In its Circular No. 2013/13 (“Circular”), General Directorate of Land Registry sets out internal regulations for land registry offices with respect to identity check of the foreign individual buyer of real estates in Turkey. According to the provisions of the Circular, foreign buyer’s ID card or passport must normally be submitted to the land registry as a proof of identity. In case the foreign individual is a person without a citizenship (i.e. stateless person), a document attesting to his/her statelessness must be submitted as a proof of his/her statelessness.

On March 7, 2019, two amendments have been made to the Circular:

1. If a stateless person would like to acquire real estate in Turkey, he/she must submit to the land registry office so-called “stateless person identification document” to be issued from the Migration Authority as a proof of his/her statelessness.

Law on Foreigners and International Protection No. 6458 entitles the Migration Authority to issue stateless person identification document for stateless persons subject to certain conditions.

Although amendment is new, land registry offices have already been requiring stateless person identification document as a proof of buyer’s stateless status already since a few years.

2. If a Palestinian holding a travel document issued by another country would like to acquire real estate in Turkey, the travel document will be accepted as a proof of identity provided that the Palestinian submits a residence permit issued by Turkish Migration Authority along with the travel document.

The Circular introduces a significant exemption for Palestinian nationals. As widely known, millions of Palestinians living in the MENA region do not hold a citizenship and instead hold a travel document issued by the host country. These travel documents enable its holder to travel internationally, however do not grant citizenship.

With the amendment to the Circular, Palestinians holding a travel document and a Turkish residence permit became able to acquire real estate in Turkey without having to obtain stateless person identity document.

Palestinians can now acquire Turkish citizenship by investment in real estate

Turkish law allows for the acquisition of Turkish citizenship by foreigners who purchase real estate worth at least USD 250.000 in Turkey. The foreign buyer must also undertake not to sell the real estate for a period of three years in order to acquire Turkish citizenship.

By enabling Palestinians with a travel document to acquire real estate in Turkey, the amendment to the Circular paves the way for them to acquire Turkish citizenship by investment in real estate.