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April 1, 2024
7 min

Greece Golden Visa by Real Estate Investment: Key Insights

Kenley Henderson

The Greece Golden Visa by Real Estate Investment has become an increasingly popular option for wealthy individuals seeking to secure residency in Europe. This comprehensive guide delves into the various aspects of this program, providing insights on its key features and benefits.

Throughout this post, we will explore different investment options available under the Greek Residence by Investment Program, including real estate investments with increased thresholds and alternative opportunities beyond property acquisition. We will also discuss eligibility criteria and application processes for potential investors.

Moreover, our analysis covers renewal procedures, pathways to citizenship, tax incentives for non-resident Golden Visa holders, as well as the impact of Brexit on British citizens interested in the Greece Golden Visa by Real Estate Investment.

Greece Golden Visa by Real Estate Investment: Key Insights

Greece Golden Visa by Real Estate Investment: Key Insights

Greece Golden Visa Program Overview

The Residence by Investment Program, launched in 2013, allows non-EU citizens to acquire residency permits by investing in Greek real estate or other investment options. This program has gained popularity among affluent individuals who desire visa-free travel within the Schengen Area of Europe and access to benefits like healthcare facilities, educational opportunities, and tax advantages.

Key features of the Greece Residency Program:

  1. The program grants successful applicants a five-year renewable residency permit that allows them to live in Greece and enjoy visa-free travel across the 27 EU nations.

  2. Investors are not required to reside permanently in Greece during their permit period; they only need to visit once every year.

  3. Applicants can include their spouse, unmarried children under 21 years old and parents of both applicant and spouse.

  4. Non-resident investors may benefit from certain tax exemptions on income generated outside Greece while enjoying some tax breaks associated with owning immovable property within the country.

It is essential to be aware that, during the application process, applicants must visit Greece at least once in order to supply biometric data for their residence permit card. This allows them to provide biometric data required for their residence permit card issuance. Overall, obtaining a Greece Investor Visa can be a straightforward process if you meet eligibility criteria and follow proper procedures with professional assistance from local experts.

To get a greece residency by investment, the applicant meets certain requirements:

  • they must be under 18 years old;

  • have a clean criminal record from their home country and Greece;

  • have medical insurance coverage while residing in Greece which can be obtained through private health insurance or by joining the Greek National Health System (IKA);

  • have sufficient funds to cover living expenses, investment costs, and any associated fees. Proof of funds may also be requested during the application process.

Benefits Offered through Residency-by-Investment Program

Visa-free travelling to the Schengen Area. Individuals with Greece residency are allowed to travel to other Schengen countries without the need for a visa. They can stay for a maximum of 90 days within a period of 180 days.

Preparing a plan B. Investors and their families with a Golden Visa are allowed to enter Greece anytime, even when the country’s borders are closed. You are welcome to have vacations in Greece for as long as you need.

Relocation to Europe. While it is not mandatory, Golden Visa holders can choose to move to Greece. Living in Greece offers several benefits such as amiable locals, a laid-back lifestyle and pleasant climate. Additionally, the country has a low crime rate making it safe for residents. The major cities have an excellent public healthcare system that is highly regarded by many.

Tax optimization. New Greek residents can use one of the preferential tax regimes instead of paying income tax according to the progressive scale of up to 45%. High net worth individuals have the choice to pay a flat tax of €100,000 annually on their global income. Retirees are liable for a 7% tax rate on their earnings. Non-Greek citizens who work or run businesses in Greece can enjoy a tax exemption of 50% on their income.

Registering a business in Greece allows one to work with European customers without any intermediaries or the requirement to pay commissions to partners for trades.

Educational opportunities. Individuals holding permits are eligible to utilise Greece’s education facilities, which encompass both public schools and universities.

Healthcare services. Golden Visa holders are eligible for Greece’s national healthcare system, ensuring access to quality medical care at affordable rates.

Potential for EU citizenship. After seven years of continuous residency in Greece, permit holders may be eligible to apply for Greek citizenship under certain conditions. Upon obtaining Greek citizenship after seven years of continuous residency, permit holders will gain the full rights and privileges of being an EU citizen, including free movement within the union.

Profitable investments. Greek real estate can also prove profitable due to its growing tourism industry and recovering property market. Villas on islands like Mykonos or Santorini, as well as commercial buildings in major cities such as Athens and Thessaloniki, are among the many investment prospects Greece has to offer. To learn more about available options and how you can benefit from this program, consult with a reputable Greek Golden Visa consultant.

The Greece Golden Visa program offers a great opportunity for wealthy individuals to obtain residency in the country, and with its attractive benefits it is certainly worth considering.

