Guide to the Greece Golden Visa

A Comprehensive Guide to the Greece Golden Visa

The Greek residency-by-investment program, or golden visa, was launched in 2013. It is designed to attract foreign investment and offers non-EU/EEA nationals a five-year residency visa. To qualify, you must invest in Greek real estate, with a minimum threshold of EUR 250,000 or EUR 500,000 (depending on the location).

Greek Residency-by-investment Program History

To boost the country’s economy, especially the real estate sector, the Greek government introduced the residency-by-investment program. Due to its affordable investment threshold and multitude of benefits, the program has gained significant traction among investors worldwide since its inception in 2013.

An Overview of the Investment Threshold and Benefits

For the Greek golden visa, an individual must invest at least EUR 250,000 in Greek real estate (with a minimum investment of EUR 500,000 in 36 municipalities). Moreover, if the investor maintains the visa and property for seven years, he or she becomes eligible to apply for full Greek citizenship. The investment provides not only a residency visa for five years but also a residence visa for their family.

The Benefits of Greece’s Citizenship-by-Investment Program

In addition to boasting a rich tapestry of history and culture, Greece is also the birthplace of many disciplines, such as science, philosophy, and literature. Besides its historical significance, Greece is adorned with breathtaking landscapes, from the azure waters of its Mediterranean islands to the ancient ruins that dot its mainland.

Benefits for Investors on both a Practical and Financial Level

Investing in Greece isn’t just about its history or picturesque beauty. The country offers a plethora of practical and financial advantages to its investors. The Greek economy has flourished since joining the European Union in 1981, positioning itself as a high-income society with a high standard of living.

Position of Greece in the European Union and its Modern Economy

In addition to providing Greece with a variety of trade, investment, and development opportunities, being a member of the EU has significantly benefited its economy. In the modern Greek economy, there are a variety of investment opportunities, especially in the tourism, real estate, and energy sectors.

Greece’s Safety, Education, Healthcare, and Rule of Law

In this regard, Greece excels, offering high safety levels and a secure environment for its residents. A primary concern for investors and expatriates alike is the safety and well-being of their families. In addition, the country has one of the world’s best education systems and the 14th-best healthcare systems, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Furthermore, the robust rule of law ensures investors’ rights and interests are always protected.

Greek Residency-by-Investment Program Speed

For many investors, time is of the essence. Greece’s residency-by-investment program is one of the fastest in the world. Successful applicants can receive their Greek Permanent Resident Cards within 30 days. Additionally, they can obtain full Greek citizenship after living in Greece for seven years.

Tax Incentives and Travel Benefits

A Greek residency visa is a ticket to seamless travel across Europe’s Schengen Zone. With visa-free access to 180 countries, it makes international travel simple. Various groups, including retirees and digital nomads, are eligible for tax incentives in Greece. For potential investors, the fact that one’s international income is often exempt from Greek taxes further sweetens the deal.

Investment Options for Greece Citizenship

Investment Requirements for Real Estate

For an individual to qualify for a Greek residency visa, a minimum of EUR 250,000 must be invested in Greek real estate. The investment not only facilitates a fast-tracked five-year residence permit but also guarantees it will be renewed indefinitely on a rolling basis for five years, provided the property remains.

Residence Permit Duration and Renewal

As long as the real estate investment remains intact, applicants are granted a five-year residency permit. This permit is renewable indefinitely. The property must be maintained throughout the residency period and cannot be sold. Selling the property before the stipulated time may jeopardize the residency status.

Greece’s Employment Conditions

A Greek residency-by-investment program is primarily intended to attract foreign investment. Therefore, the residence permit obtained through this program does not immediately grant you the right to work in Greece. Employment opportunities only become available after you become a Greek citizen.

The Path to full Greek Citizenship and the Requirements Associated with it

The path to becoming a full citizen of Greece follows a specific structure. Once a residency permit has been held for seven consecutive years, individuals are eligible to apply for Greek citizenship. However, by the Greek Nationality Code (Law 3284/2004), certain requirements must be met. This includes showing strong financial and social connections to Greece, demonstrating successful integration into society. Additionally, an examination is conducted to evaluate the applicant’s proficiency in the Greek language and their ability to effectively communicate and integrate within the local community.

Golden Visa – new rules for Greece

As of 23/12/2020, there have been changes to the application process

On 23/12/2020, the Greek government reformed the golden visa application process in response to the evolving needs of global investors. Investors can now apply remotely for the Greek residency program, one of the most notable changes. In other words, applicants or their families no longer have to visit Greece before or during the application process.

No Visitation is required for remote Applications

Investments can now be initiated and completed from anywhere in the world thanks to the modernized application process that emphasizes convenience and efficiency. As a result of this remote application system, international investors are even more interested in the Greek golden visa because it simplifies and reduces travel costs and time.

