There is a lot of information online concerning the Turkey Citizenship by Investment programme. Most of the information is written by lawyers and agents who stand to gain fat commissions by selling you new developments that are overpriced. Typically, they earn 6%-10% commissions.

Chinese agents are the worst of them all. They ask for commissions of 15%-20%.

So it is in their interest to claim that citizenship can be obtained in “90 days” or “3 months”. But is it true?

How do you qualify for the the Citizenship by Investment programme in Turkey?

  1. You deposit $500,000 in a Turkish bank (and can even earn interest) for three years
  2. You invest $250,000 in Turkish real estate and must keep it for at least three years. It can be new apartments, second hand apartments, or a combination of a few small apartments

Step 1 – Obtaining the Certificate of Conformity

Generally, the first step is to give Power of Attorney (POA) to reputable lawyers because the devil is in the detail. For example, when you purchase a property, you must get a certified transfer confirmation from the bank and have the exact title deed information on it, as well as precise legal lingo.

All the information concerning the real estate transaction(s) or bank deposit are then sent to a sworn expert/appraiser who must appraise the value of the investment. For real estate, typically you might want to invest a little more than the $250,000 in case the appraiser were to have a slightly lower estimate, or in case the Turkish Lira were to depreciate in the meantime. Build a margin of safety.

This Certificate of Conformity takes about one month to process.

Step 2 – Obtaining Residency

You will be asked for Apostilles, or Turkish consulate certified copies of:

  • The passports of you and your family
  • The birth certificates
  • A marriage certificate or non-marriage certificate for non-married applicants

You will have started gathering these documents early on to not waste time. These documents, along with an application form and the Certificate of Conformity, are then sent to the immigration office for a special residency visa. All of this can be done remotely. 2-3 weeks later you and your family receive your residency cards.

Step 3 – The actual Citizenship Application

At this point your lawyer will apply for citizenship. Your application will bounce from government office to government office, due diligence will be done on you and your family. In the end, the president himself signs your application.

Yes, president Recep Erdogan personally signs all Turkey citizenship by investment applications. I double checked with my lawyers, and they confirmed it. I thought it’s a pretty cool fact 🙂

This process takes about 4-5 months. You are then issued with a naturalization certificate, and can apply for your passport.

The Citizenship by Investment programme in Turkey is a great option

Compared to all the other programmes such as the ones in the Caribbean, the paperwork is much less intense. Also, if you play your cards well, you can actually earn a profit by making a good investment.

What are the traps to avoid in the Turkey Citizenship by Investment programme?

  1. Don’t believe the 3 month timeline. Expect 6-7 months.
  2. DO NOT buy in a new building. The vast majority that are being marketed to foreigners are vastly overpriced. Almost everyone will try to orient you towards them, with nonsense rental return claims, capital gains projections, and rental guarantees. Such agents make commissions of 6%-10% when they sell you such units. In such cases, the product is not the apartment itself, but you. I did a case study on this (here)

Personally, I believe there are pockets of fantastic value to be found in secondary market real estate in central Istanbul. Real estate a few streets down from prime areas can be had for about $1000 per m2, which is a steal. If you buy such units, and get them renovated, you can get gross yields of 5%-6%.

citizenship by investment turkey
Buy here

On the other hand, the new apartments being sold by citizenship agents will rarely get you yields above 2.5%, even if they promise you more.

citizenship by investment turkey
Not here

Exact fee breakdown of the citizenship by investment programme in Turkey

You, your spouse, and children under the age of 18 qualify. Objectively, the fees are minimal.

ServiceFee
Insurance Fee+-500 TRY
Residence Permit Fee and Visa Fee+- 2,500 TRY
Nationality Fee30 TRY per person
Letter of Conformity Fee1500-2000 TRY
Turkish ID Fee45 TRY per person
Turkish Passport Fee1,270 TRY per person
Very reasonable fees

To this you’ll have to add legal fees. My lawyer charges a $5,000 flat fee including the apartment purchase due diligence.

Why should you get Turkish citizenship?

Why not? An additional citizenship offers you more freedom, more investment opportunities, and a great plan B. Moreover, it is passed down the generations.

Turkey is a great nation of 80 million people, at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, and has always been at the center of it all. Its passport is not bad at all. It offers visa free travel to most of Latin America, much of Africa, the Middle East, Korea, Japan, South East Asia and most non-EU European countries.

Conclusion

The Turkey Citizenship by Investment programme is quite unique in the sense that it does not ask for a donation, and it does not force you to make bad investments. It’s entirely your decision to make. If you are savvy and numbers focused, you can find good investments with proper help on the ground.

I met Keith in Istanbul. He is from Nova Scotia and has been involved in Istanbul real estate for many years now. His specialty is the secondary market in downtown Istanbul, as well as renovating old apartments. You can find out more about him and his services here.

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