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Turkish Citizenship After 5 Years of Residence

Ken Grubb

If you want to become a Turkish citizen, but you aren't married to a Turk and don't have a Turkish parent, and you don't intend to invest money for citizenship, this article is for you.

After you've lived with a residence permit or worked with a work permit in Turkey for more than five years, you can apply to become a Turkish citizen. Your children can also become Turkish citizens, provided they're under eighteen years of age or are legally dependent on you for their care.

In Turkish citizenship law, this method of becoming a Turkish citizen is called "Acquisition of Turkish Citizenship by the Decision of a Competent Authority."

Eligibility for Turkish Citizenship

To apply for Turkish citizenship, you must

  • Live in Turkey for five years, with a residence or work permit
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Demonstrate your decision to settle down and live in Turkey through your behavior, such as
    • Buy property
      • Any property will tend to demonstrate your intent to settle in Turkey, but if you buy a property worth more than the equivalent of $250,000, this automatically qualifies you for citizenship, so if you want to use that option instead, see Citizenship by Investment
    • Retire to live in Turkey with your pension
  • Have no disease which might be a danger to public health
  • Be of good moral character
  • Be able to speak an adequate level of Turkish
    • With a fluency certificate from a language school certified by the Turkish government
    • Embassies and consulates can also issue this certificate based on an interview of you in Turkish
  • Have sufficient income to provide maintenance for you and any family members
  • Be no threat to national security or public order

Application for Turkish Citizenship

If you're in Turkey, make an appointment at the Nüfus ve Vatandaşlık İşleri Genel Müdürlüğü (Directorate of Population and Citizenship Affairs, or Nüfus) responsible for the district where you live. You can make an appointment online at https://randevu.nvi.gov.tr/

If you're outside of Turkey, make an appointment at the nearest Turkish embassy or consulate. You can make an appointment online at https://www.konsolosluk.gov.tr/

Required Documents for Turkish Citizenship

Check with the office of the Nüfus responsible for the district where you live for a current list of documents you'll need. Typically, they include:

  • Application for citizenship form (VAT-3), downloadable from https://www.nvi.gov.tr/hizmetlerimiz/vatandaslik-hizmetleri/vatandaslik-formlari
  • Four biometric photos
  • Passport
  • Copy of your passport
  • Yurda giriş/çıkış belgesi (a document showing all entries and exits to and from Turkey
  • Birth certificate (Turkish / foreign)
  • Current residence permit or work permit, with at least six months validity remaining
  • Health report from a Turkish hospital
  • If married, proof of marital status, which may include
    • Marriage certificate (Turkish / foreign)
    • Divorce certificate(s) from previous marriage(s)
  • Death certificate of spouse, if widowed
  • If you have a spouse or children who will also become Turkish citizens, documents showing the family relationship
  • Criminal record check (Turkish / foreign)
  • Notarized copy of any educational diplomas you have earned
  • Proof of income, savings, or investments which show that you can provide maintenance for yourself and your family members
  • Receipt for payment of the application fee

Note: Documents from government records from a foreign country must be legalized for use in Turkey with an apostille, or through the Turkish embassy or consulate in that foreign country. They must then be translated by a sworn translator. Passports which don't use the western alphabet must also be translated.

To learn about how to legalize documents for use in Turkey, see: Apostille: What it is, How it Works and How to Get One from Turkey.

The Police Visit

If you're in Turkey, the police may visit your house. It's a cordial and courteous visit. They do it to make sure you're living where you say you live. They'll also do a brief interview. After the police visit, the Nüfus will contact you and give you an appointment date for your citizenship interview.

The Citizenship Interview Appointment

Periodically, a "citizenship commission" is formed to interview foreigners who want to become Turkish citizens. This board may consist of the local mayor, chief of police, or other government officials. The interview will be in Turkish.

The board 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 they'll probably ask you questions such as:

  • Where are you from?
  • When did you come to Turkey?
  • What's your profession?
  • Are you working now?
  • What's your spouse's job?
  • When did you meet your spouse?
  • 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?

Final Approval

The Nüfus or consular official will combine the report of your interview with the rest of your application package, then send it to the Ministry of Interior for final approval. It may take three to six months before they call you with the outcome.

Checking on the Status of Your Application

You can check to see if your Turkish citizenship application has been approved by going to https://vatan.nvi.gov.tr/moduller/basvuru/basvurudurumbilgi.aspx. Just enter the Başvuru Numarası (Application Number) and the Doğum Tarihi (Birth Date) and perform the "Captcha" check, then press the enter button on your keyboard.

Receiving your Turkish Identity Card

Once your identity card is printed, it will be sent to the Nüfus or Turkish embassy or consulate where you applied for citizenship. Then you'll be contacted and asked to come and pick it up.

Dual Citizenship

Turkey has no laws which prohibit dual citizenship. However, some other countries do. So, before you apply for Turkish citizenship, you should check the laws of your own country first. To learn more about dual citizenship, see Dual Citizenship Rules.

Name Changes

You won't be required to change your name to a Turkish one, but you can adopt a Turkish name if you want one. To learn more about the name rules, see Rules for non-Turkish names.

Turkish Citizenship Law

Turkish Citizenship Law is the Turkish Nationality Act No. 5901 as amended.

Assistance and Support

The Nüfus handles citizenship applications made within Turkey. You can call their national helpline from any telephone in Turkey, at 150. Their international number is +90 312 591 2133 or 2389. It has an English option. For citizenship applications made outside of Turkey, contact your local Turkish embassy or consulate.

Turkish Citizenship Forum: If you have a question about Turkish citizenship, search our citizenship forum to see if it's already been answered. If it hasn't, feel free to open a new topic.

Ken Grubb, author.

As a special investigator for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and teacher for the University of Maryland, Ken Grubb has lived and worked in Turkey since 1997. He's now retired and living in Antalya, where he researches and writes guides to help others live skillfully in Turkey.


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