Comparison of Ordinary Residence Permits and Golden Visas

Criteria

Ordinary residence permits

Greece Golden Visas

Status validity

Initial: 1 or 2 years

Renewed: up to 3 years

5 years

Mandatory residing in Greece

183 days a year

Not required

Which family members can join the applicant

A spouse and children under 18

A spouse, unmarried children under 21, parents of the main applicant and their spouse

Real Estate Investment Options for Greek Golden Visa

Starting August 1st, 2023, the minimum value of property required for obtaining a Greece residency by investment will increase from €250,000 to €500,000. The modifications will impact 36 municipalities in Greater Athens, Greater Thessaloniki, Mykonos, and Santorini.

To obtain a Greece Investor Visa, an investor can presently acquire a property for €250,000 in any region of the country. This is one of the most affordable investment thresholds among Europe’s well-known residency-by-investment programs.

The minimum investment amount of €250,000 applies to 5 options:

  1. Real estate purchase. The investor can buy both residential and commercial properties in any area of Greece. It’s allowed to rent the real estate out.

  2. Rent of property for 10 years. The investor can rent a hotel or a tourist residence, making a one-time payment before getting a residence permit.

  3. Purchase of a plot of land. The investor can buy land to build a house or a farm. The investment includes the building contractors’ services and the site’s overall cost.

  4. Timeshare for 10 years. The investor can sign an agreement that gives the right to use the property for specific periods, for example, from July 1st to 31st every year for 10 years.

  5. Inheriting real estate or getting it as a gift. The inheritor must pass Due Diligence and submit the documents required in the residence permit application.

To take part in the Greece Golden Visa Program, applicants must bear extra costs such as an application fee of €2,000 for the primary applicant and €150 for each adult dependent. Buyers are also required to pay a real estate transfer tax equivalent to 3,09% of the property’s value upon purchase.

Greece residency by investment in real estate

The most popular investment option under the Greece Residency Program is purchasing residential real estate

Alternative Investment Options Beyond Property Acquisition

Apart from real estate investments, applicants have several other choices when it comes to securing their Greek residency:

  1. Invest at least €400,000 into companies based in Greece. This option allows investors to support local businesses while gaining access to European markets.

  2. Make capital contributions towards closed-end investment funds focused on Greek assets with a minimum amount of €400,000. These funds typically invest in sectors like tourism, infrastructure development, or renewable energy projects within Greece.

  3. Investing in government bonds with a maturity period of at least three years and worth €400,000 or more is a secure option that guarantees consistent returns over an extended period.

  4. Acquire shares or corporate bonds issued by Greek companies amounting to €800,000. This option offers the potential for higher returns and diversification within the investor’s portfolio.

Investors are free to create a portfolio consisting of stocks and corporate or government bonds traded on Greek stock exchanges. The bonds can have any maturity period, and the maximum investment limit is €800,000.

Application Process of Greece Residency Program

1

1 day

The preliminary Due Diligence check

This check allows for spotting possible issues and shows the risks of a residence application denial.

2

2 months+

Real estate purchase

Our experts assist investors in locating a property that meets their requirements. A lawyer represents the investor’s interests in Greece, ensuring that all necessary documentation is obtained and translated into an official language. The buyer receives a comprehensive set of documents for the property, along with certified translations.

3

2 months+

Preparation of necessary documents

The investor and their family members have forms with personal data filled out and all required documents collected, translated into Greek and notarised.

4

Application fee payment

The investor pays application filling and processing costs, including document translation, lawyers and notaries services, and state fees for examining an application.

5

1—2 months

Submission of the application

To apply for the Greek Golden Visa, the investor or their representative must personally submit the required documents to a dedicated department of the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum. Once submitted, an initial certificate is issued which permits the investor to reside in Greece for one year.

6

Biometric data submission

Fingerprints are taken on the application day. If the investor was not in Greece and the lawyer submitted the documents, the fingerprinting is scheduled for another day.

7

Getting a residence permit card

After the application is processed within 1—2 months, the investor receives a residence permit card.

8

Every 5 years

Renewal of the Golden Visa

The Greece residence permit card must be renewed every five years, with the application submitted within two months before the expiration date.

The renewal process is relatively straightforward, requiring investors to demonstrate that they still own the qualifying property or investment and have maintained their medical insurance coverage while residing in Greece. It’s essential to start preparing for renewal several months before your permit expires to ensure a smooth transition and avoid any potential issues with immigration authorities.

