What is Greece residency by investment?
A residence permit by investment is called a “golden visa”. The government-supported Greece Golden Visa Program regulates the rules under which investors get residence permits.
The Greece Golden Visa Program has been operating since 2014. Thirty thousand people have already obtained a golden residence permit.
Greece is the only country that issues a five-year golden visa for first-time applicants. For example, in Portugal and Spain, the first residence permit by investment card is valid for two years; the holder prepares documents and pays state duties to extend the residence permit.
To obtain a Greece residence permit, the applicant must invest at least €250,000 in the country's economy. They can buy a home, make a deposit in a Greek bank, or invest in securities. Most investors purchase real estate to rent it out and earn passive income.
The investor and their family members can receive residence permit cards in three months.
Differences between Greece golden visa and other types of residence permits
|Criteria||Residence permit by investment||Other types of residence permits|
|Validity period of the residence permit||5 years||1—2 years|
|Mandatory stay in the country per annum||No||183 days a year|
|Travel to the Schengen states without visas||Yes||Yes|
|Opening an account in a European bank||Yes||Yes|
|Adding a spouse and minor children to the application||Yes||Yes|
|Adding parents and adult children under 21 years old to the application||Yes||No|
|Income tax benefits||Yes||No|
|Work in Greece||No||It depends on the type of residence permit|
Benefits of Greece residence permit
Visa-free travelling. Investors with a Greece residence permit visit other Schengen countries without a visa and spend up to 90 days out of 180 there.
Living in Greece. The investors and their families can arrive in the country even if the borders are closed. You can come to Greece for a holiday at any time. In addition, it's possible to organise a “safe haven” and go to Greece in case of emergency.
Tax optimization. Greek tax residents are offered preferential tax rates. The investor pays a flat tax on their global income of €100,000 per annum. The investor’s close relatives can also take advantage of the preferential rates and pay €20,000 per annum.
Using the services of Greek banks. An investor can open accounts and deposits in Greece and use all banking services.
Getting EU citizenship. After five years of living in Greece, the investor can obtain permanent residence, and after another two years, they can apply for citizenship. Greece allows its citizens to hold multiple citizenships at once. Investors do not have to renounce their first citizenship if their original country does not require this.
Who can get Greece residence permit by investment
Any person over 18 years old who has no criminal record is eligible to apply for a Greece golden visa.
Investor’s family member who can be included in the application:
- a spouse or partner with a signed Cohabitation Agreement, registered in Greece;
- unmarried children under 21;
- spouse or partner's unmarried children under 21, provided that the applicant has legal parental rights over them;
- spouses’ parents.
Applicants need to prepare and submit the required documents and pass the state’s Due Diligence check.
Greece residency by buying property
The most popular option for participating in the Greece Golden Visa Program is the purchase of real estate. The investor can buy residential or commercial properties in Greece. Investments in real estate require €250,000, while the other options require €400,000.
The property can then be rented out. The guaranteed yield from renting out a property is 10—12%. The property can be sold five years later, and the money returned to the investor.
The process of buying a property takes two months. Immigrant Invest lawyers help choose real estate and register a sale and purchase transaction.
Purchasing commercial or residential real estate. An investor can buy real estate in any area of Greece as an individual or through a legal entity. When purchasing through a legal entity, the following conditions apply:
- The head office of the company must be located in the EU.
- The investor must own a controlling stake in the company.
A Greece golden visa can also be obtained by someone who has inherited a real estate worth over €250,000 or accepted it as a gift. They will need to pass Due Diligence and submit the documents stipulated in the residence permit application.
The real estate investment amount depends on the number of family members included in the application:
- children: the investment amount is not affected;
- a spouse: at least €250,000, as long as the couple signs a joint residence agreement in Greece and owns indivisible real estate shares;
- parents: minimum investment of €500,000 as long as the parents also sign a joint residence agreement.
Suppose any members in the application do not enter into a collective residence agreement with the main applicant. In that case, the minimum investment is increased by €250,000 for each person included in the application.
Purchasing a plot of land. The investor buys a plot of land to build a house or farm. The investment is made up of the total cost of the site and the services of the building contractors.
