ACQUISITION OF TURKISH CITIZENSHIP THROUGH INVESTMENT

ACQUISITION OF TURKISH CITIZENSHIP THROUGH INVESTMENT

Almost all countries have made special arrangements to easily grant citizenship to people who have certain qualifications. Turkey is also among these countries. It is possible for some foreigners to acquire citizenship of the Republic of Turkey due to their close interest and connections with our country, in a much easier way than for any foreigner to acquire citizenship. This is called exceptional naturalization. 

For foreign investors, it is also possible to acquire citizenship in an exceptional way. In order for a foreigner to acquire Turkish citizenship through investment, it is necessary that his/her investment be within a certain scope and amount. But a foreign investor cannot automatically acquire citizenship by meeting the requirements in the law. For this purpose, it is required to apply with the necessary documents and this application should be positive.

In this bulletin, we explain the conditions and related procedure that a foreign investor must provide in order to acquire Turkish citizenship.

Keywords: Citizenship, Turkish Citizenship, Exceptional Citizenship, Foreigner, Investment, Foreign Investor.

  1. LEGISLATION ON CITIZENSHIP OF FOREIGN INVESTORS

Regulations regarding the foreign investor’s acquisition of Turkish citizenship are included in the Turkish Citizenship Law No. 5901, the Regulation on the Implementation of the Turkish Citizenship Law, the Foreigners and International Protection Law and the Presidential Decision No. 106 and 418.

According to Article 12 of Turkish Citizenship Law;

  Provided that there is no obstacle as regards national security and public order, aliens, set out below, may be received into Turkish citizenship upon a decision of the President;

  • Those persons who bring into Turkey industrial facilities or have rendered or believed to render an outstanding service in the social or economic arena or in the fields of science, technology, sports, culture, or arts.
  • Those who have a short-term residence permit in accordance with Article 31/1(J) of the Foreigners and International Protection Law,
  • Turquoise Card holder foreigners and their foreign spouse, minor or dependent foreign child of their own or their spouse.
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In this bulletin, we will focus on how and when foreigners who invest in Turkey by obtaining a short-term residence permit can acquire citizenship in accordance with Article 31/1(j) of the Foreigners and International Protection Law.

  1. CITIZENSHIP CONDITIONS FOR A FOREIGN INVESTER WITH SHORT-TERM RESIDENCE PERMIT

In Article 31/1-j entitled “Short-Term Residence Permit- of the Foreigners and International Protection Law”;

Those who do not work in Turkey but will make investments within the scope and amount to be determined by the President, and their foreign spouse, minor or dependent foreign child of their own or their spouse will be able to apply for a short-term residence permit.” 

As can be seen, not everyone who invests can acquire citizenship through investment. These investments must bear certain characteristics or exceed certain monetary amounts. According to the Foreigners and International Protection Law, the investment in question must be within the scope and amount to be determined by the President. The scope and amount of the investment granting citizenship has been determined in the Presidential Decision No. 418.

According to the Presidential Decision No. 418, it is possible for the person who provides any of the following conditions to obtain Turkish citizenship by investment upon the application and the decision of the President;

  • ACQUIRING CITIZENSHIP THROUGH FIXED CAPITAL INVESTMENT: A foreign investor determined by the Ministry of Industry and Technology to have made a fixed capital investment of at least 500,000 USD or equivalent in foreign currency or equivalent in Turkish lira can acquire citizenship. Buying real estate alone does not fall into this type of investment. A fixed capital investment should be an investment in the production of goods and services. Therefore, it should contain elements related to the factory. For example, machinery, equipment, building, land.
  • ACQUIRING CITIZENSHIP THROUGH INVESTMENT IN REAL ESTATE: A foreign investor, determined by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, to have purchased real estate worth at least 250,000 USD or equivalent in foreign currency or Turkish lira, can acquire Turkish citizenship, provided that an annotation is put in the land registry records that it will not be sold for three years. Before the real estate is purchased, a real estate valuation report showing the market value of the real estate should be prepared by real estate appraisal institutions licensed by the Capital Markets Board and the Banking Supervision Board. The date of preparation of the valuation report submitted during the application for the purchase of the real estate must be at most three (3) months before the application date. 
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You can review the details of the procedures and conditions regarding the foreign investor’s acquisition of real estate in Turkey in our bulletin on ‘Process and Conditions for Foreign Investors to Purchase Real Estate in Turkey‘.

