- January 18, 2018
- Posted by: CIP Journal
- Category: Golden visa, Residency
Greece offers the most affordable European residency program through ‘Golden visa’ scheme which requires 250,000 euros investment in a property.
Law 4251/2014 of the Greek parliament offers residence permits and access to the Schengen zone to non-EU citizens and their family members (spouse, children up to the age of 21 and the ascendants of the spouses) who buy property in Greece, the value of which must equal or exceed €250,000. The purchase may be performed by an individual or a legal entity or jointly.
Greece and the Greek Islands are known for their natural beauty, historical sights, picturesque islands, friendly people, delicious food, rich culture and a climate that is ideal for year-round tourism. Greece is also one of the safest countries in the Mediterranean region and has a strategic position which makes it a gateway to European Union.
- Greece is a EU member state in Schengen zone.
- Live without time restrictions in Greece
- Visa free Travel freedom without any requirements to 26 European Schengen-area countries and live in EU member states there for up to three months every semester.
- Best property investment in Europe
- Long-term residence, and thus citizenship status, can be obtained, under specific conditions.
- Full family permanent residency ( spouse, children up to 21 and parents of the spouses).
- No minimum personal income requirement
- Simple, fast and transparent processing
- Very low application cost
- Access to the Greek education system
- Permanent Residence permit has the form of electronic card, not attached on the passport
- Very competitive prices in real estate assets, compared to other European destinations
- High rental yields for quality properties in prime locations
Third country nationals and non-EU nationals are issued Permanent residence permit of the investor.” (Article 20) within 2 months of processing time under the Golden visa Scheme. The residence permit can be renewed every five years by third country nationals who own the property
A residence permit for real estate owners is a new type of residence permit, for third country citizens who have entered the country legally on any kind of visa (type C or D) or are legal residents in the country, even if the residence permit they hold does not allow for change of residence scope.
Conditions for Real estate owners
The following conditions apply for real estate owners in Greece to qualify for the permanent residence permit which is valid for five years.
- The real estate property must be owned by and be in possession of its owners.
- Joint ownership is permitted. In cases of joint ownership, where the value of the property is €250.000, the residence permit is only granted if the owners are spouses with undivided ownership of the property. In all other cases of joint ownership, the residence permit is only granted if the amount invested by each of the joint owners is at least €250.000.
- If the owner has acquired the property through a legal entity, the applicant must own 100% of the company shares.
- The residence permit is also granted in cases where the third country citizen is the owner, either directly or through a legal entity, of more than one real estate property with a combined value of at least €250.000.
- In cases where the applicant wants to enter the country with a type D visa, the documented intention to own property should be supported by documentation which prove the financial capacity (e.g., certificate of an A-class certified bank, or other recognised financial institution), which certify the existence of bank accounts or other mobile assets, such as bonds or shares, which can cover the cost of the investment of at least €250.000, and which certify the intention of the applicant to purchase the property (contract with a law firm or with a real estate office).
- Third country citizens who have signed a lease of atleast 10 years for hotel accommodations or furnished tourist residences in integrated tourist resorts, provided the minimum value of the lease is €250.000, the contract must require a single payment of the lease for the equivalent of the ten year leasing of the property.
- The value of the property, according to law 4251/2014, is the amount stated explicitly on the contract which has been submitted for the purchase of the real estate property.
Absences from the country do not impede the renewal of the residence permit. Family members will be granted separate entry visa under the rules.
Third country nationals must submit an application for an entry visa to the Greek consulate authority in their country of origin with necessary documentation needed for residence permit. Greek authorities may request documentation with Apostille Stamp for documents originating from a country which is a member of Hague convention
The resale of the real estate property, during the period when the residence permit is valid, to another third country citizen provides to the new owner the right to a residence permit along with a simultaneous revocation of the seller’s residence permit.
FAQ’s on Greece Golden Visa Program
Is it necessary to hire a lawyer to collect the documentation?
There is no legal requirement to collect and process the documents through a lawyer. In cases where the applicant does not speak Greek and / or is located outside of Greece, it may be preferable to ask for the support of a legal representative or proxy who is in Greece, to facilitate the process.
Who is considered a family member?
According to the law, family members of third country citizens entering the country are:
b. The direct descendants of the spouses, who are under the age of 21.
c. The direct relatives of the spouses in the ascending line.
Can my relatives in the ascending line (namely my parents and my spouse’s parents) or my children who are over the age of 18, accompany me (in cases of real estate ownership in Greece), and be included in the family provision? What about the children who turn 18 during the period when their parents’ residence permit is valid?
Ascendants are included in the provision above but not children over the age of 21. Children of third country nationals, who have been admitted to Greece under the terms and requirements of residence permit for property owners, are granted a residence permit for family reunification until the age of 21. After that, it is possible to acquire a renewal as a 3-year independent residence permit until they reach the age of 24 and then it is possible to renew it further according to pertinent immigration legislation..
Are unmarried partners entitled to a residence permit?
Family members do not include unmarried partners.
Can I travel to other countries within the EU with the residence permit for owners of real estate? Are there any conditions related to this?