Rental of property. Instead of buying real estate, the investor can choose to rent accommodation in a hotel or a furnished apartment in a tourist complex. The rental or lease agreement is concluded for ten years. The investor makes a one-time payment before obtaining a residence permit.
The average cost depends on the region: a three-bedroom apartment can be rented for €770 in Corfu or €360 in Lamia.
Examples of investment real estate in Greece
Greece residency by buying securities
The Greece golden visa program offers the opportunity of investing in securities. The investment amount depends on the type chosen and the number of family members in the application.
A minimum of €400,000 must be invested in any of the following types of assets:
- Investing in the capital of a Greek company.
- Purchasing 3-year (or longer) Greek government bonds.
- Buying shares in a venture fund that specialises in investments in stocks and bonds listed on the stock exchanges in Greece.
For an investment of €800,000, the buyer can independently collect a portfolio of stocks, corporate or government bonds, which are traded on the Greek stock exchanges. In this case, there are no restrictions on the maturity of the bonds.
Greece residency by opening a deposit account in a Greek bank
Depositing a significant amount to a bank account is another way under the Greece golden visa program.
The investor deposits €400,000 in a term deposit account with automatic renewal. The initial term of the deposit is one year.
There are only two countries in Europe with investment residency programs that offer a residence permit in exchange for a bank deposit. These are Portugal and Greece. But the Portuguese program requires a deposit of €1,000,000.
Greece Golden Visa requirements
Documents for application. For successful participation in the Greece Golden Visa Program, it is necessary to fulfil the requirements for documents from both the investor and their family members.
List of required documents, depending on the option selected
|Main applicant||Application for a residence permit in duplicate|
4 passport-type colour photographs in printed form and on a CD
Certified passport copy with a valid visa
Copy of the investment summary
Receipt on a state duty payment
Receipt on payment of the residence permit card issuance fee
Certificate of no criminal record
Medical certificate confirming the absence of diseases that pose a risk to public health: for example, HIV, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases
|Additional family member||Certificate of marital status, a certificate confirming the relationship|
|Investment option||Documents required|
|Purchase of real estate||Purchase and sale agreement|
Confirmation of the agreement registration with the Greek
Land Register (Greek Cadastre)
|Real estate rental||Copy of the lease agreement|
|Purchase of a plot||Sale and purchase agreement|
Notarized agreement with a construction company
Contractor invoices and receipts for their payment
|Investment in a Greek company||Certificate from an intermediary on the creation of the investor’s personal registration record in the electronic securities system|
|Purchase of government bonds||Bond purchase certificate|
|Purchase of venture fund shares||Certificate from a mutual fund manager|
Certificate confirming the money transfer by the investor
|Opening a deposit||Certificate of term deposit information|
Certificate of an order for the automatic renewal of the deposit
Investment ownership period and return. Except for real estate rental, all investments are returned to the investor. Investors must hold their assets in real estate or securities for the entire duration of the residence permit to maintain their residency.
After receiving a Greece permanent residence permit or citizenship, an investor can sell the real estate or securities and withdraw their deposit. This can usually be done 5 or 7 years after receiving a residence permit.
The state duty for applying for a residence permit is €2,000 for the main applicant and €150 for each adult family member included in the application. There is no fee for children under the age of 18.
The fee for issuing a residence permit card is €16 and is paid for each person in the application. Payment receipts are provided on the e-Paravolo electronic platform.
Step-by-step procedure for obtaining Greece Golden Visa
At this stage, an investor undergoes a preliminary Due Diligence against international legal and business information databases and is also checked for harmful or compromising information materials on the Internet.
For each family member, a form with personal data is filled out. When filling out the forms, all documents according to the list must be available for reliable filling in the papers and further submission of documents.
In addition to the investment amount, the investor pays the application filing and processing costs. These include the cost of translation of documents, services of lawyers and notaries, and state fees for examining an application for a residence permit.
When buying real estate, a tourist visa is sufficient. For the other options, the investor needs a long-term type D visa.
Submission of applications for a residence permit can be carried out either by the investor in person or by an authorised lawyer by proxy, a spouse, or adult relatives.
Fingerprints are taken on the day of document submission. Suppose a lawyer applies without the interested person. In that case, the interested person is given written notice of the appointment of a specific date for taking biometric data.
