Turkish Passport: 11 Essential Pros and Cons of the Turkey CIP

Everyone dreams of living in an exotic land. There are indeed many reasons to fall in love with Turkey, not only the cosmopolitan city of Istanbul. Plus, thanks to the Turkish government’s new investment program there is no need to use the long, tedious traditional methods of acquiring the Turkish Passport.

Allow me to introduce Turkish passport by investment. Since 2017, Turkey has offered their citizenship program to qualified foreigners. As a result, with a clean background and the financial means, you can become a citizen of Turkey within 5 months.


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Here is everything you need to know including both the pros and the cons. Rest assured it is not just the Turkish passport you will obtain, it is a passport from one of the most astounding countries in the history of human civilization. Learn more→

Turkish Passport PROS & CONS List

  1. Brief History of Istanbul, Turkey – PRO
  2. Turkey’s Personal Income Tax Rates – CON
  3. Residence Based Taxation – CON
  4. US E-2 Visa Eligibility with Turkish Passport – PRO
  5. Visa Free Travel with Turkish Passport – PRO
  6. Qualify with Residential Real Estate – PRO
  7. Constitutional Protection – PRO
  8. Devaluation of Turkish Lira – CON
  9. Turkey is a Strong Country – PRO
  10. Approval Process of Turkish Passport – PRO
  11. Get a Free Online Consultation – PRO

PRO – Historical Benefits of the Turkish Passport

The top benefit of the Turkish passport is the rich legacy of former empires which merged over many centuries to establish Istanbul and the Mediterranean coastline.

First, Turkey’s most pertinent landmark, the Bosphorus Strait divides the astounding city of Istanbul, Turkey. This historical waterway not only divides the city, it also literally separates the East from the West on the Eurasian landmass.

In addition to the geography, Turkey also boasts an astoundingly long, rich history that predates even the most overrated capitals of Western Europe.

Second, Alexander the Great used Turkey as his launching pad into Asia Minor when he crossed the Hellespont in the year 334 BC (before the current era). As a result, on the Mediterranean Littoral of Anatolia (Eastern Turkey) these ancient ruins can be found.

Furthermore, the Romans followed in the footsteps of Alexander. In further benefit, they made many architectural contributions of their own. These ruins can be viewed today in the ancient city of Ephesus.

Byzantium to Constantinople

In the year 330 of the current era, the ancient Greek city “Byzantium” (as the city of Istanbul was then known), became the epicenter of the Roman Empire and therefore the world. Upon the arrival of the Roman Emperor Constantine during this time, the entire city was to be rebuilt, establishing many monuments which remain there today.

At this time, the city of Byzantium became the “New Rome” and also the “Second Rome”. It would then be renamed Constantinople which would stay intact for over 1000 years until the arrival of the Ottomans in 1453.

Constantinople to Istanbul 

Before the Ottomans would take over, Constantinople fell into centuries of disarray. The Christian Crusaders had arrived from Europe bringing waves of devastation to the city. The Ottomans would then succeed the European invaders who had plundered the city for many centuries. As a result, Istanbul was established at the beginning of Ottoman Rule starting in 1453 under Mehmet the Conqueror. 

For 470 years Istanbul was to remain under Ottoman Rule until the end of World War I. At this time in 1918, allied powers briefly seized control of the city which lasted five years. But in 1923, the Republic of Turkey was formed and the capital has since been moved from Istanbul to Ankara. Nonetheless, the significance of Istanbul remains intact. 

Modern Istanbul

Istanbul therefore remains today as the iconic city bridging East and West. In addition, the Republic of Turkey is still a world power with the allure of ancient ruins, modern infrastructure and a beautiful Mediterranean coastline.

How can you become a citizen of this extraordinary country? In 2017 the Turkish passport by investment program was established. Contact me for a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your situation. 

CON – Turkey’s Personal Income Tax Rates

A very alluring option for those yearning to reside in Istanbul allows applicants to purchase residential property (over US$400,000 in value) which can be used as the qualifying investment for the Turkish passport program.

