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Acquisation of Turkish Citizenship and Residence Permit

ACQUISITION OF TURKISH CITIZENSHIP

According to Turkish Citizenship Law No. 5901 there are two ways to gain Turkish Citizenship;

a.    ACQUISITION OF TURKISH CITIZENSHIP BY BIRTH:

A child in any of the following cases shall be a Turkish National:
a.    A child born to a Turkish mother or through a Turkish father within the unity of marriage either in Turkey or abroad, (Art. 7/1)
b.    A child born to Turkish mother and through a foreigner father out of wedlock, (Art. 7/2)
c.    A child born through a Turkish father and to a foreigner mother out of wedlock acquires Turkish citizenship if the principles and procedures ensuring the establishment of paternity are met.(Art. 7/3)
d.    A child born in Turkey, but acquiring no citizenship of any state by birth through his/her foreigner mother or father is a Turkish citizen from the moment of birth. (Art. 8)

b.    CITIZENSHIP ACQUIRED AFTERBIRTH:

a.    Acquisition of Turkish Citizenship by Decision of the Competent Authority:

An alien who wishes to acquire Turkish citizenship can acquire Turkish citizenship by a decision of the competent authority provided he/she fulfils the conditions laid down in the Turkish Citizenship Law No. 5901. The competent authority is Turkish Ministry of Internal Affairs.

There are mainly four types of applications for acquisition of Turkish Citizenship by decision of Turkish Ministry of Internal Affairs;
    General applications
    Exceptional applications
    Applications for re-acquisition of Turkish citizenship
    Applications for acquisition of Turkish citizenship by marriage.

In general applications and applications for acquisition of Turkish citizenship by marriage, applicants’ fulfillment of citizenship conditions are evaluated by The Citizenship Application Examination Commission (Art. 18). We shall explain here General applications and Applications for acquisition of Turkish citizenship by marriage.

    Conditions for General Application (Art. 11):

The competent authority (Ministry) decision on the acquisition of Turkish Citizenship is made upon fulfillment of the following criteria. However it is clearly indicated in the law that fulfillment of the conditions does not grant a person an absolute right in acquisition of Turkish citizenship. These criteria are stated in the Art. 11 of Turkish Citizenship Law No. 5901.

A foreigner who wishes to acquire Turkish citizenship shall;
a.    be in the age of majority and have the capacity to act either according to his/her own national law or, if he/she is stateless, according to Turkish law,
b.    has been resident in Turkey without interruption for five years preceding the date of his/her application,
c.    verify his/her determination to settle down in Turkey with his/her manners, (Such an intention can be proven by, for instance but not for sure, acquiring immovable property.)
d.    has no disease constituting an obstacle in respect of public health,
e.    be of good moral character,
f.    be able to speak a sufficient level of Turkish, (Your “sufficient level of Turkish” is evaluated by the commission. This commission does not want any document about language degree. You prove your fluency in your interview with a Turkish government official. These interviews are subjective and their difficulty varies depending on the official.)
g.    has income or profession to provide for maintenance for himself/herself and his/her dependents in Turkey,
h.    has no quality constituting an obstacle in respect of national security and public order.

Foreigners who wish to acquire Turkish citizenship may be required, in addition to the conditions aforementioned, to relinquish previous citizenship. The Council of Ministers shall be competent to determine the principles regarding the exercise of this discretion.

Your chances of obtaining citizenship will be greatly improved if you can demonstrate that you can make a valuable contribution to Turkish culture and society, for instance, bringing into Turkey new economic, scientific, technological or artistic developments.

The acquisition of Turkish citizenship by the decision of the competent authority shall not affect the spouse’s citizenship. Children whose guardianship belongs to the mother or the father on the date of her/his acquisition of Turkish citizenship, in case the other spouse consents, shall acquire Turkish citizenship. In case of lack of consent, action shall be taken according to the decision of a judge in the country of habitual residence of the mother or the father. Children of a mother and father who together acquire Turkish citizenship shall also acquire Turkish citizenship. (Art. 20)

Calculation of residence: A foreigner who applies for the acquisition of Turkish citizenship may stay abroad without exceeding six months within the residence period required for the application. The period spent abroad shall be evaluated within the residence period. (Art. 15)

After all, it cannot be specified how long the Ministry’s evaluation of your citizenship application would take.

