1. Visa-free travel to Europe
Residents of Greece, including Golden Visa holders, can travel visa-free to all Schengen countries and some of the EU countries that are not part of the agreement. This applies only to short visits up to 90 days every 6 months.
The amount of days sums up for all of the states within the Schengen area. For example, within half a year, one can travel to Spain for 45 days, then to Italy for 15 days, and then to Austria for 30 days.
Aside from that, residents of Greece can travel visa-free to Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania. It’s possible to stay in each of these countries for 90 days every 6 months.
Being able to travel Europe visa-free is one of the major benefits of Greek residency that makes investors consider applying for the Golden Visa program.
European countries to which Greece Golden Visa holders can travel visa‑free
|Country||Member of agreement||Conditions of visa-free stay|
|Austria||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Belgium||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Croatia||EU only||90 days every 180 days, doesn’t sum up with other countries of stay|
|Cyprus||EU only||90 days every 180 days, doesn’t sum up with other countries of stay|
|Czech Republic||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Denmark||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Estonia||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Finland||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|France||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Germany||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Hungary||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Iceland||Schengen only||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Italy||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Latvia||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Liechtenstein||Schengen only||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Lithuania||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Luxembourg||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Malta||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Netherlands||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Norway||Schengen only||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Poland||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Portugal||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Romania||EU only||90 days every 180 days, doesn’t sum up with other countries of stay|
|Slovakia||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Slovenia||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Spain||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Sweden||Schengen and EU||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
|Switzerland||Schengen only||90 days for every 180 days, summed up with other Schengen states|
2. Tax optimisation
New tax residents of Greece have the right to take advantage of the preferential system for 15 years. Instead of paying up to 45% of the tax on global income, they can pay a flat tax of €100,000 per year. The fixed payment does not depend on the amount of income the investor receives from outside Greece.
For each family member that also decides to be a tax resident of Greece, the investor has to add an extra €20,000 to his annual tax payment.
To become a tax resident, investors have to spend more than 183 days a year within the country.
This benefit of Greek residency makes the Golden Visa Program attractive to IT specialists and other professionals who work remotely for foreign companies.
3. Residence applies to the investor’s close relatives
Along with the investor, the residency is available to their close family members. The list of people who are allowed to get the residence permit under the same investment includes:
- their spouse or registered partner, if the partnership was registered in Greece;
- unmarried children under 21 years old;
- children of the spouse if they are under the investor’s custody and unmarried;
- the investor’s parents of any age.
4. Option to obtain permanent residence in Greece
Golden Visa investors looking to move to Greece for good can obtain permanent residence. To be able to apply for a PR card, they are required to still be in possession of the investment they made and physically reside within the country for at least five years.
During five years, they shouldn’t leave the country for more than six months at once and ten months overall.
5. Prospect of obtaining EU citizenship
Golden Visa holders have the opportunity to obtain Greece citizenship by naturalisation. To be able to apply for citizenship, they need to pay the €700 application fee and meet the following requirements:
- Continuously reside in Greece for at least 7 years. The Golden Visa investor gets a residence permit valid for 5 years. It means that they will have to renew their permit only once to obtain citizenship.
The investor’s relatives who are also looking to obtain citizenship in Greece under the same investment requirements are different – they need to reside in the country for at least 12 years.
- Established close ties with the country and integration into the Greek community. To do this, the investors need to pass an exam on the Greek language, culture, history, geography, and government structure. The exam consists of 40 questions, an essay, and a speaking part.
Some benefits of Greece citizenship include being able to travel to 185 countries visa-free, the rights to vote and to take advantage of the local welfare system, as well as the ability to pass the status by inheritance.
European Golden Visa Programs and time frames for obtaining citizenship by naturalisation for investors
|Country||Time required to obtain citizenship||Is an exam on the language and culture of the country needed?|
6. Passive income by renting the investment property
It is allowed to rent out the real estate purchased as an investment. The investor can start renting their property right after the acquisition for additional passive income.
The rental prices in Athens range from €650 to €1,300 per month for a three-bedroom apartment.
Another passive income a Golden Visa resident can have is a percentage from owning shares in local companies. While investors can buy shares and dividends here, they cannot work for Greek employers.
8. Access to local healthcare and education
Residents of Greece and their children can take advantage of the Greek cities’ schools, universities and other state educational facilities. Services of local hospitals and clinics and also available to them.
9. Option to live in Greece
Having the residency in Greece, the investor has the right to move to Greece or keep the option as a “safe haven”. No matter what are the reasons the investor decides to leave their country of origin, they will always have their second home here.
With all close family members eligible for a Greek residency permit, they have the option to put down roots in the country of heavenly islands and feta cheese.
Pros of Living in Greece
Cost of living. Compared to other EU countries, Greece is an affordable place to live. The average annual wage here is €16,975, which makes €1,415 monthly. A single person can live comfortably in Greece, spending from €657 per month excluding rent payments.
Dinner in an inexpensive restaurant for two will cost you around €40; for a cup of cappuccino, you will pay €2.95. Taxi costs start from €3.50 for an order.
Prices in the cities that are popular among tourists will be higher than in more distant locations.
