Greece residence permit by investment in 2024
Greece is a country with a rich cultural heritage and historical legacy, the jewel of the Mediterranean region, which annually attracts millions of tourists. The Greek government is positively inclined towards foreign investment in the country’s economy and, in particular, the real estate sector. Greece is one of the few countries in the European Union that continues to provide a special government residence permit programme for foreign property buyers as of early 2024. Thanks to favourable conditions for a residence permit, there is an influx of foreign investors through this programme each year, which helps to strengthen the country’s economic potential and its position on the international stage.
Greece Golden Visa programme
Since 2013, a Golden Visa programme for foreign investors has been in place in Greece; the programme is tied to financial investments in the national economy, namely in real estate worth at least 250,000 euros, in securities, in a Greek business or in a large bank deposit. The visa entails a 5-year residence permit with the possibility of renewal upon expiration, if investments are maintained. Since 2020, investors are no longer obliged to visit Greece, and the entire procedure may be carried out remotely. Resident status opens up opportunities for investors to stay on the territory of the entire European Union, on par with EU citizens. There is no need for knowledge of the language or permanent residence in Greece.
However, since 2022, the conditions for issuing a residence permit by investment for Russians have changed: at the moment, participation in the programme is available only if you have a second passport. In this case, the purchase of real estate is issued on a third-country passport. The easiest and most affordable option today is the issuance of a Turkish or CIS passport. It is worth noting that neither Greek nor Russian legislation establishes limits on the number of passports for their citizens. Obtaining a CIS or Turkish passport is a relatively quick process that takes about two months. Tranio’s experts provide support and complete assistance in this procedure for all our clients who purchase property in Greece with the ultimate goal of obtaining a Golden Visa.
In 2023, the Greek government also introduced additional restrictions on the purchase of real estate for obtaining a residence permit by investment. They apply to all foreigners. The new measures are prompted by a record volume of international investments in the Greek real estate sector and the intention to maintain affordable housing prices in the country’s key regions. With the updated parameters of the programme, the Greek government protects its own citizens from the rising cost of living, while still offering profitable opportunities for foreign buyers.
New Greek golden visa conditions that entered into force in 2023:
- The minimum investment amount in the municipalities of Thessaloniki and Athens, as well as on the islands of Santorini and Mykonos, is increased to 500,000 euros.
- It is no longer possible to break this amount into parts, for example, when acquiring several real estate units.
- In case of joint ownership of real estate, the total value of shares must exceed the specified threshold.
A transition period has been made by the Greek authorities until the end of 2023. If a 10% deposit was made before 1 August 2023 and the transaction was completed before 31 December 2023, the investor received a Golden Visa under the previous conditions.
Benefits of a Greek residence permit for an investor
Among the main advantages of Greece are the country’s mild Mediterranean climate, beaches available year-round, quality natural products and rich historical heritage. Real estate in Greece, including rental and residential properties, is very popular among foreign investors from China, the USA, the UK, Russia, and CIS countries.
Right to reside within the EU
Upon obtaining the Golden Visa, the investor has the right to stay in Greece for an unlimited amount of time during the validity of the visa (5 years), with the possibility of its further extension and obtaining citizenship after 7 years of residence in Greece. Additionally, individuals who possess a residence permit in Greece have the freedom to move freely within the European Union and stay in other EU countries for up to 90 days in a 6-month period.
Right to cross closed borders
The Greek residence permit allows crossing borders that are closed for citizens of some countries with tourist visas. This substantially saves time and financial resources on transportation between countries.
Right to have a bank account in the EU
Having a Golden Visa implies the opening of an investor’s account in a Greek bank, which gives the opportunity to use online payment in most European and global shopping and subscription services. Opening an account is also required for paying utility bills and property tax on purchased property.
Low property maintenance costs
The cost of real estate and living in Greece is, on average, lower than in Northern and Western European regions with comparable infrastructure development.
After the expiration of the Golden Visa, real estate can be sold and provide good capital gains from the sale.
Due to the growing popularity of the Greek residence by investment programme, the value of real estate in key regions of the country increases annually by an average of 10–11%. Good market growth is also expected in the coming years, as prices have not reached 2008 levels yet.
Stable rental income
Greece is one of the most popular resort destinations among wealthy Europeans and tourists from all over the world. Due to a comfortable climate, Greek resorts are visited throughout the year, not just during the summer season. This gives real estate an average rental yield of 4–5% per annum, which is a good figure for the EU countries.
