Golden visa in Greece

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Why the Greek residency programme?

The cheapest golden visa
in Europe
Citizenship after 7 years
of residency
Visa free travel to all
Schengen area
No need to stay in Greece
to maintain the residency right
Subject to renewal
every 5 years
Issued to all family members:
spouse, children and parents*

*Children under 21 and parents of both applicant and spouse can apply for residence

How to quickly get a Greek residence permit: Golden Visa for investment

Under the Golden Visa programme in Greece, foreign nationals may obtain a Greek residence permit by investing in national real estate. The residence permit offers its holders many benefits: the ability to visit Greece even during travel restrictions and to travel across countries without a visa, indefinite residence in Greece and the right to obtain European citizenship in the future

The Greek Golden Visa offers one of the most favourable terms to foreign investors among similar European programmes. Most importantly, it requires a smaller amount of investment than other European programmes.

Sweet home
Greece has a pleasant climate: warm season lasts from May to October, and winter temperatures rarely drop below +10°C (photo: Dimitris Kiriakakis / unsplash.com)

In order to obtain a residence permit under favourable conditions, investors can invest in the Greek economy, buy real estate or take out a long-term lease. It is easier and more profitable to buy real estate, as the investment amount is only €250,000, while the minimum threshold for investments in the economy is €400,000.

The residence for investment programme is most popular among Chinese, Russian and Turkish citizens. Thus, according to the Greek government, since 2014, 8,692 investors have received an investment residence permit, amounting to 26,123 people, if we include their family members.

The number of people from the top 5 countries who obtained residence permits for investments, as of 01.06.2021. Source: Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum.
Country Number of investors, who obtained a residence permit for investing Number of investors and members of their families, who obtained a residence permit for investing
China 6,190 18,905
Turkey 541 1,477
Russia 474 1,278
Lebanon 226 715
Egypt 199 489

Why is the Greek Golden Visa most advantageous?

Similar programmes are offered by various European countries, like Spain, Portugal, Latvia or Malta, but the conditions there are more stringent. Somewhere, the minimum investment threshold is noticeably higher, and somewhere it is much more expensive per square metre. We believe that the European residence permit is more profitable to obtain in Greece for the following reasons:

A small amount of investment

To participate in a programme, you have to buy a property for €250,000, which is the smallest amount among the European countries. For example, the minimum amount required in Spain is €500,000, and in Malta, it is €330,000. In Greece, however, you can purchase several houses, flats or commercial properties for this sum.

Affordable property

Greece boasts relatively low prices on European property. While property in Athens is priced at around €1,700/m², prices in Madrid start at €3,000/m² and in Malta Valletta at €5,000/m² (according to Numbeo).

Min cost chart
Comparison of property prices in European countries with Golden Visa programmes, (according to Numbeo as of 01.09.21)

Remote purchase of property

Due to the pandemic, Greece has simplified the conditions for participation: it is now possible to buy a property and apply for a residence permit online, without having to visit the country. The country only requires a visit for fingerprinting, which the investor can perform within one year from the date of purchase. It takes an average of 3–6 months to obtain a residence permit.

Investments generate income

Greece is a tourist country, so an investor cangenerate income from investments by renting out properties. On average, real estate in Athens provides about 4.5% rental yield per annum, and in Corfu, the yield is 4–5% (according to Numbeo). In order to officially receive income from the property and to pay the  maintenance bills, the investor will need to open a Greek bank account.

Residence permits for the whole family

Greece allows to obtain a residence permit not only for the investor but also for their immediate family members:

  • a spouse or partner with whom a partnership agreement has been concluded in Greece;
  • children under the age of 21 from a common marriage, as well as children under the age of 21 from another marriage, if they are in the custody;
  • parents of both spouses.

Residence permit with the possibility of obtaining citizenship

The investor maintains the residence permit throughout their life, provided that they do not sell the property. After 7 years, one can apply for Greek citizenship. In comparison, in Spain and Italy, citizenship can be obtained only in 10 years.

No need to stay in Greece permanently

In order to keep the residence permit, the investor does not have to come to Greece for years, in contrast to Spain or Portugal, where the investor is required to stay in the country every year for at least a week.

Coastal town view from cliff
Greek landmark: the picturesque shores of the three seas surrounding the country (photo: Gaetano Cessati / unsplash.com)

No restrictions on the type of property

As an investment, you can purchase a property in Greece in a tourist centre as well as on the outer islands. It also does not matter whether the property is new, under construction or in need of reconstruction.

The benefit of the programme is evident in comparison with Portugal: there, investments in new housing are available from €500,000, and in renovation housing from €280,000. In addition, the most popular cities in the country, Porto and Lisbon, will be excluded from the programme in 2022.

No extra taxes to pay

Greece has a double taxation treaty with several countries, such as the UK, the US and Russia. Thanks to the treaty, foreigners pay taxes on Greek property only in Greece. Another important condition is that a Greek residence permit does not make an investor a tax resident if they live in the country for less than 183 days per year.

