As recently as 2020, the Republic of Turkey updated its naturalization laws regarding the citizenship pathway by purchasing real estate in Turkey. Additionally, from the point of view of citizenship-seekers, the Turkish government made some helpful adjustments by lowering the investment bar requirements.
People seeking Turkish citizenship can now invest only $250,000 in Turkish real estate, which is easily accomplished if you buy apartments in Istanbul. There is good reason to be excited by this development because Istanbul offers opportunities for one of the most secure and attractive property investments anywhere on the planet today.
However, buying apartments in Istanbul (to be transparent, an investor can buy property virtually anywhere in Turkey) is only one of the legal requirements candidates for naturalization have to hurdle. Below are a few more hoops through which citizenship applicants must jump.
Turkish citizenship property requirements
As mentioned above, everyone applying for Turkish citizenship must be able to prove that they have purchased Turkish property worth at least $250,000. We strongly recommend that you treat such property purchases as an investment, not as a loss or ‘fee’ for becoming a citizen of Turkey. With the right mindset, not only will you gain citizenship in Turkey but add healthy investments to your property portfolio. Unfortunately, no one can apply for Turkish citizenship without first being a Turkish property owner.
Turkish law requires citizenship applicants to stipulate in title deeds that they will not resell their Turkish properties within three years of gaining citizenship.
The law requires that property purchases to apply for citizenship cannot be made in dollars. The property purchase for this purpose must have been made in Turkish lira. This seems like an odd restriction, but there is no getting around it as it is the law. Just bear it in mind. An excellent real estate agent will be able to help you with this, of course.
A critical ‘gotcha’ for those who already own property in Turkey: you have to sell and buy back the property so that the new contract and title deed includes a three-year moratorium on selling it. This clever legal device prevents foreigners from circumventing restrictions by using newly purchased properties as a compliance mechanism.
If you’re wondering, the value of your property will be evaluated by a dedicated, specialized body tasked with ensuring the correctness of the title deed and confirming that the price recorded has not been exaggerated. Please be sure to use a reliable and trustworthy real estate agent for these reasons.
Turkish citizenship non-property requirements
- Candidates can submit their applications in person or through an authorized proxy. The government made this a part of the process specifically to ease the burden on applicants.
- The applicant (who should be the head of the family), his first wife, and children under 18 years of age are the only persons who can receive Turkish citizenship upon a successful application.
- Turkey does not recognize Polygamous marriages, which follow European Union rules on marriage. However, surprisingly and confusingly, children from all wives married under polygamy can become citizens by force of a unique mechanism under this scheme.
- The law states that each dependent over 18 is legally an adult and therefore has to submit a separate application.
- Important: bear in mind that the price of any property you have purchased in Turkey will be calculated using the exchange rate between the American dollar and the Turkish lira when you submit your application. If you have purchased the qualifying property very close to the absolute limit of $250,000, this could become problematic should the lira gain value against the dollar.
The good news is that the turnaround time for gaining citizenship through this pathway is relatively swift compared to most countries. The law stipulates that citizenship will be granted to candidates who meet all legal requirements within three months from submitting their application!