The Turkish government has made substantial measures in the last decade to attract and encourage foreign investors to invest in Turkey. All of these measures are primarily aimed at liberalizing the investment system in order to increase inflows of foreign capital, including both monetary and high-skilled human capital. In a Medium and Long Term Industry Turkey ( Industries in Tukey ) will get the benefit on manufacturing goods as added extra value and profitibility.
The reciprocity requirement, which prohibited inhabitants of countries that do not allow Turkish citizens to acquire property in those countries from purchasing real estate, was eliminated in March 2012 as part of this strategy. A year later, a comprehensive new law on foreigner migration was passed, introducing significant changes to resident permits and streamlining the process of relocating to Turkey. In 2016, a brand-new law on work permit schemes was passed, establishing the “Turquoise Card,” which offers permanent work permits and residency to highly trained professionals, as well as high-level investors and their dependents.
With the start of the citizenship by investment program in January 2017, efforts to attract foreign investment have reached a new level.
Real estate, bank deposits, sovereign bonds, real estate investment funds (REIFs), and venture capital funds are among the investment vehicles available through the program (VCFs).
To pique the attention of international investors, the government significantly decreased the investment limits on September 19, 2018, allowing investors and their families to obtain Turkish citizenship for as little as USD 250,000.
Participants in the program have the possibility to obtain Turkish citizenship with their spouse, children under the age of 18, and children over the age of 18 who are still dependant due to a medical condition.
This article tries to lay out the requirements for obtaining Turkish citizenship by investment and to represent the application process in light of current experience.
Citizenship by Investment Requirements
The program provides international investors with a choice of six investment vehicles. The possibilities are as follows:
- Purchasing real estate in Turkey with a value of at least USD 250.000,
- Putting down a minimum of USD 500.000 in Turkey-based banks,
- Investing at least USD 500.000 in government bonds
- Investing at least USD 500.000 in REIFs or VCFs,
- Making a fixed capital investment of at least USD 500.000 in their Turkish commercial companies (for example, purchasing assets such as land, plant, equipment, and machinery).
- Recruiting at least 50 people for their Turkish businesses.
Real estate, bank deposits, government bonds, REIFs, and VCFs require investors to keep their investments for at least three years. To that aim, the investor promises not to withdraw or liquidate its holdings for three years, either through a title deed limitation for real estate purchases or a written undertaking for liquid investments like bank deposits. In this regard, the three-year time is not a requirement for citizenship application eligibility. Failure to respect this term, on the other hand, is grounds for citizenship revocation.
Despite the fact that the monetary criteria are defined in USD, investors are permitted to invest in Turkish Liras or other foreign currencies as long as the USD equivalent of the investment value passes the appropriate threshold condition. For the purpose of determining the value of an investment in US dollars, the effective selling rate and/or cross rates announced by the Central Bank of Turkey on the date the investment was made are used.
The responsible government authority produces a certificate proving that the investment conditions have been met once the investment has been duly made.
How to Make an Application
In general, there are two stages to the application process: I the application for a resident permit, and (ii) the application for citizenship. Both of these applications must be lodged with separate authorities; however, the government has established special offices in large cities that serve as single points of contact for both the residency permit and the citizenship application.
Permit to Reside
In comparison to the regular procedure, the residence permit is provided on a fast-track basis, involving much less bureaucracy. As part of the privileged treatment, once requested, an appointment for a residence permit application is scheduled for a few days later; additionally, if represented by a lawyer, the investor is not need to be physically present at the appointment.
The following documents are necessary for a residency permit:
- Obtain a passport (or notarised translation of the passport copy)Ttotal of four passport-size pictures
- Valid health insurance policy
- The investment certificate is a document that verifies the investment.
- Unless an essential document is lacking, the officer who receives the file swiftly approves the application for a residence permit. The Directorate of Migration then issues a residency permission card, which is handed to the investor in one month.
The residence permit is valid for a minimum of one year and can be extended as long as the investment is maintained. In actuality, it’s more of a procedural step on the way to citizenship, as the program doesn’t require a minimum stay to be eligible to apply for citizenship, allowing investors to stay in the country throughout the process.
Application for Citizenship
Without having to wait for the issuing or delivery of the residence permit card, an appointment for citizenship application can be requested immediately once the residence permit has been approved. The appointment is set for 15 days after the request is received. The filing of a citizenship application, like that of a residence visa, can be done by a lawyer or an authorized representative without the presence of the investor.
The following is a list of important documents that must be submitted in order to obtain a residence permit:
- Notarized translation of the passport copy is required.
- Pair of passport-size photos
- Certificate of Birth (or a similar document)
- Marriage certificate is a document that verifies the marital status of two people.
- Certificate attesting to the applicant’s, his or her spouse’s, and children’s family ties.
Identical set of documentation must be prepared for each dependent who wishes to join the investor in obtaining Turkish citizenship. Documents prepared in the applicant’s country of birth/domicile must be authorized by a Turkish consulate or validated with an apostille by a competent local authority if the nation is a signatory to the Apostille Convention.
Following the submission of a citizenship application, national security units such as the police department and the national intelligence agency investigate the applicant’s information by conducting a check of their archive records. The application file is authorized and citizenship is given by the Presidency if the results of the archive research show that the applicant poses no threat to national security or public order.
Despite the fact that the investor’s and his or her family members’ applications are filed together, the examination is not undertaken holistically for all family members, and each is subjected to separate processing.
As of the publication of this article, the processing of citizenship applications takes about 3-4 months. Nonetheless, attempts are underway to decrease the processing time to 45-60 days.
Citizenship Status and Its Consequences
Investors who took part in the scheme were given full citizenship rights and obligations as if they had been born in Turkey, including the right to vote and the ability to run for public office.
However, investors should not repatriate their funds within the first three years and should avoid any actions or omissions that may result in the loss of ownership of assets included in their investment prior to the end of this time period. Otherwise, investors, together with their spouses and children, may lose their citizenship status, since the legislation allows the granting body to revoke citizenship if the investor does not keep his or her commitment to keep the investment for three years.
Nonetheless, the program allows investors to transition between different investment options over the course of the three-year period, allowing them to replace one type of investment vehicle with another as long as the threshold requirement and other conditions for the replacing investment vehicle are met. Furthermore, investors are free to enjoy the benefits of their investment throughout the process, such as interest yield and rental revenue.
Turkey has long been expanding its avenues for attracting foreign capital, and the launch of the citizenship by investment program is the latest and, without a question, the most daring endeavor, considering the country’s historically conservative approach to naturalization.
Although some regard it as a short-term stimulus tool to help the economy recover after a period of underperformance, it might equally be interpreted as Turkey’s attempt to capture a piece of the global citizenship market. Industry Turkey ( Industries in Turkey ), in addition to the many benefits and chances it offers, holds a lot of promise for high-net-worth individuals seeking a second citizenship, given to its highly competitive investment limits and quick and easy entrance process.