Greek residence permit for UK citizens

As a result of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, UK citizens have now lost the rights of free movement, residence and employment in the European Union. As a British citizen, if you had not obtained a permanent residence permit by January 01, 2021, you are formally classified as an EU-alien and have to abide by the immigration laws for the latter.

There is a way around the problem, though, Greek PR by investment being one of the most convenient and cost-effective ones. In this article, we will describe this option and the documents required for the purpose, and highlight its advantages for UK citizens.

PR by Investment

Commonly known as a golden visa, this immigration option makes it possible to obtain a permanent residence status in Greece by investing in the country's real estate sector. Basically, all you need to do is buy a private property for at least €250K, and you will be given a permanent residence in a couple of months. The permit will have to be extended every five years, and you will be eligible to apply for citizenship in seven years.

This is a very easy solution since you do not even have to stay in the country for that. The only condition for retaining the status is that you continue to own the property purchased for the purpose. Besides, all your immediate family members will enjoy the permanent resident status in the EU, even during your absence.

Necessary Documents

The required paperwork is minimal in this case. You will only have to submit the following documents:

  • Your ID

  • Medical insurance

  • Proof of a stable income, whether in salary, pension or dividends

You will also have to open a Greek bank account, for which you will need, in addition to the above documents:

  • Greek tax number

  • Local SIM-card

  • Proof of a Greek residential address (you can use your golden visa property)

Advantages for UK Citizens

1. You may move around and seek employment in the Schengen Area.

2. You will also have privileged access to the EU public funds and banking sector.

3. Furthermore, you will have an opportunity to relocate to Greece and enjoy its better climate, healthier cuisine, more relaxed lifestyle and significantly lower prices for all bare necessities, compared to the life back home.

Cost of Living in Greece

Most products and services in this country are quite cheap compared to their equivalents in the UK. This definitely applies to housing, food and medical services. The table below shows samples of average prices for the commodities most frequently listed on the relevant sites:

Commodity

Average Price (in euros)

Bread

1

Milk

1.5

Fruits and veggies

0.8-1.8

Dairy products

8-10

Ciggies

5

Wine

6-8

Single bus ticket

1.5-1.7

Monthly bus ticket

34

Petrol

1.85

Taxi

1.1-1.5

Fast food

9

Cheap lunch for one

12

Three-course mid-range dinner for two

40

Visits to a polyclinic

0-10

Visits to private doctor

60

Medical intervention of medium complexity

120

One-bedroom flat to rent in the city centre

340-380

One-bedroom flat to rent in the suburbs

290-320

Three-bedroom flat to rent in the city centre

640-670

Three-bedroom flat to rent in the suburbs

530-550

Flat to buy in the city centre (per m2)

1,700-2,000

House to buy in the suburbs (per m2)

1,400-1,600

Rental Yields in Greece

In addition, if you intend to rent out your golden visa property, Greece offers quite lucrative rental yields too, as the average examples in the following table show (in euros):

Location

The Cyclades

Kozani

Karditsa

Florina

Chalkidiki

Property Value

220,000

450,000

55,000

410,000

130,000

Monthly Rent

1,400

450

480

410

135

Annual Rental Yield (%)

8

9-10

10

12

21-23

English Schools in Greece

There are plenty of excellent international schools in this country that provide high quality teaching and follow the British curriculum. The best of them are located in Thessaloniki and Athens. Tuition fees are much higher than in other educational institutions in Greece, but they will feel a lot more affordable compared to what you have to pay in the UK, as shown in the table below (the fees are quoted in euros per year):

Kindergarten

Pre-School

Primary School

Middle School

High School

BA

MA

Phd

6-8K

7-9K

9-11K

10-12K

10-14K

9-12K

3-4K

1.5-2K

You will have no trouble finding a good English school for your kids to suit your location and budget, but we would like to introduce three of the best places in the country. All three are favoured by the English-speaking expat community, and their graduates tend to do better than average in their subsequent academic careers.

Byron College

This college teaches kids from kindergarten to high school in the idealist traditions of the early nineteenth century. The school is very popular in the expat community, so your children will be studying with peers from more than fifty countries. In addition, they will be given the International General Certificates of Secondary Education upon graduation.

The school offers a stimulating spiritual and intellectual atmosphere and provides numerous extracurricular activities, such as sports, drama, choir and martial arts. And the grades are generally higher than the average ones in the UK.

International School of Athens

Founded in 1979, this is one of the oldest international schools in Greece. One of its best attractions is the immense cultural diversity that kids are exposed to, studying with peers from very different countries, such as Australia, China, Egypt, Russia, Nigeria, among numerous others.

The school teaches an impressively wide scope of disciplines covering natural sciences, linguistic and social studies, as well as arts, technology and sports. Such spectacular cultural and academic diversity may explain the fact the school also boasts a comparatively high percentage of cum laude post-graduates from the best universities in the world.

American Community School

Even though the school abides specifically by the US national curricula and education system, it is very popular with families from other parts of the English-speaking world as well. The main reasons for it are the diversity of disciplines and the school's multifactorial approach to child development.

The ACS pays equal attention to physical, intellectual and ethical development of its pupils, adding to it the typically American emphasis on social consciousness, life skills and mastery of essential technological tools. As a result, kids grow up to exhibit impressively high levels of creativity, awareness of cultural diversity and a sense of personal responsibility.

Tax Reductions for UK Citizens

As a welcome cherry on top, there a double taxation treaty between Greece and the UK, so you will actually be able to choose which country you would like to pay your taxes in. The technicalities are too complex for the scope of this article, and we refer you to the relevant authorities and legal services, or the nearest Greek Consulate.

Note: if you spend less than six months per year in Greece, you will not have to pay taxes on your foreign income anyway.

Final Word

Greek permanent residence by investment is an easy way to overcome the obstacles created by Brexit. But it offers you more than that. Greece has long been a popular destination for Western European expats for several reasons, some of which we have mentioned in our article. If you would like to know more about its golden visa, you can consult your lawyer, relevant legal services on the internet or the Greek Consulate in your area.

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