Climate. Greece is known for its mild Mediterranean climate. Summers here are consistently sunny and hot; winters are rainy and relatively warm.
The mean temperature in July is +26 °C, and in January, it’s +6 °C. The springs start pretty early – it’s already warm and sunny in April, and the first half of fall is usually summerlike. This leaves you with only 5 months of non-t-shirt weather.
Nature and cultural heritage. Greece attracts insane amounts of tourists: in 2019, more than 34.2 million people arrived here. Even during the pandemic in 2020, over 7 million tourists travelled to Greece – and for a good reason. Its historical monuments, like the Acropolis of Athens and Ancient Delphi, are known and admired worldwide. Aside from that, Greece boasts scenic natural attractions with its mountainous islands and sandy beaches.
Places to visit in Greece
Greece Golden Visa in comparison to other similar programs in the EU
It’s hard to say which European Golden Visa Program is the best, as each investor has their own goals.
On the other hand, many of our clients are looking to obtain residency in an EU state with investment options as affordable as possible. From that perspective, the Greece Golden Visa Program is one of the best ones in the EU. It requires minimal investment in real estate among other European states. But that’s not the only benefit of the program.
Relatively low investment threshold. The Greece Golden Visa requires a minimal investment of €250,000, making it affordable compared to some other similar programs in Europe. For instance, the minimal investment one has to make to obtain a Spanish Golden Visa is €500,000.
The investment of €250,000 is enough to purchase a real-estate in Greece, looking like this:
Properties you can purchase in Greece as a Golden Visa investment
No requirement to reside in Greece. After obtaining a Golden Visa, the investor gets a residence permit valid for 5 years. To keep the permit and be able to renew it after expiration, they are not obliged to reside in Greece for any time.
You can spend all five years outside of Greece without visiting it once, and you will still have the right to renew your permit and take advantage of visa-free travel to Europe.
Infrequent renewal of the resident permit. The residence permit the investor obtains after investing is valid for five years. After the five years pass, it has to be renewed. Compared to other similar programs in the EU, it’s an infrequent option. In Portugal, for example, it has to be renewed every two years; in Italy – every three years after the first renewal.
Opportunity to rent out the investment property. The investor can have passive income from renting out the real estate they purchased as an investment. Some other states do not allow renting the property out for a short term.
Golden Visa conditions in European states
|Country||Min investment||Obligation to stay in the country||Frequency of residence permit renewal||Opportunity to rent out the property|
Purchase of real estate
Investment in innovative local start-ups
|None||2 years after obtainment, then every 3 years||Not available|
Purchase of real estate that was built over 30 years ago and is located outside of prime areas
|7 days per year||1 year after obtainment, then every 2 years||Available|
only if the property is rented for a year or longer
Purchase of real estate in the primary market or any commercial property
|Once every 2 years||Issued for life||Available|
Purchase of real estate
|None||2 years after obtainment, then every 5 years||Available|
How to obtain the Greece Golden Visa
We run a preliminary Due Diligence check with all our clients to ensure that the potential applicant is suitable for the program. Only after this step do we sign the contract with an investor. This allows us to increase the likelihood of approval to 99%.
Immigrant Invest real estate experts help the investor find a suitable property for them. After shortlisting the best options, our lawyer in Greece negotiates and purchases the property on the investor’s behalf.
Using a power of attorney signed remotely, the lawyer prepares the documents for the property ownership.
At the same time, we prepare all the other documents required for application for the Golden Visa Program. Immigrant Invest specialists translate and notarise the documents and submit them to the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum of Greece.
On the application day, the investor also has to submit their fingerprints. If they couldn’t arrive in Greece on time, the lawyer schedules the collection of biometric data for another day.
The processing of the application usually takes 1—2 months. The investor and their family members can receive their residence permit cards in person or ask the lawyer to do that.
The residence permit card is valid for five years. After that, it should be renewed. Immigrant Invest experts stay in touch with the investor to help them during the renewal process.
Frequently asked questions
Holders of the Greece Golden Visa obtain a residence permit card which provides them with the following benefits:
- visa-free travel to Europe;
- tax optimisation options;
- opportunity to provide a residence permit to close family members;
- a prospect to obtain EU citizenship in 7 years.
The Greece Golden Visa also has some advantages compared to other similar programs in the EU:
- a relatively low investment threshold of €250,000;
- infrequent renewal of the residence permit;
- the ability to rent out the property;
- no requirements to reside in Greece to keep the residency.
No, the Golden Visa residents are not allowed to work in Greece. However, they can become a citizen by naturalisation and then they will be able to work in Greece.
The Greece Golden Visa requires a minimum investment of €250,000. It is a low threshold compared to other similar programs in European states.
The Greece Golden Visa holders get to travel to all the Schengen states. Aside from that, they can permanently reside in Greece, optimise their tax game, and obtain EU citizenship after 7 years of holding a Greece Golden Visa.
Greece Golden Visa holders who have continuously lived in the country for 7 years and passed an exam on the Greek language and culture can apply for Greece citizenship. The application fee is €700.
The average wage in Greece is €1,415 monthly. A single person can live comfortably in Greece, spending €1,657 monthly if they don’t pay rent. Life in remote islands and towns will be cheaper than in popular tourist cities.