The Golden Visa Program – Greece is the most affordable Residency by Investment program in Europe. With the real estate market having bottomed out (with residential housing prices still 40% below their 2009 peak), the cheap real estate has led to an upsurge in global demand for buying property in Greece by non-eu residents. Add to this is the fact that each non-EU buyer of real estate is granted a Greece Residence Permit. These factors have resulted in the Greece Golden Visa Program becoming the World’s biggest Golden Visa Program (dethroning the US EB-5) in 2018, with more than 12,000 individuals being granted Residence Permits.
Greece Immigration Legislation permits the issue of “Permanent Residence Permits” to third country nationals who invest in Greece real estate. This gives third country nationals the right to reside in Greek territory. Greece Residence Permit is issued for an initial period of 5 years.
Greece Property Investment can be made in any type of property, be it residential, commercial, industrial or agricultural land. The property may be purchased either in one’s personal capacity or through a legal entity owned 100% by the applicant. They are also permitted to lease or rent out the property.
In order to obtain a Greece Residence Permit, applicants must apply for an entry visa in their country of origin & gain at least ONE legal entry into Greece. Upon issuance of the Residence Permit, applicants will no longer require a visa to enter Greece nor will they be required to stay in Greece for any period of time. Absence of the applicants from Greece, during the 5-year validity of the Residence Permit, does not impact the renewal of the Residence Permit.
The following family members are eligible to apply, along with the Main Applicant:
- Unmarried children of both applicant & spouse, under the age of 21
- Dependant parents of both the applicant & spouse
Family members are not obliged to submit their application for initial residence permit simultaneously with the investor. They have the option to submit it subsequently, whenever they enter the country. These family members are issued with a Greece Residence Permit of the same duration as the main applicant, but this permit does not include access to employment. The children of the applicant are issued with a residence permit until the age of 21. After that, it is possible to acquire a renewal, as an independent residence permit holder, until they reach the age of 24. Subsequently, it is then possible to renew it further according to pertinent immigration legislation.
IT MUST BE NOTED THAT GRANT OF GREECE PERMANENT RESIDENCE DOES NOT ESTABLISH THE RIGHT OF ACCESS TO ANY FORM OF EMPLOYMENT IN GREECE TO BOTH THE MAIN APPLICANT & ELIGIBLE FAMILY MEMBERS. HOWEVER, THE APPLICANT CAN ESTABLISH A BUSINESS IN GREECE.
In order to be eligible for renewal, every 5 years, of the Permanent Residency by buying property in Greece, the applicant must continue to be in full ownership of the Greece Property Investment. In the event of sale of property, the applicant must immediately buy another property of same minimum value. If he/she does not do so, right to grant of Greece Residence Permit will then be available only to the third party national who has bought the property.
Qualifying Criteria of Main Applicant :
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- A Non-EU or Non-EEA citizen
- No criminal history
Along with a list of various documents, applicants & eligible family members are also required to submit the following :
- A Certificate of Insurance covering costs of hospitalisation & medical care
Due Diligence processes are less strict compared to other countries.
ALL APPLICATION FOR GREECE RESIDENCE PERMIT MUST BE SUBMITTED IN GREEK.
Greece Residence Permit through investment is normally issued within 2 months from the date of submission of all documents to the issuing authority.
A Greece Residence Permit issued by the government provides visa-free access to the whole of the European Union (EU) & the Schengen Area.
Holders of Greece Resident Permits can apply for Greece Citizenship, subject to certain Residency requirements being met by the Main Applicant & eligible family members, and a language test.