    Applications for Acquisition of Turkish Citizenship by Marriage:

According to the Art. 16 of Turkish Citizenship Law, Turkish citizenship shall not automatically be acquired by marriage with a Turkish citizen. Foreigners who have been married to a Turkish citizen for at least three years and whose marriage still continues can apply for the acquisition of Turkish citizenship.  Foreigners who applied for Turkish citizenship shall fulfill the requirements stated below;
a.    applicants shall live within the unity of marriage,
b.    applicants shall avoid from acts which are incompatible with the unity of marriage,
c.    applicants shall not have no quality constituting an obstacle in respect of national security and public order.

If these conditions are satisfied, the foreigner spouse must apply to Ministry of Internal Affairs’ relevant department or if she/he lives outside of Turkey, they must apply to Turkish consulate in country of residence. Subsequent to application, component department interrogates the status of ongoing marriage in order to detect authenticity of the marriage.

If you obtain Turkish citizenship through marriage, then later divorce, your citizenship status will not be affected. However, there is risk of being prosecuted if it is indicated that your marriage was a scheme.

As it is indicated above that the fulfillment of the conditions does not grant a person an absolute right in acquisition of Turkish citizenship and the Turkish Ministry of Internal Relations have the right of deny the application. On the other hand it is possible to file a lawsuit before the administrative court against the decision of Turkish Ministry of Internal Relations on acquisition of Turkish citizenship.

ACQUISITION OF RESIDENCE PERMITS

The new Turkish Law on Foreigners and International Protection No. 6458 is just coming into force on April 11th, 2014 by abolishing the previous Foreigner Law No. 5683.

According to Article 19th of the Law, foreigners who intend to stay in Turkey longer than the visa or visa exemption period or in excess of 90 days are obliged to obtain a residence permit. A residence permit ceases to be valid if not used within 6 months.

Foreigners who apply for a residence permit shall be required to hold a passport or a passport substitute document which is valid at least 60 days beyond the duration of the requested residence permit. For example, when applying for a 12-month Turkish Residency Permit; your passport needs to be valid for at least 14 months.

    Required Documentation:

The list below is what is currently required when applying for a Turkish residency permit, a change can be occur due to the new law.
    A valid passport with photocopies of the last entry stamp and details page,
    Five recent passport-sized photographs
    Proof of address
    Bank statement from a Turkish bank proving you are in good financial standing

Applications will be finalized at the latest within 90 days. Notification related to procedures concerning the rejection of the application shall be serviced to concerned person.

All first time applicants wishing to apply for a Turkish Residency Permit need to apply to the Turkish Consulate in the Turkish Consulate in their country of nationality or legal residence.

According to Article 22 of the Law, in the following cases, the applications could exceptionally be made to the governorates in Turkey:
a.    Upon demand or requests from administrative or judicial authorities,
b.    Where the departure of the foreigner from Turkey is unreasonable or unfeasible,
c.    For long-term residence permits,
d.    For student resident permits,
e.    For humanitarian residence permits,
f.    Residence permits to be issued for victims of human trafficking,
g.    Transition from family residence permit to a short-term residence permit,
h.    Requests made by a mother and father possessing residence permit in Turkey for their children who are born in Turkey,
i.    Requests filed to obtain residence permit which conforms with the new reason of stay when the grounds for issuing the valid residence permit cease to exist or change,
j.    For transition to short term residence permit, of foreigners who have completed their higher education in Turkey.
Rejection of a residence permit application, non-extension or cancellation of the residence permit filed within Turkey and notification of these procedures shall be made by the governorates. During these proceedings, factors such as the foreigner’s family links in Turkey, the duration of residence, the foreigner’s situation in the country of origin and the best interests of the child shall be taken into consideration; accordingly, the decision concerning the residence permit may be postponed. The decision on the rejection of the residence permit extension, as well as decisions regarding the non-extension or cancellation of a residence permit, shall be notified to the foreigner or his or her legal representative or lawyer. The foreigner has the right to appeal against the rejection decision. (Art. 25)

Foreigners who arrive in Turkey with residence and work permits obtained from consulates shall register in the address registration system within twenty work days as of the date of entry.

Interruption to residence: Aside from reasons of compulsory public service, education and health, in the implementation of the provisions of this Law, a period in excess of a total of 6 months in a year and a total of twelve months in the last five years outside the territory of Turkey shall be counted as an interruption to residence. In applications for a residence permit or transition to another residence permit of those who have had interruption to their residence, the previous residence permit periods shall not be calculated. (Art. 28)

Types of residence permits:
a.    Short-term residence permit,
b.    Family residence permit,
c.    Residence permit for students,
d.    Long-term residence permit,
e.    Humanitarian residence permit,
f.    Residence permit issued to victims of human trafficking
    Long term (permanent) residence permit:

Foreigners who reside in Turkey with a residence permit uninterruptedly for at least 8 years shall be granted a permanent residence permit by governorates upon approval of the Ministry.