What you can buy with €250,000 in Greece

We have already noted that the average price per square metre in Greece is €1,500, but this is an average figure. Many factors influence the price: location, condition of the house, furniture, proximity to the sea and so on.

Our experience shows that for €250,000 in Greece you can buy a single villa, townhouse or luxury apartment in the centre, as well as three small apartments in Athens, under repair.

In addition, it is worth bearing in mind that €250,000 is the minimum value of the property objects excluding taxes; so you should add to this price the cost of a notary, a lawyer, VAT and real estate purchase tax.

Given that under the Greek program you can invest in several residential or commercial buildings at once, we have selected examples of properties of different prices.

Property selection in Athens for residence permit
Property selection in Chalkidiki (Halkidiki) for residence permit

In our real estate catalog 300 offers in Greece

View all

Types of Investments

There are several ways to invest in the Greek economy for the purpose of acquiring the residence permit, besides purchasing private property.

1. In case you do choose the latter, you will only have to make sure that:

  • The real estate you buy is not located near the country's national borders or military bases.
  • All the property in your possession (in case you purchase more than one unit) has a total value of at least € 250,000.

2. In addition, you may decide to invest in government bonds, real estate shares or co-proprietorship of any enterprise registered in the country, in which case it will have to be at least € 400,000.

3. In case you decide to invest in corporate bonds, the minimum amount will be € 800,000.

4. As a variation on the theme, you can simply deposit € 400,000 to your account in a Greek bank, and it will do the job just as well.

5. In case you purchase a private property to get a Golden Visa but do not intend to stay in the country, you can let it out to some hotel or tourist agency and state your lease expenses as your investments in the national tourist industry. Keep in mind, though, the rental agreement will have to be signed for at least ten years in this case.

Note: in the case of government bonds, rental agreements and similar arrangements, you will most likely be subject to paying capital gains tax, which you can read more about in the corresponding section of our article.

Application Requirements

To begin with, you must meet the following conditions:

  1. You must be at least 18 years old.
  2. Your medical insurance must operate in Greece and cover at least € 30,000.
  3. You must have a Greek bank account, a Greek tax number and, for some strange reason, a Greek SIM-card too.
  4. Your police record must be clean in Greece, your home country and any other state where you have a residence permit or citizenship.

If you satisfy all four conditions and have made necessary investments, you will need to collect all necessary documents, the list of which you will find in the relevant section of our article, have them translated into Greek and certified by a notary, and, ideally, get an apostille for all of them as well.

How to obtain a residence permit in Greece: step-by-step instructions

In brief, the process of obtaining an investor visa to Greece is as follows:

  1. Defining the criteria and selecting the facilities.
  2. Preparing the package of documents for the purchase.
  3. Inspecting the properties and drawing up a preliminary agreement.
  4. Paying for the property and registering the transaction with the cadastre.
  5. Preparing the documents for the residence permit and submitting the application.
  6. Getting your fingerprints.
  7. Obtaining a residence permit.

As an international real estate broker, we have completed numerous sales transactions and assisted with residence permits in Greece, so we will detail each step.

1. Defining the criteria and selecting the facilities

Our managers know Greece well and can recommend tourist areas of the country where a stable rental income can be generated. In addition, we can find bargain properties and take care of the complete refurbishment and furniture purchase. Or alternatively, we can find an exclusive villa in a prime location 50 metres from a sandy beach.

Once an investor has selected several properties from our list, they can meet the Tranio manager in Greece for the viewing. If there is no possibility to come to the country, we organise online viewings of the properties.

2. Preparing the package of documents

When the investor makes up his/her mind and decides to purchase, we involve a lawyer and gather the documents. We usually recommend that you gather the documents to open an account in a Greek bank. From this account, utilities are paid and the rent is also paid there.

The list of documents includes:

  • passport,
  • a certificate of legal income and telephone number ownership,
  • a bank account statement,
  • tax residency certificate,
  • the utility bills, which prove the investor's place of residence.

All documents can be in Russian, our lawyers will handle translation into English and Greek.

3. Inspecting the properties and drawing up a preliminary agreement

Before processing the transaction, the lawyer checks the property's documents to make sure there are no irregularities or debts. If all is well, he draws up the documents for the preliminary sales and the purchase agreement, under which the investor makes a 10% prepayment. Then the notary draws up the main contract of sale in 2–4 weeks.

4. Paying for the property and registering the transaction with the cadastre

After signing the contract and paying for the purchase, the transaction and the property are registered with the cadastral office within three weeks. These documents are required in order to obtain a residence permit.

5. Preparing the documents for a residence permit and submitting the application

Next, together with a lawyer, we gather the documents for the residence permit:

  • copies of all pages of the passport,
  • a birth certificate,
  • photographs of the investor,
  • receipts for payment of the state fee and processing fee,
  • Greek insurance policy,
  • the real estate purchase agreement,
  • a certificate from the cadastral office.

For the family members that the investor plans to enrol in the residence permit, copies of the pages of their passports, insurance policies and photos of each member, as well as birth and marriage certificates are also required.