No double taxation
Greece supports the terms of the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention with many countries. Therefore, investors with multiple citizenships and income sources from around the world are entitled to pay taxes based on their principal residence. Receiving a Golden Visa does not lead to acquiring tax residence in Greece, if the investor does not reside in the country on a permanent basis (more than 180 days a year).
Greek residence permit for the investor’s family
The Greek state programme for issuing a residence permit by investment provides for the reunification of the investor’s family in Greece with the issuance of residence permits to all close relatives. The investor’s spouse or civil partner are eligible for the Golden Visa card. Please note, that couples in civil partnership will need to register their union and cohabitation in Greece.
A residence permit will also be issued to the investor’s children under the age of 21. Upon reaching this age, there is an opportunity to extend the residence permit for another 3 years, or to transfer the rights to real estate to the child. The parents of both spouses also have the right to obtain the Greek Golden Visa.
Options for obtaining a residence permit by investment
There are three main categories of investments in the Greek economy for which you can get a Golden Visa card: investments in real estate, in securities, and in bank deposits.
- Real estate investment. In Greece, this option is the most popular among international investors interested in this government programme. In the case of buying property in the municipalities of Athens, Thessaloniki, Mykonos and Santorini, the lower threshold is 500,000 euros. In all other regions, the lower threshold remains at 250,000 euros. There is also the option of a 10-year rental of a hotel or a furnished tourist residence with investment thresholds set according to their geographical location.
- Purchase of securities. These include stocks, bonds of Greek companies and investment funds. Greek government bonds in the amount of at least 400,000 euros are the second way to obtain a Golden Visa and with it the right to legally reside in Greece for up to 5 years.
- Opening a deposit. The third way to obtain a residence permit by investment is to open a deposit in a Greek bank in the amount of at least 400,000 euros.
It should be noted that in all of the above mentioned methods, a residence permit remains valid only if the initial investment is retained in full. In the event of the sale of real estate or the withdrawal of funds from the deposit, the Golden Visa card is automatically cancelled.
Necessary documents for a residence permit by investment in Greece
To apply for the programme, you will need the following documents:
- International passport with copies of all pages;
- Birth certificate;
- Application for obtaining resident status (2 pcs);
- 4 colour photographs (35×45 mm);
- Confirmation of financial means;
- Certificate of the nature of the investment;
- Certificate of no criminal conviction;
- Marriage certificate;
- Health certificate from a Greek clinic regarding the absence of dangerous infectious diseases;
- Greek TIN;
- Receipt of payment of the stamp duty for the applicant for residence in Greece;
- Documents on family ties (family members);
- European health insurance.
Some documents require apostille stamping as well as a notarised translation into Greek. Depending on the local administration, additional documents may be required to apply for a residence permit by investment.
Procedure for obtaining a residence permit
From 2020, the purchase of property and the issuance of a resident permit can take place remotely; you will need to visit Greece only at the final stages for fingerprinting. The procedure can be divided into several stages:
Step 1. Preliminary check and risk assessment. When processing a request, Tranio’s lawyers carefully check the client’s documents to compile an accurate dossier and prevent the possibility of refusal.
Step 2. Selection and purchase of real estate. Our experts help to choose an ideal option according to the client’s request. After real estate selection, the client books the property, paying about 10% of its value. Next, the lawyer prepares the sale and purchase documents, which can be signed in person or through a lawyer with notarised power of attorney. Then the lawyer registers the property in the Land Registry and sends the client a full set of documents with a certified translation.
Step 3. Submission of a residence permit application. Our lawyers will help to prepare all required documents and notarised translations, as well as provide assistance in paying the necessary fees, and then submit these documents by proxy to the appropriate Directorate of Migration Policy of the Greek Ministry of Interior. An investor will then need to personally visit Greece to submit biometrics. A tourist visa will suffice for entry. After providing fingerprints, the applicant will receive a temporary document confirming that they are awaiting the issuance of a Golden Visa.
Step 4. Golden Visa acquisition. In a few weeks the residence permit will be ready. The investor can either pick it up in person or through a lawyer by proxy. The Golden Visa is valid for 5 years, after which the status can be extended for the same period. An application for an extension is usually submitted a couple of months before the expiration of the residence permit. The main condition for an extension is that the property must not be sold during this period, and the investment amount remains unchanged.
Thus, the program for obtaining a residence permit by investment in Greece has remained one of the most accessible ways to legally stay in the EU for an unlimited amount of time, as well as enjoy a high standard of living in one of the sunniest and warmest countries in Europe.