Who Can Apply For A Greek Golden Visa
You must meet all of the following requirements to apply for a Golden Visa in Greece:
- You must be a non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss national
- You must be at least 18 years old
- Have no felony convictions on your record
- Make sure you and your family are covered by medical insurance
- You are not a security risk
The Chinese Golden Visa Rush In Greece
Investor Citizenship and Residence programs have been a major tool of attracting foreign capital. However, the criticism over lax requirements and a long list of scandals have put related schemes under increased scrutiny.
The presence of Chinese citizens buying property in Greece through the so-called Golden Visa program has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years. While the relative share of Golden Visas granted to Chinese citizens has shrunk somewhat compared to its pre-COVID peak in late 2019, they still accounted for a stunning 72.4 percent of the total as of June 2021. The cohort of Chinese Golden Visa holders far outpaces the next largest national contingents of Turks and Russians . Not surprisingly then, Greek authorities have prioritized Chinese property buyers as the most significant target group.
Investor Citizenship and Residence Schemes in the EU and Greece
But before delving into the growing presence of Chinese property buyers in Greece, it would be helpful to have a quick look at how these schemes came about and evolved over time.
Greece is one of the 19 EU member states, plus the UK, that grant residence permits in return for investment. In addition, three member states, Cyprus, Malta, and Bulgaria, have put in place Golden Passport programs, which grant full EU citizenship.
Side Effects of the Golden Visa Policy
Push and Pull Factors for Chinese Golden Visa Applicants
Conspicuous Silence of the Official Chinese Media
Help With Renting Out Your Property In Greece
Naturally the priority for most investors and of our maintenance team is to make sure our clients properties are rented out with:
- The least amount of vacancies.
- The maximum possible rental returns.
For long-term rentals we find tenants ourselves and make sure they are happy with the property and keep it in a good condition.
For short-term lettings, for instance through Airbnb, we collaborate with lettings management companies who are experts in this field and are able to let your property in Greece on your behalf. We work with a selected handful of independent companies that you can choose from or of course feel free to suggest your own.
We maintain relationships with the vast majority of our clients who rely on us to keep their properties at a pristine condition. For a small monthly fee we can undertake the entire maintenance of your property in Greece and send you a report every 3 months .
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Alternatives To The Greek Golden Visa Program
The Greek Golden Visa program isnt the only one out there. If it doesnt feel right or you have doubts, there are a handful of others you could consider:
- Malta. The investment is slightly more at 330,000 and the process takes a bit longer . However, you can obtain a permit to work in the country, and there are other investment options other than real estate.
- Cyprus. You will need to spend at least 300,000 on a first-time sale property. However, you can obtain citizenship in just five years of being a resident in the country.
- Portugal. Spend 280,000 in Portugal to obtain a residency in 90 days. Keep in mind that there is a residency requirement if you opt for Portugal.
- Ireland. Go for Ireland if the holding period for your investment is important to you. Its three years in Ireland. However, even though youll have to invest 500,000, you wont get Schengen access as Ireland is not part of it.
And then there is always the Greek passport that you could wait for. If the Greek residence by investment program doesnt seem like the right fit, you could stay put until Greece launches its citizenship by investment program thats in the works. This would give you the added benefit of being able to live and work in the Schengen area, not just traveling within its borders.
How Can I Apply For A Citizenship In Greece
- they attend any school in Greece for 9 years, or
- they attend a secondary school in Greece for 6 years, or
- they attend a University in Greece.
An EU citizen is free to live, work, travel, receive healthcare or pursue education anywhere within the EU, including the UK. In fact, travel benefits extend way beyond Europe with Greek passport holders being able to travel visa free to an extensive list of countries.
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C Residence Permits For Investment In Securities Or A Bank Deposit In Greece
1. The entrance and residence of third country nationals is permitted in Greece, for the purpose of making an intangible investment in Greece in specific forms of securities or a bank deposit exceeding the value of 400,000, either as individuals or through legal entities.
2. Beneficiaries of the right to enter and obtain a permanent residence permit under this program are:
– non-EU/EEA citizens who, as individuals, invest in Greece in securities or a bank deposit,
– non-EU/EEA citizens who invest in Greece in securities or a bank deposit through a domestic legal entity of
which they hold all corporate shares,
– shareholders or executives of a foreign legal entity that makes an investment in Greece in securities or a
bank deposit ,
– family members of the non-EU/EEA citizen.
The residence permit granted to the above non-EU/EEA citizens does not entitle them to work in Greece.