From Temporary Residency to Permanent Residency and then Citizenship

After obtaining approval for the application, investors can acquire temporary residency in Greece in just four to five months. This status allows visa-free entry into other European Union countries. After holding temporary residency for five years, it transitions to permanent residency. Upon completing a total of seven years of residency (including both temporary and permanent), and meeting all other requirements, investors can apply for full Greek citizenship. Additionally, Greece allows dual citizenship, enabling investors to maintain their original nationality alongside Greek citizenship.

Main Applicant Eligibility Criteria

All main applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the golden visa program:
❖ Applicants must be at least 18 years old.
❖ Citizenship: Only non-EU/EEA citizens may apply.
❖ The applicant must have a clean criminal record.
❖ Everyone included in the application must have Greek medical insurance.
❖ Character assessment: Applicants must possess good moral character, which can be assessed through various methods, including background checks and interviews.

Eligibility Requirements for Citizenship by Investment in Greece

Inclusion Criteria based on Age and Family Size

To qualify for the Greek golden visa program, the main applicant must be at least 18 years old. However, the program is family-friendly, with spouses and dependents up to 21 years old allowed to apply. The program also includes the parents of the main applicant, ensuring that extended families can benefit from the investment.

Requirements for Health Insurance and Visas

As a consequence, all applicants, including the main applicant, spouse, children, and parents, must have health insurance in Greece. It should cover standard medical expenses and emergencies. In addition, a valid visa is required for entry into Greece at the beginning of the application process, which ensures legal entry and stay.

Requirements for Documentation and Translation

To apply for a golden visa, the Greek government requires a specific set of documents to be certified, ensuring their authenticity and validity. All documents must also be translated into Greek. Knightsbridge can assist applicants in navigating this intricate process, ensuring the correct preparation, certification, and translation of all required documents.

Conditions for Investing in Real Estate

The foundation of the golden visa program is based on investing in real estate. If an individual selects this option, they must have full ownership of the property. If the investment involves leasing hospitality accommodations, like hotels or resorts, the lease agreement must cover at least 10 years. Additionally, the rental income over this period should equal or surpass EUR 250,000 (or EUR 500,000 in 36 specific municipalities). Meeting and maintaining these requirements is crucial, particularly when
renewing the residency permit.

A Timeline for applying for Greece Citizenship

❖ Signing a retainer agreement with a trusted Lawyer, is the first step in the application process. In this agreement, the advisor represents the applicant throughout the application, due diligence, and legal processes, ensuring that all steps are carried out correctly.
❖ Open a Greek bank account and obtain a Greek non-resident tax number
❖ An investor must obtain a Greek Non-Resident Tax number before proceeding with the investment. To facilitate investment transactions and other financial activities during the residency, it is necessary to open a Greek bank account. The number is essential for tax-related matters in Greece.

Visit Greece to acquire Property

❖ A visit to Greece is recommended if a candidate chooses to invest in real estate. The chosen property must meet the minimum investment amount of EUR 250,000, excluding applicable taxes.
❖ The amount of the investment should be transferred
❖ The next step is to transfer the investment amount and all associated fees into an approved ESCROW account. This account ensures transparent and secure handling of funds.
❖ Pay the application fee and submit supporting documents
❖ Along with the investment amount, applicants must gather and submit various supporting documents required for the golden visa application, along with an application fee to cover administrative costs.

Verify and Approve

Greek authorities verify the details of the application after all necessary documents and fees are submitted, allowing them to ensure that all criteria are met and that the applicant is eligible for the golden visa.

Greece’s Biometric Capture

Upon receiving preliminary approval, applicants are invited to Greece for biometric capture. The process involves recording specific biometric data, including fingerprints and facial characteristics. The residency visa is issued once this step is completed, marking the successful end of the application.

Documents required for Greece Citizenship by Investment

❖ Form for application
❖ In order to apply for a golden visa, the applicant must complete an official application form, which contains essential information about the applicant, their investment intentions, and other pertinent facts.
❖ Photographs and passport
❖ In addition to a passport copy, applicants must provide recent, passport-size photographs. If an entry visa is required for Greece, this should also be included.
❖ Payment proof for government fees
❖ The Greek government charges specific fees to process the golden visa application. Applicants must provide proof they have paid all applicable fees.
❖ Proof of Greek health insurance
❖ A Greek health insurance policy covering all family members included in the application is a mandatory requirement for the
golden visa program.
❖ A proof of the availability of investment funds
❖ Proof of the applicant’s ability to invest funds is required, such as bank statements, financial guarantees, or other relevant financial documents.
❖ Contract for the purchase of property
❖ In order to adhere to the program’s requirements, real estate investors must have a contract of purchase stating the price of the property and the method of payment.
❖ Documentation from the Land Registry


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