However, by living year round in Turkey, you would become a tax resident. So you would be well advised to consider tax implications of Turkish citizenship. Wise applicants will note that Turkey imposes rather high income tax rates on international income sources (if you are a tax resident).

As a result, tax residency in Turkey could be disastrous for those on fixed income or otherwise. Even if we assume you are not employed in Turkey, tax rates remain formidable. So it must be factored into your decision.

On the other hand, if you do not reside in Turkey for more than 6 months per year, you would be exempt on international income tax. The non-employment income tax rates in Turkey are as follows in the table below.  

Income (TRY)Tax Rates
Up to 24,00015%
24,001 to 53,00020%
53,001 to 130,00027%
130,001 to 650,00035%
650,001 and over40%

At the time of writing, the rapidly depreciating Turkish Lira (TRY) is trading at 18.59 to 1 USD. That means it only takes $35,000 USD in offshore income to put you in the top 40% tax bracket. This will reduce your real income significantly, a risk that could ruin your retirement plans if not properly accounted for. 

In contrast, citizenship programs in the Caribbean such as the Grenada CIP impose no income tax unless it is sourced from there. I understand that it is so easy to fall hopelessly in love with the Istanbul skyline. Although other options are available (if necessary) which could lower your tax burden.  

CON – Residence Based Taxation

To reiterate, by virtue of the Turkish passport you would become subject to the income tax laws in Turkey. Turkey is indeed a residence based taxation country. As a result, if you reside in the country for over 182 days per year, you are subject to tax on all of your international income.

In addition, as alluded to above, the tax rates are considerable with tiers that can quickly elevate you into the top tax bracket. What can you do about this?

Not much, in fact by owning residential real estate you could be considered a tax resident even if you do not reside their year round. Furthermore, acquiring social and economic interests in Turkey will strengthen the case that you are a tax resident there.

Unfortunately, your tax residency may negate the most positive aspects of obtaining the Turkish passport. The right to live year round in the country and use residential real estate to qualify, is very alluring but only if you are willing and able pay income tax. 

On the bright side, if you reside in Turkey for less than 182 days per year and have nominal social or economic connections, then you are only accountable for income that is sourced from within. If you have none, then you are in the clear. Rest assured that all of the other Turkish passport benefits still apply even if you are exempt from income tax.

PRO – US E-2 Visa Eligibility with Turkish Passport

In case you were unaware, the US E-2 visa allows US residency to citizens of countries who have entered into a “treaty of commerce and navigation” with the United States. Turkey is indeed one of these countries.

All Turkish citizens are eligible to apply for the US E-2 Visa. It makes no difference if you acquired citizenship through the investment program.

As a result, by making a significant economic investment into the US you and your family, including children under 21 years of age, acquire the right to live and work inside the US. Additional US E-2 visa benefits are substantial (see below).

To qualify for the E-2 visa you need to make a “substantial” investment into a US business which creates at least two local jobs. The minimum investment amount is not set, so it is possible to qualify with as little as $50,000 (or even less). However, it is recommended to invest at least $120,000 to solidify your chances of acceptance. 

List of US E-2 Treaty Benefits

  1. The spouse of the E-2 visa holder can pursue open market employment opportunities in the United States. 
  2. Obtain in-state tuition rates for your children’s education.
  3. International income is tax free if the business owner does not reside in the US for over 4 months per year.
  4. The initial visa term is 5 years with unlimited visa extensions.
  5. The E-2 visa may be converted to other visas while inside the US.
  6. In addition, other visas such as the H1-B may be converted to the E-2 visa.
  7.  Sponsor your extended family who can come to the US to work at your E-2 business.
  8. Turn key business franchise opportunities available to qualify.
  9. The E-2 is a non-immigrant visa and is therefore apolitical.
  10. There are no country backlogs to qualify, go straight to the front of the queue with the US E-2 visa.
  11. If you decide to leave the US, sell the business and keep the profits.

