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*Children under 21 and parents of both applicant and spouse can apply for residence
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.
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.
|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|
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:
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.
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).
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.
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.
Greece allows to obtain a residence permit not only for the investor but also for their immediate family members:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Overall area: 75 m²Constructed in 2012
Overall area: 178 m²Constructed in 1970
Overall area: 1,600 m²Constructed in 2009
Profitability: 6.9%Gross operating income: 103,200 €
Overall area: 83 m²Constructed in 1977
Overall area: 46 m²1 storey
Overall area: 22 m²1 storey
Overall area: 928 m²Plot: 1,350 m²
Overall area: 400 m²Plot: 2,200 m²
Overall area: 750 m²Plot: 327 m²
Overall area: 1,150 m²Plot: 400 m²
Overall area: 700 m²Plot: 1,100 m²
Plot: 4,400 m²Car parks
Plot: 6,060 m²Balcony or terrace
Plot: 14 m²
In our real estate catalog 300 offers in GreeceView all
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:
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.
To begin with, you must meet the following conditions:
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.
In brief, the process of obtaining an investor visa to Greece is as follows:
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.
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.
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:
All documents can be in Russian, our lawyers will handle translation into English and Greek.
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.
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.
Next, together with a lawyer, we gather the documents for the residence permit:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
When you have met the above conditions, you will need to attach the following documents to your application form:
Depending on your circumstances, you may have to wait one to four years for approval.
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:
2. Progressive income tax, depending on your monthly salary:
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:
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.
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.