Popular amongst vacationers, retirees, students, and business people, Greece is known for its gorgeous landscape and rich cultural heritage. The country is proud of its long and fascinating history that spans thousands of years. Often referred to as the “birthplace of Western civilization,” Greece is home to ancient monuments and sites like the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Greek contributions to art, architecture, and philosophy significantly impacted the trajectory of Western thought.
In recent years, the government has taken steps to bolster the country’s economy. One of those steps is the Greece Golden Visa Program, a residency-by-investment program launched in 2013 that aims to attract foreign direct investment into the country.
The Greece Golden Visa Program is a residency-by-investment program that allows non-EU or non-EEA citizens over 18 to obtain a Greek residency permit valid for five years by investing in the country’s economy. The minimum qualifying investment amount is only €250,000, and investors can receive their residency permit in just three months, making it one of the most efficient and affordable Golden Visa Programs.
The Greece Residency by Investment Program allows investors and their family members to reside legally in Greece and gives them access to all the countries in the Schengen Zone, among other benefits. After seven years of residence, investors are eligible to apply for Greek citizenship. A Greek passport allows holders to travel the world with visa-free access to over 185 countries.
The Greece Golden Visa program has proven successful, with many foreign investors taking advantage of the opportunity to invest in Greece and enjoy its beautiful scenery, warm climate, and high standard of living. By attracting investment and providing a pathway for non-EU and non-EEA citizens to reside in Greece, the program is helping to strengthen the country’s economy and provide a foundation for future growth.
Benefits of Greece Residency by Investment
Greece Residency by Investment, or the Golden Visa Program, provides non-European citizens various benefits. It grants investors, and any eligible dependents, the right to reside legally in Greece, a country with a high standard of living, excellent healthcare, a great education system, and a rich cultural heritage. Obtaining residency and, eventually, Greek citizenship through the Greece Golden Visa Program allows investors and their family members to travel visa-free within the Schengen Area, which includes popular business and cultural destinations in 26 European countries.
Another benefit of the Greece residency by investment program is that it allows applicants to include family members on the same application. Eligible dependents who can be added to the same Greece Golden Visa application include the applicant’s spouse, any unmarried children under the age of 21, and any direct relatives in the ascending line (parents).
By investing in Greek real estate, individuals can secure residency in the country and make a profitable investment in a market known for its stability and growth potential. The Greece Golden Visa Program offers flexible residency options and does not require investors to reside in Greece for a minimum amount of time.
Most importantly, the Greece Residency by Investment Program provides a pathway to Greek citizenship. After holding a Golden Visa for seven years, individuals can apply for Greek citizenship. This provides access to various benefits, including the right to live, work, and study in any EU country and the ability to participate in the EU’s social security system.
Greece Golden Visa Investment Options
The Greece Golden Visa Program offers several options for potential investors to qualify for residency by investment. Each option has unique benefits, so investors should choose wisely based on their unique financial situation and lifestyle.
Investors can choose between the following investment options:
- Real estate investment option
a. Purchase a commercial real estate property, personally or through a legal entity, for a minimum value of €250.000.
b. Sign a lease agreement for a hotel accommodation or furnished tourist residences in a tourist resort. The lease must be valid for at least 10 years and be worth a minimum of €250.000.
c. Purchase a residential real estate property for a minimum value of €250.000.
d. Purchase a plot of land to construct a new building. The minimum value of the land purchase and the construction contract with a registered company must be at least €250,000.
e. Sign a timeshare lease for tourist accommodations and maintain all services for the duration of the contract.
f. Obtain real estate property in Greece with a minimum value of €250,000, acquired through intestate succession, parental concession, or inheritance by will.
- Investment in securities or a bank deposit
a. Make a capital contribution of at least €400,000 to a company headquartered or established in Greece.
b. Make a capital contribution of at least €400,000 to a Real Estate Investment Company (REIC) committed to investing exclusively in Greece.
c. Make a capital contribution of at least €400,000 to a Venture Capital Company (VCC), provided that the object of the said Alternative Investment Funds (AIF) is to invest exclusively in companies headquartered or established in Greece.
d. Purchase Greek Treasury bonds, with an acquisition value of of at least €400,000 and a residual duration, at the time of purchase, of at least three years.
e. Deposit at least €400,000 in a domestic credit institution for a minimum of one year, with a standing renewal order.
f. Purchase stocks, corporate bonds, or Greek Treasury bonds with a total value of at least €400,000, listed for trading or traded in regulated markets or multilateral trading facilities operating in Greece, of an acquisition.
g. Purchase shares worth at least €400,000 in a mutual fund that has been established in Greece or another country and whose object is to invest exclusively in stock, corporate bonds, or Greek Treasury bonds that are traded in Greece. The mutual fund must have assets of at least €3 million and its manager must be licensed by the authorities in the country where it is established.
h. Purchase of shares or stock of an acquisition value of at least €400,000 in an Alternative Investment Fund (AIF), which has been established in Greece or another country in the EU, and exclusively invests in Greek real estate.
