Turkey, strategically positioned between Europe and Asia, is seeing a rising trend in its citizenship appeal. Multiple factors contribute to this: Turkish citizenship offers a plethora of advantages to foreign investors, entrepreneurs, and those aspiring to reside and work in Turkey. Continue reading to explore the benefits extended to Turkish passport holders.
Turkish citizens can freely enter 113 countries:
- Visa-free entry to 75 countries.
- Visa on arrival in 35 countries.
- Three countries provide electronic residence permits.
The allowed duration of stay ranges from 30 to 90 days, contingent on the country. However, there are exceptions: a Turkish citizen can reside in Georgia for up to 12 months and in Dominica for 21 days.
Santa Barbara, California. Photo: James Coleman (Unsplash)
Holders of a Turkish passport are eligible for long-term US and Schengen visas. When travelling to the United States, Turkish citizens can secure a combined B1/B2 visa valid for 10 years, catering to both tourism and business. Once this visa expires, it can be renewed remotely. Additionally, Turkish passport holders have the option to immigrate to the United States for business reasons.
An investor possessing a Turkish passport is eligible for an E-2 visa, allowing them to conduct business and reside in the US. This visa can be secured either by purchasing or establishing a company. Initially valid for two years, the visa can be renewed indefinitely. Additionally, the investor's spouse and unmarried children under 21 are also entitled to visas.
Turkish citizens are also eligible for a five-year C-2 Schengen visa. This allows you to stay in the Schengen zone for up to 90 days within any 180-day timeframe. While the C-2 visa caters to tourism and business visits, it doesn't grant the right to work or undertake business activities in Schengen countries.
Another advantage of Turkish citizenship is that you will be able to enter the country regardless of potential border closures. Moreover, if you hold dual citizenship, you have the ability to depart from your primary country of citizenship if its borders are sealed for any reason. In fact, this flexibility is a feature of holding secondary citizenship in any nation.
New buildings in Turkey
Turkey presents a plethora of business opportunities. With 18 free economic zones across the nation, investors setting up companies within these zones benefit from preferential tax policies and various other advantages. Notably, they are exempt from property taxes on buildings and land. Additionally, they aren't subject to VAT or customs duties and enjoy a reduced corporate tax rate, among other benefits. However, the package of incentives varies based on the specific region and economic zone.
Benefits of conducting business in Turkey extend to its robust infrastructure, encompassing transportation networks, telecommunications, and energy sectors, all of which facilitate smoother business operations. Moreover, the country boasts relatively lower labour costs compared to many other nations, offering potential savings on production expenses.
Turkish Citizenship is Easy to Obtain
Securing a Turkish passport is relatively easy. Various pathways lead to Turkish citizenship: through birth (children having at least one Turkish citizen parent are automatically granted citizenship), via marriage, through naturalisation, and more. Importantly, Turkey recognizes dual citizenship, so there's no obligation to relinquish your original citizenship.
For affluent individuals, there's a citizenship-through-investment pathway that offers several benefits. By investing over $400,000 in Turkey's economy, one can obtain Turkish citizenship. There are five investment options: acquiring real estate valued at $400,000 (based on the current exchange rate on the day of evaluation), business investment, bank deposits, buying government bonds, or investing in shares of an investment fund. Specifically, a business investment requires a commitment of more than $500,000 in shares of a company registered in Turkey.
For those choosing the bank deposit route, an account must be opened and a minimum of $500,000 deposited, held for a three-year period. Alternatively, an investor can acquire government bonds or shares in an investment fund with an investment exceeding $500,000, with the potential benefit of earning dividends.
Cappadocia. Photo: Magdalena Kula Manchee (Unsplash)
The investor's immediate family, including their spouse and children under 18, are also eligible for Turkish citizenship. Meanwhile, parents and children aged 18 and above can obtain a residence permit in Turkey.
Investors are not bound by requirements concerning residence, proficiency in Turkish, or knowledge of the country's history. When pursuing Turkish citizenship through investment, you will not have to take exams.
Real estate investment stands out as the preferred choice. Investors have the freedom to acquire various types of properties, from commercial and industrial structures to residential units and land plots, anywhere in Turkey. Additionally, the invested capital can be reclaimed three years after obtaining Turkish citizenship.
Significantly, there's no need to be in Turkey to pursue citizenship through investment; the entire process can be managed remotely. The procedure typically spans around six months, with the applicant supplying personal and financial documentation. The program agent handles the remainder of the process.
Investors who secure citizenship through real estate acquisition often find themselves in an advantageous position. With housing prices in Turkey increasing annually by 15-25%, investors stand to gain considerable profit upon selling their properties after three years.
