Turkish citizenship  (Law no. 5901 on) defines the principles and the procedures regarding the conduct of affairs and processes related to the acquisition and loss of Turkish citizenship.  Turkish citizenship may be acquired by birth or after birth. Turkish citizenship may automatically be acquired by birth on the basis of descent or place of birth. On the other hand Turkish Citizenship Act specifies three main ways to acquire Turkish citizenship after birth. Accordingly, Turkish citizenship may be acquired after birth (i) by decision of the competent authority, (ii) by adoption or (iii) by choice.
HOW CAN FOREIGNERS BE TURKISH CITIZEN? Foreigners can acquire Turkish citizenship in two ways. 1- BY BIRTH; Turkish citizenship acquired by paternity or place of birth.
- Turkish citizenship by paternity
Marital or extramarital child who was born in or outside Turkey from a Turkish citizen mother or father, is a Turkish citizen.
- Place of birth
The child born in Turkey but cannot acquire citizenship of any country by birth depending on the foreign mother or father and the found child whose parents cannot be identified is a Turkish citizen as of birth.
2- SUBSEQUENT; it is the Turkish citizenship which was acquired by means of a Competent Authority’s decision, Exceptional case, Marriage, Adoption and right of choice.
- Acquiring Turkish Citizenship by a Competent Authority’s Decision
Any adult foreigner who resided in Turkey for uninterrupted 5 years and who has the ability to distinguish can apply for Turkish Citizenship with the decision of a Competent Authority provided that he/she confirms that he/she has decided to settle in Turkey with his/her behaviours, does not have a diseases which may pose a danger to the public health, is able to speak Turkish adequately, has the income or job to make a living for himself/herself and any dependent people and does not constitute a drawback in terms of National Security and public order.
Turkish citizenship by investment
People who bring industrial facilities to Turkey or provide or are thought to provide extraordinary services in scientific, technological, economic, social, sportive, cultural and artistic areas and for whom the related ministries have submitted justified offers. Foreigners and those who have residence permit in accordance with International Protection Law and Turquoise Card holders and their foreign spouses, underage or dependent children of them or their spouses, Foreign individuals who are deemed necessary to be granted Turkish Citizenship. Foreigners who are considered as immigrants can acquire Turkish citizenship exceptionally with the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers provided that such individuals does not constitute a drawback in terms of National Security and public order. On the other hand, foreigners who meet the following criteria shall be evaluated in that scope and they can apply for Turkish Citizenship exceptionally with the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers:
- Proven by the Ministry of Economy to make fixed capital investment in the amount of minimum USD 500.000;
- Proven by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanism to purchase real estate in the amount of minimum USD 250.000 provided that it is registered in the Title Deed Registry not to be sold for three years;
- Proven by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to provide employment for at least 50 people;
- Proven by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency to deposit minimum USD 500.000 in banks operating in Turkey provided that such amount shall be kept in the banks for three years;
- Proven by the Undersecreteriat of Treasury to purchase State debt instruments in the amount of minimum USD 500.000 provided that such instruments are kept for three years;
- A regulation regarding the Turkish Citizenship Law was added to Article 20, which regulates the conditions for the exceptional acquisition of Turkish citizenship. It was also decided that citizenship rights should be provided for foreigners investing in capital market instruments and other investments. According to this, a share of real estate investment fund participation of at least 1.5 million dollars or foreign investors who hold a venture capital investment fund share and keep it for three years will be entitled to Turkish citizenship. Criteria and Steps for Citizenship Application of Foreign Investors
- Turkish Citizenship by Marriage
Foreigners who have been married to a Turkish citizen for at least three years can apply for Turkish citizenship.
- Acquiring Turkish Citizenship by Adoption
Underage child adopted by a Turkish citizen can acquire Turkish citizenship as of the decision date provided that there is no drawback in terms of national security and public order.
- Acquiring Turkish Citizenship by Right of Choice
Children, who lost citizenship depending on their parents who cease to be a Turkish citizen by getting a permit, can acquire Turkish citizenship by using their right of choice within three years after they come of age.
- Turkish Citizenship by Birth
The child who was born inside or outside of Republic of Turkey borders, and who was born from Turkish citizen mother or father is Turkish citizen. As place of birth, the child who was born in Turkey, but who can’t get citizenship of any country due to her/his father and mother, and whose mother and father can’t be detected, has Turkish citizenship beginning from the birth.
