Turkey’s Citizenship by Investment Program: 5 Reasons to Take Advantage of its Rising Popularity

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Istanbul, with its Turkish baths, stunning architecture, glorious historical monuments, rich Turkish cuisine and breath-taking scenery, is Turkey’s most populous city and one of the world’s finest. 

If you are considering which residence or citizenship by investment program (CIP) would be the best for you and your family, where better to start than this vibrant, bustling hotspot, once described as “the capital of the world” by the revolutionary general Napoleon.

So, what do you need to consider when looking at the Turkish CIP?

On 18th September 2018, Turkey lowered the minimum real estate investment for citizenship acquisition to $250,000 (from $1m) making it one of the cheapest, most desirable CIPs available. Since this reduction, sales of property to foreigners have increased by more than 150% as of the end of 2018. Moreover, it is anticipated that annual property sales to foreigners will increase from $4 billion to a whopping $10 billion in 2019.

Here are 5 reasons to take advantage of the increasingly popular Turkish Citizenship by Investment Program.

1. Government incentives for investors in property

The Turkish government has implemented some exciting new incentives and significant changes to help encourage foreign property investment and boost the CIP. 

Taxes are often first on any prospective buyer’s mind before deciding whether to invest money in real estate in a particular country. The Turkish government has implemented lower purchasing taxes, paving the way towards a rise in foreign investment in Turkey which will no doubt reach spectacular rates of growth in future years. 

Other incentives include the Cadastre System (TAKBIS) which is an integrated information system that standardises operations relating to land registry, as well as stamp duty adjustments, VAT exemption and lower land registry fees.

2. The best way to enter the 500-million population Eurasia market

Turkey has a diverse economy, with double the GDP of Portugal and Greece combined and is home to the Eurasian headquarters of a plethora of multinational blue-chip companies. Turkey is fast emerging as a popular spot for investment migration. 

Even though most of its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) originates from the surrounding countries and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Turkey also attracts much attention from the Far East. In 2018, the number of Chinese tourists into the country grew by 100% on the previous year, and there is even a new China Town in development in the heart of Istanbul, a home away from home for ever growing numbers of Chinese tourists. Furthermore, there are significant Far Eastern investments in leisure facilities, luxury hotels and residential projects including the Mandarin Oriental, The Peninsular and Raffles.

3. Be part of a rapidly growing market 

China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which promises to reinstate the old Silk Road as the world’s most important trade route, will have Turkey and Istanbul as a key centre. This is partly thanks to its geographical position and excellent logistics infrastructure. 

Tourism plays a huge role in Turkey’s economy; 2019 is expected to be a record-setting year, as hotels throughout the country are already experiencing higher than average bookings. 

This is an impressive achievement given that Turkey experienced one of its worse years of tourism in 2016. The quick recovery in the tourism industry, however, is a true testament to Turkey’s resilience and ability to bounce back. 

After a short break, Turkey’s FDI rose to $13.2 billion USD, which is an incredible 14% increase on the previous year and comes at a time when other traditional ‘safe havens’ for FDI have experienced drastic retractions. Investor sentiment is positive about Turkey’s long-term prospects.

Moreover, a recently published report from the World Bank ‘Doing Business 2019’ placed Turkey in the top 10 for overall improvement and moved it up 17 places to an overall ranking of 43rd in the world, after carrying out a record number of business reforms during the past year.

4. Visa-free travel to 115 countries and access to Schengen zone coming soon

Travel abroad for business or leisure, with the world at your fingertips, for you and your family. A Turkish passport is highly valued in the Eurasia zone, with visa-free or on arrival access to 115 countries including the US E-2 Visa. 

Turkey has strong ties with the EU and is now close to allowing citizens to be granted visa-free access to the Schengen Zone, having completed 65/72 of the required criteria for gaining Schengen access. With just 7 remaining, Turkey is determined to complete all 72 criteria for visa-free travel across the 26 countries of the Schengen zone, which will enable the crossing of internal borders without having to undergo border checks.

5. Property bargains in luxury locations

Live in the lap of luxury for lower than you imagined, where even in prime locations, property prices are still extremely attractive. Investors can own a luxury, LEED Gold quality residence in one of Istanbul’s most iconic high-rises, for as little as just $250,000, which is the required minimum CIP investment

For people who prefer a more relaxed holiday environment, there are great deals for new-build luxury projects with fantastic facilities in coastal resort towns such as Bodrum, ‘The jewel of the Aegean’ which is often likened to the St. Tropez of Turkey.

The government makes sure that the property market remains transparent and well-regulated. As of February 2019, all properties must have an approved validation by the capital markets board for any possible foreign acquisitions, giving an extra layer of protection for buyers.

How to participate in the Turkish Citizenship by Investment Program

In order to qualify for the Turkish CIP, properties that are purchased must also be close to completion or already complete, with habitation certificates secured. The new land registry system requires that once the client’s lawyers have carried out due diligence on their property, the purchasing process can be finalised in just a matter of days, therefore paying on delivery title of deeds and eliminating risk.

Turkey continues to shine brightly as an exciting place to live and work. It has never been easier to gain Turkish citizenship and enjoy a high-quality lifestyle, interesting culture, as well as take advantage of the ever-growing business opportunities as part of Eurasia’s main hub, which grants access to a market of more than 500 million people.

Astons is a leading global immigration advisory firm with offices in London, Moscow, Dubai, Cyprus and China and offers residency & citizenship investment solutions in the  UK,  EU & the Caribbean. Astons is a committed and regulated Member of the Investment Migration Council (IMC), for EU & Caribbean investment immigration.  

For further information or to discuss your personal circumstances in a private consultation, please contact Astons at  info@astons.com or call +44 207 292 2977.