According to Article 20, Paragraf 2 of the Regulation on the Implementation of the Turkish Citizenship Law, persons who make certain investments are entitled to acquire Turkish citizenship. One of these investments is “putting an annotation on the title deed of the property amounting to at least $400.000 or its equivalent in foreign currency not to be sold for three years”.
Legal Basis of Acquisition of Turkish Citizenship by Investment:
Article 20 of the Turkish Citizenship Law is regulated as follows: Within the scope of subparagraph (b) of paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Regulation on the Implementation of the Turkish Citizenship Law; “A foreign investor, confirmed by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, to have purchased real estate worth at least 400.000 USD or equivalent in foreign currency or its equivalent in Turkish Lira, provided that an annotation is put in the land registry that it will not be sold for three years, can acquire citizenship. Besides, a foreign investor, determined by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, whose contract issued by the notary public for the presale contract of the immovable property for which property ownership or construction servitude has been established and for which at least 400.000 USD or its equivalent in foreign currency or its equivalent in Turkish Lira has been deposited, provided that it has been annotated in the land registry with the commitment that it will not be transferred or cancelled for a period of three years, can also acquire citizenship.” The Regulation was amended on 12.01.2017, 19.09.2018, 07.12.2018, 06.01.2022 and 13.06.2022 respectively. Accordingly, the amendments made respectively in terms of the effective dates of the amendments to the Regulation are as follows;
- Immovable(s) purchased between 12.01.2017-18.09.2018 must be worth $1.000.000
- The immovable(s) purchased/to be purchased after 19.09.2018 must be worth $400.000
- Immovable/immovable for which a presale contract has been/will be issued after 07.12.2018 must be $400.000
- With the amendment made on 06.01.2022, phrase “Turkish Lira equivalent” was removed from the Regulation and the property price was changed to the sale of the foreign currency amount to a bank for sale to the Central Bank.
Properties purchased before 12.01.2017, which is the effective date of the first regulation regarding the acquisition of Turkish citizenship by real estate investment of exceptionally in the Regulation, and properties subject to a presale contract before 07.12.2018 will not be taken into account in the acquisition of Turkish citizenship.
What are the legal prohibitions and restrictions?
There are 195 country citizens who can acquire real estate in Turkey. Citizens of countries other than the permitted countries cannot acquire real estate from the Republic of Türkiye an cannot apply for citizenship by real estate investment. Since Syrian citizens cannot acquire real estate in our country, it is not possible for them to apply for citizenship by real estate acquisition. Foreign real persons may acquire immovable property in our country up to a maximum of 30 hectares and up to 10% of the area of the district that can be subject to private property, subject to legal limitations. Real persons of foreign nationality may purchase properties in ” Private Security Zones” with the permission of the Governorate and may issue presale contract. However, they cannot purchase immovable properties located in prohibited military zone and security zones or other areas where foreign real persons are prohibited from acquiring properties and cannot issue presale contract.
What should be the quality of the immovable property?
There is no restriction on the quality of the immovable property that can be acquired through sale (residence, workplace, land, field, garden, etc.). The applications to be made based on the presale contract issued at the notary public are valid for immovable properties for which construction servitude or condominium ownership has been set up. Rights registered in the land registry as timeshare cannot be subject to acquisition of Turkish citizenship through acquisition by real estate.
How many properties can be purchased?
There is no limit to the number of immovable properties to be acquired through sale. It is fundamental to provide $400,000, which is the amount specified in the Regulation. In the applications made based on the presale contract, the amount sought in the Regulation must be provided with a single contract. In this context, it is possible to subject more than one property to a presale contract under a single contract, and applications made based on more than one presale contract will not be taken into consideration. Since it is required that at least $400.000 must be paid in a cash, the amount corresponding to this amount must have been paid at the latest on the date of the presale contract. It is not possible to apply for citizenship with the acquisition of property in shares. For example, if a property is acquired by more than one foreign person in the form of shared ownership, this immovable property cannot be subject to citizenship, whereas if a property registered in the name of more than one person is acquired by a foreign person, this immovable property can be subject to citizenship.
Click here to read our article on who the parties (buyer and seller) can be in the acquisition of citizenship by investment.
Who can be the Parties in an Application for Turkish Citizenship by Investment?
- Immovable(s) subject to the sale or presale contract must not be registered in the title deed registry in the name of foreign persons and first degree relatives (blood relatives or relatives by marriage) of the buyer foreign real person who are Turkish citizen.
- The second-hand immovable(s) subject to the presale contract of sale must not be immovable(s) transferred to the Turkish citizen/company by the foreign real person who will acquire immovable(s) for citizenship purposes, whether or not he/she is a Turkish citizen, or by his/her first-degree relatives (blood relatives or relatives by marriage).
- The second-hand immovable(s) subject to the sale or presale contract must not be immovable(s) transferred by a foreign real person to a Turkish citizen/company within the last three years. Acquisitions arising from contracts for work and labor are excluded from the scope of this article.
- The immovable(s) subject to the sale or presale contract must not be registered in the land registry in the name of persons who have acquired Turkish citizenship exceptionally.
- The immovable(s) subject to the sale or presale contract must not be registered in the land registry in the name of the company legal entity in which the foreign real person who purchases the immovable with the citizenship request is a partner or manager of himself/herself and his/her first degree relatives.