- Turkish Citizenship by Naturalization
The competent authority is The Regulation of Turkish Citizenship and the citizenship approvals are made by Council of Ministers. The applications are made as through general, marriage, establishment of ancestral ties and exceptional applications.
- Turkish Citizenship by Descent
According to the Turkish Law, acquiring Turkish citizenship by descent is not possible. But, if the inheritance is an immovable and has 1.000.000 USD value, exceptional citizenship application can be made providing to be added 3-year not selling guarantee on title records..
- Turkish Citizenship and Military Status
If the person has completed his military services in his own country and if the person can certify it, he wil be exempt from military services in Turkey according to Turkish Law. The registration procedures for military service are conducted key to Article 2 of the Military Service Law No. 1111. According to this article of code, if the foreigners are 22 or over when they get accepted for Turkish citizenship, they will be exempt from military services in Turkey.
- Restoration of Turkish Citizenship
People who lose Turkish citizenship by getting alienage permit and people who lost their citizenship depending on their parents who did not use their right of choice within three years can reacquire Turkish Citizenship by the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers without considering the residency time in Turkey provided that there is no drawback in terms of national security.
STEP BY STEP TURKISH CITIZENSHIP APPLICATION
Applications in relation to acquiring and losing Turkish citizenship shall be submitted in person or with a power of attorney for using such right to the;
Governorate (Provincial Birth Registration Office) in the province where the applicant resides in the country; or
The Embassies or Consulates of the Republic of Turkey abroad.
EXAMPLE FORMS FOR CITIZENSHIP APPLICATIONS
- Turkish citizenship by paternity
VAT-1 form on the website of Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Civil Registration and Citizenship Affairs at https://www.nvi.gov.tr/kurumlar/nvi.gov.tr/hizmetlerimiz/vatandaslikhizmetleri/Vat_1_18_Yas.pdf
- Birth Place
VAT-2 form on the website of Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Civil Registration and Citizenship Affairs at https://www.nvi.gov.tr/hizmetlerimiz/vatandaslik-hizmetleri/vatandaslik-formlari
- Acquiring Turkish citizenship with the decision of a Competent Authority
VAT-3 form on the website of Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Civil Registration and Citizenship Affairs at https://www.nvi.gov.tr/kurumlar/nvi.gov.tr/hizmetlerimiz/vatandaslikhizmetleri/Vat_3_Genel_Kazanma.pdf
- Exceptional Turkish citizenship
VAT-4 form on the website of Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Civil Registration and Citizenship Affairs at https://www.nvi.gov.tr/kurumlar/nvi.gov.tr/hizmetlerimiz/vatandaslikhizmetleri/Vat_4_Istisnai_Olarak_Kazanma.pdf
- Turkish citizenship by marriage
VAT-6 form on the website of Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Civil Registration and Citizenship Affairs at https://www.nvi.gov.tr/kurumlar/nvi.gov.tr/hizmetlerimiz/vatandaslikhizmetleri/Vat_6_Evlenme.pdf
- Acquiring Turkish citizenship by adoption
VAT-7 form on the website of Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Civil Registration and Citizenship Affairs at https://www.nvi.gov.tr/kurumlar/nvi.gov.tr/hizmetlerimiz/vatandaslikhizmetleri/Vat_7_Evlat_Edinilme.pdf
- Acquiring Turkish citizenship by right of choice
VAT-8 form on the website of Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Civil Registration and Citizenship Affairs at https://www.nvi.gov.tr/kurumlar/nvi.gov.tr/hizmetlerimiz/vatandaslikhizmetleri/Vat_8_Secme_Hakki_Kazanma.pdf
- Restoration of Turkish citizenship
VAT-5 form on the website of Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Civil Registration and Citizenship Affairs at https://www.nvi.gov.tr/kurumlar/nvi.gov.tr/hizmetlerimiz/vatandaslikhizmetleri/Vat_5_Yeniden_Kazanma.pdf
HOW TO CALCULATE RESIDENCY PERIODS?
For a foreigner, residency means residing in Turkey in accordance with the Turkish laws. In terms of validity and calculation of residency time for the foreigner who wants to acquire Turkish citizenship;
How long the foreigner resided in Turkey is determined with the residence permit issued by the Immigration Office and the document which shows the entrance and exit dates in Turkey.
The foreigner who want to acquire Turkish citizenship may be outside Turkey no longer than six months in total during the required residency period. The time period outside Turkey, which does not exceed six months in total, shall be evaluated within the anticipated residency period.
