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ECONOMICS > Residence permit rules to be eased for foreign house buyers

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Turkish government’s efforts to ease the residence permit issue for foreigners are ongoing, Deputy Prime Minister Babacan said, adding the government expect to announce the outcome of the studies in a few weeks.

Turkish government’s efforts to ease the residence permit issue for foreigners are ongoing, Deputy Prime Minister Babacan said, adding the government expect to announce the outcome of the studies in a few weeks.

The Turkish government is developing a scheme to ease visa and residence permit restrictions for real estate buyers from overseas, according to Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan.

“Turkey should be more tolerant toward foreigners who buy houses and spend substantial amounts of money to spend time in Turkey,” Babacan said during a speech in Cannes, where the world’s largest real estate fair, MIPIM, is being held between March 12 and today.

Residence permits have been the main hurdle for foreign buyers who plan to buy property in Turkey. According to existing regulations, foreigners can stay in the country for a maximum of three months on a tourist visa, after which time they must leave the country for another three months before returning. The residence permit receiving processes also can be exhaustingly long.

“We’re trying to increase these [tourist visa] periods to six months or one year because many visitors to our country wish to stay for more than three months,” Turkish Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar said, confirming the news.

The sector has witnessed an increase in foreign real estate acquisitions since the enactment of a bill last year that removed the condition of reciprocity and eased restrictions on the sale of land and real estate to foreign citizens and firms.

Since May of last year, when the bill removing the condition of reciprocity in land sales came into effect, foreigners have purchased around 19,000 properties in Turkey. In May alone, foreign real estate acquisitions in Turkey reached $1.1 billion, four times the total amount in 2011.

The government aims to boost foreign investments in the real estate sector further by backing reciprocity law and expanding the period of staying in Turkey with tourist visa as well as easing the procedures for residence permit.

Babacan highlighted the possible investment benefits of the regulation, suggesting that as these foreigners come and go, they would contribute to the Turkish economy by bringing business opportunities with them.

Babacan added that foreigners were increasingly seeking also to obtain Turkish citizenship, suggesting that there was substantial interest in the benefits and opportunities that a Turkish passport provided in the wider region.

“The residence permit is first, citizenship comes after, but with order. ... We need to appreciate the value of Turkish citizenship. It’s not something to give away, we need to be careful,” he said.
Babacan also said the efforts to ease the residence permit issue were ongoing and added that they expected to announce the outcome of the studies in a few weeks

Ağaoğlu wants 10 years

Turkey’s construction giant Ali Ağaoğlu, however, said even one year won’t be enough and the permit should be raised to minimum ten years.“It’s a positive start but it should be at least ten years,” Ağaoğlu said, adding there is a high demand for Turkey, especially from gulf countries. The sector has witnessed an increase in foreign real estate acquisitions since the enactment of a bill last year that removed the condition of reciprocity and eased restrictions on the sale of land and real estate to foreign citizens and firms. Since May of last year, when the bill removing the condition of reciprocity in land sales came into effect, foreigners have purchased around 19,000 properties in Turkey. The government aims to boost foreign investments in the real estate sector further by backing reciprocity law and expanding the period of residence permits.


March/15/2013

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John Smith

5/13/2013 11:31:21 AM

No, not European money. It may come as a great shock to you but there is a whole world out there that is not European, and here is the really shocking bit, they have money to.

american american

3/15/2013 11:43:16 PM

you mean you want bankrupt europeans money?

erik bisgaard

3/15/2013 10:23:33 PM

It is good if residence permit will be longer. In the same time , Erdogan Bayraktor should look at the strange , militaty ZONE in Lara/Antalya. It gives a lot of problems for forings buyers , there not can get Tapu in own name.Best regards.Erik Bisgaard

Brit in Turkey

3/15/2013 6:00:52 PM

mara: My wife and I bought a piece of land at the end of 2003 and had a house built. We imported all our furniture and effects from the UK. We have lived here permanently ever since on renewed residence permits. Incidentally it was the case that you could purchase property without a residence permit (as we did our land), but we had permits when we registered the completed house. As an aside you need a residence permit to be able to own a car.

Richard Wyatt

3/15/2013 5:59:46 PM

A ten-year residence permit is fine, but then you also need a passport to be valid for ten years to accompany it.

mara mcglothin

3/15/2013 3:24:50 PM

BRIT IN TURKEY The regulations change with the wind on the Bosporus. Who in their right mind would voluntarily join this club? You own the home, but you are barred from using it? Really?

Agnes Smith

3/15/2013 1:10:23 PM

Yes - JRC - they shot themselves in the foot with that plan. But I think they are confused who they want to sell properties to - Europeans or Arab State nationals.The latter is probably their ultimate goal. I have UK friend who has been a resident for 20+ years and a home owner for 10+ years. Her application for citizenship has been held up in application for 3 years. Babacan is learning his role at last.- But Mr Babacan - no one needs a Turkish passport - just security as a home owner..

JRC JRC

3/15/2013 9:19:09 AM

So they changed the visa system to 3 in / 3 out, a short while ago and are now saying they want the old system back? Good forward planning.

JPLdK

3/15/2013 8:06:53 AM

That is very good news.

Brit in Turkey

3/15/2013 7:59:53 AM

This article seems to confuse the two types of permit - visitor's and resident's. Certainly for Brits, the former is for 90 days unless extended especially, and the latter is for a maximum of 5 years before it needs to be renewed. You do not need to own property to have a residence permit - a rental agreement suffices. I hope I've got that right as the regulations seem to change with little or no warning.
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