Mar 9, 2020

Turkish citizenship by investment and visa-free travel to the EU may be possible as early as 2020

How to obtain Turkish citizenship and why 2020 is the best timing for it? By claiming Turkish citizenship upon purchase of real estate, foreigners get profitable rental housing, access to the American E2 non-immigrant visa and a visa-free regime when traveling to Schengen in the perspective.

Located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with its excellent climate, affordable prices and a number of other indisputable advantages. Moreover, the country has no restrictions on dual citizenship, which is why many foreigners decide to apply for a Turkish passport. Fortunately, this can be accomplished at an expedited time, in return for investments. 

Turkish citizenship for investment can be granted directly to foreign investors and other high-net worth individuals who purchase property in Turkey at a value of least $ 250,000. Such real estate may be leased out so as to serve as a source of a passive income. After 3 years from the moment of obtaining citizenship, investors can resell their property in Turkey. 

What are the advantages of Turkish citizenship? You can apply for a passport in this country within as short as 4-6 months, visiting it only once. Moreover, you can add a spouse and children in the application for Turkish citizenship for investment. There is no requirement for a minimum stay, language skills or knowledge history to obtain a passport. 

In addition, Turkish citizens who travel to many third countries have access to an electronic visa, a visa upon arrival, or even a visa-free regime. Perhaps there is still no visa-free Schengen citizenship in Turkey for investments. But it is possible that the situation will change for the better in the near future.

Turkish Citizenship for Investment – The Most Popular Way to Obtain a Gold Passport in 2020

Taking into account the numerous advantages of the Turkish “golden passport”, it is not surprising that more and more foreigners wish to obtain Turkish citizenship for investments.

According to the Turkish Ministry of the Interior, more than 5 thousand foreigners received Turkish citizenship for investments after legislative amendments were introduced two years ago that lowered the entry threshold for the allowable amount of investment from $ 1 mln to $ ¼  million. The relevant amendments were introduced on September 19, 2018.

According to the agency, as of the beginning of March 2020, 5111 investors were granted citizenship. In addition, there are 1382 investors who completed the process but have not yet received civil documents. At the same time, the number of applications for citizenship from foreign investors continues to increase: approximately 9 thousand of such applications are still being processed by the authorities.

According to officials, investors who received Turkish citizenship have already brought about $ 1.7 billion in investment to the country. At the same time, representatives of the Turkish Ministry of the Interior expect that as soon as the 1382 investors mentioned above complete their documents, the country will receive about $ 407 million in additional investments.

Turkish citizenship for investment and visa-free travel in the EU

Currently, Turkish citizenship for investments does not allow visa-free travel in Schengen, but in the near future everything can change, which will make the second passport and Turkish citizenship for investments even more attractive option for many foreigners.

In December 2013, an agreement was reached between Brussels and Ankara on the implementation of a visa liberalization program with the aim of granting Turkish citizens the right to visa-free entry to the Schengen zone in the future, after which relevant criteria were also developed. At the end of 2019, the Turkish president expressed a desire to expedite the completion of this process, since official Ankara believes that it has fulfilled all the criteria established by the EU.

At the end of February 2020, the Turkish Foreign Ministry showed goodwill and granted even wider access to the country for Europeans, announcing the granting of a visa-free regime to citizens of six other European countries: Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK. This will undoubtedly lead to the rapprochement of Brussels and Ankara and may also be accompanied by reciprocal concessions from the Europeans.

From March 2, 2020, citizens of the above countries will be able to use the right to visa-free entry to Turkey for tourist purposes for 90 days during any 180-day period. Earlier, citizens of Germany, France, Italy, Finland, Switzerland and Sweden were also granted a similar privilege.

This step has been taken to improve tourism, trade and cultural ties between Turkey, the EU and the UK. But it should also be considered as another step towards an agreement on liberalization of the visa regime between Turkey and the EU, which will allow Turkish citizens to use a visa-free regime within the territory of the signatory states of the Schengen agreement. 

Obviously, this is a step in the right direction for all stakeholders. It is equally obvious that anyone who thinks about applying for Turkish citizenship for investment should do so without delay, since after the introduction of a visa-free regime, the prices for Turkish “golden passports” will most certainly increase.

