Applying for citizenship in Turkey

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Matthew Hillier

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Do you dream of becoming a Turkish citizen? If so, this guide will walk you through the application process, highlighting eligibility requirements and the documents you need to get your dream citizenship. 

But be warned: applying for citizenship in Turkey can be a lengthy process (taking months to years) with several restrictions, limitations and possible difficulties. 

Despite that, the perks of becoming a citizen, like having the opportunity to qualify for an investor visa to the United States, make it a worthwhile process. Additionally, the Turkish government offers various pathways to citizenship aside from marriage and ancestry. 

As you'll see there are different requirements and documents depend on your specific pathway. To kickstart your journey to getting your Turkish citizenship, let’s discuss the fundamentals first. 

What are the basic requirements to become a Turkish citizen?

Before we jump into the details, here are the minimum qualifications for foreigners to obtain Turkish citizenship according to the Turkish Citizenship Law or Act No. 5901: 

  1. Applicants must be at least 18 years old.
  2. They should have no criminal records and must present supporting documents like a good conduct certificate or clearance issued by law enforcement bodies to prove this.
  3. The applicant should be proficient in the Turkish language (which may not be mandatory for citizenship acquired through the investment route).
  4. Applicants must be financially capable of supporting themselves and must provide the necessary evidence to back this up. 
  5. In some conditions, the applicant must be residing in the country for at least five years (no interruption) with a valid work or residence permit. 
  6. The applicant should also be free from contractible diseases that pose a significant threat to general health. 

Please note that the law clarifies that fulfilling these conditions doesn’t fully guarantee citizenship acquisition. 

What are the different pathways to get Turkish citizenship?

There are several conditions or routes where an individual can qualify for Turkish citizenship, like the following:

Citizenship by birth or descent

A child born to either Turkish parent can obtain Turkish citizenship regardless of where they're born. At the same time, they must be acknowledged by the parents, and the parents' marital status upon birth also impacts eligibility. 

However, a foreign national born in the country with non-Turkish parents doesn’t automatically qualify as a Turkish citizen. 

Citizenship by marriage

A foreigner married to a Turkish citizen for at least three years (currently married to them upon application) and living in Turkey throughout the duration of marriage can qualify for Turkish citizenship. 

Citizenship by investment

There are several means for an applicant to obtain citizenship through investment:

  • Deposit of $500,000 USD or more in a Turkish bank: The applicant must commit to maintain it for at least three years. 
  • Government bonds purchase amounting to $500,000 or more: Given that the assets should be preserved for three years.
  • Real estate purchase amounting to at least $400,000 (most popular option): Applicants can purchase multiple properties that altogether amount to at least $400,000 USD. You have to hold these properties for at least 3 years before you can sell them.
  • At least $500,000 investment or shares in real estate or venture capital investment fund: Maintained deposit for at least three years.
  • Establishing a business or company: Given that the business will hire at least 50 Turkish workers. 

To add, obtaining citizenship through the investment route also qualifies the applicant’s spouse and children below 18 years old (and possibly parents and grandparents). 

Note that the applicant must also obtain a residence permit and may apply for citizenship after it’s granted. 

Citizenship by employment

You can apply for citizenship if you’ve worked in Turkey for at least five years through a valid work permit. 

But it’s important to note that the length of time you've stayed abroad throughout the course of the five years will impact your application. You may not be entitled to a citizenship application if you’ve stayed overseas for a year or more.

Citizenship by turquoise card

The Turquoise card is a special permit issued to highly qualified foreign workers or individuals with an exceptional educational background and professional experience in the field of science, technology, and more—given that their activities aim for the development of the country. 

Cardholders can apply for citizenship after three years and shall be given priority. 

What are the documents needed?

You’ll need to submit several important documents or records (as well as their copies) to support your identity, financial capacity, employment, and more. 

These documents should be up-to-date, authenticated, notarized, and accurately translated (with a notarized certificate to prove validity) to the Turkish language as well. 

These documents include (but are not limited to): 

  1. Application form
  2. Recent photos and biometrics data
  3. Passport
  4. Birth certificate (certified copy)
  5. Passport of Turkish parent (if applying for citizenship by descent)
  6. Marriage certificate and other marital status documentation 
  7. Proficiency certificate in the Turkish language
  8. Work or residence permit (applicants via investment route must possess such upon application for citizenship)
  9. Address registration (if currently working or residing in Turkey through a permit)
  10. Police clearance or criminal record from home country
  11. Documentation of financial investment
  12. Tax records and bank statements
  13. Certificate of Conformity (for those applying through the investment route)
  14. Health insurance

What is the process of applying for Turkish citizenship?

The Turkish citizenship application process includes:

  1. Meeting the program’s eligibility requirements (it’s best to seek assistance from an immigration lawyer)
  2. Collecting all necessary documents 
  3. Submission of documents to the Turkish registry office or through the embassy overseas
  4. Evaluation by the Turkish Ministry of Internal Affairs
  5. Granting of citizenship approval signed by the President
  6. Receipt of Turkish passport 

What are the benefits of getting Turkish citizenship?

Aside from enjoying its rich cultural heritage, some benefits of acquiring Turkish citizenship include: 

  1. Visa-free travel to 115 countries 
  2. Apply for an E-2 non-immigrant investor visa to the US
  3. Work-permit-free employment opportunities
  4. Access to public education and healthcare services paid for by the state

Frequently Asked Questions

Is military service still mandatory for male citizens?

Turkish law mandates that males aged 20 to 41 are required to serve in the military, but there’s an exemption for foreign nationals who acquired their Turkish citizenship after 22. 

Consequently, showing documents to prove that you’ve already accomplished military duty in your home country exempts you from mandatory military service. 

Is acquiring Turkish citizenship open for all nationalities?

Certain nationalities are restricted to the Turkish citizenship program, like citizens from North Korea, Armenia, Syria, Cuba, and Nigeria. 

Is dual citizenship allowed in Turkey?

Yes, unlike other countries like Japan and China, you don’t need to renounce your nationality to become a Turkish citizen. That way, you can enjoy the privileges and benefits of being a Turkish citizen while still being a citizen of your home country.

How to speed up the application process for Turkish citizenship?

Application and approval can take months to years, so partnering with an immigration or citizenship lawyer in Turkey is the best way. They can guide you with investment selection and assist in completing needed documents in compliance with immigration law and regulations.  


Applying for citizenship in Turkey is possible through several pathways, like by descent, marriage, investment, and the Turquoise card. 

The application process includes meeting the eligibility requirements, collection and submission of documents to the Turkish registry office or the Embassy, and evaluation by the Turkish Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Meanwhile, the basic eligibility requirements include being at least 18 years of age, having no criminal records, and being free from contractible diseases threatening the general public. 


We do our best to provide the most accurate and helpful information, but rules and procedures can change at short notice. Your experience could be different depending on your country of origin and the locality and office you attend. For the most current information check official government sources and speak to a local attorney or immigration professional. 

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