“If the immovable properties with a value of 250,000 USD or its equivalent in foreign currency or Turkish lira have been purchased after 19.09.2018 or have been subject to a sales promise transaction after 07.12.2018 and if an annotation has been put into the land registry that the said immovable property will not be sold for 3 years and this is confirmed by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation”’ foreign citizens from other countries can acquire Turkish citizenship.
The most important point is that foreign citizens who want to obtain Turkish citizenship by acquiring immovable property from Turkey should pay attention to is being one of the citizens of 183 countries included in the circular numbered 2012/12 (1734). Since the citizens of countries such as Syria, Taiwan, Armenia, and North Korea, cannot purchase immovable property in our country, it makes it impossible to apply for Turkish citizenship this way.
Foreign nationals will be able to acquire a maximum of 30 hectares of immovable property in our country and a maximum of 10% of the area of the district subject to private ownership within the scope of the legal limitations. It is not possible for foreign citizens to purchase immovable property or to issue sales promise agreements from military ban areas and security zones or other areas where the acquisition of foreign real persons is prohibited. However, it is not a problem for immovable property located in the private security zones to be subject to the sale or promise of sale contract with the permission of the Governor.
Exemptions have been granted by the legislation regarding the nature of the immovable property to be purchased, and it has made it possible to apply for Turkish citizenship by purchasing immovable properties that have the status of housing, workplace, land, fields, gardens, etc.
However, if the immovable property purchased by the foreign national is an agricultural land: in accordance with the agricultural legislation, pre-permits should be obtained, and a commitment should be made that an agricultural project will be presented within 2 years. Likewise, if the immovable property that is purchased is qualified as land without construction: it is necessary to make a commitment that the construction/building license project will be submitted to the relevant municipalities or institutions within 2 years.
According to the regulation, the sale does not have to be finished for the acquisition of citizenship, and it is possible to obtain citizenship by making a sales promise agreement. However, certain conditions are sought for immovable properties to be acquired through a promise of sell agreement. The relevant immovable property must be with established floor ownership or construction servitude and the annotation that the immovable will not be sold for 3 years must be given by the owner of the immovable or the person authorised by him/her.
A frequently asked question about the process is whether a restriction exists on applying for citizenship by acquiring more than one immovable property. The regulation grants this option to foreign citizens if the total value of the immovable properties to be purchased is 250,000 USD or equivalent. Therefore, it is possible to obtain citizenship by acquiring more than one immovable property to reach the value sought in the regulation.
If the conditions mentioned above are met, after the necessary examination is carried out by the relevant institutions, an “Investment Letter” is issued by the Land Registry and Cadastral Regional Directorates and is sent to the foreign citizen or their legal representative via e-mail.
When calculating the value of the immovable property, there is an investigation whether the value of the sale/sales contract, the valuation report value, and the receipt value meet the value sought in the regulation. Investors who do not want to lose their rights should meet these three different criteria separately, otherwise they will not be able to obtain the Investment Letter. The effective selling rate of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) is taken as a basis for calculating whether a transaction in Turkish lira meets the value in USD.
- Value account of immovable property with a title deed is made by dividing the sales price (TL) written on the official deed by the effective sales rate of the CBRT on the last business day before the sale application is submitted to the title deed.
- Value account of immovable property acquired through the promise of sales is made by dividing the sales price (TL) written on the sales promise contract by the CBRT effective sales rate of the last business day before the issuance of the sales promise contract in the Notary.
- The value determination in the valuation report is made by dividing the current situation value/report value (TL) that is determined by the valuation experts by the effective sales rate of the CBRT on the last business day before the report date.
- The value account on the receipts is made by dividing the transfer price (TL) written on the receipt by the CBRT effective sales rate on the last business day before the payment day.
It is essential that the necessary payment is made through the bank. In addition, in the processes that are carried out by means of the promise of sales, the minimum value required in the regulation must be paid in “cash”. While the receipt date in the sales transaction may be after the date of sale, the receipt date in the promise of the sales transaction must belong to the date of the contract arrangement at the Notary at the latest.
If there is a status mortgage on the purchased immovable property, the mortgage amount is deducted from the total amount and the remaining amount must be 250,000 USD or its equivalent. In the case of a mortgaged or foreclosed immovable property, there is no obstacle to making a commitment with the promise of a sales contract, and the foreign person should be informed by the personnel who make the transaction regarding the situation in question.
Alongside the recent amendments, one of the important issues is the history of the immovable property and from whom the real estate has been purchased from. Amendments made on 22.03.2021 in the Circular No. 2019/5:
- The former owner of the immovable property that will be the basis of the citizenship application cannot be the spouse or child of the investor, or any foreign natural person.
- If the relevant immovable property is to be purchased from a Turkish citizen/company, the criterion of Turkishnessalone is not sufficient and as of 12.01.2017, it is sought that the foreign citizen themselves, their spouse, children, or a foreign real person with the same nationality do not exist in the history of immovable property in question.
Restrictions on transactions between foreigners are not limited to transactions between real persons, but also apply in transactions between foreign persons and companies. The immovable properties subject to the promise of sale or sale should not belong to the legal entity of the company in which the foreign investor his or her spouse or children is a partner/manager, or the legal entity of the company subject to Article 36 of the Land Registry Law, in which real persons that are the same nationality as the foreign investor are partners.
After obtaining Turkish citizenship through the sale or promise of sale, the immovable property or immovable property share of the transaction will not be subject to re-application for citizenship by another foreign national.
When examining the Turkish Citizenship by Investment applications in recent years; it is evident that foreign investors prefer the “Turkish citizenship through acquisition of immovable property”. This is because it requires a lower investment cost in comparison to other methods of obtaining citizenship. In addition to this, Turkey’s real estate sector, which is advancing rapidly and firmly, attracts the attention of foreign investors in all aspects and adds momentum to its speed with the power it receives from foreign investors.
Regulation on the Implementation of Turkish Citizenship https://www.mevzuat.gov.tr/MevzuatMetin/3.5.2010139.pdf
Guide on the Regulation on the Implementation of Turkish Citizenship https://www.tkgm.gov.tr/sites/default/files/users/user73/Edirne%20tapu%20%C5%9Eube/Mevzuat/Vatanda%C5%9Fl%C4%B1k%20Uygulamalar%C4%B1.pdf
Land Registry and Cadastre Law https://www.mevzuat.gov.tr/MevzuatMetin/1.3.2644.pdf
Author: Dilan Caman