- A real estate can be subject to citizenship acquisition only once.
- In the event that foreign real persons who have acquired Turkish citizenship through acquisition of immovable property transfer the immovable property to the previous owner after the expiration of the commitment period, or in the event that the annotation of the presale contract is canceled and the property is transferred to a third party, the issue is notified to the General Directorate to be transferred to the General Directorate of Population and Citizenship Affairs.
- Persons who have out of Turkish citizenship with permission (blue card), KKTC citizens and Turkish citizens with dual citizenship will not be considered as foreigners within the scope of this Guideline.
What are the Documents Required for Turkish Citizenship by Investment Application?
- Investor’s passport translation
- Investor’s birth certificate
- If the investor is married, the investor’s marriage certificate, if single, the investor’s certificate of single status, and if divorced, the divorce decision
- If the investor is married, birth certificates of the investor’s spouse and children under the age of 18 and marriage certificates of the investor and spouse
- If the investor is divorced and wants to apply for his/her children under the age of 18, the custody decision issued by the court and the consent of the ex-spouse given before a notary public
- If the children were born out of wedlock, a single status certificate proving that the mother was single at the time of the birth of the children
- 8 biometric photographs of all family members
In order for all of the documents listed above to be accepted as valid in Turkey, they must be attested by internationally accepted certifications. These attestations can be done in two ways. These are; If the investor’s country of citizenship is a party to the Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille Convention), all documents can be issued at notaries and then apostilled. Any document that has been apostilled can be used as a accepted document in Turkey. If the investor’s country of citizenship is not a party to the Apostille Convention, the documents must first be approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the investor’s home country and then stamped/attested by the Turkish Consulate.
Which Documents are Required for the Conformity Letter for Turkish Citizenship by Investment Application?
Once the investor has selected the property, it is compulsory to obtain a valuation report for the property. There are many points to be evaluated and checked in the valuation report to be obtained, but the most important of these is that the value of the real estate is above $400,000 USD. After the valuation report is uploaded to the system, the real estates sale fee is paid to the seller and the sale is completed by attending the land registry office. After the sale, a citizenship annotation is put and a commitment is given that the immovable will not be sold for 3 years. All documents submitted to the land registry during the application are sent to the General Directorate of Land Registry by the land registry offices. Depending on the workload, the General Directorate of Land Registry issues the conformity letter between 1-2 months and sends it to the addressee. The documents that must be uploaded to the land registry to obtain a conformity letter are listed below;
- Foreign Exchange Certificate
- Valuation Report
- Power of Attorney
- Passport Translation
- Tax ID
- Bank Receipt confirming that the transfer has been completed
- Identity Declaration Form
What is a Foreign Exchange Certificate?
Foreign Exchange Certificate is a document showing that the foreign currency has been sold to a bank in Turkey to be sold to the Central Bank before the sale transaction is made by the foreign buyer at the land registry office.
Article 13 of the Capital Movements Circular of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey, the Regulation on the Implementation of the Turkish Citizenship Law and the Implementing Instructions on Foreign Currency Sales to the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey impose the obligation to exchange foreign currency to the Central Bank in transactions where foreigners are buyers.
When purchasing real estate, foreigners must first sell their foreign currency to the Central Bank through a bank and then submit the Foreign Currency Exchange Certificate issued by the bank to the land registry office. This enforcement entered into force on 24/01/2022 and it is obligatory for foreigners to submit the foreign exchange certificate to the title deed office in real estate purchases.
The foreign currency equivalent to the total sale price of the immovable is sold by the bank to the Central Bank and the bank issues a Foreign Exchange Certificate after this transaction. The foreign buyer pays the sales price of the immovable property to the seller in Turkish Lira.
The Foreign Exchange Certificate must include the name and surname, passport number or foreign ID number of the person on whose behalf the foreign currency is exchanged, the US Dollar equivalent of the foreign currency purchased (TL equivalent is included in all cases) and a statement showing that this transaction is carried out within the scope of “Article 13 of the Capital Movements Circular”. The Foreign Exchange Certificate must be obtained before the transaction is made at the title deed office.
In the process of obtaining a conformity letter for citizenship, in addition to the Foreign Exchange Certificate, an approved bank receipt showing that the amount exchanged in question has been sent to the seller’s bank account will also be submitted to the land registry office. The amount written on the Foreign Exchange Certificate and the amount written on the receipt must be the same. In case of any difference, the conformity letter cannot be obtained. According to the letter of the General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre dated 07/12/2022 and numbered 1729065, “Foreign Exchange Certificates issued by banks are sent by the issuing bank to the relevant Land Registry Directorate via the Registered Electronic Mail system.” An arrangement has been made as follows. As of 09/12/2022, the Foreign Exchange Certificates of Purchase regarding the foreign currency sold will be sent to the title deed directorate via KEP(Registered Electronic Mail system)
What should be done if the application for Turkish Citizenship by Investment is rejected?
The person whose citizenship application has been rejected must file a lawsuit against the rejection within 60 days from the date he/she learns about the rejection or is notified in written form. The lawsuit is filed at the administrative court in the place that issued the rejection decision. If you fulfill the conditions, it is possible to apply for citizenship again by following the same steps.