Best Deal for the Citizenship by Investment in Turkey

There is a lot of information online concerning the Turkey Citizenship by Investment programme, but nobody writes about how you can obtain the best deal. 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?

Finally, at the end of this article I’ll show you the best way to obtain citizenship by investment, which involves buying great value local real estate as opposed to overpriced new developments.

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. The best deal to obtain the citizenship by investment in Turkey is by far buy buying on the secondary market. More on this later,

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, if you go for the best deal

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 in Istanbul (here)

Click on the picture for the Youtube video

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%. This is by far the best to obtain the citizenship by investment in Turkey

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, which is much less than the typical $10,000 other lawyers charge. And yet my lawyer works at a top-notch highly reputable local law firm. The ones charging $10,000 are often just chancers overcharging foreigners. Also, beware of “lawyer fees included”, this is yet another sign that the real estate is overvalued. And is the lawyer really representing you if paid by the developer?

Again, part of getting the best deal to obtain the citizenship by investment in Trukey is to find local, competent, reputable lawyers who don’t overcharge foreigners.

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.

Istanbul: A complex real estate market to navigate

I wrote a number of articles on Turkey, and real estate in Istanbul (below).

One of the first things I have to say is: don’t fall for all the overpriced new buildings that are being marketed in English and sold to unsuspecting foreigners.

This is where Keith comes in.

Meet Keith, my real estate buyer’s agent and renovation manager in Istanbul, and the way to obtain the best deal with going to the citizenship by investment in Turkey

real estate buyer's agent Istanbul

 

Keith and I immediately got along. He is from Nova Scotia, in Canada, where I spent my first years of primary school. He has been active in the Istanbul real estate market for over a decade, is fluent in Turkish, and knows the market in & out. He is also an avid squash player, having won the Turkish squash championships. Keith was ranked number 1 in Turkey throughout 2005-2010, was the South Korean champion in 1996, and was Eastern Canada champion 3 times (!). Needless to say, his high levels of energy come in handy when dealing with all his on-going renovation projects 🙂

buyer's agent real estate  istanbul

For over a decade he has been an independent real estate buyer’s agent in Istanbul for locals, and renovation manager. As the market for international investors is growing, he has increasingly been helping foreigners invest in second hand apartments. This market is where money is to be made for investors, but also where there is the most complexity. Watch this video where Keith and I walk through one of his renovation projects, and where he shares all the numbers (prices, rental yields, etc).

buyer's agent real estate istanbul

Click the picture to be taken to Youtube

So what is the workflow with Keith, my real estate buyer’s agent and renovation manager in Istanbul?

1. You get in touch with Keith directly with the form below or buy sending an email to keith@thewanderinginvestor.com.

2. Keith charges 3% of the value of the real estate being bought. Agent commissions in Turkey are a standard 2%-3%. His commission is well deserved based on his deep understanding of the market and honest analysis. Good luck finding a local agent with the same skills set and work ethic.

3. If you are looking to do a renovation after the purchase, Keith will provide you with a full quote. You are more than welcome, and encouraged, to get other quotes as well.

4. If you recruit him for the renovation, he’ll manage it from A to Z.

5. He also offers full property management services, but only for clients who bought or renovated a property through him. Keith charges 10% of monthly rent for property management. As for finding tenants, tenants pay Keith one month of rent, so he doesn’t charge landlords for this service. This is yet another attractive feature of the Istanbul real estate market for investors.

6. Keith will put you in touch with competent lawyers that charge a flat fee of $5,000 for all the due diligence linked to the real estate purchasing process and the citizenship application process for you and your family.

Contact Keith

Important to understand: The buyer’s agent and renovation services are performed by an agent, and the citizenship application by lawyers. We at The Wandering Investor are a middleman and therefore have no liability.