Important Considerations if applying for Turkish Nationality

Although there is more than one process to apply for Turkish citizenship, there are several legal restrictions on these procedures, of which you should be aware before making an application.
Article Last Updated: 23 Nov, 2023 under Citizenship Application

Turkey has been an attractive option for some years, as a result of its geographical location.

If you are thinking about investing in Turkey and living here, a Turkish passport will give you many advantages. You will not have to constantly carry your residence permit around with you, and you will also benefit from tax advantages and incentives. You may also benefit from dual-nationality.

Currently, foreigners living in Turkey, employees in Turkey, those who are married to a Turkish citizen, those whose paternity is located in Turkey, those who did not receive citizenship but were born in Turkey, purchasers of real estate in Turkey and those who were adopted by a Turkish citizen can apply for Turkish citizenship and benefit from the advantages of a Turkish passport.

Although there is more than one option for applying for Turkish citizenship, there are several legal restrictions on these procedures, and it is wise to seek support from a lawyer specialized in immigration matters to avoid losing your rights and, also, to save you a considerable amount of time dealing with Turkish bureaucracy.

1. Turkish Nationality via Purchase of a Property

Turkish citizenship can be obtained by purchasing a house for at least 250,000 USD. However, a major problem that tends to arise in these situations is that the seller – in order to lower taxes and costs - will advertise the property for sale at a lower price than the actual asking price.  You can often see a house you would normally buy for 250,000 Turkish Lira as on the market for 100,000 TL in the title deed records. It is quite common for the records not to show the real purchase prices, and it is an important obstacle for those who want to apply for Turkish citizenship by purchasing real estate.

The solution here would be for your legal representative to obtain an independent report on the true value of the property from the local Council, and then use this documented valuation in order to support your application for Turkish citizenship.

If buying land to build your own house, it is vital to check the records to determine whether it complies with agricultural regulations. An advance-fixing certificate is required to prevent the division of agricultural lands.

2. Turkish Nationality by Establishment of a Company

Those who want to apply for Turkish citizenship by establishing a company can benefit both their company and themselves by choosing the most appropriate type of company they want to establish.

However, this also has certain limitations: simply establishing a company will not lead to Turkish citizenship. The company capital and the number of personnel you employ will be taken into consideration.

With the new regulations Turkey grants citizenship to investors in property valued at 250,000 USD, purchase or incorporation of a company with 500,000 USD capital, or the deposit of 500,000 USD in Turkish state investment instruments or deposit 500,000 USD in Turkish banks and not withdraw that amount for three years. In addition, employing 50 personnel is considered qualifying criteria for applying for Turkish citizenship.

If you want to gain Turkish citizenship by founding a company in Turkey, you may consider establishing your firm in a free zone, which will reduce costs.  Free zones are considered as a part of the special EU-Turkey customs union. Starting your company in a free zone area will additionally give you the advantage of reduced bureaucracy.

Additionally, income derived from free zone activities may be transferred freely to Turkey or abroad without being subject to the requirement of special authorization.

There are other potentially important exemptions, depending on the type of company you intend to create. For example, it is possible to source cheaper energy in free zones, as electricity and fuel are exempt from VAT (Value Added Tax) for at least 10 years.

Companies in Turkey are obliged to pay Corporation tax at the end of the tax period, but Free Zone companies engaged in the production are exempt from Corporation tax.

3. Restrictions on Other methods of Obtaining Turkish Nationality

Likewise, there are certain legal restrictions to be considered even when relying on the easiest and most guaranteed procedures for obtaining Turkish Citizenship.

For instance, if you are married to a Turkish citizen, and you wanted to acquire citizenship, your application could be rejected despite meeting all the requirements.

Certain conditions must be met in order for a successful application: you have to live in a family unit, you should not engage in any activity incompatible with the marriage union, nor can you be involved in any situation that would constitute a risk to national security or public order.

Should any of the above occur, you should immediately consult a qualified lawyer because a failed application can be appealed, and you are subject to a time limit for doing so. If you miss the deadline, you cannot appeal.

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Dilruba, Lawyer in Ankara...
Dilruba graduated from the Gazi University, Faculty of Law and for several years has been working at one of the top law firms of Ankara specialising on cases regarding insurance law, corporate law, labour law, enforcement law and international private law that embodies different departments for each field of law. She is fluent in English and German as well as her native Turkish
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