Greece – Cradle of Western Civilization

Greece is a historically rich and culturally vibrant country situated on the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula. It is a developed country seamlessly blending the old and the new.

A founding member of the United Nations, Greece is also a member of the European Union and has been part of the Eurozone since 2001. It is also a member of numerous other international institutions, including the Council of Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the Organisationinternationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

Greece is the largest economy in the Balkans with a large tourism industry, prominent shipping and agriculture sector, especially organic farming. Lately the country has become a very popular tourist destination of Europe due to its natural beauty, historical heritage and low cost of travelling.

 Residency by Investment Program of Greece – The ‘Golden Visa’ Program

Applicants can obtain residency of Greece through two options:

  1. Real estate acquisition
  2. Strategic investment 
  1. Real estate Acquisition:

Citizens of countries, which are not European Union members are eligible to apply under this program.

Applicants are required to purchase real estate property whose minimum value should be €250,000. This amount can be invested in one or more properties. Whether one or more properties, their total value must be at least 250.000 Euros.

The property/properties can be located anywhere on the Greek mainland or the islands and can be either residential or commercial.

The value of the property/iesis proved from the value mentioned on the purchase or the rent contract.

The property can belong to a legal entityas long as the company shares or the shareholdings belong in whole to the person who requests the residence permit.

The value of €250,000 not only concerns the purchase of a real estate propertyand several alternative options exist:

  • Purchase of real estate property
  • Timesharing agreement with a duration of at least 10 years
  • Lease with a duration of at least 10 years of hotel facilities or furnished homes in combined tourist facilities

In order to purchase real property and request a residence permit in Greece, either a type C Schengen visa, or a type D national visa is required.

The applicant should take into consideration the following:

– No specific type of visa is required for the real estate property purchase or acquisition.

– If the foreign citizen needs a long period for research or after the acquisition wishes to stay in Greece for an extended period of time, a type D national visa is appropriate.

– If 90 days per six month period is long enough, and wishes to request anew an entry visa for the next trip to Greece, then a type C Schengen visa suffices.

– In both cases, the application for a residence permit must have been submitted before the expiration of the visa. The applicant can also choose to submit the application through a proxy person.

The duration of the residence permit is for 5 years.There is no minimum stay requirement and the residence permit can be renewedfor another 5 years each time, provided that the applicant still owns the property.

Persons holding a residence permit do not have the right to work in Greece, however, they can own/set up a business in Greece.

The members of the applicant’s family may also request individual residence permits. They must though submit separate applications. Their own permit expires at the same date that the applicant’s permit expires. Qualifying family members include spouse and all children under 18. Children 18 and over can qualify if studying and dependent. The Greek residency program was recently extended to the parents of both the applicant and his/her spouse.

Residence permit is generally issued within 2 months from the day on which the application is submitted.

If the applicant comes from a country whose citizens are required to get an entry visa in order to come to Greece, he/she needs to obtain this entry visa before applying for a residence permit.

Applicants who live in Greece after obtaining the residence permit can apply for citizenship and a passport after seven years. Once applicants have citizenship then they are free to dispose of their investment as further visa renewals are not necessary.

 Advantages of a residence permit of Greece:

  • The applicantmay stay continuously in Greece for its whole duration
  • Applicants have the right to live in Greece though they are not obligated to exercise it since there no minimum stay requirements
  • The applicantmay travel to other Schengen countries without a visa, but his/her stay in those countries cannot exceed 90 days in each 6-month period.
  • With the residency card, all qualifying family members of the applicant have the freedom to travel to and throughout the EU Schengen visa zone with ease
  • The applicanthas access to health or education services, just like any Greek citizen. 
  1. Strategic investment:

Citizens of countries, which are not members of the European Union are considered eligible for strategic investment in Greece.

An investment is considered to be strategic when a relevant Decision of the Interministerial Committee of Strategic Investments has been issued.

The following persons can request for a resident permit –

  • The legal representative of the entity, which implements the investment
  • Up to 10 persons, for which a residence permit is considered to be necessary in order to implement the investment

Members of the applicant/s family/ies may also apply for a resident permit. The same applies to persons assisting those family members provided that the latter are disabled or have special needs. The duration of those permits ends when the residence permit of the person on whom they base their right expires. A national visa (type D) from the competent Greek Consulate may be requested.

The duration of a residence permit by strategic investment is up to 10 years. The application for strategic investment must be submitted at “Invest in Greece Agency”. The Minister of Interiors issues a decision in each application.

The advantages of a residence permit in Greece through strategic investment are the same as that of resident permit through real estate acquisition.

Supporting documents for a residence permit by strategic investment:

  1. In case it concerns the legal representative of the entity implementing the investment or persons considered to be important for the implementation of the investment
  • Certificate proving that medical or health expenses of the applicant will be covered.
  1. In case it concerns the family members of the above persons
  • Certificate proving that medical or health expenses of the applicant will be covered.
  • A recent certificate of family status from a foreign authority proving the relationship between the main applicant and the members of his/her family.
  1. In case it concerns personnel assisting the above persons
  • Certificate proving that medical or health expenses of the applicant will be covered.
  • An official document of the country of origin certifying that the applicant’s job is to assist the person who has special needs or disabilities.

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