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How to Become a Turkish Citizen


Ken Grubb
  • Learn the process of becoming a Turkish citizen, its benefits, requirements, and costs.

A Turkish citizen's identity card, also known as a kimlik.Turkish citizenship applications, made within Turkey, are processed at the local İl Nüfüs ve Vatandaşlık Müdürlüğü, (Population and Citizenship Directorate). This will probably be in the local Adalet Sarayı, the law building where court is held, or at the governor's office building. Applications made outside of Turkey are processed at Turkish embassies or consulates.

Once your application package is assembled and your ability to converse in Turkish is confirmed, your package will be sent to the İçişleri Bakanlığı, (Ministry of the Interior), for approval.

The law concerning Turkish citizenship is Turkish Nationality Act 5901 Section 403.

Benefits

As a Turkish citizen, you can

  • Enter Turkey without a visa
  • Live in Turkey without needing a residence permit
  • Work without needing a work permit, in any job you want
  • Open and operate a business without the requirements levied on foreigners
  • Buy property without the usual delay caused by a military check
  • Vote in local and national elections
  • Contribute to a state-sponsored pension
  • Receive inexpensive, global heath insurance through Turkey's national healthcare plan
  • Buy a car as a Turk and not be required to use foreign license plates

Negative Aspects

  • If you are of an age suitable for service, you may have to serve in the Turkish military
  • Consular services in Turkey will end, since while in Turkey, your Turkish citizenship will take precedence
  • If you work, you will probably receive lower wages and work longer hours, unlike most foreigners who work in Turkey
  • Your male children will be obligated to serve in the Turkish military once they reach 18 years of age
  • If you are arrested, you will be treated as a Turkish citizen and not a citizen of your home country

Dual Citizenship

Turkish law does not prohibit you from having two nationalities, but some other countries do. Check your own country's laws to see if your government prohibits the holding of two nationalities.

No Name Change is Required

You won't have to change your name to one which sounds Turkish.

Eligibility

If You Are of Turkish Descent

Citizenship is no longer given based solely on Turkish descent.

If You are Married to a Turkish Citizen

Turkish citizenship is not automatically granted by marriage with a Turkish citizen, but your application is not likely to be turned down. You do not have to live in Turkey to become a Turkish citizen. The main reason you still have to go through the process is so the authorities can be sure the marriage is real.

Requirements

  • You must be at the age of majority and have the capacity to decide and act on your own, according to the laws of the country you are from (usually 18)
  • You must be married for at least three years, in a marriage which is ongoing and fits the normally accepted conditions of marriage
  • You must have abstained from acts incompatible with the unity of marriage
  • You must have no disease which is a threat to public health
  • You must not be threat to national security or public order

If You Are Not of Turkish Descent and Not Married to a Turkish Citizen

Requirements

  • You must be at the age of majority and have the capacity to decide and act on your own, according to the laws of the country you are from (usually 18)
  • You must be a legal resident of Turkey for at least five (5) years, without interruptions totaling six months or more
  • You must show intent to settle in Turkey, such as owning property, starting a business in Turkey, or having some other binding tie with Turkey
  • You must be able to speak a sufficient amount of Turkish (the standard is higher for those not married to a Turkish citizen)
  • You must have enough income, or a profession, which will allow you to support yourself and your dependents
  • You must not have a disease which is a threat to public health
  • You must not be a threat to Turkey's national security or to the public order
  • You must be of good moral character

What You Will Need

  • Application forms
  • Passport (translated and notarized)
  • Birth Certificate
  • Medical certificate confirming that you are in good health and free of any disease which might endanger public health
  • Document from the security directorate showing how long you have lived in Turkey, as well as all exits and entries into Turkey
  • Certification of your ability to speak Turkish (see below)
  • Four (4) to six (6) passport-size photographs
  • Marriage certificate (if married to a Turk)*
  • Identity documents for your spouse and underage children

Note: Any documents obtained from a foreign country must have an apostille, then they must be translated by an official Turkish translator and notarized.

What it Will Cost

The application fee is around 100 TL. Translations and notarization of documents cost around 80-120 TL each.

The Application Process

The application process for Turkish citizenship can take up to a year. It is a good idea to have this much time on your current residence permit in case you need to leave the country during the process.

1. Citizenship Directorate, or Turkish Embassy/Consulate, for Initial Application

Fill out the application forms and get a list of what you will need (requirements usually vary from province to province). Pay the application fee.

2. Police Station (or Embassy/Consulate), for a Police Records Check

Fill out their police records check form. Provide a set of fingerprints and a photo (the police or consular officials may take this themselves). Get a document which shows how long you have lived in Turkey, as well as all exits and entries into Turkey.

3. Doctor's Office or Hospital, for a Medical Examination

Have a medical examination done and obtain the medical report.

4. Your Home, for a Police Check

If you are living in Turkey, a policeman will come by your house and do a brief interview to make sure you are living where you say you live. If you are married, he or she may verify that you and your spouse are living together.

At some point you will receive notification of an appointment for your interview at the Citizenship Directorate, or Turkish embassy/consulate.

5. Citizenship Directorate or Turkish Embassy/Consulate, for Interview

The interview is done by a panel of local government or consular officials.

Arrive early for your appointment to fill out forms, then wait to be called for your interview. During the interview, panel members will verify the information you put on the citizenship application form, and engage you in an informal Turkish conversation. There is no set list of questions, but you can expect to be asked questions such as:

  • Where are you from?
  • When did you come to Turkey?
  • What is your profession?
  • Are you working now?
  • What is your spouse's job?
  • When did you meet your spouse?
  • What is your religion?
  • What do you think of Turkey?
  • What do you think of the Turkish people?
  • Who is Atatürk?
  • What are the words to the Turkish National Anthem?

If you are married to a Turkish citizen and your spouse is there, they will likely call them into the room and speak with them privately, or with the two of you together. For those married to a Turkish citizen, the language interview is mostly a formality, so even if you don't do very well you are unlikely to be rejected.

If you are not married to a Turkish citizen, the interview will be more strenuous, and you will need to be conversant in Turkish to qualify for citizenship.

The results of the interview will then be combined with the rest of your package and sent to the Ministry of Interior for approval. You can expect to wait six months to a year for approval.

Dependent Children

If you have custody of children, they may also become Turkish citizens if the father consents, or if you go to a Turkish court and get for a court order giving them eligibility for Turkish citizenship.


See Also

Turkish Citizenship Forum

External Links

Turkish Citizenship Law: A PDF document from the European University Institute which explains Turkish citizenship and how to become a Turkish citizen.
Acquisition of Turkish Citizenship and Residence Permit: From Yalçın and Toygar and Tüfekçi Law Bureau, a 2014 article on Turkish citizenship law.
Multiple Citizenship and its Consequences in Turkish Law: Prof. Dr. Bilgin Tirayakioğlu, PDF document from the Ankara Law Review.


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