But even now, a Turkish passport can be a very useful tool for an active traveler and international businesspeople. Which countries can be visited without a visa right now, having obtained Turkish citizenship for investment? Holders of Turkish passports are entitled to a visa-free regime or visa upon arrival/electronic visa when traveling to 110 destinations, including Singapore, Japan, Qatar and South Korea.

Visa-free countries for Turkish citizens in Asia : Bangladesh (visa upon arrival), Brunei, Cambodia (visa upon arrival), Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos (visa upon arrival), Macau, Malaysia, Maldives (visa upon arrival ), Mongolia, Nepal (visa upon arrival), Pakistan (electronic visa), Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka (electronic visa), Taiwan (visa upon arrival), Tajikistan (visa upon arrival), Thailand, Timor- Leste (visa upon arrival), Uzbekistan.

Visa-free countries for Turkish citizens in Europe: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Serbia, Ukraine.

Visa-free countries for Turkish citizens in Africa : Botswana, Cape Verde Islands (visa upon arrival), Comoros (visa upon arrival), Eswatini (Swaziland), Gabon (visa upon arrival), Gambia, Guinea-Bissau (visa upon arrival ), Kenya (visa upon arrival), Madagascar (visa upon arrival), Mauritania (visa upon arrival), Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique (visa upon arrival), Namibia (visa upon arrival), Rwanda (visa upon arrival), San Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles (visa upon arrival), Sierra Leone (visa upon arrival), Somalia (visa upon arrival), South Africa ka, Sudan (visa upon arrival), Tanzania (visa upon arrival), Togo (visa upon arrival), Tunisia, Uganda (visa upon arrival), Zambia (visa upon arrival), Zimbabwe (visa upon arrival).

Visa-free countries for Turkish citizens in Oceania : Cook Islands, Fiji, Marshall Islands (visa upon arrival), Micronesia, Niue, Palau Islands (visa upon arrival), Samoa (visa upon arrival), Tonga (visa upon arrival), Tuvalu (visa upon arrival), Vanuatu.

Visa-free countries for Turkish citizens in the Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago. 

Visa-free countries for Turkish citizens in the Americas: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico (eTA ), Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela. 

Visa-free countries for Turkish citizens in the Middle East: Armenia (visa upon arrival), Azerbaijan (visa upon arrival), Bahrain (visa upon arrival), Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait (visa upon arrival), Lebanon (visa upon arrival), Qatar. 

Turkish citizenship for investment and guaranteed access to an American visa E2!

Particular remarkable is the opportunity to apply for an E2 non – immigrant business visa through Turkish citizenship for investment, which is very important for Russians and Belarusians whose citizenship does not allow being granted such a visa.

An alternative to the E2 visa is the American investor green card, which is issued through the EB 5. program. But the country’s quotas are specified in the conditions of the corresponding program (the EB 5 green card can be issued only by 700 applicants from a certain country per year), which generates queues, and it takes many years for citizens of several countries to get a green card.

In addition, from November 21, 2019, participation in the EB5 migrant investor program has become much more expensive than before: minimum investment requirements increased from $ 500,000 to $ 900,000.

Therefore, the E2 visa scheme, devoid of country quotas and costing much less (from 50 thousand dollars), looks much more attractive for many Russians and Belarusians. However, the authorities of these post-Soviet countries did not conclude relevant trade agreements with the States, which is why Russians and Belarusians are denied access to the E2 Investor visa .

To obtain such a visa, they need to obtain another citizenship in the country with which the States have concluded the necessary arrangements. One of these countries is Turkey, which right now offers foreigners affordable and profitable citizenship for investment.

However, experts recommend that you do not hesitate and use this immigration route as quickly as possible, noting the increase in the number of E2 visas issued around the world as a catalyst for queuing for such visas.

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services – USCIS , in 2019, more than 43,000 E2 visas were issued to applicants from around the world, which is an increase of 5 percent compared to 2018.

It should be noted that more than 75 countries are listed on the list of signatories of trade agreements with the United States that open up access to E 2 visas for citizens. Moreover, among these states, in addition to Turkey, citizenship for investments is offered by Grenada, Egypt and Montenegro.   

Turkish citizenship upon buying property – Should I buy property in Turkey within 2020, and which is the best option to choose?  

