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Turkey citizenship by investment programme has been progressively popular, with a 1000% increase in approved applications over the last few years. This is no doubt partly due to the global mobility that the Turkish passport offers. Whilst it may not be as strong as the Caribbean passport, it still enables its citizens to access over 125 countries, and as such ranks as the 33rd most powerful passport in the world.
Whilst providing access to 125 countries, Turkey’s visa policy is arguably more complex than other countries, such as within the Schengen Area. There are three categories of countries that can be identified for holders of Turkish citizens; visa free, visa on arrival, and pre approved visa. It is therefore important to understand where one can travel to, and the visa requirement necessary for each country. This can be seen from the image and from the country list at the end of the blog, which is further explained below.
Currently, Turkey offers visa free access to 111 countries without getting a visa in advance, with some countries only requiring an identity card to travel. This means that there are no requirements or documents necessary, either before or after travelling in order to get into these countries. Many nations throughout the Middle East and Eastern Europe do not require a visa, which given their close proximity, make them ideal areas for potential business and travel. Some of these countries include Qatar, Tunisia, Jordan, Iraq and Morocco, whilst the countries only requiring an identity card, including Ukraine, Moldova, Azerbaijan.
A Turkish passport also allows access to a further 29 countries. The difference between these countries and the visa free countries is that an eVisa, and/or a visa on arrival are required.
Whilst Turkish citizens are able to visit these countries relatively hassle free, it means that travellers must obtain a visa in order to enter the country, however, it can be obtained on arrival at the border, with there being no need for visitors to apply for the visa beforehand. This can be an unpleasant experience for some, with long wait times and tedious bureaucracy. As such many countries now offer eVisa’s. An eVisa is a visa that travellers can apply to online prior to their arrival, meaning they do not have to wait to get a visa at border control. Countries that require eVisa/visa on arrival includes Russia, Bahrain, and several Central African countries, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, amongst others.
The last category of countries requires individuals to apply for a visa before they travel to that country. These are generally physical documents issued by embassies belonging to the country that the visa grants entry to. Whilst visas often differ between countries and are usually either a sticker or a stamp in the traveller’s passport or a separate official document that must be presented at the border in order to enter the country.
Whilst Turkish citizens at this moment in time require a visa to travel throughout the Schengen Area, Turkey has been in talks with the European Union and has been officially recognised as a candidate for full membership. If or when Turkey gains access to the EU, then visa free travel throughout Europe will be highly likely, strengthening its passport significantly.
Turkish citizenship also grants individuals eligible to apply for the USA E-2 investor visa, one of only two CBI programmes to do so. What this means is that those that get a Turkish passport, will be eligible to apply for American residency through the E-2 programme for a 5-year renewable period, a much quicker and more cost-effective route than the main US immigration routes, such as the EB-5 programme.
Whilst freedom of travel is a key reason why many people opt for Turkish citizenship, it is not the only benefit that it holds. A key economic and business hub acting as the gateway between the East and West, Turkey is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Citizens of Turkey can expect to enjoy a warm Mediterranean climate, stunning vistas, a good standard of living, as well as high-quality state healthcare. Low living costs, attractive taxation policies and very affordable housing make the country a financially economical place to live.
An added benefit to Turkey’s CBI programme is that there are very minimal requirements for the programme other than having the right amount of funds and passing the due diligence check, which verifies that applicants do not have a criminal background and that the money has come from a legitimate source. Unlike other programmes, Turkey has no stay or language requirements. This means that you will not have to visit or reside in the country in order to gain citizenship. Further to this, applicants do not need to learn the Turkish language, nor renounce any other citizenship the applicant may have.
So the Turkish passport undoubtedly has some attractive benefits and features, but how does one get a Turkish passport through investing? Well, there are three primary routes. The most popular is through investing in Turkish real estate. Applicants have to invest $250,000 in any Turkish property, which must be held for at least 3 years, after which it can be sold. What’s more, property investors in Turkey can expect to see a handsome return on investment both in terms of rental income and with capital gains, whereby buyers can sell their property after a number of years and seek profit on their initial investment.
One other way is for applicants to deposit $500,000 into a Turkish bank account, but the capital into a real estate investment trust, or use it to purchase government bonds, all of which must be held for 3 years. Whilst an easier way, it does require significantly more capital. There is, however, another way to gain Turkish citizenship that does not require a minimum investment amount, and that is to create a job for 10 Turkish citizens. This would primarily be done by creating and setting up a company in the country. Whilst it has the potential to be the cheapest route to Turkish citizenship, it would require significantly more time and effort than the other two options. With that being said, Turkey, especially Istanbul, is a thriving business hub, thanks to its strategic location and attractive business incentives created by the Turkish government.
Whether you seek to gain a second passport for economic, travel or business reasons, Turkey is a highly attractive and much sought after choice. If this is something you want to consider for you and your family, do not hesitate to contact us to find out more information about the programme. Schedule a free consultation, and we will discuss the different options and routes to Turkish citizenship, and help you to identify the most suitable for you.