PRO – Visa Free Travel with Turkish Passport

Most notably, Turkey does not have visa free access to the United Kingdom or the Schengen Area. In addition, there is little hope (in my opinion) of ever attaining it. This is in contrast with Caribbean CBI countries such as Grenada which offer significant visa free travel advantages at a lower price. Of note is that Grenada is also an E-2 treaty country.

On the bright side, Turkish passport holders enjoy visa free travel to Japan (90 days), South Korea (90 days), Hong Kong (90 days), Brazil (90 days), South Africa (30 days) and Thailand (30 days). Visa free travel includes entry rights into many countries of the Americas, especially in South and also Central America.

Furthermore, Turkish citizens can apply online for the travel visas to Australia (e600) plus the United Arab Emirates. Easy access to Central Asian countries is available too. View the interactive map below to learn more. Last but not least, Turkey is an eligible US E-2 treaty country as mentioned above.

Turkey Visa Free Travel Map

 

*Includes Visa free, eVisa, Visa on Arrival, US E-2 Visa. Interactive map.


PRO – Qualify with Residential Real Estate

To qualify for the Turkish passport, in addition to the application requirements, the main applicant must be at least 18 years of age and must also make a substantial investment into a government qualified asset.

The Turkish government offers an assortment of investment options ranging from government bonds to residential real estate. It is left up to the applicant to evaluate the risk reward ratio. First and foremost, investors in the Turkish passport should be wary of currency risk, as all qualifying investments will now need to be made in local currency – the Turkish Lira (TRY). 

Depending on the investment type, the minimum investment amount ranges from USD $400,000 to USD $500,000 equivalent. This will then be converted to TRY on the day the investment is completed. In addition, the investment must then be held for a minimum of three years. 

Minimum Amount in USD Equivalent*Qualified Investment 
$400,000Real Estate
$500,000Deposited in Turkish Bank
$500,000Real Estate Fund or Venture Capital Fund
$500,000Private Pension System
$500,000Fixed Capital Contribution
$500,000
Turkish Government Bonds

*All amounts must be converted to the USD equivalent in Turkish Lira before investing.

Of course, the primary benefit of residential real estate is that you can live at the property. As a result, reside in the historic city of Istanbul. Or if you prefer to live on the Mediterranean Coast try Antalya or even Kuşadası. Besides the currency risk discussed below, you should take into account tax implications if you intend to live in Turkey for over 182 days per year (see above).

Alternatively, you can choose from an assortment of investment properties which pay a annual dividend yield of 5-8%. In further benefit, you can eliminate the risk of paying tax on international income. Contact me for details.

PRO – Strong Constitutional Protection

The vast majority of those who pursue citizenship through investment neglect to examine the constitutional protection provided by the host country. As a result, they may be inadvertently exposed to revocation clauses in addition to other legal risks.

However, investors in the Turkish passport program can rest assured that they have sufficient constitutional protections. There is a risk of revocation, but only if they engage in an act “incompatible with loyalty to the motherland”. Even so, recourse to the courts shall not be denied.

The pertinent constitutional clause pertaining to Turkish citizenship by investment is found in Article 66.

  • “Citizenship can be acquired under the conditions stipulated by law, and shall be forfeited only in cases determined by law.”
  • “No Turk shall be deprived of citizenship, unless he/she commits an act incompatible
    with loyalty to the motherland.”
  • “Recourse to the courts in appeal against the decisions and proceedings related to the
    deprivation of citizenship shall not be denied.”

In further benefit, our legal team in Istanbul has reviewed the clause. “From the constitution perspective, once the applicant becomes Turkish citizen, they will be accepted like myself or any other natural Turkish citizen. So you should not be worried that citizenship and the investment will be cancelled at a later stage.”

