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Changes in The Process of Acquiring Citizenship in Turkey Through The Acquisition of Real Estate by Foreigners

BERKAY YILDIRIM ZELAL BOZALAN
Changes in The Process of Acquiring Citizenship in Turkey Through The Acquisition of Real Estate by Foreigners

Modifications in the Practice of Foreigners Obtaining Citizenship in Turkey Through The Purchase of Real Estate

The commission held a meeting on 20.01.2021 by the commission, which was convened with the participation of representatives from the General Directorate of Population and Citizenship Affairs, The General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre, and the Ministry of Treasury and Finance. At this meeting, some amendments were made regarding the acquisition of citizenship by foreigners’ acquisition of the real estate process.

As a result of this meeting, amendments were made to Regulation No. 2019/5 on implementing Turkish citizenship on 22.03.2021. Additional measures were made to the provisions in the regulation, and the provisions entitled “transactions between foreigners” were reorganized.

With these changes, it is planned to prevent fictitious transactions between foreigners. As for the changes made:

The same real estate or real estate share cannot be subject to citizenship acquisition again after acquiring Turkish citizenship through sale or promise to sell.

With this change, it has been determined that only one foreigner can apply for citizenship over a real estate property.

For example, even if the foreign national A person sells this property to another foreign citizen B after the three-year commitment not to sell the real estate s/he has purchased for 300.000 USD, foreign citizen B will not be able to apply for Turkish citizenship with this real estate.

For example, foreign citizen LM has purchased half of the share of block 108, parcel 7, with independent section no. 3, located in Istanbul province, Sisli district on 04.10.2020 for $265,000. They have annotated not to sell the property for three years and obtained a certificate of conformity to acquire Turkish citizenship.

After the three-year annotation period is over, the same share can not be used to acquire citizenship by a different foreigner through title deed transfer or preliminary sales contract, even if the owner of the share changes.

In case a foreign person who acquired Turkish citizenship through a property resells the same property to the legal entity of the company/Turkish citizen s/he has purchased it from (excluding compulsory transfers through a court decision or compulsory execution, etc.) upon completion of 3 year period or revokes the annotation of the preliminary sales contract from land registry record of the property and sells it to a third person. The subject will be transferred to the General Directorate.

The status of the certificate of conformity, which is the basis for the acquisition of Turkish citizenship, will be re-evaluated. The situation subject to re-examination here is that the foreigner cannot resell the purchased property to the company’s same Turkish person/legal entity except for explained mandatory reasons. It has been stated that the process will be re-evaluated after selling.

A change has also been made in the text of commitment during the acquisition of citizenship by foreigners. According to this:

In the event of the sale or preliminary sales agreement (promise to sell) transaction; “I undertake that I will not sell this real estate(s) that I purchased to acquire Turkish citizenship within the scope of Article 20 of the Regulation on the Implementation of the Turkish citizenship Law for three years.

If it is determined that the information and documents to be submitted within the scope of the application are incomplete, incorrect, or misleading; within the scope of Article 31 of the Turkish citizenship Law No. 5901, “The decision to acquire Turkish citizenship; If it occurs as a result of the person concerned a false declaration or concealing important matters that constitute the basis for acquiring citizenship, it will be cancelled by the authority that made the decision. I know that related authorities will take action” phrase is included.

By adding the “information and documents to be submitted under (…) are found to be incomplete, inaccurate or misleading (…)” statement to the previous commitment text of the regulation, authorities are aiming to prevent fictitious transactions.

Properties transferred to a Turkish citizen / Turkish company after 12.01.2017 and subject to acquisition of Turkish citizenship through sale or preliminary sales contract (a promise to sell) should not have any registry in the name of the foreign citizen who wishes to acquire citizenship for their spouse, child or another foreign citizen of with the same nationality.

However, in this case, only another foreign citizen with a different nationality can subject this property to acquire Turkish citizenship.

It is planned to prevent foreign citizens who have the citizenship of the same country from acquiring Turkish citizenship by selling the real estate to each other by this regulation.

Real estate(s) subject to sale or preliminary sales agreement must not be registered in the name of the legal entity where the foreign citizen who will acquire the property themselves, their spouse, or his children is a partner or a manager, or on behalf of the company subject to Article 36 of the Land Registry Law (with foreign/international capital) where same nationality real person is a partner.

This regulation is planned to prevent purchasing a property from a legal entity by another legal entity with the same nationality.

As a result, the methods of acquiring Turkish citizenship with the transfer of foreigners between themselves and through construction companies for a long time will be prevented with these regulations.

The commission decided that Turkish citizenship can not be acquired with these transfers carried out in a simulated manner.


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