Each option offers a unique pathway to obtaining Greece residency by investment and accessing the benefits of being an EU resident. Investors should carefully consider their options before choosing the right one for their needs.
Greece Golden Visa Real Estate Option
One of the most popular investment options is the purchase of Greek real estate, with a minimum qualifying investment requirement of €250,000. The investment can be made in one or more residential or commercial properties, and each property purchased can be used for personal use or rented out to one of the many visitors that come to Greece each year.
The real estate investment option provides a straightforward and secure pathway to residency in Greece. The investment is made directly in real estate, and the property ownership proves the individual’s eligibility for the Greece Golden Visa Program. Through this option, investors can be assured they have put their money into a tangible asset that can be used for personal use or for generating passive rental income.
Greece Golden Visa Program General Requirements and Documentation
All investors in the Greece Golden Visa Program must meet some general requirements and provide the necessary documentation to submit their applications. Once the application is approved, they can obtain residency in the country in as little as three months.
The following are the general requirements for all Greece Golden Visa applicants:
- Official declaration of the applicant
- Short CV from the applicant
- Golden Visa application form
- Four (4) recent passport-sized color photographs in both print and digital format
- A copy of the proposal from the Ministry of Development and Competitiveness stating the investment type.
- A passport (or other travel document) issued within the last ten years that is valid for at least three months after the entry visa expires and contains at least two blank pages.
- Travel insurance that is valid for the duration of the entry permit .
- A clean criminal record issued by the applicant’s country of residence.
- A medical certificate stating the applicant is in good health.
- Payment of fees (online):
- €2,000 for investors
- €150 for all additional dependents
- Payment of €16 electronic application fee (“e-paravolo”).
- A certificate of application submission to the relevant social security entity.
- A family status certificate for any added dependents (if applicable).
Additional requirements depend on the investment options selected by the investor. It’s important to check the specific documents required for each option before submitting the application.
- Documents for the real estate investment option:
- A contract of purchase
- Proof of transfer of the contract by the competent Land Registry
- Notarised copy of the lease for the hotel accommodations or furnished tourist residences in integrated tourist resorts (for third country citizens who have a lease – for a minimum of 10 years – for hotel accommodations or furnished tourist residences in integrated tourist resorts
- The following additional documents must be submitted for third country citizens who purchase plots of land or acreage and erect a building:
- A contract for the purchase of the plot of land or acreage, and
- contract with the construction company for the erection/restoration of the residence, which has been submitted to the tax office according to the law
- building permit in the name of the applicant
- invoices by the contractors and the corresponding proofs of payment.
- The following additional documents must be submitted for third country citizens who have signed a timeshare agreement (lease) for tourist facilities under the permission of the Hellenic Tourism Organization (EOT):
- Timeshare contract for a minimum period of five years which should state the corresponding price per year;
- Proof of transfer registration issued by the competent Land Registry;
- A certificate issued by the National Tourism Organisation (EOT) that it has been informed of the conclusion of the particular timeshare contract.
2. Documents for the investment in securities or a bank deposit option:
The documentation for this option is slightly more complex, so applicants should be aware of the specific requirements for each of the types of investment sub-options. Below are some of the documents that may be required depending on the sub-type of investment the applicant selects.
- A certificate detailing creation of a personal account for the applicant in the System of Dematerialised Securities (SDS).
- A certificate from the company (REIC) with details of the performed capital stock increase in which the investor participated.
- A certificate from the Venture Capital Company (VCC) with the details about capital stock increase, the number and value of stocks the applicant acquired, and their holding from the time of acquisition until the issue date of the certificate.
- A certificate from the credit institution for the purchase of bonds including all purchasing details.
- A certificate from the credit institution on the details of the deposit.
- Certificate from the mutual fund manager for the participation of the applicant in it.
- A certificate from the credit institution, in which the mutual fund holds the unique and exclusive account.
