Like Andorra, Spain, Malta, Italy, and Portugal, Greece also allows non-EU citizens to obtain a residence by investment.
Fulfilling some requirements that we will expose throughout this article, any investor can obtain residence authorization in Greece without having to worry about obtaining an employed or self-employed job.
What is the Greek Golden Visa?
In 2013, the Greek government made available a permit to international investors known as the Greek Golden Visa. In exchange for this temporary residence permit, the interested party must make a substantial economic investment in the country, which we will detail below.
This permit may also cover other persons of the family nucleus:
- The applicant’s spouse.
- Children up to 21 years of age, as long as they’re not married. This age limit may be extended to 24 years of age provided they are students.
- Dependent parents of both the applicant and the applicant’s spouse.
Requirements to obtain it
Those interested in applying for this residence permit through investment must first meet these requirements:
- They must be nationals of non-European Union member states or included in the European Economic Area.
- Must be 18 years of age or older.
- Must not have a criminal record.
- They must have medical insurance, both for themselves and for accompanying family members.
Besides, of course, Greek regulations require an investment, which can be either in real estate or financial assets.
The most common investment is in real estate assets, for which there are three alternatives:
- Investment in real estate assets whose valuation exceeds €250,000. It should be noted that, in case the property is shared with a spouse, the distribution should be considered indivisible. This property can be rented after its acquisition, although payment of the full amount of the acquisition is required at the time of signing the contract of transfer of the property.
- Holding 100% of shares in an entity which, in turn, holds the aforementioned real estate assets for the amount of €250,000.
- It’s also accepted that the Golden Visa applicant has signed an agreement of at least 10 years duration and that it covers accommodation in hotels or residences for tourists.
There’s also the possibility of investing in other assets, although in this case, the minimum amount is almost €400,000:
- Investment in Greek government bonds.
- Investment in bonds or shares of Greek real estate investment entities.
- Investing in bonds or shares of venture capital entities or investment entities that are domiciled in Greece.
How to apply
The first step is to apply for a pre-entry visa at the Greek consular authority nearest to the place of residence of the person who intends to apply for this visa.
This authority must, within one month, forward the application to the relevant department of the Greek Ministry of Economy and Development. In turn, the Ministry shall, also within one month, review the application and forward, if necessary, the approval to the authority to whom the application has been submitted. This authority will arrange for the issuance of the applicant’s visa.
The documentation to be submitted together with the application for this entry permit is simpler than in other countries in the Greek environment. The following documentation must be attached to the application:
- Passport or any other travel document recognized by Greece.
- Travel insurance for a duration of at least the time for which the entry visa is granted.
- A criminal record certificate issued by the authorities of the applicant’s country of origin.
- Medical certificate issued by a public or private entity proving that the applicant does not suffer from any condition that poses a threat to public health.
- Documentation corresponding to the investment project:
- Presentation of the investment project, including the following details:
- Description of the investment project.
- Location of the investment.
- Investment schedule.
- Expected results for the first 5 years.
- Planned jobs.
- Documentation related to the applicant:
- Position of the applicant in relation to the project.
- Duration of the residency according to the implementation of the project.
- Documentation proving the necessary funds: bank certificates or any document proving that the necessary funds are available.
- Presentation of the investment project, including the following details:
Once the entry visa to Greece has been granted, you must apply, personally or through a proxy, for the final residence permit at the Migration Directorate of the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum. Such application shall include the following:
- Application form.
- Four passport photos.
- Copy of the appraisal of the investment project of the Ministry of Economy and Development.
- Certified copy of passport.
- Certificate of payment of the €2,000 fee required for this procedure.
- Certificate from the competent Greek social security authority validating that the insurance provided is sufficient.
Renewal of the residence permit
Contrary to what happens with the Golden Visa in other countries, it’s not necessary to live in Greece to opt for the renewal of this permit.
Once the 5-year period for which the initial permit is issued has elapsed, it’ll only be necessary to prove that you still own the original property or investment.
If, for example, you sell the property, you will lose the right of residence and give the possibility to the buyer of the property to apply for themselves.
The procedures for renewal will be similar to the initial ones, and you will have to pay again a fee of €2.000.
What taxes are paid in Greece?
Related article: Retiring in Greece
As we mentioned in the previous section, the permit doesn’t oblige you to reside in Greek territory. That means that you will be taxed, in general terms, in whichever country you spend more than 183 days.
So if you chose to stay in Greece for more than 183 days, your tax residence would be in Greece and any income earned worldwide would necessarily be taxed in Greece.
However, there’s a tax advantage for those who have not resided in Greece for 5 of the last 6 years: they can avoid taxation on 50% of the income they earn from both their employment and self-employment, as long as this is carried out from Greece.
Advantages of the Greek Golden Visa
In short, the need for the Hellenic country to modernize and dynamize its economy through foreign investment has turned the Greek Golden Visa into one of the most advantageous residence permits for investment in the European Union.
With it, an investor will be able to enjoy its many advantages, among which it is necessary to emphasize:
- The investment thresholds required to obtain a visa are lower than in most of the other countries of the European Union that allow this possibility of residence.
- The residence permit can be extended to the applicant’s family members, being this range quite wide.
- They’ll be able to benefit from the possibility of traveling freely to countries included in the Schengen zone.
- To rent the acquired property to finance the investment, without losing the residence permit.
- You will be able to become a Greek national after 7 years of residence, with all that this entails in terms of access to the free movement of capital and persons throughout the European Union.
How to take the first step?
If you are thinking of applying for the Greek Golden Visa, Relocate&Save can help you, as we have a local team in Greece that will assist you during the whole process.
Feel free to contact us using this form, or write to us at [email protected]
And if you are looking for ideas on destinations to optimize your tax burden, we recommend you to read our free report “The 3 best tax destinations of the moment”, available below.