Turkish citizenship and residence permit: experts answer frequently asked questions

Turkish citizenship and residence permit: experts answer frequently asked questions

Those who plan to buy a house in one of the Turkish cities to earn money on rent or use it as an overseas residence often have the same questions. They relate to obtaining a Turkish residence permit and citizenship. Specially for future investors in properties in Antalya, Istanbul, Ankara, Alanya, Kemer, Izmir, Bodrum and other cities and provinces of Turkey, Turk.Estate launches a series of articles with answers to the most popular questions on residence permits and citizenship.

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Turkish residence permit (ikamet): questions and answers

How much time and money does it take to get a residence permit? What documents do I need?

For residents of different countries, there are two reasons to apply for a residence permit directly related to housing. Firstly, you can apply for a residence permit on the basis of an official apartment rental agreement in Turkey. However, you should keep in mind that the country's authorities are not very willing to extend such a residence permit. An easier way to obtain and regularly renew your residence permit is by investing in property in Turkey. The owner of a home in any Turkish city can also issue a residence permit for their family and friends who come to stay for more than two months.

The consideration of your application can take from two or three weeks to a couple of months. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many bureaucratic processes have slowed down, so make sure you apply for a residence permit immediately upon arrival, without waiting for the end of the visa-free period. To renew your residence permit, you need to submit the documents with the application form sixty days before the expiration of the current ikamet.

A one-year residence permit in Turkey in 2020 costs a total of 568 TL. The cost consists of the state fee (458 TL) and the card fee (110 TL). The cost of a residence permit may vary depending on your home country. You can find the exact information on the official migration service website.

The documents required for obtaining a Turkish residence permit include:

  • vergi numarası or an individual tax number;
  • TAPU or a notarized apartment rental agreement;
  • notarized translation of the passport;
  • medical insurance;
  • a receipt for payment of the residence permit fee;
  • three biometric photos;

The migration service can additionally request documents that prove your income stability. In this case, you need to attach a financial statement to the above documents (proving that you have at least five hundred dollars per month per person).

Do the Turkish authorities check if foreigners reside at the address indicated in the application form?

Yes, they check it on a regular basis, as part of checking compliance with the rule of mandatory address registration for foreigners. A unified system of electronic documents is used throughout the country, therefore all movements of residents are instantly recorded and subject to scheduled checks.

That is why a foreigner is obliged to live in their apartment in Turkey or at the address indicated in the lease. You must notify the migration service about moving to a new address within two weeks to avoid any problems. How and how often do they check? Migration officials can personally pay a visit to the specified address and can also interview neighbors. A violation may result in a fine or even the cancellation of the residence permit.

Is it possible to legally work in Turkey after obtaining a residence permit?

Unfortunately, a Turkish residence permit does not give the right to legally work in the country, no matter on what basis an ikamet was obtained. To get a job in a Turkish company, you need to get a work visa in advance.

Where can I extend my residence permit in Turkey?

The cheapest way to extend your residence permit is to do it yourself through the website of the local migration service (Göç idaresi). You can submit an application online and send a package of documents (with a printout of the completed application form) by mail to the address of the migration service of the city where you stay. It is necessary to submit an application and send a package of documents with an application form sixty days before the expiration date of the current ikamet.

For those who do not have the opportunity to renew their residence permit in Turkey themselves, we recommend contacting specialized agencies that provide such service. You can find the contacts of the agencies on social networks. Just ask a question in a local group and you will receive real reviews along with contact details. These agencies have specialists speaking different languages who will help you at all stages of applying: from obtaining vergi numarası to collecting and submitting a full package of your documents to the migration office. The cost of renewal services for a residence permit in Turkey in 2020 is 150-200 TL.

Another option for extending a residence permit for owners of apartments in Turkey is to contact the real estate agency that helped to buy a property. As a rule, many reliable agencies offer their customers high-quality after-sales services, which include assistance with extending a residence permit.

Can an owner of real estate in Turkey issue ikamet to their family or friends visiting them?

Receiving a TAPU (a certificate of property ownership) in Turkey, the owner of an apartment or house does not have to worry that the document contains only their name. Your home ownership may become the basis for the registration of a one or two-year ikamet for both immediate and distant relatives (regardless of their citizenship). To obtain a residence permit for friends (not relatives, so-called third parties) living in Turkey, the host person must submit a notarized commitment to the migration service office. If the "third person" has a spouse, then the same notarized guarantee is also required. To do this, you need to register your guests at your place and then use the registration agreement as a basis for obtaining or renewing a residence permit.