- A certificate from the intermediary confirming the creation of a personal account of the investor in the System of Dematerialised Securities (SDS) of “Hellenic Central Securities Depository S.A.”
- A certificate from the credit institution, in which the Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) holds the account.
Greece Golden Visa Application and Renewal Process
The initial application process for the Greece Golden Visa Program involves submitting the required documents and fulfilling the investment criteria. The residency permit is valid for five years and can be renewed indefinitely by fulfilling the investment requirements for the duration of the permit. You do not need to reside in Greece during the five years of residency.
The application and renewal processes for Greece Residency by Investment are straightforward, provided that applicants and their dependents submit the application and required documents on time and with all the necessary information.
The following steps comprise the application process:
- Obtain an entry visa for Greece: The applicant apply for an entry visa at the Greek Consulate in their country of residence.
- Organize all required documents for the Golden Visa application, including any additional certificates or document copies.
- Submit all documents to any one-stop service of the Aliens and Immigration Department at the Decentralised Authorities in Greece.
- Await documentation check: The authorities will issue a confirmation that the application has been submitted and ensure that all the necessary documentation are provided. This confirmation document counts as an evidencing document until the residency permit is issued.
- Complete any outstanding steps during the processing period: During the one year period holding the confirmation document, the applicant can complete any outstanding legal or financial transactions.
- Issuing of the decision: Once the Aliens and Immigration of the Decentralised Authority has approved the application and all included documentation, they will issue a five-year Golden Visa residence permit.
Application process updates:
As of February 20, 2017, the visa sticker that is usually stuck in the applicant’s passport will be replaced with an electronic residence permit.
Greece Golden Visa Processing Time and Fees
The processing time for a Greek Golden Visa application can vary, depending on the authorities’ workload and the submitted documentation’s complexity. It typically takes three to six months for the Greece Residency by Investment application to be processed and approved. It is possible to expedite the application processing for a fee.
In addition to the investment requirement, various fees are associated with the Golden Visa program, including application fees, processing fees, and legal fees. The exact amount of these fees can vary depending on the type of investment and the services required. It is important to obtain a detailed estimate of all costs before starting the application process to avoid unexpected expenses.
Investment Opportunities in Greece
Greece offers several investment opportunities across various sectors, including tourism, renewable energy, maritime development, food and agriculture, and real estate. An increase in visitors to the country and the high demand for holiday homes post-COVID make it a great time to invest in Greek real estate, especially tourist accommodations that can be rented out.
Greece has a robust maritime sector, with a focus on ship management and shipping services, that the government is currently promoting to attract further investment. The country’s food and agriculture sector is also growing, as well as its renewables industry. The healthcare sector is also attracting investment, with the government supporting the development of private hospitals and clinics.
Greece is well positioned for those looking to obtain EU residency by investment. These diverse developing sectors make for attractive business opportunities and an excellent environment for foreign investors and business people.
With high-quality education and healthcare, as well as EU-quality social security systems, Greece offers many benefits to individuals who obtain citizenship. Greek citizens also have the right to live, work, and visit all the other 26 European countries in the Schengen Zone. Having Greek citizenship and a passport gives any holder greater mobility, expanded business opportunities, and more chances to travel. The Greek passport allows holders to travel visa-free or with visa-on-arrival access to 186 countries, opening up a whole new world to its new citizens.
Greek citizens can pass on their citizenship to subsequent generations and maintain dual citizenship, retaining their original passport and their new Greek passport. Greek immigration by investment through the Greek Golden Visa Program can change the lives of investors and their family members by giving them global mobility and a wide range of education, business, and tourism opportunities.
No, Greece does not offer a Citizenship by Investment scheme. However, those who are looking to find a pathway to obtaining Greek citizenship through investment may be able to achieve that through the Greece Golden Visa. The Golden Visa is a Permanent residency permit granted for five years, with a chance to renew for another five years, provided the investor maintains the qualifying investment the entire time. After seven years, investors and any eligible dependents can apply for Greek citizenship.
The Greece Golden Visa is a residency permit that can be acquired by making a minimum investment in the Greek economy of just €250,000 in residential or commercial real estate.
No, you cannot technically buy a Greek passport. You can, however, invest in the Greek economy through the Greece Residency by Investment Program, called the Golden Visa Program, and obtain a passport after seven years of residence. Investors in this program must make a minimum investment and maintain it for the entire duration of their Golden Visa permit before applying for citizenship.
No, the Greece Golden Visa is not suspended at this time.