  • CITIZENSHIP BY PROVIDING EMPLOYMENT: A foreign investor determined by the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services to employ at least 50 people can acquire Turkish citizenship.
  • ACQUIRING CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTING IN BANKS IN TURKEY THROUGH OPENING DEPOSIT ACCOUNT: A foreign investor, determined by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency, to have deposited at least 500,000 USD or equivalent in foreign currency or Turkish lira in banks operating in Turkey for three years, can acquire Turkish citizenship. The bank in which the investment is made must be established in Turkey. Citizenship cannot be acquired with money deposited into a deposit account opened at a branch, affiliate or representative office of a bank based in Turkey. The deposit must be in convertible foreign currency or precious metal type specified by the CBRT. 
  • ACQUIRING CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTING IN GOVERNMENT DEBT INSTRUMENTS: A foreign investor determined by the Ministry of Treasury and Finance can acquire Turkish citizenship, provided that they hold at least 500,000 USD or equivalent foreign currency or Turkish lira worth of government debt instruments for three years.
  • ACQUIRING CITIZENSHIP THROUGH INVESTING IN SHARES OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT FUND OR VENTURE CAPITAL INVESTMENT FUNDS: A foreign investor determined by the Capital Markets Board, who has purchased a share of real estate investment fund or venture capital investment fund of at least 500,000 USD or equivalent in foreign currency or equivalent in Turkish lira, can acquire Turkish citizenship.

In the calculation of these monetary limits, the effective selling rate and/or cross exchange rate of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey on the calculation date is taken as basis.

  1. THE PROCEDURE FOR FOREIGN INVESTORS TO FOLLOW

1) Fulfilling at least one of the investments specified in Article 20 of the Regulation on the Implementation of the Turkish Citizenship Law and obtaining a “Certificate of Conformity” from the relevant institution indicating that the investment has been made.

2) Obtaining a “short-term residence permit” in accordance with the Article 31/1-j of the Foreigners and International Protection Law.

3) Applying for citizenship.

  • Let us point out here that all procedures regarding short-term residence permit application, receipt of residence permit card, obtaining certificate of conformity and all the necessary steps for citizenship application can be concluded remotely with a special power of attorney without the need for the foreigner to come to the country in person. The expert staff of our office will show the necessary care to perform all transactions on your behalf in the fastest way possible.
  1. Obtaining a Certificate of Conformity

The certificate of conformity is obtained in order to certify that the investment made by the foreigner is in suitable conditions for acquiring citizenship. How and where the certificate of conformity should be obtained depends on the type of investment made or to be made by the foreigner. Different procedures have been adopted for six different types of investment. In order to obtain the certificate of conformity for each investment type, more than one institution/organization should be contacted, and the applications should be evaluated by these institutions. Below is a list of units to contact when obtaining a certificate of conformity according to investment types.

IN CASE OF FIXED CAPITAL INVESTMENT; Relevant units of the Ministry of Industry and Technology.

IN CASE OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT; Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre, Department of Foreign Affairs.

IN CASE OF PROVIDING EMPLOYMENT; Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services, General Directorate of International Labor Force, Social Security Institution, Revenue Administration.

IN CASE OF INVESTING IN BANKS IN TURKEY THROUGH OPENING A DEPOSIT ACCOUNT; BRSA Financial Consumer Relations Department, Ministry of Interior General Directorate of Population and Citizenship Affairs, General Directorate of Migration Management.

IN CASE INVESTING IN SHARES OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT FUND OR VENTURE CAPITAL INVESTMENT FUN; Central Registry Agency and Capital Markets Board Intermediary Activities Department.

