In May 2022, the Turkish government introduced new regulations amending the existing rules for obtaining Turkish citizenship through investment. The amendments aim to increase the value requirements for citizenship-by-investment programs and expand the eligibility criteria for foreign investors. This article provides an overview of the key changes in the regulations and their implications for individuals seeking Turkish citizenship.
Turkey has been attracting foreign investors through its citizenship-by-investment program, which allows individuals to obtain Turkish citizenship by making certain investments in the country. The program offers an alternative pathway to citizenship for individuals who do not qualify through the regular naturalization process. The recent amendments to the regulations governing this program aim to raise the value requirements for investment and broaden the range of eligible investment options.
Increased Investment Value Requirements
Under the new regulations, the value requirements for obtaining Turkish citizenship through investment have been significantly increased. Previously, the minimum investment amount for real estate purchases or condominium agreements was set at US$250,000. However, the amendments have raised this threshold to US$500,000. This means that foreign investors must now invest at least US$500,000 in real estate or condominium agreements to be eligible for Turkish citizenship without fulfilling the residency requirement.
Additionally, the amendments have introduced new investment options for obtaining citizenship. Foreign investors can now invest US$500,000 in a retirement fund designated by the Turkish Insurance and Private Retirement Regulation and Supervision Authority. They must commit to not withdrawing the invested amount for a period of three years.
Expanded Eligibility Criteria
In addition to the increased investment value requirements, the amendments have expanded the eligibility criteria for obtaining Turkish citizenship through investment. The new regulations offer several alternative pathways for foreign investors to qualify for citizenship. These include:
- Making a fixed capital investment of at least US$500,000.
- Creating 50 jobs in Turkey.
- Depositing US$500,000 or the equivalent in foreign currency in a bank operating in Turkey, with a commitment not to withdraw the amount for three years.
- Investing at least US$500,000 in Turkish sovereign debt securities, with a commitment to hold the investment for three years.
- Investing US$500,000 in a real estate investment fund or venture capital investment fund, with a commitment not to withdraw the investment for three years.
These additional eligibility criteria aim to attract a wider range of foreign investors and stimulate economic growth in Turkey.
Discretionary Citizenship Approval
While meeting the citizenship-by-investment criteria is essential, it does not guarantee the automatic approval of citizenship. The executive retains wide discretion to deny citizenship applications based on national security and public order concerns. The amendments to the regulations have not changed this aspect of the process. Therefore, individuals must still undergo a thorough evaluation by the Turkish authorities before their citizenship applications are approved.
Implications for Foreign Investors
The new regulations have important implications for foreign investors considering Turkish citizenship through investment. The increased investment value requirements may deter some potential investors who do not meet the higher threshold. However, the expanded eligibility criteria provide alternative pathways for investors to qualify for citizenship. This offers more flexibility and opens up new opportunities for foreign individuals and businesses interested in Turkish citizenship.
Benefits of Turkish Citizenship
Obtaining Turkish citizenship through investment offers several benefits to foreign investors. These include:
- Visa-free travel: Turkish citizens can enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to many countries worldwide, providing greater mobility and ease of travel.
- Business opportunities: Turkish citizenship provides access to a growing market and a strategic location that bridges Europe and Asia. Investors can explore business opportunities and expand their operations in Turkey.
- Education and healthcare: Turkish citizens have access to quality education and healthcare services in Turkey.
- Citizenship for family members: Turkish citizenship extends to the investor’s spouse and dependent children, allowing the entire family to benefit from the advantages of Turkish citizenship.
The recent amendments to the regulations governing Turkish citizenship by investment reflect the Turkish government’s efforts to attract foreign investment and stimulate economic growth. The increased investment value requirements and expanded eligibility criteria provide more options for foreign investors seeking Turkish citizenship. However, it is essential to note that meeting the citizenship-by-investment criteria does not guarantee citizenship, as the executive retains discretionary authority in the approval process. Foreign investors should carefully consider the implications and benefits of Turkish citizenship before making investment decisions.