3. Categories of investment:
History Of The Greek Golden Visa
The Greek Golden Visa program was first introduced in 2013. Since then it has had over 8,000 applicants receive a Golden Visa along with over 15,000 dependents. The visa program really took off in later years. With 958 Golden Visas issued in 2017, 1,891 in 2018, and 3,504 in 2019. In 2020 however, that number went down dramatically to 403. This was due to Covid, as at the time, it was required to visit Greece to start the visa process. Since the end of 2020, the laws have been changed and now it is possible to go through the majority of the Golden Visa process remotely. In this case, you can receive your temporary residence card in the mail.
According to the Ministry of Migration and Asylum, the Golden Visa has created approximately 2.6 billion euros of investment in Greek funds and real estate. Most applicants have come from China, Turkey, Russia, and the Middle East.
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Key Advantages Of The Greece Golden Visa Program
- Visa-free travel within Europes Schengen Area
- No requirement to reside in Greece
- Residence permits can be acquired within 3060 days
- Unlimited expiry date of residence permit
- Opportunity to rent out the investment property
- Residence applicable to the whole family
- Eligibility to apply for citizenship after seven years of residence
- Ability to hold shares and receive income from the dividends of a company registered in Greece
Invest In Greek Real Estate
Weve left the oldest option, and the most popular Greek investment option for last: direct real estate investment worth at least 250,000.
The property or properties you can buy as many properties as youd like as long as you hit the minimum required investment can be residential or commercial. You can also mix-and-match.
Real estate can be located on the mainland or on any of the Greek islands. Finally, you can co-invest with other people you could potentially buy a million euro villa with four friends and you would all qualify for Greek residency.
Timeshareagreements can also be bought sign a 10-year agreement worth at least 250,000. Alternatively, buy a plot of land worth 250,000.
Then, if youre not using your real estate, you can rent it out. The average rental yields in Greece hover around the 4-5% mark.
Hopefully, now youre able to see just how flexible the Greek Golden Visa program is when it comes to its real estate investments.
Rest assured, no other country lets you have free reign over what property makes you eligible for their RBI program. So, if this is something thats important to you, then you cant go wrong choosing to become a Greek resident by investment.
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Selection Of Investment Route And Property
To finish this stage, youll need to decide on your investment criteria and choose a property to invest in. One great feature of this platform is that you can invest in a variety of functions, as long as the added value is equal to or greater than 250,000 euros. You can also pay a visit to the property and the neighborhoods that have been shortlisted.
Finally, you must transfer a reservation fee and sign a reservation agreement to reserve the property.
Identifying And Making Your Investment
You are probably wondering right now, how do you go about finding the right investment for your application. Well, considering that if you take the real estate option, you only have to invest 250,000 euros, as opposed to a capital contribution of 400,000 euros, most people will probably be looking at investment by real estate.
Having said that, investment by capital contribution is a smoother process, as you can do it directly with a specialty lawyer, without involving third parties, as opposed to the real estate option which could be prone to delays, and requires a larger time frame. It can have its advantages, it just depends on what you are trying to achieve with your investment and golden visa . If you are not planning on moving to Greece with the goal of citizenship, and instead of having the hassle of maintaining a property there, you would rather go for intangible assets, then perhaps the capital contribution option is better suited towards you.
Its worth noting however that the average annual ROI is much higher for real estate – typically somewhere between 3-5%. The property values slumped quite a bit following the pandemic, making post 2020 an opportune time to invest. Since Greece is quite a popular tourist destination, its quite popular for people to use their investment as a tourist rental apartment to earn some income
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What Documents Are Required To Apply For A Greece Golden Visa
The required documents when applying for a Greece Golden Visa are:
- Application form.
- Recent, passport-size pictures of yourself. Make sure they follow Greek visa photo requirements.
- Your valid passport along with a copy. The passport must include the entry visa as required.
- Proof of having paid the relevant government fees.
- Proof of having obtained health insurance in Greece for yourself and any family members.
- Proof of your funds.
Greece Golden Visa Renewal Process
- The real estate property must remain in the full ownership of yourself, the main applicant
- The relevant leases/contracts still be valid and satisfactory of the requirements
You will need the below documents in order to renew your Greek Golden Visa residency permit:
- A filled-in application
- Four recent color passport photos
- A true copy of a valid passport or travel documents recognized by Greece
- A certified copy of the previous permanent residency card
- Certification by an insurance agency for the cost of hospitalization and medical care
- Insurance contracts that have been signed outside of Greece, provided that they explicitly mention that they cover the interested party for the duration of their stay in Greece
- Insurance contracts which have been signed-in Greece
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How Long Is The Residence Permit Issued For
You can get either C schengen visa and D visa after making property investment in Greece. If you are outside Greece, you must apply for C/D visa at the Greek consulate, else at migration office in Greece.