If the foreigner is outside Turkey for longer than six months in total within the residency period or stays in Turkey without valid residence permit or without getting a residence permit for longer than six months; the residency period shall be interrupted and residency period before this date shall not be taken into consideration.
Residing in Turkey without a legal residence permit or with a permit which is legal but does not specify the intention of settlement in Turkey; residing in Turkey with residence permits for asylum or immigration applicants, refugees, education, touristic, accompanying a student, treatment or foreign missionary personnel identification cards issued by diplomatic organizations or consulates shall not be accepted as valid residency in acquiring Turkish citizenship.
In the event that the person, who resided in Turkey with residency reasons which were not accepted in acquiring Turkish citizenship, is granted residency permit afterwards, pervious residency periods shall be taken into consideration. This provision shall not apply to people who were in Turkey with touristic residence permit.
WHAT ARE THE DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR TURKISH CITIZENSHIP APPLICATION?
The application is submitted by filling in the forms drawn up by the Directorate General of Civil Registration and Citizenship Affairs according to the type of acquiring Turkish citizenship.
Photograph, copies of passport, residence or work permit, marriage, adoption and birth certificates and power of attorney, if any, as well as medical certificate, etc. shall be enclosed in the form according to the application type.
WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE DURING APPLICATION? WHAT ARE THE TRANSACTIONS THAT THE APPLICANT IS REQUIRED TO DO?
The documents and statements in relation to applications for acquiring Turkish citizenship with the decision of a Competent Authority or by marriage may be verified at Security Authorities and other required authorities. Applicants and the spouse who is a Turkish citizen shall be interviewed.
The file consisting of documents submitted by the applicants or obtained from relevant authorities for acquiring Turkish citizenship by birth or restoration of Turkish citizenship and the interview results if any shall be submitted to the Directorate General of Civil Registration and Citizenship Affairs to be investigated and concluded. Applicants can check the status of the citizenship application online.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOLLOWING THE APPLICATION?
Application for Turkish citizenship is referred to the Directorate General of Civil Registration and Citizenship Affairs by the authority where the application is submitted. Directorate General of Civil Registration and Citizenship Affairs ensures that deficiencies are completed if any and sends positive or negative results to the relevant authority following necessary investigation and research. Applicants are notified by SMS or e-mail during the procedure.
WHEN IS THE CITIZENSHIP APPLICATION CONCLUDED?
Applications may be concluded in a time period between 6 months and 2 years.
HOW TO CHANGE NAME AND SURNAME, EXAMPLE FORMS
Each foreigner who acquire Turkish citizenship has the right to choose a Turkish name and surname. The foreigner may use such right while filling in application forms, in other words during application provided that the name and surname complies with the Turkish alphabet. After the citizenship is acquired, such requests shall not be taken into consideration and a court decision may be required.
CAN FOREIGNERS OF TURKISH ORIGIN BE TURKISH CITIZEN?
Foreigners who were Turkish citizen by birth but acquired other citizenships afterwards and the children who lose Turkish citizenship depending on them can apply for Turkish citizenship again. In that case, they have the right to apply without considering residency conditions. For the foreigners of Turkish origin who are citizens of foreign countries since birth, there is no different practice since 31.12.2011.
HOW TO BE A TURKISH CITIZEN WITH IDENTIFICATION CARDS FROM THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE?
Foreigners of Turkish origin, who wants to acquire Turkish citizen by claiming that he/she has an identification card in his/her name since the Ottoman Era, is obliged to prove such claim with documents including his/her identity such as birth registration or identification card. In addition, the ones who lost Turkish citizenship for any reason, who were not registered because of not being able to notify in overall and local registrations can reacquire Turkish citizenship.
RECOMMENDATIONS TO FOREIGNERS WHO WILL APPLY FOR TURKISH CITIZENSHIP FROM EXPERTS
- Being a citizen of the Republic of Turkey is a privilege. For that reason, it is recommended that all foreigners who apply for Turkish citizenship;
- Should not have a condition which may constitute a drawback in terms of national security and public order;
- Should note that the documents and information submitted are true;
- Should not submit exaggerated or misleading information and documents just to acquire Turkish citizenship.
- For the foreigners who apply for Turkish citizenship due to marriage with a Turkish citizen; having a child from this marriage and continuing the marriage in goodwill would provide advantage for them. The marriage should not be made just for acquiring citizenship.
- They are also advised not to rely on the information and recommendations provided by third party individuals or organizations other than the relevant and competent authorities.