Yes. The residence permit and long-term visas are valid as far as the free movement of the person in the Schengen area is concerned. Any citizen who holds a long-term visa (such as the residence permits for real estate owners) which has been issued by a member state and are valid for one year, are able to travel to other member states for up to 3 months within a six month period, under the same conditions which apply to the holder of a residence permit, while they are also granted a right for multiple entries.
Can the residence permit be considered as a work permit? Can my spouse, the legal representative of my company, my children, or myself, work in Greece?
In no case does the residence permit provide access to any type of employment. Employment, according to paragraph 6, article 20, of Law 4251/2014, does not include the exercise of economic activity in the capacity of a shareholder or a Chief Executive Officer for an already existing company. The family members that have been issued a residence permit for the same duration as the sponsor are similarly not granted access to the employment market.
Does the residence permit give me the right to apply for citizenship?
This title is not included in the titles that allow direct access to the acquisition of Greek citizenship by naturalization;
it simply allows its holder to access long-term residence status, such as the status of the long-term resident, which is a qualification required for naturalization. In order for a person to obtain a residence permit of a long-term resident the conditions of Articles 89 and 90 of L. 4251/2014 must be cumulatively met. .
Does the amount of €250,000 include the Value Added Tax? What should the value of the investment be if the ownership / sale document include the name of both spouses?
The amount of €250.000 refers to the price indicated on the contract. In cases of joint ownership of the real estate property by spouses, the residence right is granted to both spouses.
Can I obtain more than one piece of property, the individual value of which is less than €250.000, if the combined value is equal or greater than € 250.000?
You are entitled to residency rights irrespective of whether you own one or more properties, provided that their combined value is equal to or greater than €250.000.
Can I buy commercial property or a combination of commercial and residential properties or land?
The law states that €250.000 must be the stated price on the contract. It does not distinguish between commercial and residential properties.
Are there any restrictions that apply to the real estate market? (e.g. location, size in square meters, or other factors).
There are restrictions on properties located in border regions. It should be noted that as border regions are defined the prefectures of the Dodecanese, Evros, Thesprotia, Kastoria, Kilkis, Lesvos, Xanthi, Preveza, Rodopi, Samos, Florina, Chios, and the islands of Thera and Skyros, as well as the former regions of Nevrokipi in the former prefecture of Drama; Pagoniou and Konitsas in the prefecture of Ioannina; Almopia and Edessa in the prefecture of Pella; and Sintiki in the prefecture of Serres. Individual or legal entities, which are affected by the restrictions above, can request the lifting of the ban for the border regions, along with their application, which should clearly state the intended use for the property. The decision to lift the ban is made by the Minister of Defence, following the submission of an application.
Can I travel in Schengen countries directly, after my residence permit has been issued, from my country, or do I need to first come to Greece?
You can arrive to any Schengen country you wish to.
What is the arrangement regarding the access to education and health services? Can the children of the residence permit holder attend a Greek public school?
The holders of the residence permit have access to public education, analogously to that of Greeks. Regarding access to health services, third country citizens and their family members who fall under the regulations of the current
law, must have insurance that covers their healthcare and medical care expenses. To prove this condition, the following documents are accepted:
i. Insurance contracts which have been signed outside Greece, provided they explicitly mention that they cover the applicant for the duration of their stay in Greece
ii. Insurance contracts which have been signed in Greece
Can I purchase a car with Greek license plates for my transportation needs in the country?
Yes, under the specific regulations of the Ministry of Transport, which apply to third country citizens.
Can I take a mortgage out on the property in order to receive a loan?
You can take a mortgage out on the property, in the same way as Greeks.
Is it required of the buyer to prove economic capacity?
The income of the applicant must be proven by documentation which proves their capacity (e.g. Certificate by class-A recognised bank or an official financial institution or other recognised institutions to store bonds) and certify the existence of bank accounts or other transferable securities, especially shares or bonds (the above are checked for the issuance of a type D visa). In all cases, before the contract, the price of the real estate is paid via a crossed bank cheque or through another banking transaction.
If 8 third country citizens jointly buy a property for €2.000.000, are all the joint owners entitled to a residence permit?
Yes, provided that the amount invested by each one is €250.000.
What happens in the cases where someone tarnishes their criminal record, either in their country of origin or in Greece, during the period of when their residence permit is valid?
This leads to the revocation of the residence permit.
If someone holds a long-term Visa for a different Schengen country, does this Visa need to be cancelled to obtain a visa in Greece?
A Schengen visa by a different country gives the applicant the ability to enter Greece and settle issues regarding the purchase of the property.
Does the residence permit continue to be valid if the real estate property is transferred/resold?
In cases when the real estate (property) is transferred, the third country citizen loses the right to residence. In case of resale of the property during the period of validity of the residence permit to another third country citizen, the right to a residence permit is granted to the new buyer along with a simultaneous revocation of the seller’s residence permit.
Is it possible to rent the real estate property to third parties?
Third country citizens who own real estate have the right to rent their property.
How to extend the residence permit after 5 years?
The residence permit shall be renewed every five (5) years. To renew the residence permit, the following conditions must be met:
- The real estate property must remain in the full ownership of the applicant.
- The relevant leases/contracts must be ongoing.
Source: Enterprise Greece