Acquiring Turkish Citizenship

how-to-obtain-turkish-citizenshipThere are a lot of foreigners living in Turkey. They move in Turkey because of their partners’, their job, or they just love here! After a while they start thinking of acquiring Turkish citizenship to live slightly more comfortable. For sure, being a Turkish Citizen in Turkey has more benefits than being foreigner. No need to get residence permit to be resident, no need to get working permit to work and being able to vote -and relatively decide- for making their home better.

Here is the information about acquiring Turkish citizenship by administrative decision, according to the Turkish Citizenship Code (TCC):

1. Considering the result, there is no difference between the citizenship acquired by administrative decision and citizenship by the birth. For Telsik, applicants request is needed. There is no need to be out of other citizenship to acquire Turkish citizenship. There is no need to swear allegiance during the application. Process itself is administrative so there is no need to bring a lawsuit. You don’t pay for legal fee to apply for citizenship.

2. In Turkish alphabet, there are no q,w,x. If your name and surname contain one of them, you have to change it into Turkish letters. For example Alex will be Aleks. Plus, according to Turkish grammar, capital “I” and and “i” are different. So if you have “i” in your name you have to get used to write your name in capital in Turkish. For example Martina, MARTİNA; Vittoria, VİTTORİA.

3. For general acquirement of citizenship by administrative decision:
a. You need to be above 18 and have power of discernment
b. You must have been living in Turkey continuously for at least 5 years. In these 5 years, maximum period of your stay abroad out of Turkey should be 6 months.
c. You must prove your will of being a Turkish citizen and living in Turkey.
d. You need to prove you have moral principles and have no bad intentions. This condition is set to prevent citizenship acquirement of applicants who move in Turkey to commit crime or be subject of women trafficking.
e. You need to be healthy and don’t have thread to public health. You can provide a medical report from any state hospital to show you don’t have AIDS, tuberculosis etc.
f. You need to be able to speak enough Turkish. Generally, a certificate from a language school showing  you can speak Turkish fluently enough is asked by the administration.
g. You need to prove you have enough income to live in Turkey. You can prove it with any document. Bank accounts, licence of any profession, deed of real estate, stock certificate etc. can be submitted.
h. You shouldn’t be a threat to national security. This condition will be investigated by the police force and intelligence office.

4. For acquiring citizenship by marriage;
a. You need to have been married for at least for 3 years.
b. You need to have a marriage union with your spouse. For example if you have separate houses or life, behave like single etc. it does not count.
c. You need to be still married to your spouse during the application. If your spouse passes away after you apply for citizenship, the condition is not needed.
d. Spouses shouldn’t act against martial relationship and follow the obligations of the marriage. This condition is set to prevent citizenship acquirement of applicants who move in Turkey to commit crime or be a subject of women trafficking.
e. The marriage shouldn’t be fraud. Administration wants to prevent foreigners who are willing to acquire citizenship and have fraud marriage even without a purpose of crime.

5. In your own country, you may apply to acquire citizenship at  Turkish consulates and you can also do so at governorship in Turkey. You can easily find the application form for citizenship at http://www.nvi.gov.tr/

After you submit your form and the required documents, your application will be sent to the “Provincial Security Directorate (İl Emniyet Müdürlüğü)”. Then it will be sent to the “Investigation Commission Of Citizenship Applications (Vatandaşlık Başvurularını İnceleme Komisyonu –VBIK-” After the investigation, If VBIK finds your application appropriate, your file will be sent to the “Ministry of Internal Affairs(İçişleri Bakanlığı)” For the final check the Ministry will send your file to “Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı(National Intelligence Office)”. Finally the Ministry will decide regarding your application. It’s a really long process and takes between 6 months – 2 years.

6. In case of rejection, you may bring an administrative lawsuit against the Ministry Of Internal Affairs. The Administrative court checks the reason of rejection according to the Constitution, VCC and instructions. According to the supreme court, if the administration rejects your application with the discretionary power, it is lawful and cannot be subjected to administrative court.

Av. Kamil Kıvanç ÖZDEMİR

Note: This article is written for general information only. The information given in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer client relationship.