Once you've been married to a Turk for at least three years, you can apply for Turkish citizenship. You don't have to meet any residency requirements or be fluent in Turkish. You don't even have to be in Turkey.
Besides the usual identification documents and forms, the main part of the process involves proving that your marriage is a legitimate one.
Eligibility for Turkish Citizenship by Marriage
To qualify for citizenship by marriage, you must:
- Be married to a Turkish citizen for at least three years, living together as a family and not engaging in any behavior which would be contrary to an authentic and sincere marriage. The marriage must continue throughout the application process
- Have no disease which threatens public health
- Be of good moral character
- Have no history of behavior which could be a threat to public order or national security
- Have enough income, produced either by you or your spouse, to enable you and any children you have to live in Turkey.
Required Documents for Turkish Citizenship by Marriage
Check with the Nüfus ve Vatandaşlık İşleri Genel Müdürlüğü (Population and Citizenship Affairs Directorate or Nüfus) responsible for the district where you live for a current list of documents you'll need. Typically, they include:
- Citizenship by marriage application (form VAT-6), downloadable here: https://www.nvi.gov.tr/hizmetlerimiz/vatandaslik-hizmetleri/vatandaslik-formlari
- Copy of the photo and identity pages of your passport
- Two (2) biometric photos
- Address registration document if you live in Turkey, which you can obtain from the e-Devlet government website
- Birth certificate (Turkish / foreign)
- Marriage certificate (Turkish / foreign), and divorce certificate(s) if previously married
- Death certificate of spouse (if widowed)
- Health report from a Turkish hospital
- Criminal record check (Turkish / foreign)
- 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 how to have foreign documents legalized with an apostille and translated for use in Turkey, see Apostille: What it is, How it Works and How to Get One from Turkey
You can make an appointment at any Nüfus office in Turkey at their online appointment website, which is https://randevu.nvi.gov.tr/.
Application for Turkish Citizenship by Marriage
If you're in Turkey, you'll make the application at the local Nüfus office.
If you're not in Turkey, you'll apply to a Turkish embassy or consulate. You can make an appointment at any Turkish embassy or consulate, anywhere in the world, by going to https://www.konsolosluk.gov.tr/.
The Turkish Citizenship Interview
If you apply for citizenship while in Turkey, a citizenship board consisting of local government officials will review your application. They usually do this on set dates twice a year. If you apply for citizenship in another country, an officer at a Turkish embassy or consulate will do the interview.
The interview is always in Turkish. The one they give for citizenship by marriage applications is more lenient than the interview for foreigners seeking citizenship by choice. Foreigners have failed rather badly with their Turkish and were still approved, but the interviewers scolded their Turkish spouses for not teaching them more Turkish! Knowing Turkish isn't one of the requirements for citizenship by marriage, so they do it more to get to know you than anything else.
There is no set list of questions they might ask you. The following are some interview questions reported by Turkey Central members:
- Where are you from?
- When did you come to Turkey?
- What do you think of Turkey?
- Who is Atatürk?
- What do you think of the Turkish people?
- What's your profession?
- How well do you understand Turkish?
- How did you meet your spouse?
- What are your spouse's parent's names?
- Do you see your spouse's parents often?
- Do you love your spouse's parents?
- What are the names of your spouse's siblings?
- Do you have children?
- Can you make Turkish coffee?
- To what places have you traveled to in Turkey?
They'll also ask your spouse some of these questions.
Another popular question is, "what are the words are to the Turkish national anthem?" They ask this to those seeking citizenship by choice, but they might ask you as well, especially if you do well on the other questions. Whether they ask or not, it's good to be prepared.
The interview can be quite brief. One Turkey Central member reported that her interview only took five minutes.
Approval for Turkish Citizenship
After your interview, your application package will be sent to the Ministry of the Interior for approval. It usually takes three to six months for citizenship applications to be approved.
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
When your identity card has been printed, it will be sent to the Nüfus office or the Turkish embassy or consulate where you applied for citizenship. They'll then contact you to come and pick it up.
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.
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.