Turkey, like most countries, has unique arrangements to grant citizenship to people who meet specific qualifications.
There is a way to acquire citizenship exclusive to foreign investors. In this article, we will briefly mention the qualifications of acquiring Turkish citizenship through foreign investment; in the range of the latest regulations.
Regulations regarding the foreign investor's acquisition of Turkish citizenship are included in the Turkish Citizenship Law No. 5901("Law"), the Regulation on the Implementation of the Turkish Citizenship Law("Regulation"), the Foreigners and International Protection Law, and the Presidential Decision No. 106 and 418.
According to the Regulation article 20;
A foreigner who fulfills any of the following conditions can acquire Turkish citizenship by the decision of the President within the scope of subparagraph (b) of the first paragraph of Article 12 of the Law:
· Making a fixed capital investment of at least 500,000 USD or equivalent foreign currency.
· Purchasing immovable property worth at least 250.000 USD or equivalent in foreign currency, assured that it shall not be sold for three years in the title deed records.
There is an alternative way to qualify through immovable acquisition: It is possible to deposit at least 250,000 USD or equivalent foreign currency in advance, where condominium or floor servitude has been established. In addition, the undertaking shall be annotated for three years in the land registry to not be transferred or abandoned.
· To create employment for at least 50 people.
· Depositing at least 500,000 USD or equivalent foreign currency deposits in banks operating in Turkey, provided that they are kept for three years.
· To purchase government debt instruments of at least 500,000 USD or equivalent foreign currency, provided that they are kept for three years.
· To purchase real estate investment fund participation shares or venture capital investment fund participation shares of at least 500,000 USD or equivalent foreign currency, provided that they hold at least three years.
Before the latest changes on 6th January 2022, the provisions regarding the quantity of USD were equivalent to Turkish lira rather than foreign currency indexed, as we can see today.
There is another change in Regulation besides the equivalency of capital. A whole new qualification has also been set: There is an obligation to sell the aforementioned foreign capitals to a bank operating in Turkey, excluding the first and the third qualifications in the list.
After the sale of investment capital to the bank; in the case of the fourth provision, obtained Turkish lira amounts shall store in a Turkish lira indexed deposit for three years. In the fifth provision, the obtained amount shall be stored in terms of state debt instruments for three years.
These qualifications are determined by the relevant institutions in Turkey whether the conditions of the investment are met within the Regulation.
After the qualification of one of the provisions listed in Regulation article 20, obtaining a "Certificate of Conformity" and a short-term residence permit should be obtained to apply for Turkish citizenship.
The certificate of conformity is obtained to certify that the investment made by the foreigner is in suitable conditions for acquiring citizenship. With each type of investment, the relevant institution and application procedure varies as we mentioned.
In terms of the short-term residence permit; it is regulated in article 31/1 (j) of Foreigners and International Protection Law as the investors are already qualified for the threshold of investment and thus could apply for the short-term residence permit.
The last thing to do is to apply for Turkish citizenship with a short-term residence permit and a certificate of conformity stating that the investment is suitable for citizenship.
It is crucial to keep in mind that the whole procedure of applications requires a large number of documents. If the documents necessary for the application are missing, the application could be rejected or delayed. Thus, a professional legal service could save applicants from wasting time and unnecessary application fees.
1. Regulation on the Implementation of the Turkish Citizenship Law published in the Official Gazette dated 06.01.2022.
Att. Gülşah Algın
Att. Nazlı Karaaslan
Legal Trainee Alper Can Ekici