Date 11 January 2019
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The “Golden Visa” in Greece and the procedure for its issuance

 Among the EU countries that offer the so-called “Golden Visa programs”, Greece provides the cheapest residence permit for real-estate owners.  This residence permit grants the right to live and engage in business activities throughout EU to the beneficiary. Beneficiaries of the latter are third country citizens who have full ownership of real estate property in Greece, provided the minimum value of the property is €250.000€ or have signed either a lease agreement of at least 10 years, for hotel accommodations or a timeshare lease (subject to specific provisions), provided the minimum cost of the lease in both cases is €250.000€.

What is of particular importance, is that this relatively low threshold can be reached by the purchase of one or several properties, that sum up to the total of 250.000€.  Even more appealing, compared to other countries, is the fact that the owner has the right to rent the property, even from the first day of purchasing, and that there is no obligation for the owner, to actually reside in Greece for a certain period of time. The residence permit is granted for 5 years and upon its expiration, there is the option of renewal for another 5 years, provided that the investor still owns that property. It is not necessary that the investor owns the property as a natural person, but it is possible to own the property through a Greek company, in which he/she is the sole shareholder.

It is to be highlighted that the kind of property (plot or flat, residential or commercial etc.) Is irrelevant to the permit, as long as it is of a 250.000€ value or more. In cases of co-ownership, the right of residence is granted, only if the ownership percentage of each co-owner equals to (at least) 250.000€ value. For example, if two friends buy together an apartment of 500.000€ value, each one of them must own 50% which equals to 250.000€. An exception applies in the co-ownership between spouses. In that case, the right of residence is granted to both the husband and the wife, that hold an undivided ownership percentage.

For purposes of clarity, the procedure of issuance of the Golden Visa is divided in three stages, as follows:

Stage A:

First of all, the potential investor has to prove that holds the total amount of 250.000€ (or the equivalent amount of money in a different currency), by providing the relevant documents from a trustworthy foreign bank.  The latter, alongside with a letter by a law firm in Greece, stating that the investor has indeed contacted the lawyers for the purpose of investing, are sufficient for the granting of a temporary entry permit (visa). This permit lasts for one year and enables the future investor to search for properties in Greece and enter all EU countries, as well. Following this preliminary stage, the actual procedure begins.

Stage B:

In case of entering the country (even once), the potential investor has to sign an authorization to a lawyer, to arrange and facilitate the transaction of the chosen property or the one that will be chosen in the future. With this authorization, the authorized lawyer is, also, able to issue a Greek tax number for the investor. Apart from that, the investor must be examined in a recognized medical institution, for the lack of existence of any transmittable disease or any other disease that could pose a threat to the public health. Additionally, an insurance contract concluded with a national insurance company, stating that all expenses in case any kind of medical treatment is provided by the national healthcare system, is required. In most cases, a sole visit of the investor in Greece is sufficient for the completion of the above.

At the same time, the signing of the contract, which is, already, being taken care of by the appointed lawyer, can take place.  At this point, the amount of money is paid either through a) a bank transfer from any bank account the investors owns, regardless of the country in which the account is being held, to the seller’s bank account in a Greek bank or b) a bank check (which, essentially, means that the investor can deposit the amount of money required in a Greek bank account, most probably in the account that he/she is entitled to open in  Greece, and then request the issue of the check).

            The sale contract (and the relevant documents that prove that it is lawfully registered in the competent authority), the medical certificate, photos of the investor and the insurance contract will be required to complete the procedure. The procedure described will be carried out in its entirety by experienced associates of our law firm and, thus, the continuous presence of the investor in Greece will not be required at any stage of the procedure.

Most importantly, along with the owner of the property and beneficiary of the Golden Visa, the members of his /her family can, also, apply for a residence permit, that is subsequent to the permit of the owner of the property. Specifically, the members of family that are entitled to file for permit are:

  • Spouses
  • Children of the spouses, or children of the one of the spouses, that are under 21 years old.
  • Parents and parents-in law.

As for the children under 21 there is an ability to obtain the Golden Visa simultaneously with their parents and when the children reach the age of 21, they can file for an independent 3-year residence permit, which can also be renewed each 3 years. By obtaining a residence permit, the investor and the above family members have access to healthcare system and to public education, equally to Greeks. With the temporary visa and then the residence permit, the beneficiaries can, also, travel freely across the Schengen zone. This residence permit, though, does not give the access to employment.

Stage C:

            Upon the expiry of the golden visa, after a 5-year period, and provided that the property is still owned by the beneficiary, a renewal of the golden visa for another 5 years is granted. After the completion of the renewal period, there is the possibility for the beneficiary to file for a Greek passport and/or for a residence permit without time limitations.

Thanos Charistos


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