1. What is the minimum amount of investment to be made in real estate in order for a foreigner to become eligible for Turkish citizenship?
Regulation on the implementation of the Turkish Citizenship Law has been amended to introduce citizenship by investment scheme in January 12, 2017. When first introduced, the Regulation granted foreigners acquiring real estate in Turkey with a value of at least USD 1.000.000 the right to apply for Turkish citizenship. With the amendment of September 19, 2018, the minimum amount for real estate investment has been decreased to USD 250.000.
Accordingly, a foreigner who acquires real estate in Turkey
– between January 12, 2017 through September 18, 2018, with a value of at least USD 1.000.000; or
– as from September 19, 2018, with a value of at least USD 250.000,
is eligible for Turkish citizenship.
It is worth noting that the actual purchase price as well as the market value of the real estate must meet the minimum investment amount. Market value of the real estate is specified in the valuation report prepared by a licensed real estate valuation company.
The foreigner must also undertake in written form not to transfer the real estate for a period of three years. This undertaking must be annotated with the land registry record of the real estate.
2. Is it a specific type of real estate that grants the right to obtain Turkish citizenship?
No. Acquisition of any type of real estate including land, apartment, villa, factory, hotel entitles the foreigner to apply for Turkish citizenship.
3. If a foreigner acquires several properties in Turkey on different dates with a cumulative value of more than USD 250.000, can he/she apply for Turkish citizenship?
Yes, as long as the foreigner has acquired the properties after September 19, 2018, he/she is eligible to apply for Turkish citizenship.
4. Beside the required investment amount and transfer restriction, what are other restrictions for foreigners to obtain Turkish citizenship by acquiring real estate in Turkey?
Acquisition of real estate from a foreigner does not grant the buyer to apply for Turkish citizenship. In other words, if the current owner of the real estate is a foreigner, acquisition of that real estate does not grant the right for Turkish citizenship.
Furthermore, real estates that had been transferred to a Turkish national from a foreigner at a date after January 12, 2017 are also excluded from the citizenship by real estate investment scheme. It means that if a real estate had been owned by a foreigner after January 12, 2017 for any period, acquiring that real estate does not grant the right to apply for Turkish citizenship.
Please also note that citizens of certain countries are not allowed to acquire real estate in Turkey. Citizens of these countries therefore may not obtain Turkish citizenship by real estate investment. However, they can still obtain Turkish citizenship by making another type of investment.
5. How will the purchase price be calculated to specify whether it meets the minimum investment amount of USD 250.000?
Purchase price calculated in US Dollars on the basis of the exchange rate on the date of the real estate acquisition must meet the required amount of at least USD 250.000. Also, the valuation report prepared by the licensed valuation company must also specify the market value of the real estate, which must also be at least USD 250.000.
6. Would it affect the suitability of the real estate for Turkish citizenship if there is a mortgage on it?
If the mortgage on the real estate is to be removed within 5 business days following the acquisition of the real estate, the mortgage would not affect the foreigner’s right to acquire Turkish citizenship by acquiring such real estate.
If the mortgage is to remain on the real estate, the mortgage amount would be deducted from the purchase price of the real estate when calculating whether it meets the minimum investment amount of USD 250.000.
7. How should the buyer pay the purchase price to the seller?
One of the documents required to be submitted to the land registry office is the bank receipt demonstrating that the purchase price has been transferred to the seller. Therefore, it is advised that the foreign buyer wires the purchase price to the seller’s bank account. For a smooth operation of the transaction, foreign buyer can first open a bank account in Turkey on his/her name and transfer the purchase price to the seller from his/her Turkish bank account.
8. Is the foreigner required to transfer the purchase price from his/her bank account abroad?
No, the foreigner can transfer the purchase price from his/her Turkish bank account. Also, the foreign buyer is not required to transfer the funds to be used to pay the purchase price into Turkey from abroad in order to become eligible for Turkish citizenship. If the foreigner holds sufficient funds in a Turkish bank account, he/she can pay the purchase price with the funds in his/her Turkish bank account.
9. How long does the application process take?
Once the foreigner acquires real estate satisfying all the criteria for Turkish citizenship, it usually takes approximately five to six months to obtain the result of the citizenship application.
10. Is it possible that the foreigner appoints a proxy to apply for Turkish citizenship on his/her behalf?
Yes. Foreigners can grant a power of attorney to a trusted third person to acquire the real estate and to apply for citizenship on their behalf. It is advised to work with qualified lawyers throughout the real estate acquisition and citizenship application process.