Since September 2018, Arab investors have shown great interest in obtaining Turkish citizenship through investment.
During the past year only, about 10 thousand investors obtained the Turkish passport in this way, and this interest has not diminished, as many are still applying for citizenship every month since the beginning of 2021.
Although the number of foreign investors interested in Turkish citizenship by investment is still very high, the procedures have unfortunately become more difficult lately and applicants are facing various new problems.
Some of these problems may seem ridiculous to the applicants and may accuse their attorney of extending the application process and creating surprising obstacles.
In fact, most of these problems often arise from the inconsistent practices of Turkish public authorities, and not because of the lawyers' mistakes.
Of course, some amateur or dishonest attorneys or middlemen get their clients in trouble, but that is not the main cause of the current problems.
The main problems are the following: the repercussions of the Coronavirus pandemic on public institutions, some structural changes that have occurred in the Turkish immigration and citizenship offices, and the misleading data provided by some former investors and made the Turkish authorities more cautious (such as submitting property price assessment reports that can be easily manipulated) .
Currently, a group of lawyers, including myself, are holding a series of meetings with government officials to address emerging problems that are bothering both foreign investors and their lawyers.
Therefore, we can expect that some of these problems will be solved in the near future and the citizenship application process will become easier again as it was in 2019. However, until the solutions that we proposed are implemented, it is best to urge foreign investors to know what are the common problems that They can face it and guard against it.
11 of the most common problems:
1- As it is known, the amount due for the investment, which will be used for the application for obtaining citizenship, must be paid by bank transfer from the investor's account.
In the event that the foreign investor provides a formal power of attorney (official authority) to a third party to pay the amount due on his behalf, this is also legally acceptable.
The only conditions in this case are:
Power of attorney must be granted before payment is made
The name of the real investor must be clearly stated in the bank transfer statement.
In fact, some title deeds registration offices in Turkey reject such receipts even though this is not their prerogative.
In such cases, the investor's attorney should insist that the receipt is legally valid and that the office officials are at fault. In general, it is recommended to work with experienced attorneys who know how to deal with title deeds registry offices because their procedures vary from branch to branch.
2- The full name of the investor as it appears in the passport should be written on the bank receipt, because forgetting any word may lead to rejection of the application.
3- If the investor invests in a real estate that gives him exemption from value-added tax (VAT), the investor or his representative (a lawyer or real estate broker) must obtain a number of documents from the Turkish Tax Department.
In order for the investor's representative to come to collect this document on his behalf, the type of power of attorney must be specifically mentioned in the official document submitted to the authorities.
4- The investor should ensure that the real estate price appraisal report was prepared by an expert or a specialized company with experience.
We have seen many problems, and sometimes fraud cases, due to unauthorized or incompetent reports prepared by experts or companies.
Any error may affect the application's chances of being approved.
5- The marriage certificate (or marital status document if the investor is not married) is one of the documents required to apply for citizenship.
Other required documents include copies of the passport and birth certificate.
But the Turkish Citizenship Office currently requires that the three documents be issued from one country, although there is no legal basis for such a procedure.
This additional application constitutes one of the major challenges that foreigners face to obtain Turkish citizenship.
The issue of investors who got married in a country other than their country of origin is one of the most pressing problems that we are working to solve, and this problem still exists, at least for the time being!
6- Turkish embassies and consulates in some countries do not accept the issuance of an official power of attorney regarding the citizenship application.
In those countries, applicants must issue a power of attorney from local authorities, then translate it and verify it by the Turkish embassy or consulate.
However, each country may have different standards for issuing power of attorney, and thus their standards may sometimes not correspond to the standards expected from the relevant Turkish authorities.
To ensure compliance with the established standards, it is strongly recommended that investors seek assistance from a Turkish lawyer to verify the power of attorney issued by local authorities.
It is also highly recommended that a lawyer communicate with the Turkish embassy or consulate from the start.
7- Children of investors may be underage at the time of application submission, but they may reach the legal age of majority (usually more than 18 years) in the period between submitting the application and its termination.
These children retain the right to obtain citizenship with their parents as long as two other documents are submitted immediately after the completion of the main application.
Investors and their attorneys should be careful not to skip this additional requirement.
In order to avoid wasting time, the applicant can prepare these documents in advance.
8- It must be noted that if the children of investors are born outside of marriage, they are not entitled to obtain Turkish citizenship with the investor.
In my opinion, this practice contradicts the main foundations of the Turkish nationality law and should be changed, but the problem still exists at least so far.
9- During the application process, foreign investors must apply for an exclusive residence permit for investors before submitting an application for citizenship.
Although the rules in force in Turkey require that the applicant for a residence permit be residing in Turkey while submitting the residence permit application, but only within the framework of this type of residence permit applications, investors do not have to be in Turkey, and their lawyers can submit applications on their behalf.
However, the investor's family members do not enjoy this privilege even though they also have the right to obtain the investor's residence permit.
In fact, investors usually do not need their family members to obtain this residence permit as it is only a temporary stage before they become Turkish citizens.
But in some exceptional cases, investors may require their family members to obtain a residence permit for the investor as well (for example, in order for their children to be able to attend international schools in Turkey, which are not allowed for Turkish citizens).
In such cases, unfortunately, the family members must come to Turkey while submitting the residence permit application.
I think the same privilege as an investor should be granted to members of his family as well.
10- If the Syrian investor who has temporary protection status in Turkey wants to apply for Turkish citizenship through investment, this investor will have to leave Turkey again and re-enter it before applying for the investor's residence permit mentioned above.
This is a completely unnecessary burden for the applicant and we are pressing for its withdrawal.
But at least for the time being, the problem still remained.
11- In some passports, such as Iranian and Yemeni passports, the national nationality of the passport holder is not written.
If the applicant holds one of these passports, the Turkish authorities require an additional document proving the applicant's national citizenship.
Turkish citizenship passes through investment in many public institutions such as Immigration Office, Citizenship Office, Police Department, etc.
Therefore, it sometimes seems difficult to create harmony between these institutions under severe epidemic conditions.
Because of these circumstances, the standard application period ranges from six to seven months, while it was between three and four months before 2019. Exaggerated formalities and sometimes neglect of some bureaucratic mechanisms in Turkey create unnecessary obstacles for foreign investors.
We sometimes notice that the relevant public offices do not even announce changes in procedures on time, so applicants and their attorneys cannot discover the changes before facing a new problem.
On the other hand, foreign investors may believe that some problems and delays can be tolerated in order to obtain a new passport.
That is why it is best for foreign investor applicants to be patient.
I hope that the procedures for obtaining Turkish citizenship will improve soon.