IN CASE OF INVESTING WITH GOVERNMENT DEBT INSTRUMENTS; Ministry of Treasury and Finance.

  1. Acquisition of a Short-Term Residence Permit

It is obligatory for foreigners who will stay in Turkey for more than ninety days or the period granted by the visa or visa exemption to obtain a residence permit. In Turkish law, there are many different residence permits according to the reasons of arrival and stay in Turkey. The type of residence permit that an investor must obtain in order to acquire citizenship is a short-term residence permit. If the foreigner is going to apply for a residence permit from Turkey for a period, he/she must enter Turkey using a valid visa or visa exemption and apply for a short-term residence permit online to extend his/her stay in Turkey.

  • Foreigners who will establish or develop commercial relations or establish a business in Turkey,
  • Foreigners who have real estate in the form of housing in Turkey,
  • Persons who will invest in the scope and amount determined by the Presidential Decision (article 31/1 (j) of Foreigners and International Protection Law),

can obtain a short-term residence permit. 

  • It is possible for a foreign investor to apply for a short-term residence without entering Turkey. Investors also have the opportunity to apply for a short-term residence permit through the e-residence system. However, in this case, the relevant documents must be submitted to the General Directorate of Migration Management.
  • Similarly, short-term residence applications can be made from Turkey. The foreign investor must appoint a representative authorized by special power of attorney in Turkey if he/she wishes to apply from Turkey while he/she is abroad.
  • Applications can be followed from the Private Citizenship Information Offices located in the provinces of Istanbul and Ankara. 
  • Our team will follow all the steps related to your application carefully and inform you about the process.
  • Applications for residence permits from outside Turkey are made to the Turkish consulates in the countries where the foreigner is a citizen or legally residing.
  • Consulates submit the application to the Directorate General of Migration Management.
  • Passport or passport substitutes of foreigners applying for a residence permit must be 60 days longer than the requested residence permit. 

Applications are completed no later than 90 days from the date of application.

  1. Applying for Citizenship

The last thing to do is to apply for Turkish citizenship, after obtaining a short-term residence permit and a “certificate of conformity” stating that the investment is suitable for citizenship. The investor can also apply on behalf of family members. However, it is only possible to make this application for his/her spouse and children under the age of 18.

Applications are made at the special offices of the Immigration Administration for Istanbul and Ankara; for other provinces, it is submitted to the Provincial Directorate of Population and Citizenship. 

The citizenship application of foreigners is evaluated by the commission formed by the relevant Ministries and submitted to the approval of the President. The decision to grant citizenship is at the discretion of the President.

  • A large number of information and documents must be prepared in full when applying for a certificate of conformity, a short-term residence permit and citizenship. If the documents required for applications are missing, your application may be rejected, or it will take time to complete the missing documents. You can contact SOLMAZ LAW and CONSULTANCY team for all information and documents required to apply for citizenship and to follow up this process.

Sincerely.

REFERENCES

 DOĞAN, Vahit, 2012, Türk Vatandaşlık Hukuku, Seçkin Yayıncılık, Ankara, pp. 82-84.

2Presidential Decision No. 106 published in the Official Gazette dated 19.09.2018, and Presidential Decision No. 418 published in the Official Gazette dated 07.12.2018. 

3 <https://www.invest.gov.tr/tr/investmentguide/sayfalar/acquiring-property-and-citizenship.aspx>.

4 <https://www.spk.gov.tr/Sayfa/Index/3/10>

5 ÇİÇEKLİ, Bülent, 2014, Yabancılar ve Mülteci Hukuku, Seçkin Yayıncılık, Ankara, p.97; Foreigners and International Protection Law, Article 19.

6TAMTÜRK, Dilara, “Türk Vatandaşlığının Yatırım Yoluyla Kazanılması”, accessed on 8 February 2021,

7ÇİÇEKLİ, ibid., p.102.

8ÇİÇEKLİ, ibid., p.102.

9 Documents that replace passports: Safe Conduct Pass, Seaman’s Identity Card, Aircrew Document, Railway Personnel Identity Document, Border Crossing Document, Travel Document.

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