6. Fingerprinting

Within 6 months, the investor and family members visit Greece in person to have their fingerprints taken. In the event of flight problems during the pandemic, the Greek government allows an extension of the deadline for submission. Children under the age of five are allowed not to get fingerprinting.

7. Obtaining a residence permit

In a few weeks, the immigration office issues a residence permit, which can be obtained by the investor himself or through a lawyer by handing him the passports. At this stage, we either part our ways with the investor or continue our communication for the purpose of renting out the property. Our managers can take care of the whole process: placing advertisements, finding tenants, drawing up long-term lease documents, following up on utility bills and so on.

Greece city view
Greece is not just picturesque beaches, but also large cities with developed infrastructure (photo: Julia Solonina / unsplash.com)

Visa Duration and Renewal

Golden Visa has no validity period, which is why it is commonly known as a residence permit. The only condition for holding it is that you continue to own the property that was the basis for obtaining the visa. Furthermore, your immediate family can legally stay in the country, travel around the European Union and have free access to all the public services, such as polyclinics and schools, that a residence permit entitles one to, even in your absence.

Nevertheless, you will still have to renew the visa every five years, and to do that, you will need to prepare the basic package of documents that you had to submit when you applied for it. Strictly speaking, you do not even have to be in the country at the time since you can submit the papers by mail or, even better, ask your lawyer or some online legal agency to do the job for you.

Still, the experience shows that doing it in person works a lot better and quicker. Whichever way you decide to do it, though, your renewal application package must be submitted to the Department of Immigration in Greece or, in case you are abroad, to the nearest Greek Consulate.

Applying for Greek Citizenship

Technically, there is no such category as citizenship by investment. You merely obtain permanent residence status if you purchase private property or invest in the country's economy in some other way. Next, you can apply for citizenship as a resident, provided you satisfy the following conditions:

  1. You have had your residence permit for at least seven years.
  2. You have been a tax resident during these seven years. In other words, you have to be physically present in the country for at least 183 days per year for the entire period.
  3. The Greek citizenship test is another requirement, and the pass mark for the purpose of citizenship application is 80%.

When you have met the above conditions, you will need to attach the following documents to your application form:

  • a passport,
  • a residence permit, e.g. Golden Visa,
  • a Greek tax number,
  • a bank statement (for a local account),
  • a police clearance,
  • a receipt for the €700 application fee.

Depending on your circumstances, you may have to wait one to four years for approval.

Taxes in Greece

There are several taxes you will have to pay once you receive a Golden Visa:

1. Variable real estate tax depending on the property value, which breaks down as follows:

  • 0.1% for up to €200,000
  • 0.15 for up to €300,000
  • 0.25% for up to €400,000
  • 0.35% for up to €500,000
  • 1.1% for up to €2 million
  • 1.15% for more than €2 million

2. Progressive income tax, depending on your monthly salary:

  • 18% for over €12,000
  • 24% for over €16,000
  • 26% for over €22,000
  • 32% for over €26,000
  • 36% for over €32,000
  • 38% for over €40,000
  • 40% for over €60,000
  • 45% for over €100,000

3. If you stay in the country longer than six months per year, you will also have to pay tax on your foreign income, which is the same as the one above.

4. Capital gains tax:

  • 5% for dividends and bonds
  • 15% for interests
  • 15-45% for property lease

Note: you should check whether Greece has a double taxation treaty with your country, and in case it does, which of the two states claims income tax and capital gains tax, according to the agreement.

The most important things in a nutshell

  • The Greek programme is better value for money due to the amount of investment and inexpensive real estate: a square metre here is cheaper than in countries in Europe with similar programmes.
  • You can select and purchase properties, prepare documents and apply for a residence permit remotely.
  • The residence permit is valid for the entire period of ownership of the property and you do not need to live in Greece at all.
  • The Greek government does not require special documents to obtain a residence permit, the standard package is sufficient: passport, health insurance, payment of fees, proof of residence and income and contract of ownership of property in Greece.

Residence-Greece will help you to get a residence permit in Greece via a property purchase. We will assist you in choosing a property, registering the transaction and collecting documents to obtain Greek residency.

FAQ about Golden Visa program in Greece

How long do I have to reside in the country to renew my permanent residence permit?
If you hold a Golden Visa, you will not be required to stay in Greece at all. Your residence permit will be valid for as long as you remain the owner of the property.
How can I get a Greek permanent residence permit by investment?
All you need to do is buy a private property for €250,000, open a Greek bank account, apply for the permit, and you will get it in a couple of months.
Can my family come and live with me in Greece?
Yes, they can. And they can even stay there and enjoy all the privileges of permanent residents in your absence.
Will I have to take a Greek language test for this purpose?
No, you will not, unless you decide to apply for citizenship, which you will only be able to do in seven years time.
Will I have to pay taxes in Greece?
Yes, you will have to pay property tax from 0.1 to 1.5%, income tax from 18 to 45% if you earn more than €12,000 per month, and the equivalent tax on your foreign income in case you stay in the country more than 183 days per year.
Will I have to stay in the country?
No, you will not. And if you stay there less than six months per year, you will not be considered a tax resident either.
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