As noted above, the cheapest way to obtain a second passport and Turkish citizenship for investments for foreigners in 2020 is to buy property in Turkey, which grants access to eligibility for citizenship by investments after three years. You may be also interested to read our article Residence permit in Turkey (İkamet) – new rules in 2020

Yes, there are other options, including job creation, depositing money and investing in securities. But all of them involve higher costs (more expensive) and are associated with higher difficulties. Therefore, experts recommend buying property in Turkey to get a “golden passport” there.

Right now, there is a bullish trend in the Turkish real estate market. Over the past five years, real estate prices in Turkey in local currency have been growing rapidly. Despite the risk of depreciation of the Turkish lira, real estate in Turkey is likely to generate resale revenue, even if it is bought on a mortgage.   

According to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat ), last year about 1.35 million units of housing were sold in Turkey. Foreigners bought at least 45.5 thousand houses and apartments, which is 14.7 percent more than in the previous year. Evidently top five of the most active foreign buyers tend to invest more and more money in real estate in Turkey.

 At the same time, the homeowners are free to rent out their real estate immediately after acquisition. Interestingly, 2019 was another record year for the Turkish tourism industry, as Turkey received more than 43 million tourists from around the world. This is 14.3 percent more than in the previous year.

Only five countries (France, Spain, USA, China and Italy) currently accept more international tourists than Turkey. Moreover, according to the forecast of the Turkish Office for Strategy and Budget, already in 2023, the tourism sector will be able to attract 75 million visitors to the country.

The average cost per traveler in 2019 was $ 623. This indicator also increased significantly year on year and the numbers are indeed impressive. Even more impressive is the fact that tourism enterprises account for an increasingly significant part of the country’s jobs and Turkish GDP, which is growing steadily, as shown in the table below.

Period Turkey’s Nominal Gross Domestic Product (past periods and forecasts)


Turkey’s gross domestic product at purchasing power parity (past periods and forecasts) Turkey’s Gross Domestic Product per capita (past periods and forecasts)
year 2016  863.39 billion USD 1.99 trillion USD 10 817 USD
year 2017  852.65 billion USD 2.18 trillion USD 10 551 USD
year 2018  771.27 billion USD 2.29 trillion USD 9,405 USD
year 2019  743.7 billion USD 2.35 trillion USD 8 957 USD
year 2020  813.81 billion USD 2.46 trillion USD 9,683 USD
year 2021  904.55 billion USD 2.59 trillion USD 10,635 USD
2022 year 978.75 billion USD 2.72 trillion USD 11,373 USD
2023 year 1.04 trillion USD 2.87 trillion USD 11 901 USD
2024 year 1.1 trillion USD 3.03 trillion USD 12,489 USD

Aiming to strengthen the country’s position as one of the world’s tourist centers, the Turkish government recently commissioned a new airport in Istanbul, located on the European side of the metropolis. After completion of all stages of construction, it will be able to handle 200 million passengers a year, bypassing all other airports in the world.

Another evidence of the country’s leadership in world aviation is the fact that the new airport will serve as the base for Turkish Airlines, which is the world’s largest air carrier by the number of destinations served (294 destinations).

At the same time, choosing property in Turkey in order to obtain citizenship for investment in the country, it is recommended that potential buyers pay attention to lower-level buildings, bearing in mind the high seismic activity in the region. This leads to an increase in demand for residential real estate in Turkey with seven or less floors. Experts note that both buyers and tenants increasingly prefer modern buildings with a small number of floors, considering the price as a secondary factor and paying increased attention to security.

In particular, some realtors claim an increase in demand for buildings with a small number of floors by 25-30 percent. It is also specifically noteworthy that buyers and tenants often prefer buildings no older than seven years. In Istanbul, in particular, old buildings are rapidly becoming less popular.

If you want to learn more about how to obtain a passport and Turkish citizenship for investments or how to quickly and easily get an E 2 American business visa, you can send a request for advice to our experts.

Our professionals with extensive experience are ready to advise you and provide assistance with a wide range of immigration issues relating to Turkey and a number of other countries. Contact us today for more information. by  [email protected]. You are also welcomed to share your preferred topics with us, and we will be happy to provide you more information in our upcoming articles that best match your spheres of interest.