit new rules 2022/2023
There have been recent amendments to residence permits made by the Turkish authorities in 2022, which also apply to citizenship. For instance, authorities have published a list of closed areas where investors can no longer buy real estate to get a residency permit. This includes Istanbul, Adana, Ankara, and Mersin.
However, these rules don’t apply to people from other countries who got a residence permit/citizenship before the new restrictions were implemented or those who choose to buy real estate in other Turkish districts outside the closed list.