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Turkey Citizenship by Investment Criteria Drastically Reduced

Recent changes to Turkey’s Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) are expected to dramatically increase interest by investors. Turkey reduced the required levels of investment while the generous benefits provided by Turkish passports remain unaffected. The most popular benefits are that those with Turkish Citizenship acquire visa-free access to 114 countries worldwide and E-2 visa access to the US.

Previously, Turkey required a minimum investment of the equivalent of $1M US dollars. Now the minimum is a $250K USD investment in real estate. Turkey still allows those seeking citizenship the choice of several categories of investment including bank deposits, capital investments, job creation, and real estate. Minimum requirements for each are: Bank deposits ($500K USD), capital investments ($500K USD), job creation (50 positions), and real estate ($250K USD).

One major advantage to the CIP offered by Turkey is the option to leave assets liquid through bank deposits, rather than requiring investment in fixed assets, and that bank balance only has to be maintained for 3 years. These generous terms and the new, lower investment requirements make Turkey’s CIP one of the lowest cost citizenship programs available.

The main reason for the recent changes to Turkey’s CIP is the country’s current financial crisis. This has resulted in a devaluation of the Turkish Lira and falling real estate prices. This means the exchange rate is now highly favourable for investors looking for entry into the region. That makes the whole country a good prospect for economically operating a business or investing in real estate.

Before this revision to Turkey’s CIP, twice as many employees were required in order to qualify for citizenship due to job creation. Bank deposit requirements were previously $3M USD and capital investments were a minimum of $2M USD.

Turkey’s CIP Details

• Typically, it takes 3-6 months to obtain a Turkish citizenship once the application paperwork has been completed and filed.

• A thorough background check is required for all citizenship applicants.

• Turkey’s minimum investment requirements cover citizenship for the primary applicant along with, if desired, citizenship for the applicant’s spouse and the applicant’s children who are under the age of 18.

• Future access for Turkish citizens to EU countries is under ongoing negotiations with the EU.

• Turkey allows dual and multiple citizenships.

• Residency in Turkey is not required.

• In-person interviews in Turkey are not necessary.

UK Access

Another advantage to Turkish citizenship is improved access to the UK through a visa program. Citizens of Turkey can apply for Turkish Businessperson visas to:

• Start a business in the UK

• Help run an established business in the UK

UK visa guidelines:

• Apply for UK visas up to 3 months before the planned date of travel.

• Free to apply

• Allow 12 weeks for processing

• Visas are good for up to a 12-month stay in the UK

• Visas can be extended for up to 3 years

• While on the Turkish Businessperson visa, it is possible to apply for permanent UK residency

• Recipients of this visa to the UK can bring their dependants

Why Turkey

• Turkey is a stable, democratic country

• Excellent weather, year-round

• Visa-free access to 114 countries

• E-2 visa access to the US

• Able to apply for UK access under Turkish Businessperson visa

• Muslim country

• Safe, family-friendly culture

• Welcoming for immigrants and visitors

• Central location near key businesses centres in the EU and UK

According to data from Turkey, $4.6 billion in real estate was purchased by foreigners last year. The significant proportion of those investors were from Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Russia. The recent changes in Turkey’s CIP are expected to double annual foreign property investment in the country to $10B.

The Turkish government hopes that attracting foreign investment will help reverse the country’s current economic downturn. Meanwhile, the recent drop in the value of the Turkish Lira means now is a chance for investors to purchase property at lower prices. Property purchases by foreigners have been particularly prevalent in the business centre of Istanbul and in Antalya, a popular holiday destination.

Turkey’s economy is expected to rebound but, for the moment, the favourable exchange rate makes this an appealing opportunity for investors. At the same time, the investment can provide Turkish citizenship which can offer additional opportunities for travel, investment, and new business ventures.

The fact that Turkey has among the lowest minimum investment requirements for any Citizenship by Investment Program is an obvious benefit. In addition, the country CIP is unique in offering various investment options. The most exceptional being allowing investors to qualify through liquid assets that only have to be maintained within the country for three years to qualify, no doubt attractive to many.

Astons is a leading global immigration advisory firm with offices worldwide. We offer residency & citizenship investment solutions. For further information or to discuss your personal circumstances in a private consultation, please contact Astons at [email protected].

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