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How to get citizenship by investment in Turkey
The process of gaining citizenship by investment in Turkey is a five-step process, which is governed by a new government agency, the Foreign Investor Citizenship Application Special Joint Office, a bit of a mouthful, but more commonly known as FICO. there are FICO offices in Istanbul and Ankara, and more will be rolled out across the country over the coming months.
Here are the steps involved:
your property will be assessed for fair market value. This can be done by an authorised valuation firm (we can help with this). The report can be done before or after purchase.
the applicant must obtain this certificate from the Foreign Cadastre. The valuation report, Turkish title deed and proof of fund transfer must be taken to the local office, who will scan the documents into the central system. the compliance certificate will be issued if all the criteria are met. The process takes around a week.
Once you’ve received the compliance certificate, you can apply for a residence permit. the FICO office can streamline this process. You’ll need the same documents as for a tourist’s residence permit, along with the compliance certificate. Applicants who qualify will receive a permit valid for one year.
Once your residence permit is processed, you’ll need to complete address registration at the FICO. You’ll need your title deed and you’ll receive a written confirmation of your address registration.
: You can now apply for citizenship, with the necessary papers as well as the compliance certificate and the title deed. The application will be sent to the General Directorate of Population and Citizenship Affairs, who will do a background check. Once the application is granted by the Ministry of Interior, it’s passed back to the General Directorate, who will issue applicants with Turkish ID cards and invite them to apply for passports.
The purchase must have taken place after the regulation change: before 18 September 2018. Otherwise, the old regulations apply.
Owners can’t sell their property for three years.
If you have a mortgage, the mortgage amount will be deducted from the sale price to determine the value.
The value on the deed can’t be lower than the amount on the valuation report.
The applicant must show bank receipts showing the transfer of the sale price.
The property must be registered in the name of the applicant (you can include your spouse and minor children)
treamlining the process of citizenship in Turkey
Property Turkey director Cameron Deggin said the easiest and most assured route to citizenship is a straightforward purchase of freehold property with existing title deeds.
This means property that’s already completed: new build or resale dwellings. Investors can also buy several properties to make up the 250,000 USD.
If the property already has title deeds in place, the bureaucracy is black and white, as the government can easily place a three-year restriction on the title – this is the amount of time buyers are required to hold onto a property after obtaining citizenship.
Take the safe option
Branded Hotel Residence in Media Highway Istanbul assured income
Deggin urges investors to take the safe option – which will also prove to be the most lucrative in terms of investment returns, he says.
“This kind of investment in residential property in Istanbul opens up a world of opportunity for investors. The trend in Istanbul right now is branded hotel residences offering the kind of perks and lifestyle that will attract the sort of wealthy, long-term tenants willing to pay upper tier rents. Or of course you can enjoy these trappings yourself if you choose to make Istanbul your home.”
But Deggin says the lifestyle on offer at these branded residences is just “the cherry on top” for his investors. “Because they’re branded, and as a rule in excellent locations, demand is extremely high for these properties, assuring not only high return on investment, but an assured exit strategy when you’re ready to sell.”
The rise of branded residences
Designer Philippe Starck properties in Media Highway Istanbul
Deggin cites the example of a client who visited Istanbul in June and fell in love with a branded residence. G by YOO, in Basin Ekspres, or Media Highway, is the brainchild of the eccentric designer Philippe Starck. There are only a few units available left in the project, which aims to offer affordable luxury.
The project offers 7 percent rental income, and capital growth is tipped to reach 10 percent annually – 60 percent growth in five years. The apartments have hotel facilities with built-in property management – hugely appealing to investors looking for a low maintenance yet very lucrative investment.
Deggin’s client invested in five apartments in the complex including four one-bedroom units which he will rent out to tenants. The remaining unit is a larger one for his family, the investment means the Qatari and his family are now eligible for citizenship.
“The G by Yoo properties are freehold and in the finishing touch stage, which means my client is automatically granted citizenship. Ties between Turkey and the Middle East are very strong, and Istanbul property is a desirable addition to Middle Eastern investor portfolios, so we’re going to be seeing a lot more of these types of property investment,” Deggin says.
Bonus tax break for foreign investors
In 2017, the Turkish government introduced a VAT exemption for first-time foreign buyers. The motivation was to increase the volume of property sales to foreigners. The latest data shows the move worked, with a 24 percent increase in the number of property sales to foreign buyers last year.
“The climate right now is perfect for buyers,” Deggin says. “With citizenship and VAT exemption available at the same time, clients feel they’re getting the ultimate deal.”