Invest in Greece and Become an EU Citizen

Since 2013, the Golden Visa program in Greece offers Greece citizenship by investment. The principal advantage of this method is that the applicant does not need to live in Greece. Meanwhile, investors can travel worldwide and open accounts in European banks.

  • Minimum investment: €250,000

  • Period: 7 years

  • Conditions: acquisition of real property

For the first 5 years, the investor holds a residency permit. In this period he does not have to live in Greece all the time. After 5 years, the government grants him a permanent residency permit, valid for 2 years. At this stage, he must live in the country for a certain number of days. Following that, he can apply for citizenship and get a Greek passport. He can also sell the purchased property and reclaim the money.

Why Invest in Greece for Citizenship

Businessmen and investors assist the economic development of the country under investment programs. In its turn, the state provides them with all residency benefits. Greece boasts amazing Mediterranean landscapes, a warm climate and abundant opportunities for economic growth. The Greek government stimulates investments in tourism, hospitality, the digital sphere, farming, and construction.

Advantages of Obtaining Greek Citizenship

Visa-free travel. A Greek passport is a gateway to 184 countries. They include the UK and the member countries of the European Union and the Schengen zone.

Civil Security. Greek citizens receive a lot of social guarantees and enjoy a high level of security.

Exceptional Education. Greek citizenship paves the way to top European universities.

Family Program. Not only does the investor himself receive a residency permit, but so do all his family members:

  • children under 18;

  • spouses or civil partners who are financially dependent on the investor;

  • parents of both spouses.

Healthcare. Greek citizenship means access to the best healthcare facilities in Europe.

Assets Protection. With a Greek passport, it is possible to open accounts in reliable European and Swiss banks.

Business Growth. Greek citizens enjoy low corporate tax rates.

EU Residence. A Greek citizen does not need to live in his home country all the time. Like any European, he can stay anywhere in the EU for up to 90 days.

Transfer of Citizenship by Inheritance. All children of the Greek resident inherit citizenship.

How to Apply for Greek Citizenship by Investment

Below we describe the process of applying for citizenship by investment.

Due Diligence Check

Several reputable agencies in Greece assist foreign investors in applying for citizenship. The first stage of a process is ensuring that the person satisfies the basic criteria. A successful applicant must:

  • be over 18 years of age;

  • have no criminal record;

  • have official income.

The due diligence check is confidential and takes 1 business day. Its purpose is to identify possible risks of rejection and to find a solution to any issues.

Evaluating Investment Options

Greece boasts the lowest investment level of any similar scheme in Europe. The following conditions apply:

  • the real estate object can be on the islands or the mainland;

  • property can be commercial or residential;

  • any number of objects can be bought for the total of €250,000;

  • if you buy together with someone, you may combine your properties in one total.

These options are available for prospective investors, all for a period of 5 years:

  • renting a hotel;

  • renting an apartment in a tourist accommodation;

  • purchasing a patch of land for building or agrarian use;

  • purchasing a share in a tourist real estate development.

Investors can sell only acquired (i.e. bought) property after 5 years. Rentals and shares in government programs are non-refundable.

A prospective investor can view all properties and plots of land in person or via the Internet. A discussion follows with a legal firm that helps to choose a property and open a bank account. The investment in property must take place before applying for residency. Completing the real estate property sale, the lawyers prepare the documents for the application. From the time of investment until issuing a residence card, it can take as little as 40 days.

Submitting an Application

The lawyers help to prepare the documents and send them for consideration. The application includes submitting the biometric data (fingerprints). This is the only time when the applicant must be present in the country. The applicant gets a legal stay until he receives the residency permit.

Considering an Application

This process usually takes 2–3 months. The authorities check the application and decide on granting the residency permit.

Issuing a Residence Permit Card

Following a positive decision, the applicant receives a residence permit card. The card allows him and his family members to stay in Greece for the next 5 years. It is not necessary to travel to Greece to collect the card. The applicant can receive it at his home or business address.

What Happens After 5 Years of Residency Permit

The initial period of 5 years flows into 2 years of permanent residency permit. This is a necessary transitional stage on the way to obtaining citizenship. In the first 5 years, the investor may live in Greece but cannot work here, although he can open a business. Many investors conduct business elsewhere, so they usually do not live in Greece. In 2 years leading to citizenship, the investor must live in Greece for most of the time to apply for a passport. After receiving the passport the investor can enjoy all the benefits of Greek citizenship.

What Documents Are Necessary for Application

In order to apply for Greek citizenship, the applicant submits the following documents:

  • an approved copy of a valid passport;

  • several passport-sized photographs;

  • receipts of paid fees;

  • a digital signature;

  • a certificate of medical insurance.

The fees the applicants have to pay:

  • government fees;

  • notary and lawyer fees;

  • investor fees (approx. €2,000);

  • fees for family members over 18 years old (approx. €150);

  • fees for issuing an electronic residency permit card (approx. €16).

All fees amount to €15,000. Additionally, all new property purchases in Greece include a VAT of 24%.

What Other Investment Options Exist in Greece

The process of obtaining Greek citizenship by investment is the most popular one. Still, there are other ways of investing in the country and applying for citizenship.

Renting Property in Tourism and Hospitality Sector

The amount of investment starts at the same €250,000. Unlike an acquisition, this is non-refundable. The residence permit lasts for 5 years. A 2-year permanent residency follows and finishes with naturalization.

Participating in an Approved Government Project

The unveiled "Greece 2.0" plan consists of 12 projects, including:

  • infrastructure modernization;

  • digitalization of records;

  • a new land planning project for local cities;

  • construction of a new road network;

  • raising the digital literacy of Greek citizens;

  • restoring and maintaining parts of the Acropolis.

Another government project will see the construction of wind farms on the Greek island of Evia. Investments go towards creating new jobs and introducing innovations. As with property rentals, the investments begin at €250,000 and are not refunded. The periods of residence permits remain the same (5+2). The added bonus is in making a real difference to the country's economy and employment.

Economic Activities and Banking

Another investment option leading to Greek citizenship concerns banking. Two options are available:

  • a deposit in a Greek bank;

  • buying shares and bonds in Greek companies.

Either of these should amount to €40,000, and the sum should remain in the bank for 5 years. After that, the investor can sell bonds and shares or close the deposit. The length of the residence permit remains the same (5+2).

Financially Independent People

Some people have income outside of Greece but are keen on applying for Greek citizenship. They must meet the following criteria:

  • have a regular income of over €2,000;

  • have an account with a Greek bank for, or exceeding, €24,000;

  • stay in Greece all the time for 183 days per year;

  • hold a category D visa.

A single or multiple entry Schengen visa category D, or National Visa, is open to students and workers. It is harder to get and then to have it extended, and the approval can last several months. A financially independent person first applies for a 2-year residence permit card. They then extend it for another 3 years. After obtaining a permanent residence permit, they can apply for citizenship.

Summary

The Golden Visa program of Greek citizenship by investment opens unrivaled opportunities. Participants can reside in Greece and travel across the Schengen zone, the European Union, and most world countries. This program is favorable to families. It has the lowest real estate investment level in the entire Europe. It paves the way to European universities. Residents can enjoy the top healthcare facilities and unrivaled social security. Children can inherit their citizenship from their parents. This is a fantastic chance to invest in the economic growth of one of the oldest countries on Earth.

Residence-Greece introduces investors to a large real estate database, helps with the registration of purchase, consulting services and legal support at all stages when obtaining Greek residency.

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