Turkey announces major changes in the law on citizenship by investment
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Turkey strives to increase its currency reserves and halt the decline of the Turkish lira, which has fallen drastically in recent months in relation to the U.S. dollar. In this regard, the country announced changes to its citizenship by investment program. According to the new amendment, which was published in the official Turkish newspaper on January 6, 2022, the investments should now be made in foreign currency and the money must be converted into Turkish lira through the Central Bank.
Previously, for foreigners claiming Turkish citizenship through investment, there was a threshold of 250,000 USD when buying real estate and 500,000 USD when opening a deposit at a local bank. The possibility of investing an equivalent amount in Turkish liras was allowed, but the new amendment to the Turkish citizenship law suggests that this option has been ruled out.
According to the Daily Sabah, Omer Faruk Akbal, head of Turkey's Real Estate International Promotion Association, also known as GIGDER, said that the new procedure for making investments will be clarified in circulars or instructions that will be prepared by the relevant institutions. "We expect that foreign investors with Turkish liras in their hands will not have obstacles to use the Citizenship Law to their advantage," Akbal said. He also added that the association is making $19 million or more in real estate sales each day, so there should be no delays in the process.
New requirements for foreign investors
Regardless of the type of investment (real estate, venture capital fund, deposit or business), all foreign investors wishing to obtain Turkish citizenship must exchange their funds at the Central Bank for an equivalent amount in Turkish lira. If the investment is transferred to a deposit account, according to the new amendment, the period of storage is 3 years.
A government circular detailing the process has not yet been published. Presumably, the investor must first transfer funds in foreign currency to an account at an approved Turkish financial institution, which will convert the amount into the state currency through the Central Bank. It is the converted money that will be used later to obtain citizenship.
Turkish immigration lawyer Burçin Barlas warned foreign investors against hasty decisions and urged them to wait for an official circular that will clarify the changes in the law. According to him, the document, which is being prepared by the Interior Ministry, will define the new rules and conditions.
According to Turkey's Central Bank, the country earned $5.7 billion from the sale of 40,812 properties to foreigners in 2020. In the first 11 months of 2021, 50,735 properties were sold, exceeding the annual threshold of 50,000 units.
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