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Real Estate Acquisition of Foreigners

WHAT KIND OF LIMITATIONS APPLY FOR ACQUISITION OF REAL ESTATES BY FOREIGNERS?

First of all, the foreign person, who would like to acquire a real estate, must be from a country, whose citizens are eligible to acquire real estates in our country as determined under article 35..

Under article 35 of the Land Registry Law No 2644, acquisition by foreign natural persons is only possible within legal limitations.

Under the Military Forbidden Zones and Security Zones Law No 2565, foreigners are not allowed to acquire real estates in military forbidden zones.

A foreign natural person may acquire real estates and limited rights in rem up to 30 hectare maximum throughout the country. The President is authorized to increase such size up to double.

Total area of the real estates and independent and continuous limited rights in rem acquired by natural persons of foreign origin may not exceed ten percent (10%) of the area, where private property is allowed, in a district.

Acquisition by foreigners is not allowed in strategic zones, which are determined as the zones where the foreign natural and legal persons are not allowed to acquire real estates by the President, and special security zones.

IS RESIDENCE PERMIT REQUIRED FOR ACQUISITION OF REAL ESTATES BY FOREIGN NATURAL PERSONS?

Article 35 of the Land Registry Law No 2644 as amended by the Law No 6302 stipulates that “Natural persons of foreign origin, who are citizens of the countries as determined by the President, may acquire real estates and limited rights in rem, in cases where it is necessary for the country’s benefits and in accordance with the international bilateral relations, provided that the legal limitations are complied with”. Natural persons, who are the citizens of the countries as given in the list of designated countries, do not need to have a residence permit in addition in order to be able to acquire real estates and limited rights in rem.

IS THE INQUIRY FOR MILITARY FORBIDDEN ZONES STILL APPLIED?

By our Circular numbered 2017/4, inquiry for Military Forbidden Zones is cancelled for 81 cities (except for some districts).

Thus, it is ensured that the process for acquisition of real estates by foreign natural persons is identical with the process followed for acquisition by Turkish citizens.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO USE BLUE CARD FOR AN IDENTITY DOCUMENT?

As the practice of Blue Card was started by the General Directorate of Civil Registration and Citizenship Affairs as of 12.04.2013, Blue Cards issued after such date may be used as identity document alone.

Documents issued before 12.04.2013 to exercise the rights reserved under the Law No 4112/5203 (Blue/Pink Cards), on the other hand, will continue to be taken into consideration in conjunction with the identity document or passport of the country unless they are renewed.

For people, who are entitled to the rights granted by the Law No 5901 and who apply by their passport or the identity card of their country of citizenship without presenting their Blue Cards, procedures will be performed if they are confirmed to have blue cards as a result of an inquiry in the blue card registry in MERNİS (Central Civil Registration Management System) environment or after presentation of the civil registration extract to be received from the Civil Registration Directorate for this purpose.

IS THERE ANY LIABILITY APPLICABLE FOR THE FOREIGN NATURAL PERSONS, WHO ACQUIRE UNBUILT REAL ESTATES?

A foreigner, who purchases an unbuilt real estate, needs to develop a project for the real estate acquired within two years starting from the acquisition date and to submit the same to the relevant Ministry, depending on the subject matter of the project, for approval. The relevant Ministry will determine the period for completion of the project.

ARE THE COMPANIES TO DEVELOP PROJECTS WHEN THEY ACQUIRE UNBUILT REAL ESTATE?

Incorporated trading companies, which are established according to the laws of their own countries, may acquire real estates in our country according to the special provisions in the applicable laws. There is no requirement to develop a project for the real estates acquired in this manner as they will be used in accordance with the purposes set forth in the reference legal provisions.

Companies with Foreign Capital are governed by article 36 of the Civil Registry Law No 2644, and the real estate acquisition procedure is also set forth in our circular numbered 2012/13. The requirement to develop a project, which is set forth in article 35 of the Land Registry Law No 2644, is not applicable for companies with foreign capital.

IF THE SHAREHOLDER OF THE COMPANY ESTABLISHED IN TURKEY IS NOT INCLUDED INTO THE LIST DETERMINED UNDER ARTICLE 35, WILL THAT PREVENT THE COMPANY FROM ACQUIRING REAL ESTATE?

Companies with foreign capital are legal persons established in Turkey under the Turkish laws and they are addressed in article 36 of the Land Registry Law. During the acquisition of a real estate, if the shareholders of the company are not in the list of the countries mentioned in article 35, whose citizens are eligible to acquire real estate in our country, this does not prevent real estate acquisition.

DO ALL THE COMPANIES WITH FOREIGN CAPITAL NEED TO APPLY TO THE GOVERNORSHIP FOR PROCEDURES INVOLVING REAL ESTATE ACQUISITION?

