How to get permanent residence in Greece

Greece has become one of the most favoured destinations for immigration and a popular way to get a EU passport. The main reasons for its popularity seem to be its comfortable lifestyle, high quality of life by international standards and lenient terms for acquiring a legal status in the EU. This article explains different ways to obtain a Greek permanent residence permit and describes the application process and which documents you will need for the purpose.

Legal Grounds for a Permanent Residence Permit in Greece

This section briefly describes the most common routes to permanent residency in this country. 

Formal Employment

The most straightforward way is to find a job in Greece and apply for a legal status on that basis. Keep in mind, though, that you will need to learn Greek for this purpose, stay with your employer until you get your permanent residence permit, and the salary will most likely not be very high. 

Self-Employment

You can be a freelancer, an online employee, self-employed or a digital nomad, but if you can prove a stable income of 3,500 euros per month, consider yourself sorted. One essential condition, though, is that you do not seek employment in the country. However, you will need additional income for your children and an unemployed spouse, and the permit will have to be renewed every two years. 

Investments in Private Property

Known as a Golden visa, this is by far the most convenient way to obtain permanent residency in Greece. All you need to do is purchase a private property for at least €250,000, submit a minimal amount of documentation (see the relevant section below) and wait a couple of months for the approval.

Your Golden visa will apply to your immediate family as well, and you will not even have to reside in the country permanently for this purpose. Any property will do, as long as it is not near the border or military bases. 

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Greek Visas

Whichever way to obtain a Greek permanent residence permit you choose, you will need to open an account with a Greek bank, for which you will need to get yourself a local SIM-card and a Greek tax number. And this can only be done in the country. In other words, you will have to apply for a visa and plan a visit to Greece.

All three can be obtained without much hassle, especially if you have an interpreter and a lawyer with you. Timewise, you should plan 2–3 days for the visit. You can call the nearest Greek Consulate or look through official websites, to find out whether you need a visa at all.

Keep in mind that even if you do not need a visa, you will still have to have:

  • A passport which is valid for at least three months after your departure,

  • Proof of 50 euros per day,

  • A ticket out of the country.

And in the case of a Schengen visa, you will also need:

  • Medical insurance of 30,000 euros,

  • Bank statements for the previous half a year,

  • Your marriage certificate, if applicable,

  • Two passport-size colour photos. 

Opening a Bank Account

The registration process will be pretty straightforward and very much the same as it would be in other countries, but prepare for a mess in the bank and do not expect it to be over in half an hour. On the other hand, Greek banks only work till 14:00, so it will not be the entire day wasted. Applying for a tax number will be simple enough too, but you will need an interpreter unless you speak Greek well.

1. Before you fly to Greece, make sure you collect the following documents:

  • Your identity document and your birth certificate (in case your patronymic name is not indicated in your passport).

  • A utility bill or a confirmation letter from your landlord or housemate to prove your residential address.

  • Any confirmation of your income, whether a copy of your job contract, recent payrolls or a tax statement from the country where you are employed.

2. Upon arrival in the country, get yourself a local mobile phone number and visit the Tax Department to apply for and receive a tax number. You will need some written proof that the number is indeed yours. Generally, a copy of the registration form will suffice.

3. Visit the bank you have selected for the purpose. Keep in mind that Greek banks are open from 08:00 to 14:00, Monday to Friday, and make sure you do not plan your visit on the public holidays shown in the list below. 

  • New Year's Day,

  • 6 January,

  • The 7th Monday before Easter,

  • 25 March,

  • Good Friday,

  • Monday after Easter,

  • May Day,

  • The 6th Monday after Easter,

  • 15 August,

  • 28 October,

  • Christmas,

  • Boxing Day.

Required Documents

Technically, you will only need the following documents to apply for a permanent residence permit:

  • Your identity document,

  • Proof of a Greek bank account,

  • Medical insurance,

  • Confirmation of a stable income.

However, you will also need some additional documents, which will vary depending on how you decide to get a permanent residence. For instance, in the case of a Golden visa, it will be:

  • Your Greek tax number,

  • Proof of your residential address in Greece,

  • Your marriage certificate, if applicable,

  • Proof of your purchase of local private property,

  • Police clearance.

Processing Time

Depending on the type of residence permit, you might have to wait from several months to 2–3 years before your application is approved. And again, the Golden Visa is, probably, the most convenient option, taking up to three months in most cases. Moreover, you will only have to renew it every five years, and once you have had it for seven years, you will be eligible to apply for Greek citizenship without having to reside in the country for this purpose.

Conclusion

Greece does, indeed, offer convenient terms for acquiring a permanent residence permit, especially via investments in its private property sector, and the first step is to decide which path will work best in your case. The rest is a straightforward process of collecting the right documents and visiting the right offices.

We hope our article will help you decide how you would like to go about it. Consult your lawyer, travel agent or the nearest Greek Consulate with any additional questions you might have in the process.

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