Under the GV scheme, the following are validity of permanent residence permits with unlimited extensions
- Real estate 5 years
The validity of residence permits issued to family members are tied to the investors permit.
How Long Is A Golden Visa Valid
The validity of a Golden Visa depends on the country which issues it. You are usually looking at 1-2 years validity, with the possibility to renew indefinitely.
If you live in the country which issued the Visa, you eventually become eligible for permanent residence and citizenship, after 5-10 years.
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You Could Get A 50% Tax Break For Living In Europe
Finallya remote-worker incentive plan that actually makes a lot of sense.
Im sure youve seen in recent months all the Caribbean locations that are offering special visas to Americans who want to live and work from the beach as digital nomads. Thats all well and good, and the Caribbean is certainly a beautiful place to wake up every morning and face another day at the office. But from the perspective of a remote worker who has actually gone through the visa process and spends his days researching freelance and residence visas around the world, I can tell you that these Caribbean programs are not terribly appealing. But Ill come back to that in a moment.
However, the new plan that Greece is now in the process of assemblingit looks to be one of the smartest remote-worker visas Ive come across, assuming it all comes together. Thats because under the Greek plan as currently envisioned, a digital migrant, as the Greeks call us, will be eligible for a 50% exemption on earned income for the first seven years. In essence, you owe local taxes on only half your income.
For someone whos still in the workforce and looking to maximize their savings opportunities as they approach retirement, sharply reducing your tax burden for seven years represents an intriguing opportunity to squirrel away more money.
And then theres the cost of living that can also help you save even more.
All of that, to me, makes this Greek proposal intriguing.
All Investments Except For Real Estate Rental Are Returned To The Investor
Investors must hold their investments in real estate and/or securities for the entire duration of the residence permit in order to maintain their residency. After receiving a Greek permanent residence permit or citizenship, they can sell the real estate and/or securities, and they can withdraw their deposit. This can usually be done 5 or 7 years after receiving a residence permit.
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Submit Your Documentation For The Golden Visa
The amount of documentation needed is quite overwhelming, so we strongly advise getting a lawyer to do this with you, especially if you are not able to visit Greece. You will need to submit general documentation that is required for any Greek residency visa:
- Copy of all passports for you and your family members
- Signed insurance contract covering all costs of hospitalization and medical care.
- Criminal record certificate
- A 500 euro fee paid through e-paravolo
- A 16 euro processing fee, also paid through e-paravolo.
- Depending on the type of investment, you may be asked to provide occupation information such as your CV
Typically you would also have to provide biometrics for all family members, but it was made simpler due to Covid restrictions. Now, you will apply for the blue papers . Once the application has been made, you have up to 12 months to visit Greece with your family to do the biometrics, making it much more flexible. After this, you will finally be able to apply for permanent residence.
You can also submit your familys documentation at the same time if you would like them to move together with you. However, it isnt required and you can pursue their visas at a later stage if you wish.
If your investment is non-real estate, then you will need to give additional documentation related to the investment. These are:
How To Obtain A Greek Golden Visa
Until recently, your only choice was to purchase real estate if you wanted to become a resident of Greece.
Yet, seeing how foreign investors often prefer to invest in financial instruments other than real estate investments, Greece introduced seven more investment options at the end of 2019.
These are especially convenient since Greece has no physical residence requirement and a hands-off approach appeals to a number of investors.
Here are the seven new ways you can invest in Greece to get its residence:
1. Put 400,000 into a real estate investment company that buys exclusively Greek properties
2. Invest 400,000 in a capital equity company or an equity mutual fund
3. Buy 400,000 worth of Greek state bonds
4. Hold a deposit of 400,000 at a credit institution
5. Buy worth 800,000
6. Invest 400,000 in a mutual fund that invests in shares, corporate or state bonds
7. Buy 400,000 worth of shares in an Alternative Investment Organization in Greece or another EU member-state that buys Greek real estate
Needless to say, not many people have been able to take advantage of these options purely because they are so new and the financial organizations havent been able to adapt their offering to foreign investors.
However, we anticipate that in the years to come, more and more investors will opt for these alternative methods and their popularity will grow.
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