With nearly 4,000 citizenship applicants approved during the first three months of the pandemic, Turkey continues to process high volumes of passport applications via its Citizenship by Investment programme, with no let-up during Covid. Such numbers make Turkey’s CIP currently the most popular on the market today.
Originally unveiled in 2017, Turkey’s CBI programme only began to attract serious interest from foreigners when, in 2018, the Turkish government slashed the CIP’s minimum investment by 75 per cent, from US$1 million to just US$250,000, resulting in the Turkish passport become a much more affordable and attractive option to many.
In fact, within one year of its price reduction, the Turkish Citizenship by Investment Programme had become the most popular CIP worldwide with 2,600 applications in the first year, mainly from Middle East residents.
According to the recently released CBI Index 2020, which evaluates all existing CBI programmes via an annual report: “Despite only becoming operational in 2017, the surge in popularity of Turkey’s programme cannot be overlooked nor understated.”
And the numbers coming out of Turkey are clear. According to official Ministry of Interior data from March 2020, 3,882 main applicants had received approvals in the preceding five months, while during the three Covid-19-rife months of March, April and May 2020, Turkey naturalised an average of 1,333 per month, a total of 3,909 in the first three months of the pandemic.
This is certainly a figure far higher than that achieved by all other CBI programmes combined during the same three-month period. It does of course help that Turkey’s CIP has no cap on numbers and according to the CBI Index 2020, there have been “no significant calls to end the programme”.
And even though the country continues to receive ever-growing application numbers, it is still able to deliver within its promised timescales, with applicants obtaining Turkish citizenship within three to six months, an improvement on previous processing times. According to the CBI Index 2020, Turkey scored two points higher in 2020 than in 2019 for its speediness in the processing of applications.
While there is no need to establish residence via physical presence, applicants to Turkey’s CIP do need to visit the country once in order to provide biometrics, though applicants can now visit a participating Turkish consulate in their own country to do this instead.
In terms of investment options, of which there are five, applicants can choose between making a fixed capital investment, purchasing real estate, providing employment for at least 50 Turkish citizens, making a deposit in a Turkish bank, purchasing government bonds, or purchasing real estate investment trust shares or venture capital investment trust shares.
And applicant’s immediate family are eligible in the application, including spouses and children under 18, but not extended family members, allowing only adult children when children are rendered dependent as a result of a medical condition.
“By virtue of its more affordable, faster, and significantly more popular CBI Programme, Turkey held its spot above Bulgaria,” reports the CBI Index 2020, adding that it is “undeniably attractive to applicants, a majority of whom derive from the Middle East”.
For more information on Turkey’s Citizenship by Investment Programme, read our country profile by clicking here.