Ankara Agreement
Highlights on Ankara Agreement (ECAA)

What is the European Community Association Agreement?

The power of Turkish citizenship attracts the attention of many investors around the world, as NTL company always strives to highlight the advantages of obtaining Turkish citizenship, where the promising investment in the Turkish Republic coincides with the facilities that the Turkish citizen gets globally, due to the trade agreements and treaties concluded between the Turkish Republic with countries around the world, such as Türkiye’s agreement with the United States regarding the E2 visa and the Ankara Agreement.

(ECAA) is the European Community Association Agreement or what is known as the Ankara Agreement between the Republic of Türkiye and the European Economic Community for paving the way towards Türkiye’s accession to it. This agreement is one of the most important treaties which creates rights for Turkish nationals wishing to immigrate to Britain to establish themselves as a worker or in a business in the UK.

Turkish nationals under this agreement can apply to obtain UK residency as soon as they prove that they are self-employed and establish a business according to some qualifying conditions imposed by the British Home Office as follows:

  • Have the skills and ability necessary to set up the business proposed.
  • Have the funds required to set up and run the business proposed.
  • Having the ability to make enough profit to support themselves and their families without the need for additional jobs that require a work permit.
  • Having a real intention to establish a promising business.
  • This visa does not require a minimum investment.

If Turkish nationals wish to join an existing partnership or company, they must have:

  • An active role in business management.
  • There is a real need for their services and investments.

By the published guidelines, if the above measures are met, the applicants will be granted leave to remain for an initial period of 12 months. Noting that the applicants are prevented from benefiting from the agreement if it is found that they violate UK immigration laws. Instead, they will be subject to the points-based system.

 The applicants may then submit applications for an extension under the same category. Upon this extension application, they must meet similar requirements to those above:

– The business must have already been established.

– There must be enough funds to run the business

– The profits must be high enough to support the applicants without them having to undertake additional paid work.

If these criteria are met, a three-year visa extension will be granted.

Once they have been an ECAA businessperson in the UK for four years, an individual can request indefinite leave to remain. This is because they have demonstrated that they are able successfully run a business and settle permanently in the country.

A Turkish national who is legally employed in the UK is also permitted to apply for a visa extension to stay longer. To qualify for an extension, they must already have a valid visa (e.g., a Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 4 visa) that allows them to work in the UK legally and they must also have worked for the same employer for one year (continuously). If the applicant is successful in their visa extension application, they will be permitted to stay in the UK as a Turkish ECAA worker. However, an applicant under this category cannot apply for indefinite leave to remain. Nor does the Ankara agreement extend to Turkish nationals who entered the UK illegally.

One of the advantages of this agreement is that once the applicant succeeds in establishing a business, the spouse can also join to live in the UK and obtain a job without the need for a work visa or a guarantee from the employer. Moreover, children of applicants can also study at public schools (up to the age of 16) which is much cheaper than private and international schools.

It is worth noting that between 2011 and 2019, the UK approved a total of 5661 major applicants and 9,000 dependents based on this agreement, more than half of the applications were approved during 2019 alone, and this is a good indicator that encourages the adoption of this strategy by Turkish nationals. It is an irreplaceable opportunity to achieve safety and stability for the investor and his family and to guarantee their right to a better life.

The question that arises now is: Does Britain’s exit from the European Union threaten the Ankara agreement?

Legally, Britain is no longer a European Union country with the Brexit settlement, which relieves it of compliance with the ECAA.

The UK has announced that it will adhere to the agreement until 2021 when the transition period ends, which will lead to unprecedented increases in visa applications in 2020 by Turkish nationals.

In other words, the future of the visa is pending, although the British government has announced on its own that the agreement may survive the consequences of divorce from the European Union.

As stated in a statement on the official website of the UK government that there are no intentions to terminate all the agreements, and this includes the “European Economic Area Agreement and Freedom Agreement Movement of individuals between the European Union and Switzerland and the Ankara Agreement.”

In addition to the confirmation of the British Ambassador in Ankara Dominic Chilcot, that the opportunities for cooperation between his country and Türkiye will increase with the exit of Britain from the European Union, declaring while attending a diplomatic meeting on February 7, 2020, “What we need to do is find the appropriate agreements to replace it.”

If you are a foreign investor and interested in applying for residency in Britain under this agreement as a Turkish self-employed businessman, you can contact us to find out the conditions for obtaining Turkish citizenship by investment and UK residency as well.