The number of countries offering investment programs that result in a full-fledged citizenship (rather than merely residence) can be counted almost on two hands, with the majority located in the Caribbean.
Hence, individuals looking for an additional nationality will often be presented with the Turkey Citizenship By Investment (CIB) Program. This Program presents a number of advantages that attract different kinds of investors:
- Turkey benefits from a unique location between southeastern Europe and Asia;
- Turkey allows dual citizenship;
- No physical residency, language, education, or management experience required;
- Once granted, citizenship is for life and can be transferred to future generations;
- Investors can apply for this program with their family including spouse and dependent children under 18 years old;
- Investors and qualifying family members, once Turkish citizens, will have the right to reside indefinitely in Turkey, gain access to a high standard of education and healthcare along with visa-free or visa on arrival access to over 110 countries and territories worldwide.
- Being a Turkish national will also enable the investor to apply for a USA E-2 Visa.
Hence, we see various types of high net-worth individuals applying for this Program:
- Businessmen looking for mobility and easy access to over 110 countries;
- High net worth individuals seeking to diversify their investment portfolio by securing a real estate property/tangible asset as a long-term investment while at the same time ensuring that their family would be able to benefit from any potential future adhesion to the European Union;
- Individuals seeking to gain residency in Turkey, whether for professional or personal reasons; and even
- Individuals with no particular interest in Turkey other than gaining the ability to apply for USA E-2 Visa and get around the long US immigration backlog that may otherwise apply to them.
There are various options available to investors wishing to acquire Turkish citizenship, including depositing at least USD 500,000 in a Turkish bank, making a minimum fixed capital investment of USD 500,000, creating jobs for at least 50 people, etc. In our experience, the most popular has been the real estate option because it is the most affordable option and it allows investors to achieve or at least hope to achieve several goals in one go i.e. real estate investment; easy travel, citizenship that can be passed on the next generations; and potential future EU passport.
The eligibility requirement for this Program are fairly standard. There are no quotas, point-system or age limits.
The real estate investment requirement is affordable and flexible. Investors can acquire one (or more) properties for an investment aggregate of at least USD 250,000 (or equivalent Turkish Lira) and will not be permitted to resell the property(ies) for at least 3 years after the purchase - but they will be permitted to live-in or otherwise to rent the properties at their entire discretion. The investors also enjoy wide flexibility in the type of property they acquire. They may opt for or combine any type of real-estate including residential, commercial and even raw land. The qualifying property(ies) can also be sold to the investors new or on the second market which increases the investors' choices.
The property(ies) must be fully paid by the investors and cannot be acquired through a mortgage. The sale and value of the property(ies) will also need to be supported by independent supporting documents including a valuation report that will need to be accepted by the Capital Market Board, Land Registry Certificate, and evidence of the ownership of the property(ies) and valid sale and purchase agreements.
This does mean that the property(ies) will need to be fully purchased before submission of the application for citizenship, and so investors would be well advised to work with experienced lawyers. Citizenship application requires careful and professional attention by dedicated immigration lawyers who know the ins and outs of this process and who can diligently represent their clients to work with government authorities. We have never failed to obtain Turkish citizenship for a client who met the prerequisite conditions.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.