The information provided in this article is intended to give a general overview on how to acquire Turkish citizenship. The principles and procedures relating to the acquisition and loss of Turkish citizenship are regulated under related laws of the Republic of Turkey. Since the laws might be subject to update and change, you are kindly recommend you to consult an expert and get professional support before any action.
How to Obtain Turkish Citizenship?
Turkey allows foreigners to become citizens in certain situations – namely, marriage, residence, birth and the intention to settle in Turkey permanently. Below, TT team presents a brief introduction to Turkish Citizenship:
If you have lived in Turkey for several years, and have no plans to leave, you might want to consider applying for Turkish citizenship. This will eliminate the need to renew visas, residence, and work permits. Best of all, since Turkey allows dual citizenship, you can maintain your original nationality. (Please note that you may have to apply for dual citizenship in advance with the authorities in your home country.)
The eligibility requirements for Turkish citizenship are fairly straightforward: You need to be of adult age (according to your country of origin), and you must have lived in Turkey for at least 5 years, with a total interruption of less than six months. This is reduced to 3 years if you are married to a Turkish national or if you are a foreigner born on Turkish soil.
Your physical and mental health must be sound and you must have no criminal record. Also, you must be able to speak Turkish at a basic level. If you are not married to a Turkish national you also have to prove that you can support yourself while living in Turkey. As long as you have a job, you will meet that requirement. If not, though, you may be able to prove this through existing funds or pension payments.
Your chances of obtaining citizenship will be greatly improved if you can demonstrate that you can make a valuable contribution to Turkish culture and society – if you work for a Turkish company, for example, or are a professional athlete or university professor.
Also, you will need proof of your Turkish language ability. You can get this by conducting an interview with a Turkish government official, and should be able to arrange an appointment through your city or town hall. These interviews are subjective and their difficulty varies depending on the official. If you are fluent in Turkish, however, you should have no problem.
Important Notes Regarding Obtaining Citizenship of Turkish Republic
If you obtain Turkish citizenship through marriage, then later divorce, your citizenship status will not be affected.
A child born in Turkey does NOT have a right to Turkish citizenship unless one of their parents is Turkish.
In the event you are considering marriage solely as a means of obtaining Turkish citizenship, however, note that Turkish courts will not grant you a divorce on the basis of a ‘fictitious marriage’. Furthermore, you may be prosecuted by security authorities and the Census Directorate (Nüfus Müdürlüğü) if they learn of your scheme.
Turkey’s citizenship law tends to be flexible. Officials sometimes make exceptions if they perceive that a decision will have a contribution to the country.
Application for Citizenship of Turkish Republic
If you fulfil all the requirements, you can apply through the Turkish Consulate in your own country. If you are already in Turkey, you need to go through the Birth Registration and Citizenship Office. Your case will be reviewed by the Turkish Interior Ministry who will interview you.
To apply for Turkish citizenship, you need to bring the following documents to a local government office (usually a town or city hall).
Who can become a Turkish citizen?
Regarding acquiring a citizenship of Turkey, the Turkish legislation establishes two types of citizenship: (a) by birth and (b) after birth:
Acquiring Citizenship of Turkish Republic by Birth:
Turkish citizenship law is based primarily on the principle of ius sanguinis (by descent). Turkish descendants may be eligible to acquire citizenship regardless of the place of birth.
Turkey operates on the principle of blood ties. If you have a Turkish mother or father, for instance, you are classed as Turkish, no matter where in the world you were born.
Turkish citizenship is usually automatically granted on the basis of descent. If one’s parent(s) are of Turkish descent or Turkish citizens, were married at the time of conception, then Turkish citizenship is usually granted.
Acquiring Citizenship Turkish Republic after Birth:
1. Acquisition by Decision of Competent Authority
Turkish Citizenship Law has adopted provisions that allow the acquisition of citizenship by the decision of the competent authority. There are four types of acquisition:
General Acquisition: A foreigner may acquire Turkish citizenship provided that they fulfil general conditions of becoming a Turkish citizenship defined by Turkish law. (age, health, determination to settle down permanently, good moral character, speak sufficient Turkish, income, respect national security and public order…etc)
Exceptional Acquisition: This may take various forms, including investment or other economic benefit brought to Turkey, scientific, technological or artistic achievements etc.