CON – Devaluation of the Turkish Lira

Historically, Turkey has always needed to battle high inflation. However, a confluence of new factors have emerged that weakened the Turkish Lira (USD/TRY) exchange rate to the extreme. Starting with the global pandemic in 2020 which led to supply chain disruptions and soaring commodity prices. This is now further complicated by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Despite ongoing issues mentioned above, Turkey has a unique internal issue which is their unorthodox approach to monetary policy. Indeed, they are lowering their interest rate instead of raising it in the face of the severe global inflationary environment.

In addition, other countries such as the United States are raising their interest rates which is further weakening the exchange rate.

The issue is further exacerbated because global commodities are priced in USD. Therefore, Turkey must import commodities at inflated prices due to the over priced US dollar which further increases the rate of high inflation.

YearTurkey Inflation
World Inflation
USD/TRY Exchange
YTD
83.5%
N/A
18.59
2021
19.6%
3.4%
8.89
2020
12.28%1.94%7.4
201915.18%2.19%5.95
201816.33%2.42%5.3
201711.14%2.19%3.78
2016
7.78%1.55%3.52
2015
7.67%
1.43%
2.91
2014
8.85%
2.35%
2.32

Source: Yahoo Finance, World Bank, Reuters. Updated: 11/10/2022

PRO – Turkey is a Sovereign Powerhouse

Turkey is a strong country economically, militarily and geographically. Since the country holds the power to significantly influence international events, it strengthens the Turkish passport. As a result, Turkish citizens can feel safe and secure.

Sovereign security of Turkey is first and foremost reflected in their ability to stand firm against competing global powers such as the European Union, China, Russia and the especially United States. In contrast, other countries which offer citizenship by investment are relatively small in scale.

What would a small CBI country do if the United States decided to invade? Not much, in fact this already occurred in one CBI country – Grenada – during the Grenada Revolution. Furthermore, small islands such as Malta are at risk from whimsical legislation passed by the European Union.

Unfortunately, the same can be said for some of the Caribbean CBI programs and also Vanuatu. These frail countries are very afraid of losing their Schengen visa free access, so they may expose their citizens to risk or even citizenship revocation in order to maintain visa free status for their passport programs – not so in Turkey. 

Turkey is indeed a NATO member that holds a formidable geographical location with the military power to back it up. Therefore, Turkish passport holders have nothing to fear. They are Turks and have the same constitutional rights as those who were born to a Turkish mother or father.

As a result, those acquiring Turkish citizenship through investment will receive sovereign protection that may be lacking in smaller countries.

PRO – Streamlined Approval Process of Turkish Passport

Although there are many documents which must be collected from the Turkish authorities during the passport approval process, the documents provided by the applicants themselves are streamlined. This is especially true when compared to the more tedious requirements of the Caribbean CIPs and especially Malta.

This PRO is also the result of Turkey being a large, powerful country in contrast with the much smaller island states which offer citizenship investment programs. Since Turkey cannot be intimidated with loss of Schengen visa free access or unilateral sanctions, the integrity of the Turkish passport program is preserved, both before and after citizenship is granted.

Therefore, rest assured that Turkey will approve or deny your application without the oversight or the imposition of a third party.

PRO – Free Turkish Passport Consultation, No Obligations

Will the Turkish passport program meet your expectations? Citizenship by investment may seem opaque at first but you can rest assured it is more simple than it seems. The three areas you need to be concerned with are 1) no criminal record 2) be ready to obtain a clean health certificate and lastly verify the funds used for the investment are 100% legitimate.

If you can meet the above requirements, than you and your family will qualify for the Turkish passport program. We will guide you through every step of the way from start to finish.

In addition, we also provide post citizenship support services to make sure you acquire the essentials such as tax identification number, local street address plus address verification which will be needed to open offshore investment accounts with your new passport.

Would you like additional information? I would be happy to answer your inquires in a short 30 minute consultation call with no further obligations. Contact me today and secure your future.

Turkish Passport Consultant
Edwin Morgan, Managing Director Go Global Corporation PTE LTD

Email: [email protected]
Telegram: +60104689761