Turkey, country that occupies a unique geographic position, lying partly in Asia and partly in Europe. Throughout its history it has acted as both a barrier and a bridge between the two continents.Turkey is situated at the crossroads of the Balkans, Caucasus, Middle East, and eastern Mediterranean.It is among the larger countries of the region in terms of territory and population, and its land area is greater than that of any European state. Nearly all of the country is in Asia, comprising the oblong peninsula of Asia Minor—also known as Anatolia (Anadolu)—and, in the east, part of a mountainous region sometimes known as the Armenian Highland. The remainder—Turkish Thrace (Trakya)—lies in the extreme southeastern part of Europe, a tiny remnant of an empire that once extended over much of the Balkans.
The country has a north-south extent that ranges from about 300 to 400 miles (480 to 640 km), and it stretches about 1,000 miles from west to east. Turkey is bounded on the north by the Black Sea, on the northeast by Georgia and Armenia, on the east by Azerbaijan and Iran, on the southeast by Iraq and Syria, on the southwest and west by the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea, and on the northwest by Greece and Bulgaria. The capital is Ankara, and its largest city and seaport is Istanbul.Of a total boundary length of some 4,000 miles (6,440 km), about three-fourths is maritime, including coastlines along the Black Sea, the Aegean, and the Mediterranean, as well as the narrows that link the Black and Aegean seas. These narrows—which include the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles—are known collectively as the Turkish straits; Turkey’s control of the straits, the only outlet from the Black Sea, has been a major factor in its relations with other states. Most of the islands along the Aegean coast are Greek; only the islands of Gökçeada and Bozcaada remain in Turkish hands. The maritime boundary with Greece has been a source of dispute between the two countries on numerous occasions since World War II.
Turkey announced its citizenship by investment programme in 2016. It grants residency, citizenship and a second passport to applicants investing either in real estate or a bank deposit. The real estate route is particularly attractive for investors. This requires a property purchase of a minimum of $250,000 + fees, making Turkey one of the lowest cost citizenship by investment programmes on the market. The real estate investment amount was originally set at $1 million but was drastically reduced in September 2018. A Turkish passport allows visa free travel (or visa on arrival) to 125 countries worldwide. Turkey also holds out the possibility of eventual visa free access to the EU. Currently, talks are ongoing, although Turkey has some way to go in order to meet EU conditions. Turkey holds some good global connections. They have a E-2 Visa treaty with the USA, which means Turkish citizens are eligible to apply for US residency, through the E-2 Visa programme. Thanks to Turkey’s Ankara agreement with the UK, it is also possible for Turkish citizens to apply for a UK business visa through the Turkish Businessperson Visa programme.
Certain countries such as China, India and Vietnam now face lengthy retrogression delays through EB5. An effective alternative to the EB5 is the E2 visa. Investment must be “substantial” but in practice is far less than the EB5. The E2 can only be obtained by citizens of countries holding an E2 treaty with the USA. This includes options such as Grenada, Montenegro and Turkey. Investment for citizenship in these countries entitles the holder to apply for an E2. The route to residency can be faster and cheaper than EB5 although a key difference with the E2 is that it is a non-immigrant visa meaning unlike the EB5 it cannot lead to a Green Card.
As the famous EB-5 Green Card programme increases in price (rising from $500,000- $900,000), many investors are looking for an alternative route to access the USA at a lower cost. Price increase aside, the EB-5 programme has also been experiencing serious retrogression issues. The cap of 700 visa applications per country, per year, has created a huge backlog of applications for certain nations. The most affected are those from highly populated countries. For example, it could take a Chinese applicant up to 17 years to get their EB-5 application approved and around 6-7 years for an Indian citizen. Even if the price increase is acceptable to some, these waiting times are not.
What is the Solution
Citizens of a country which hold an E-2 visa treaty with the USA are eligible to apply for a US residency visa. More than 70 countries currently hold a treaty with the USA, however many of these countries do not have such a favourable agreement in place. Countries such as the UK, Italy, Japan, Grenada and Turkey all have a visa treaty offering the maximum stay terms. If your country does not hold a treaty with the US then the first step is to apply for Citizenship in a country that does. Using Turkey as an example, applicants can apply for the Turkish Citizenship by Investment programme with a minimum investment of $250,000 into real estate. The process takes approximately 3-6 months. Once the applicant has been granted their Turkish citizenship they can then submit their E-2 application in the US. Applicants need to invest in a US business which they own at least a 50% share of. There is no official minimum investment amount stipulated, however it is advisable to invest approximately $120,000 + to ensure an application is successful. The process will take roughly 3 months and applicants will be issued with a five year residency visa with unlimited renewals. All in all, this entire process can take less than 9-12 months and will cost around $370,000 + fees. This is a much faster and cost-effective way to gain US residency with the added bonus of holding Turkish citizenship too. If applicants are citizens of a country which does not hold an E-2 treaty agreement, then we can also assist in applying for Turkish or Grenadian Citizenship first. For more details on the options, please speak with one of our consultants.
The UK’s direct immigration options are expensive and can be complex. The Tier 1 investor visa programme requires a substantial investment of £2,000,000 + costs. Like many countries, there is an alternative way to gain access to the UK by firstly investing in another country – Turkey. Turkey’s Citizenship by Investment programme has a unique attraction that many other Golden Visa programmes do not offer. The Ankara Agreement between Turkey and the EEC permits Turkish nationals to apply for a Turkish Businessperson Visa, which allows them to reside in the UK. Applicants must either start a new business in the UK or help to run an existing UK business. This visa is initially granted for a 12 month period with an option to later extend for a further 3 years. It is also possible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK after one has resided there for 5 years. The initial application takes just 12 weeks.The Turkish Businessperson visa has no fixed costs associated to the programme, however, applicants will be required to provide a detailed business plan, evidence of their business premises, HMRC documents and evidence of funds; proving they can financially support themselves and the business. The main applicant can also include their dependent and spouse, allowing the whole family to reside in the UK. This is a great lower cost solution for those wishing to relocate to the UK. Applicants must firstly apply for their Turkish passport making a minimum real estate investment of $250,000 + costs. The citizenship application can be processed within three months. Following approval, applicants can then apply for the Turkish Businessperson Visa in the UK. Based on these average processing times, it will take approximately six months to gain both Turkish Citizenship and the UK business Visa, making the entire process fast and cost-effective compared with other direct UK immigration routes. Due to the Brexit transition period, we urge applicants considering this route to act promptly. Applications submitted before 31st December 2020 will still be processed.
Here are the details
Turkey Citizenship by Investment Program Application