Pathway to Citizenship

This section will discuss the requirements for eventually becoming a citizen of Greece. Once the following requirements are met, investors can apply for Greek citizenship through the Ministry of Interior. It is essential to be aware that securing citizenship may not be certain and can depend on several components, including one’s personal circumstances and government decision.

Requirements for obtaining Greek citizenship:

  1. Continuous Residence. To be eligible for permanent residency status, an investor must live in Greece continuously for at least seven years. Temporary absences from the country should not exceed ten months within this period.

  2. Greek Language Proficiency. Applicants seeking citizenship are required to demonstrate knowledge of the Greek language by passing an examination administered by certified institutions such as The Center for Hellenic Language Certification (KPG).

  3. Cultural Integration Test. In addition to language proficiency, applicants must pass a cultural integration test that assesses their understanding of Greek history, culture, and society.

  4. Clean Criminal Record. Candidates for citizenship must have a clean criminal record in both Greece and their country of origin. Participating in illegal activities or being involved in money laundering can result in disqualification from the program.

Greece investor visa by real estate investment

Foreigners with Greece passport travel to 186 countries without visas. Among them are the Schengen Area, the USA, the UK, Canada, Japan, and many others.

Impact of Brexit on British Citizens

With the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31st, 2023, British citizens can now apply directly for a Greek Golden Visa as they seek EU residency rights. This makes the Greek Golden Visa a more desirable choice for those seeking to acquire lasting residency in the Schengen Area of Europe.

Before Brexit, citizens of the UK had complete freedom to move and reside in any member state of the European Union without any restrictions. However, after leaving the EU, this benefit has been taken away.

Consequently, many British individuals are looking into alternative ways to maintain their ties with Europe and secure visa-free travel across its borders. The Greek Golden Visa program offers such an opportunity by granting non-EU nationals residence permits through investment in Greece.

The demand for Greek Golden Visas among UK nationals has surged following Brexit due to several factors:

  1. Ease of Application. The process is relatively straightforward compared to other residency-by-investment programs in Europe.

  2. Affordability. Despite recent changes increasing minimum property investments from €250k to €500k starting August 2023, Greece remains one of the most affordable options when compared with similar schemes offered by countries like Spain or Portugal.

  3. Visa-Free Travel. A Greek Golden Visa allows its holder to enjoy visa-free travel within the Schengen Area, which includes 27 EU nations.

  4. Lifestyle Benefits. Greece offers a high quality of life with access to excellent healthcare services, education opportunities, and stunning natural beauty.

Due to the rising number of British citizens interested in visiting Greece, the Greek government has made efforts to make the application process easier for them. This includes implementing an online platform called e-Visa Greece which simplifies communication and document submission between applicants and authorities.

Brexit has had a noteworthy effect on the capability of British people to live and work easily in Europe. However, by investing in the Greek Golden Visa program, British citizens can regain some of these lost privileges while enjoying numerous additional benefits associated with residence in Greece.

The impact of Brexit on British citizens has been profound, and it is clear that many are now turning to Greece’s Golden Visa program as an alternative form of residency.

Conclusion

The Greece Golden Visa program offers wealthy individuals a pathway to residency and potential citizenship through real estate investment or other alternative options. The program provides various benefits such as visa-free travel within Europe’s Schengen Area and tax incentives for non-resident holders.

High net worth individuals can opt to pay a flat tax of €100,000 annually on their worldwide income. Retirees have the choice to pay 7% tax on their earnings. Foreigners who work or operate a business in Greece may qualify for exemption from paying taxes on 50% of their income.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Much Do you Have to Invest in Greece to Get a Golden Visa?

    To obtain a Greek Golden Visa, you must invest at least €250,000 in real estate. This investment can be made through purchasing one or multiple properties as long as the total value meets the minimum threshold. Alternatively, there are other investment options such as investing €400,000 in government bonds or shares of Greek companies.

  • Can I Get Residency in Greece if I Buy Property?

    Yes, by purchasing property worth at least €250,000 in Greece and fulfilling other eligibility criteria like having a clean criminal record and health insurance coverage for all family members included on the application, you can qualify for residency under the Greek Golden Visa program.

  • What Are the Disadvantages of Greece Golden Visa?

    The main disadvantages of the Greek Golden Visa include high transaction costs associated with property purchases, such as taxes and legal fees, potential risks related to real estate investments, limited access to social benefits compared to EU citizens residing in Greece and no automatic right to work within the country.

  • Where Should I Buy Property in Greece for a Golden Visa?

    You may consider buying properties located near popular tourist destinations like Athens or Thessaloniki due to their higher rental yields. Other attractive areas include Crete island and coastal regions such as Halkidiki Peninsula that offer beautiful landscapes combined with good infrastructure facilities.

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