Since the beginning of 2020, Turkey has canceled the possibility of obtaining and extending a tourist residence permit for a number of countries. The exception was made for residents of the European Union, Russia, the USA, China, Japan, Canada, Australia, South Korea, Israel, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand and Norway. What should I do if I am staying in Turkey on the basis of a tourist ikamet?

The cancellation of the possibility to extend a tourist residence permit was a temporary measure that the Turkish authorities canceled in September 2020 for residents of all countries. Those who applied for the extension of a tourist residence permit this year and were refused by the migration service, we recommend re-submitting the application and then pay a fine for the delay in the extension and get a new ikamet. Those who entered Turkey this year and did not apply for a tourist residence permit to avoid refusal, can do it now (you will not need to leave, although you will need to pay a fine, which is about $15 per month of delay but may vary depending on your home country). You can clarify the information about the fine by calling the hotline of the migration service: 157.

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Obtaining Turkish citizenship (vatandaşlık): questions and answers

Can I obtain Turkish citizenship by purchasing an apartment, house or commercial property in the country?

In order to attract as many foreign property investors as possible, Turkey offers simplified procedure for obtaining citizenship for those who invest in its economy, as well as for those who permanently lives in the country in their own apartment.

So, foreigners who have bought real estate in any Turkey's city that costs at least $250,000 can obtain Turkish citizenship for the whole family. A property buyer can apply for Turkish citizenship for themselves and their family members (which include spouses and minor children, as well as disabled children of any age, but not parents, siblings and other relatives) straight after receiving the TAPU.
If you buy a cheaper property, you can apply for citizenship five years after you have bought your property providing you permanently reside in the country. An applicant must not leave Turkey for more than 180 days in all five years.

What are additional application conditions for those who bought property in Turkey for 250,000 dollars?

In addition to the main condition (the value of real estate must not be less than the amount equivalent to a quarter of a million dollars), there is another mandatory requirement. Real estate purchased for obtaining Turkish citizenship cannot be sold within 36 months from the date of the purchase transaction and the receipt of the TAPU.

To obtain Turkish citizenship without waiting for five years, how many properties can I buy for an amount equivalent to USD 250,000? One apartment or several?

You do not have to buy one high-priced apartment or a mid-price villa in order to receive Turkish citizenship for your entire family. You can purchase several real estate objects (so that their total cadastral value indicated in the TAPU is not less than $250,000) to apply for early citizenship. Buying several apartments is even more rational because you can live in one apartment and rent out the other one returning the money invested.

Do I need to renounce the citizenship of my home country to become a Turkish citizen?

The Turkish authorities do not put forward any requirements for foreigners. It means that you can easily obtain Turkish citizenship if the laws of your country allow for dual citizenship.

What opportunities, advantages and rights does Turkish citizenship give to a foreigner?

Obtaining citizenship by property investment, a foreigner receives all the rights and opportunities of people who have Turkish citizenship upon birth. You also get the right to represent Turkey internationally (for example, in sports competitions). A foreigner who has vatandaşlık can legally find a job in Turkey, having an advantage over non-residents and gaining the right to work in the police, army structures, government agencies. As a citizen of the Republic, you get a full benefits package, health and social security (pensions, benefits, social services). You can vote and run for elected office, receive tax benefits, take business loans and consumer loans on favorable terms (including mortgage loans in Turkey). Turkish citizenship also allows you visa-free travel to 111 countries of the world, including Japan, Thailand, Brazil, South Korea, Jamaica.

Do all family members of a person applying for Turkish citizenship need to go to Turkey during the application process?

Obtaining citizenship by property investment in Turkey can take two to three months (and possibly longer during the coronavirus pandemic). During the waiting period, only the main applicant must stay in the country while their family members can stay at home in their country. In addition, to get vatandaşlık, you do not have to permanently reside in Turkey.

Who and how controls the value of housing purchased to obtain citizenship?

When obtaining citizenship by property investment, you should keep in mind that not the real (the one paid to the seller) cost is taken into account, but the cadastral, expert value of housing. The value of a property is determined by state experts the day before a property transaction takes place.

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