Legal Grounds for a Permanent Residence Permit in Greece
This section briefly describes the most common routes to permanent residency in this country.
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.
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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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,
The 7th Monday before Easter,
Monday after Easter,
The 6th Monday after Easter,
Technically, you will only need the following documents to apply for a permanent residence permit:
Your identity document,
Proof of a Greek bank account,
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,
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.
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.
- As a third country national, research the different categories of permanent residency in Greece, including golden visas for investors and visas for family members of Greek citizens.
- Visit Greece to explore potential places to live, such as Athens or Crete, and familiarize yourself with the country's culture and lifestyle.
- Consider investing in Greek real estate, as owning property can grant access to a golden visa. Look for properties in popular locations like Athens, Crete, or Paros.
- Consult with a legal representative or attorney to guide you through the process of obtaining permanent residency, ensuring all paperwork is up to date and accurate.
- Gather all necessary documents, such as a valid travel document, proof of sufficient funds, and evidence of health insurance or travel insurance.
- Be prepared to provide proof of your marital status and family relationships, especially if you are applying for residency as a family member of a Greek citizen.
- If you're an investor, consider opening a Greek company or becoming a shareholder in an existing one. This may qualify you for permanent residency under certain conditions.
- Ensure you meet the requirements for tax residency in Greece, such as residing in the country for at least 183 days per year and registering for tax purposes.
- Learn the Greek language and participate in social integration activities to help ease your transition and improve your chances of obtaining permanent residency.
- Stay informed about any changes to immigration laws and procedures by regularly checking government websites and the government gazette.
- Consider the possibility of dual citizenship if you wish to retain your original nationality while also becoming a Greek citizen.
- If you're applying for residency as a student, ensure you're enrolled in a recognized educational institution in Greece, and maintain good academic standing.
- Keep track of your physical residence in Greece, as continuous stay in the country may be required for certain residency categories.
- Familiarize yourself with the joint ministerial decision process and the social integration code, as these can impact your residency application.
- Obtain translations of all necessary documents from non-EU countries, as these must be submitted in Greek for your application to be considered.
- Be prepared for an interview and possible background check, including a review of your criminal records, as part of the application process.
- Ensure all fees are paid on time and keep a record of all transactions, including credit transfers and real estate investments.
- Stay patient throughout the process, as it may take several months for your application to be processed and a decision to be issued.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Greece Golden Visa program, and who can apply for it?
The Greece Golden Visa program is a residency-by-investment scheme that allows third country nationals and non-EU citizens to obtain residence permits by investing in Greek real estate, businesses, or other eligible assets. Family members, including spouses and children under 21 years, can also apply for residence permits through family reunification.
What are the requirements for obtaining Greek citizenship?
To obtain Greek citizenship, applicants must demonstrate continuous residence in Greece for a minimum of five years, sufficient knowledge of the Greek language and culture, and a clean criminal record. Additionally, they must fulfill any other criteria outlined by the Greek government.
Can a Greek permanent resident enjoy visa-free travel within the Schengen area?
Yes, Greek permanent residents can enjoy visa-free travel within the Schengen area for short trips, usually up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
Is it mandatory to learn the Greek language to obtain a residence permit or citizenship?
Sufficient knowledge of the Greek language is a requirement for obtaining Greek citizenship. While it may not be mandatory for all types of residence permits, it is beneficial for social integration and might be required in some cases.
Can a non-EU citizen work in Greece with a residence permit?
A non-EU citizen can work in Greece with a residence permit, provided it allows for work-related activities. The type of residence permit and any restrictions must be considered before engaging in employment.
How can I apply for a Greek Golden Visa or a residence permit?
To apply for a Greek Golden Visa or a residence permit, you must first obtain an entry visa from a Greek embassy or consulate in your country of residence. Once in Greece, you must complete the required paperwork and submit it, along with supporting documents, to the appropriate authorities. It's advisable to consult with lawyers or legal representatives to ensure a smooth application process.
Are there any age restrictions for obtaining a Greek residence permit or citizenship?
There are no specific age restrictions for obtaining a Greek residence permit or citizenship. However, certain permits, such as those for financially independent persons or students, may have specific age or income requirements.
Can I include my spouse and children in my Greek residency application?
Yes, you can include your spouse and dependent children under 21 years in your Greek residency application through the family reunification process.
What is the duration of a temporary residence permit in Greece?
A temporary residence permit in Greece typically lasts for one year and can be renewed annually. After five years of continuous residence, you may be eligible for a five-year residence permit.
Where can I find further information about the Greek Golden Visa program and residence permits?
For further information about the Greek Golden Visa program and residence permits, you can visit the Greek government's official websites, contact Greek embassies or consulates, or consult local lawyers and legal representatives.