Conditions for granting a long term residence permit
a.    To reside in Turkey with a residence permit uninterruptedly for at least 8 years,
b.    Not to have benefited from any kind of social assistance from the State for the past three years,
c.    To possess sufficient and regular resources to maintain himself/herself and, if any, the members of his or her family,
d.    To have valid medical insurance,
e.    Not to constitute a threat to public order or security.

Successful applicants who are granted a long term residence permit shall benefit from the same rights as a Turkish citizen with the exception of provisions in special legislation as well as the rights regarding:
–    Compulsory military service,
–    The right to elect and be elected,
–    Employment in public institutions,
–    Exemption from taxes in importing vehicles.

Please note, your long term residency permit may be cancelled if you stay outside Turkey uninterruptedly for more than 12 months with the exception of health, study and compulsory military service purposes.

    A short-term residence permit shall be granted to foreigners who:

a.    Intend to conduct scientific research,
b.    Possess immovable property in Turkey,
c.    Intend to set up commercial connections or establish a business,
d.    Intend to participate in in-service training programs,
e.    Intend to come to Turkey for education or similar purposes under the scope of agreements that the Republic of Turkey is a party to or in the framework of student exchange programs,
f.    Intend to stay for touristic reasons,
g.    Will receive medical treatment on condition that they do not carry an illness considered to be a risk to public health,
h.    Are required to stay in Turkey at the request or decision of judicial or administrative authorities,
i.    Are changing their residence permit from a family residence permit to a short-term residence permit,
j.    Intend to participate in Turkish language courses, (such residence permits shall be given twice at most.)
k.    Who intend to participate in study, research, internship or courses in Turkey through the mediation of public institutions,
l.    Who apply within six months as of graduation date, among foreigners who have completed their higher education in Turkey. (such residence permits shall be given once only, for a period of one year at most.)

Short-term residence permits shall be issued for a period of a maximum of one year at a time.

Conditions for a short-term residence permit:
a.    To submit a request based on one or more grounds listed above,
b.    To have accommodation conditions conforming to general health and safety standards,
c.    Upon request, to submit a certificate of criminal record issued by the competent authorities of the foreigner’s country of nationality or the country of legal residence,
d.    To verify information on address in Turkey.

A short-term residence permit may be rejected, cancelled or not be extended in case the person stays abroad for more than 120 days in total in the past year.

    Family Residence Permit:

The below enumerated family members of foreigners holding one of the residence permits shall be issued a family residence permit with a period of validity of maximum 2 years at each turn:
a.    His or her foreign national spouse,
b.    His or her or his or her spouse’s minor child of foreign nationality,
c.    His or her or his or her spouse’s dependent children of foreign nationality.

Duration of family residence permit shall not, in any case, exceed the period of the residence permit of the sponsor.

In case of a polygamous marriage under the laws of the country of citizenship, only one of the spouses shall be issued a family residence permit. However, a family residence permit may be granted to children from other spouses.

For the family residence permit issued to children, the consent of the mother or father of the child who lives abroad and who shares custody of the child shall be sought.

Family residence permits shall grant the right to children under the age of 18 to education in primary and secondary education institutions without the obligation to obtain student residence permit.

In the event of a divorce, foreigners married to Turkish citizens may be granted a short-term residence permit provided that he or she has held a family residence permit for at least three years.

A family residence permit may be granted to foreigners in case the sponsor:
a.    Possesses, a monthly income not less than the minimum wage and corresponding to not less than one third of minimum wage per each family member,
b.    Has accommodation conditions appropriate to general health and safety standards in line with the number of family members and has medical insurance covering all family members,
c.    Proves by submitting his or her criminal record that he or she has not been found guilty of any crimes against family order in the 5 years prior to his or her application,
d.    Has stayed in the country for at least one year with a residence permit,
e.    Is registered under the address-based registration system.

    Student residence permit:

Foreigners who intend to pursue foundation, undergraduate, graduate or postgraduate studies in an establishment of higher education in Turkey shall be granted a student residence permit.

The student residence permit shall not grant any right for the mother and father or other relatives of the student to obtain a residence permit.

The validity of student residence permit shall not exceed the duration of education period, in the event that the education period is less than a year.

Students pursuing foundation, undergraduate, graduate or postgraduate degrees in Turkey may work provided that they obtain a work permit. However, foundation and undergraduate students shall only be given the right to work no more than 24 hours a week following the first year of studies.

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