Although Turkish citizenship can be granted under exceptional cases such as through investment or outstanding service in sports, arts, or science, most people apply for it through work and residency. You earn the right to apply for citizenship after spending considerable time living and working in the country.
If you have worked legally in Turkey continuously for five years, which amounts to 1,825 days of uninterrupted work, you can apply for Turkish citizenship.
*Acquiring Turkish citizenship not an absolute right as there are many requirements you must fulfill first. The final decision is at the discretion of Turkish authorities.
There are also some conditions. One is that you will have had to have been registered in the government's social security scheme SGK for five years as well, contributing toward your health insurance and pension. So, if you took on freelance work without enrolling in the SGK system, those years will not be counted toward the daily requirement.
Who Can Apply for Turkish Citizenship?
To be able to apply for Turkish nationality, according to Article 11 of the Turkish Citizenship Law, you need to fulfill the below criteria:
Be of 18 years of age (an adult) and have decision-making capacity, mental competence,
Show with action or intention of living in Turkey
You can achieve this through documents and activities such as:
Buying a property or investing in Turkey
Establishing a business in Turkey
Moving your company (or HQ) to Turkey to carry out commercial activities
Working in Turkey with a valid work permit
Marrying a Turkish citizen
Being a close relative of a person who had previously acquired Turkish citizenship
Having completed your education in Turkey
Long term residence permit holders
Having a good character and having high moral standards,
Being able to speak Turkish sufficiently (they will not ask for native-like fluency)
Having a regular income or job to be able to provide for yourself or your dependents,
Not having a disease that endangers public health,
Not posing a threat to national security and public order, and not having a serious criminal offense on your record or an ongoing criminal investigation,
Having lived as a legal and duly resident in Turkey for five consecutive years* (This will be counted retroactively starting from the date of your application.)
*You still must have enough time left on your residence permit to reside in Turkey until your application is finalized. Your application date is when your letter of application is officially registered in the system by the application authority.
**If you have stayed abroad for more than 360 days (or 12 months) within these five years, you lose the right to apply for citizenship. If you have stayed abroad for six months while still holding a valid Turkish residence permit, for example, this period will be included in your time spent in Turkey.
A crucial point to note. Any short-term residence permit you received for touristic or medical treatment, education (as in student residence permit), diplomatic missions, or asylum-seeking objectives (such as a refugee permit) will not count towards these five years.
A student permit can be considered if you apply for a valid residence permit (must be non-touristic but can be a work permit) following your graduation.
Documents You'll Need
- Application form (VAT-3)
- 2 biometric photographs
- Your passport or identity document evidencing your nationality
- A notarized Turkish translation must accompany it.
- Birth certificate
- Residence permit (the card and its photocopy)
- Marital status document (e.g., marriage license, divorce decree, death certificate of your spouse if you are a widow[er])
- Health report (you will be asked to submit a more comprehensive doctoral committee report in the name of "heyet report")
- Document showing you have an income or the financial means to live in Turkey (e.g., work permit, bank statements, etc.)
- A certificate of your ability to speak Turkish (the Turkish consulate can issue this document after interviewing you)
- Criminal record
- The document that shows you have lived in Turkey uninterruptedly for the past five years, *This should state all your entry dates and exit into the country and will be issued by the provincial police directorate.
- Receipt of payment for application fees
Notes on Documents
If you have any Turkish relatives, you should include a copy of their Turkish identification and address documents inside your application.
If you're married and have children, you will need to submit documents confirming your family ties with your spouse and children, such as a "nüfus kayıt örneği (identity register) as well as identity documents such as birth certificates for your children.
If your birth certificate does not list the exact day and month you were born, you may have to contact authorities in your home country to issue a document that evidences these specifics.
You may be asked to provide your SGK Registration and Service Statement (Tescil ve Hizmet Dökümü) to accompany your work permit.
All your documents that are not in English will have to be translated and notarized. However, in some cases, for documents issued by your home institution, you may be asked to get them apostilled as well, as per the 1961 Hague Convention, to which Turkey is a party.
Where and How to Apply for Turkish Citizenship
Applications are made to the governorship (more specifically, the provincial directorate of population and citizenship) in the province you reside.
If you are abroad, you can make your application at foreign missions via an extraordinary power of attorney.
Applications via post are not accepted. If you apply for your children or mentally disabled family members whose guardian you are, you will be making an application on their behalf.
You should make the application with your Foreigner ID Number, which starts with 99.
After collecting all the necessary documents, you should make a payment of TL 115 (for each person applying) in cash to the payment desk (vezne).
You can track your application by entering your application number (başvuru no.) and birth date.
If you have questions about your driver's license, obtaining a Turkish ID, or other migration-related issues, the ALO 199 hotline operates 24/7 in English, German, French, Russian, Arabic, and Persian.