Re-acquisition of Turkish Citizenship: Turkish Citizenship Law gives right to persons, who have lost their citizenship, to apply for re-acquisition. Applicants may re-acquire Turkish citizenship provided that they have no situation constituting an obstacle with respect to Turkish national security and they fulfil certain other conditions defined by Turkish law.
Acquisition by Marriage: Person who has been married to a Turkish citizen for at least 3 years and whose marriage continues, may apply for acquisition of Turkish citizenship. . In other words marriage with a Turkish citizen does not automatically grant Turkish citizenship to the foreigner
A foreigner, who is a spouse of a Turkish citizen may be able to obtain Turkish citizenship, if he/she meets certain conditions. Applicants shall be required to fulfil certain conditions defined by Turkish law.
A person who has fulfilled the above conditions does not automatically acquire the Turkish citizenship. He/She can become a citizen only after evaluations of related Turkish authorities.
2. Acquisition of Turkish Citizenship by Adoption
A minor child adopted by a Turkish citizen can acquire Turkish citizenship from the date of adoption provided that he/she has no situation that poses an obstacle with respect to national security and public order. It shall be assessed according to the adopted person’s own national law, whether he/she is minor or not. If the adopted person is stateless or has multi nationality, Turkish law shall be applied. It is questionable how a minor can harm national security or public order. A person who has fulfilled the above conditions does not automatically acquire the Turkish citizenship. He/She can become a citizen only after evaluations of related Turkish authorities.
3. Acquisition of Turkish Citizenship by Right of Choice
This covers situations where a child can or cannot acquire Turkish citizenship in certain conditions related to his/her parents’ changes in citizenship defined by Turkish law.
Dual citizenship in Turkey
The good news is that Turkey accepts the notion of dual citizenship – that you can be a citizen of more than one county at the same time. Dual citizenship (the simultaneous possession of two citizenships) is possible in Turkey because there are no uniform rules of international law relating to the acquisition of nationality. Each country has its own laws regarding nationality, and its nationality is conferred upon individuals on the basis of its own domestic policy. Individuals may have dual nationality by choice or by the automatic operation of these different (and sometimes conflicting) laws.
The automatic acquisition (or retention) of a foreign nationality does not affect Turkish citizenship. Turkish laws have no provisions requiring citizens who are born with dual nationality to choose one nationality over the other when they become adults.
While recognizing the existence of dual nationality and permitting Turkish citizens to have other nationalities, the Turkish government requires that those who apply for another nationality inform the appropriate Turkish officials (the nearest Turkish embassy or consulate abroad) and provide the original Naturalization Certificate, Turkish birth certificate, document showing completion of military service (for males), marriage certificate (if applicable) and four photographs. Dual nationals are not compelled to use a Turkish passport to enter and leave Turkey; it is permitted to travel with a valid foreign passport and the Turkish National ID card.
Since not all countries allow dual citizenship, Turks must sometimes give up their Turkish citizenship if they want to become citizens of another country.
The “Blue Card” as a form of “citizenship light”
Former Turkish citizens who have given up their Turkish citizenship (for example, because they have naturalized in a country that usually does not permit dual citizenship, such as Germany or Austria) can apply for the “Blue Card” (mavi kart), which gives them some citizens’ rights back, e.g. the right to live and work in Turkey, the right to possess land or the right to inherit, but not the right to vote.
Military Service in case of Multiple Citizenship (Performance of or Exemption?):
Turkey has signed special agreements with some countries, which have been concluded on exemption from military obligations in case of multiple citizenship. In principle, persons possessing citizenship of more than one state shall be required to fulfill their military obligations in relation to one of those states. A Turkish citizen, who has fulfilled his military obligation in accordance with the law of another state of which he is also a citizen, shall be deemed to have fulfilled his military obligation in Turkey.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances. Please contact TT Expert for consultation.