In the old days, and as late as the 90s and early 2000s, you automatically acquired Turkish citizenship when you married a Turkish citizen. It was as simple as that.
Although foreign husbands were exempt from that convenience for a while, in 2009, Turkey decided to introduce new rules and laws for acquiring citizenship through marriage to combat the rise in fake unions also overturned that automatic right.
Nowadays, obtaining citizenship through marriage requires a lot more paperwork but is still relatively easy. Compared to other acquiring citizenship methods, and especially those via investment, this way takes the longest.
Who Can Apply?
Foreigners who fulfill the conditions stipulated in Article 16 regarding acquiring the Citizenship Law by marriage can apply for citizenship.
According to Article 16 of the Act of “Acquisition of Turkish Citizenship by marriage,” Turkish citizenship is not obtained automatically upon marriage. The law states to apply for citizenship; you need to have been married to a Turkish citizen for at least 3 years and continue to be married.
Acquiring citizenship is also contingent upon the following criteria.
You and your spouse:
a) Must be living together as a family unit
b) Should refrain from engaging in acts that violate your marriage union (such as prostitution, multiple partners, etc.)
c) Should not pose a threat to national security and public order or engage in unethical behavior.
*If your Turkish spouse dies after you file your citizenship application, you can still go through it.
**If you were married for many years and never got round to applying for citizenship and your Turkish spouse died, you still have the right to apply for citizenship, say, for 3 or even 10 years after your spouse’s death.
***If you happen to have been married to a Turkish citizen for at least 3 years, acquired citizenship, and then got divorced, you will not lose your citizenship. However, if authorities deem you were in bad faith or had a plan when marrying and were not serious about having a family union, you may lose your Turkish citizenship.
Why Could My Application Be Rejected?
It goes without saying if you have not been married for at least 3 years; ended your marriage via a divorce; or that your Turkish spouse had died before you lodged your application (and it has not been 3 years). You are on trial for a crime, can be convicted or imprisoned, or you submitted false documentation; the application will be rejected, and you may even receive a prison sentence for falsifying records.
*Acquiring Turkish citizenship should also not be seen as an absolute right as there are many requirements you must fulfill first. The final decision is at the discretion of Turkish authorities.
Documents You’ll Need
- Application form (VAT-6)
- 2 biometric photographs
- Your passport or identity document evidencing your nationality (A notarized Turkish translation must accompany it)
- You and your spouse’s birth certificates/identity register (nüfus kayıt örneği)
- Residence permit if you live in Turkey (the card and its photocopy)
- Criminal record
- A document showing that you live as a family unity with your spouse (rental lease, joint bank accounts, etc.)
- Receipt of payment for the application fee
* The validity of your marriage should also be documented according to Turkish law. You would be asked to submit your marriage license and prior divorce decrees if you were previously married.
**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.
Do I Need to Get My Documents Apostilled?
All the documents you submit that are not in English will have to be translated and notarized. Apostilles are not required. However, in rare 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 to Apply for Turkish Citizenship
Once you meet all the criteria and have gathered the necessary documents, you will be applying to the Directorate of Population and Citizenship.
If you are in Turkey, you will lodge your application at the Governor’s Office (valilik) of the province you reside in. If you are based outside of Turkey and live abroad, you can file your application at foreign missions via an extraordinary power of attorney. Unfortunately, applications via post are not accepted.
Your Foreigner ID Number, which starts with 99, will form the basis of your application.
After making a payment of TL 115 in cash to the payment desk (vezne) and submitting the receipt, you will process your application.
You can track your application by visiting and entering your application number (başvuru no.) and birth date.
How Does the Application Process Go?
The provincial police directorate will first carry out a thorough examination of your background and documents. It will determine whether you have lived as a family unit with your Turkish spouse and have not engaged in acts that harmed your union. Your application file is then sent to the evaluating committee.
You and your spouse will be invited for an interview by the committee to see whether your marriage is genuine and serious as they try to get a feel of the circumstances surrounding your decision to marry. If they determine that your marriage is fake or solely for financial benefits and you do not intend to establish a family union, your application will be rejected.
If successful, your application file will be sent to the Interior Ministry, and for final approval, you will be called to the nearest police department, who will collect your fingerprints.