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Citizenship to Foreign Nationals Buying Property?

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Citizenship to Foreign Nationals Buying Property?
Nova Property
Onur Yılmaz
Onur Yılmaz

The state passed the reciprocity legislation in May 2012, fulfilling its most important duty.

Now, responses are being received much faster from the relevant authorities than they were in the past.

As a result of this, the following trend is being seen in the sale of real estate to foreign nationals, since 2013:

2013 – 12.181 units

2014 – 18.959 units            Increase      56%

2015 – 22.830 units           Increase      20%

Despite this, Turkey still has not been able to make the necessary breakthrough on the matter of the sales of residential properties to foreign nationals. There is a very long road ahead of us.

Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek made an announcement last month, saying that residency permits and work permits could be given to foreign nationals who invest in residential properties in Turkey. What was new here was the matter of work permits. That is because, currently 1 year residency permits are already being given.

There is no doubt that the matter of work permits will lead to a considerable increase in the numbers of those coming from the Gulf states in particular, to buy residential properties in Turkey. However, it is also clear that this is not sufficient. Countries such as Greece and Spain implement more motivating policies in terms of giving residency permits and citizenship.

On the other hand, the position in Turkey is as follows: the residency permits given to foreign nationals who have bought residential properties in Turkey was increased from 3 months to 1 year, with the legislation passed in 2013. This permit needs to be renewed every year. In addition to this, there is no lower limit in the price of the property.

Foreign nationals who have lived in Turkey continuously for eight years are given permanent residency. They are also able to apply for citizenship, on gaining permanent residency, if they wish.

However, 8 years is a very long time. What is on the agenda at the moment is that if the right to citizenship is given together with the sale of the residential property, this would increase sales. Throughout the world, there are practices whereby citizenship is given when purchases are above a certain level, or where the period of residency sought in order to apply for citizenship is lower. In Turkey, this can be implemented directly for residential properties of above 1 million dollars, in particular. Irrespective of what country they are from, bringing in the wealthy classes and their investment potential into the country, and ensuring that they remain here, is currently one of the biggest priorities of states. This debate is still very new in Turkey, and it is clear that it will continue to be discussed for a long time yet, from the axis of “selling the land of the home country”.

What needs to be done before all else at the moment is to make the procedures for the 1 year residency permits easier. The procedures to be able to obtain a 1 year permit should not take 3 months. And in the medium term, the matters of work permits and citizenship should also be put on the agenda.

Read other posts written by Onur Yılmaz

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