Property buying guide for Greece
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Residence

How to get a Greek residence permit and citizenship

€250,000

the cost of your ‘golden visa’.

3 to 6 months

time taken for a residence permit to be issued.

7 years

of residence in Greece to qualify for citizenship.

Greece’s ‘golden visa’ is one of the most popular programmes granting residency in Greece, and for good reason. The qualification requirements are some of the most attractive for foreign investors: a mere €250,000 investment in one or more properties in the Aegean paradise is enough to get the ball rolling.

Tranio provides a holistic service to get that ball rolling, from aiding clients with the purchase of their dream Greek property to the preparation of documents to apply for residency.

Some of the advantages of the Greek ‘golden visa’ include:

  • The lowest barrier of entry among countries with similar programmes, such as Latvia, Malta, Portugal and Spain;
  • A permanent residence permit to property owners (subject to renewal every five years);
  • No residence restrictions (you may continue to live outside Greece);
  • Residence permits issued to all family members of the applicant (spouse, children under 21, parents and grandparents of both applicant and spouse);
  • If the investor resides in the country less than 183 days per year, the investor is exempt as a Greek tax resident.

Getting a Greek residence permit requires an investor to first visit Greece on three occasions, with any type of visa. The entire procedure takes three to six months, depending on the time needed to process property transaction documents and how promptly the applicant submits them. Obtaining a Greek residence permit can be done in nine simple steps:

The first visit

1. Choose a property.

2. Verify the documents

3. Get a tax number

4. Open a Greek bank account

5. Transfer the required money to the new account

6. Sign the Sales & Purchase Agreement (SPA)

The second visit (1.5 to 2 months later)

7. Apply for residency

The third visit (1 to 2 months later)

8. Submit fingerprints

9. Obtain residence permit

Step 1 – Choose a property

First things first, investors must choose a property and hire a lawyer to verify the property documents over the following month (to authenticate the title certificate and ensure there are no encumbrances or debts associated with the property). The lawyer will later assist in paying the taxes related to the property purchase.

Although not strictly necessary at this stage, Tranio recommends appointing a lawyer to verify the title clearance as the verification will require a strong command of the Greek language.

Alina Churikova Alina Churikova Tranio project manager for Greece

Step 2 – Sign an agreement, pay a deposit

While the lawyer verifies the documents, the buyer and seller sign a preliminary purchase agreement, and the buyer puts down a deposit of approximately 10% of the property price.

Step 3 – Get an individual tax number

Paying property taxes in Greece requires a Greek bank account, and to open a bank account an individual tax number is needed. The tax number can be obtained at a local tax department in just a few hours.

Required documents:

— passport and passport copy;

— marriage certificate (if a tax number is also issued to the applicant’s spouse).

Over 5,000 people have obtained a Greek ‘golden visa’ since the programme’s launch in 2013 ibphoto / Depositphotos

Step 4 – Open a bank account

When opening a Greek bank account, submitting documents in person is recommended to ensure the process runs smoothly. Tranio can endeavour to open an account for you by using an agent under Power of Attorney. Some banks even provide such a service to applicants. Before applying, the lawyer should check the package of documents very carefully. After the documents have been checked and submitted, the bank account should be open in only a day or two.

Required documents:

— passport and passport copy;

— proof of the buyer's legitimate income. This may include tax returns, documentary proof of inheritance, dividends, royalty or rental income (translated into Greek or English);

— letter of employment (translated into Greek or English);

— copy of any utility bill to prove the applicant's actual residence (translated into Greek or English);

— certificate confirming that the investor has a registered telephone number (translated into Greek or English);

— an account or bank statement (translated into Greek or English) issued by the bank from where the buyer will transfer the money for the property purchase; in some instances, it may be required to prove that the investment amount has been sitting in the account for at least a year.

Step 5 – Transfer the property funds

Now the funds to pay for the property and purchase costs must be transferred to the Greek bank account.

Although the buyer can transfer the money to the seller's account directly from a foreign bank account, a Greek bank account will still be needed to pay taxes, management company fees and utilities.

Ekaterina Shabalina Ekaterina Shabalina Tranio lawyer

Step 6 – Sign the SPA

The sales and purchase agreement (SPA) can be signed in person, or via a lawyer acting under Power of Attorney, once the legal Due Diligence of the property is complete, and the money has been transferred from the Greek bank account to the seller's account. It takes approximately 1–1.5 months for the transaction to enter the mortgage registry and for the property to be registered with the land registry office (the mortgage registry document will be needed to apply for a Greek ‘golden visa’).

Step 7 – Apply for a residence permit

Legal assistance is obligatory when applying and collecting the pertinent documents for residency in Greece; the documents must be submitted to the Directorate of Foreign Citizens and Immigration of the Decentralized Administration at the location of the property. If the principal applicant is the registered owner of the property in Greece, then the applicant’s family members do not need to be present.

Required documents for the principal applicant:

— passport copy (notarised, with a notarised Greek translation and apostille);

— two colour photographs (4x6 cm, digital versions accepted);

— receipt confirming that the stamp duty has been paid (this can be done online);

— real estate purchase agreement;

— certificate confirming the filing of the real estate purchase agreement with the mortgage registry;

— insurance policy covering the cost of hospitalisation and medical care in Greece (in Greek).

Required documents for the principal applicant’s family members:

— passport copy of each family member (notarised, with a notarised Greek translation and apostille);

— insurance policy covering the cost of hospitalisation and medical care in Greece (in Greek);

— marriage certificate and birth certificate of any children (notarised, with a notarised Greek translation and apostille);

— two colour photographs of each family member (4x6 cm, digital versions accepted).

Costs:

— transfer tax: 3.09% of the property value;

— registration tax: from 0.475% to 0.775% of the transaction value.

— notary fee: 1.2% of the transaction value.

— legal fee: 1.2% of the transaction value.

— stamp duty: €500.

— legal fees: about €1,000 per principal applicant and €500 per family member.

In total, €17,700 - for a family of three buying property of at least €250,000 in value.

Upon submitting the documents, the applicant will receive a submission receipt, permitting the holder to stay in Greece and fully benefit from European residence for one year.

George Kachmazov George Kachmazov Managing partner at Tranio

Step 8 – Submit fingerprints

When the residence permit is approved, the investor and family members have to return to Greece to submit their fingerprints (not required for children under 5).

Step 9 – Get a residence permit

A few weeks after the fingerprints have been submitted, the residence permit will be ready. Applicants can send their passports to their lawyers, who can then pick it up on their behalf, or applicants can collect the permit in person.

This residence permit does not entitle the applicant to be employed in Greece, but does permit investment activities

How to obtain Greek citizenship

Proficiency in Greek and at least seven years’ residence in Greece are the prerequisites for Greek citizenship. EU citizens must have lived in Greece for three years to qualify for Greek citizenship. A spouse of a Greek national can qualify for Greek citizenship after staying in Greece for three years if they have a child together.

Any person born in Greece also qualifies for Greek citizenship if one of the applicant’s parents is a Greek citizen, or indeed the applicant’s parents are not Greek but have resided in Greece for more than five years.

Property buying guide for Greece
Article 4 of 6
Tranio’s managers offer advice on buying real estate in Greece
Tamara Dosugova
Real Estate Expert Tranio in Greece
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