1 or 2 months after submitting documents, the investor receives a residence permit card.
Every five years, the investor can apply to renew the golden visa residence card, making it easy to access the permanent residence.
Golden visa and taxes
The investor can become a tax resident of Greece and pay a fixed annual income tax of €100,000 for 15 years. The investor’s close relatives can also take advantage of the preferential rates and pay €20,000 per annum.
Global income tax is levied on a progressive scale without these exemptions and can be as high as 45%.
Tax residency can be changed if the investor resides at least 183 days a year. To obtain an official status of a tax resident, he must apply to the Greece tax authorities.
How to obtain Greece citizenship
Investors don’t need to live in the country permanently to maintain a residence permit. However, they need to have lived in Greece for at least seven years to obtain citizenship.
First, the investor receives a Greece golden visa for five years and moves to the country. After five years, they extend the residence permit card or obtain permanent residence in Greece. Permanent residence is issued to those investors who have not spent more than ten months outside Greece in the previous five years.
After another two years, the investor applies for a Greek passport. The application fee is €700.
The applicant needs to pass a Greek language proficiency test and a history exam to obtain Greece citizenship. They also take an oath of allegiance and confirm that they do not pose a threat to Greek citizens' life or health, have a stable income, and will not apply for unemployment benefits.
The main applicant’s minor children automatically receive Greece citizenship, provided that they permanently reside in the country.
A foreigner can get Greece permanent residence and citizenship faster by marrying a Greek citizen. In this case, an application for permanent residence can be submitted after three years of living in the country and citizenship after five years.
Interesting facts about Greece
🚠 Greece is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe: 80% of its territory is covered with mountains. The most famous are Olympus, Parnassus, and Smolikas.
⛰️ Olympus is the highest mountain peak in the country, reaching a height of 2,917 metres above sea level.
⛪ The Greeks learned to build dwellings even on top of mountains. For example, the famous Orthodox monasteries of Meteora are located on the top of a rock formation.
🏝️ The Greek island of Santorini is an active marine volcano.
🕺 The Greeks are very fond of dancing. In total, there are over 4,000 traditional Greek dances.
🐦 The island of Mykonos has an official mascot: a pink pelican.
Frequently asked questions
Greece golden visa is a residence permit that allows investors to live in the country, travel within the Schengen Area freely, study in Europe and get medical treatment in the best clinics.
An investor can buy real estate or land for €250,000. Alternatively, they could rent a room in a hotel or an apartment in a tourist complex.
Investors can also buy securities: stocks, bonds, government bonds, or shares in a venture fund. They also have the option of opening a time deposit account in a Greek bank. In these cases, the minimum investment is €400,000.
When buying real estate, a transfer tax of 3% of its value and municipal tax of 0.9% must be paid. In some cases, instead of these taxes, the buyer needs to pay VAT at 24%.
You must pay two taxes for owning real estate: on the property and municipal taxation. The rates depend on the area, cadastral value, date of construction, and property location. If the property’s value is more than €300,000, an additional tax ranging from 0,1 to 1% must be paid per annum.
Buyers of land plots need to pay a tax ranging from €0.003 to €9 per square metre.
Rental income earned on real estate owned by individuals is taxed at 15 to 45%, and rental income on properties owned by legal entities is taxed at 24%.
It will take about six months.
An application for permanent residence by investment in Greece can be submitted after five years of living there.
Applicants who acquire a residence permit in Greece by marriage to a Greek citizen can apply for permanent residency after three years.
An application for Greece citizenship can be submitted after seven years of living in the country based on a residence permit or permanent residence. Applicants also pass a Greek language proficiency test and history and culture exam.
Foreigners who marry a Greek citizen can apply for citizenship after five years.
Yes, but the terms for obtaining such a residence permit differ from the conditions for getting a residence permit by investment. Financially independent persons must spend more than 183 days a year in Greece and have a local bank account. Their residence permit cards are valid for two years.
The investor and their family members who receive a residence permit by investment are not allowed to work in the country.
An investor has the right to apply for Greece citizenship only if they live in the country permanently. After seven years, the investor will get Greece citizenship. For the relatives, the term is twelve years.
For successful participation in the Greece Golden Visa Program, it is necessary to fulfil the requirements for documents from both the investor and their family members.