Obtaining a Turkish passport doesn't obligate you to reside in Turkey. Yet, many choose to settle here primarily due to the climate. Turkey boasts warm and sunny weather for most of the year, with mild winters and hot, dry summers. With approximately 300 sunny days annually and bordered by several warm seas, residents can savour the sea breeze and indulge in swimming nearly year-round.
Once you have become a Turkish citizen, you gain access to a wide range of social services, including free education, health insurance, and social protection.
Turkey offers a commendable standard of medical care. Its healthcare system operates on mandatory health insurance, ensuring citizens access to essential healthcare services. Turkish clinics are typically well-appointed and align with international standards, with 34 of them receiving accreditation from Joint Commission International.
The country offers two forms of health insurance: mandatory state insurance and optional private insurance. While state insurance is provided at no cost to all citizens, individuals have the choice to purchase private insurance independently.
Turkey boasts a robust education system. While education is available both for free and on a paid basis, only public schools offer tuition-free education. Nursery schools, on the other hand, are not free. They come in two varieties: public and private.
Public nursery schools enrol children starting at age three and offer instruction exclusively in Turkish. For parents aiming to acclimate their child swiftly to the country, this is a favourable choice. However, securing a spot in a public nursery can be more challenging than in a private institution.
Public nursery schools typically charge between 400 to 800 liras monthly, encompassing meals and uniforms for older kids. To enrol in such a school, a Turkish citizen or a residence permit holder needs to apply at the local social service office. Children must be at least three years old for nursery school admission, while primary schools begin enrollment at five and a half years.
Istanbul. Photo: Osman Köycü (Unsplash)
Securing a spot in a public nursery school isn't guaranteed; competition is stiff with about ten children vying for each available slot. Furthermore, such institutions are not overly abundant. A notable limitation is that most public nursery schools operate only until lunchtime.
Private nursery schools are more abundant and offer a variety of educational programs. Understandably, they come with a higher price tag. It's possible to find institutions that teach in English or other languages besides Turkish. Typically, private nurseries enrol children as young as two and often operate until the evening.
The educational framework comprises primary, secondary, and high school stages, with the latter catering to students aged 14 to 18. While high school is optional, it's a prerequisite for university admission.
The country hosts numerous fee-based international schools. Annual tuition generally begins at $10,000. The majority of these institutions are in Istanbul. While English and Turkish are the primary languages of instruction, some schools also offer courses in Spanish, French, German, Arabic, and other languages.
Turkey boasts top-tier higher education. With over 200 universities, six feature in the World University Ranking's top 500 institutions. Notably, Istanbul's Boğaziçi University and Ankara's Middle East Technical University are on this esteemed list.
All universities in Turkey charge tuition, with costs varying based on the institution's stature and program level. While public universities offer state-funded positions, these are limited and typically secured by exceptionally talented students. Additionally, Turkish citizens have the opportunity to apply for scholarships and grants that offset some educational expenses.
Turkey has been an active participant in the Bologna Process since 2001. This affiliation facilitates opportunities for Turkish students to participate in international exchange programs. Furthermore, Turkish diplomas are recognized across all EU nations.
Turkey is home to sizable expatriate communities, comprising individuals from various nations who've relocated for work, education, or personal pursuits. The majority of them reside in major cities like Istanbul, Antalya, and Ankara.
The International Expat Association (IEA) stands out as one of Turkey's most prominent expatriate communities. Uniting over 10,000 expats from various global origins, the organisation provides support and resources to ease the transition to life in a different country.
The Turkish Expat Club (TEC) is another notable community. As a non-profit organisation, it aids expats in acclimating to life in Turkey by providing insights into the country's culture, language, and legal framework.
On Facebook, there is a community called Expats in Turkey, EIT. This is a group where expats can chat, share experiences, and make new friends.
For those captivated by Turkey's culture and history, the Turkish-American Association (TAA) is an ideal community. The organisation orchestrates events, lectures, and seminars that delve into Turkey’s rich cultural and historical tapestry.
Finally, there is the European Expat Club, or EEC, an international network of expat clubs with over 50,000 members from over 130 countries.
All of these expat communities help people adjust to life in a new country by giving them support, information, and networking opportunities.
In a Nutshell
Turkish citizenship offers myriad advantages to foreign investors, entrepreneurs, and those aspiring to reside and work in the nation. With its strategic location, conducive environment for foreign investment, and high quality of life, Turkey continues to captivate a growing number of foreigners.
Cover photo: Marvin Meyer (Unsplash)