As set forth in article 36 of the Land Registry Law No 2644 and our circular regarding “acquisition of real estates and limited rights in rem by companies with foreign capital” numbered 2012/13, the phrases “within the scope of article 36” and “excluded from the scope of article 36” contained in the letter of authorization issued by the Trade Registry Directorates will be taken into consideration for real estate acquisition by companies with foreign capital. Acquisition by companies within the scope of article 36 alone is subject to governorship procedure. Therefore, the companies excluded from the scope of article 36 are not required to apply to the governorship.

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE FOREIGNERS AND TURKISH CITIZENS IN TERMS OF THE FINANCIAL ASPECT OF THE LAND REGISTRY PROCEDURES?

There is no distinction between foreigners and Turkish citizens in terms of land registry fees. However, for the procedures resulting in the liability to transfer ownership performed according to article 35 of the Land Registry Law No 2644, service charge (TRY 598,25 for year 2019) shall be collected by the land registry directorate during the procedure and in addition to the circulating capital charge set for the procedure.

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR THE REAL ESTATE TO BE TRANSFERRED TO FOREIGN NATURAL PERSONS BY INHERITANCE?

Real estate may be transferred to foreign natural persons by inheritance. However, if the real estate transferred is in a region, where a foreign natural person may not acquire a real estate, the real estate must be disposed of following transfer, failing which it will have to be nationalized. Moreover, if a real estate is transferred by inheritance to the citizen of a country that is not included in the list determined within the scope of article 35, i.e. countries, whose citizens are not eligible to acquire real estate in Turkey, the real estate in question must be disposed of following transfer, failing which it will have to be nationalized.

HOW CAN I ACCESS THE LIST OF COUNTRIES, WHOSE CITIZENS ARE ELIGIBLE TO ACQUIRE REAL ESTATES IN TURKEY?

According to article 35 of the Land Registry Law No 2644, the list of the countries, whose citizens are eligible to acquire real estates in Turkey is not publicly available, it is possible to learn about the status regarding acquisition for the specific country in question from any directorate of ours.

DOES THE PASSPORT HAVE TO BE TRANSLATED?

As provided for in our circular regarding “identification for land registry procedures involving foreigners” numbered 2013/13, Turkish translation of the passports and identification documents of foreign countries issued in any alphabet other than the Latin alphabet may be asked if considered necessary by the Land Registry Directorate.

WHICH DOCUMENTS ARE NECESSARY FOR ACQUISITION OF REAL ESTATES?

  • Title deed of the real estate or village/quarter, block, parcel, building and independent section info,
  • Identity document or passport (Must be presented along with the translation when necessary and must be issued in a manner to indicate citizenship of the person),
  • Real estate valuation report issued by one of the firms authorized for real estate valuation by CMB (Capital Market Board) (http://www.spk.gov.tr/SiteApps/SirketIletisim/List/gds),
  • “Real Estate Current Market Value” issued by the relevant municipality,
  • Compulsory earthquake insurance policy for buildings (house, workplace etc.),
  • 1 photo of the seller and 2 photos of the purchaser (shot within the last 6 months, size 6 x 4),
  • Sworn interpreter if there any party that does not speak Turkish,
  • If the procedure takes place using a power of attorney issued abroad, original or certified copy of the power of attorney along with translation thereof.

WHAT ARE THE LIMITATIONS APPLICABLE FOR ACQUISITION OF REAL ESTATES BY COMPANIES WITH FOREIGN CAPITAL?

There is no limitation for real estate acquisition by companies with foreign capital; and they may acquire real estates to the extent they consider desirable as long as the real estates are suitable for their operations.

CAN I PERFORM LAND REGISTRY PROCEDURES WITH A POWER OF ATTORNEY ISSUED ABROAD?

It is possible to perform land registry procedures using power of attorney issued by the Turkish Consulates abroad and the authorities competent to issue power of attorney of the relevant country. However, the power of attorney must meet the criteria sought.

CAN I PERFORM MY POWER OF ATTORNEY USING ANY POWER OF ATTORNEY ISSUED BY A NOTARY PUBLIC OF A FOREIGN COUNTRY?

In order for any power of attorney issued by a notary public in a foreign country to be acceptable to land registry directorates, the power of attorney must first:

  • Be issued in the official language of the country of issue, and
  • Contain photo of the person in question and the photo must be sealed.
  • In addition, depending on whether the country of issue is a party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Hague Convention) or not, the power of attorney must either contain “Apostille” or the signature and seal on the power of attorney must be certified by the competent authority for the issuing notary public; and signature and seal of such authority must be certified by the Turkish Consulate in the country in question;
  • It must contain powers regarding the demanded procedure.
  • Also, notarized Turkish translation thereof must also be submitted to the land registry directorate.
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