Benefits of Greece permanent residence
Visa-free travel through Europe. Residents of Greece don’t need a visa to travel to the EU states. They can stay in other countries of the Schengen Area for up to 90 days every 6 months. Plus, they are allowed to travel visa-free to some of the EU states that are not part of the Schengen Agreement: Romania, Cyprus, and Croatia.
Access to local education. Any resident of Greece and their children can take advantage of the universities and schools in Greek cities, as well as other public educational facilities.
Access to local healthcare. As it is with schools, residents of Greece can also freely use local hospitals and clinics if needed.
Opportunity to open an account in a local bank. Anyone who resides in Greece can have an account in a local bank. It might be useful for entrepreneurs who work with international partners and make transactions in euros or those who want to deposit money in a trustable bank under beneficial conditions.
Ability to work in Greece. Anyone who holds the Greek PR card has the right to work for local companies.
A prospect of becoming an EU citizen. Permanent residents who have been staying within the country for the required time and can prove that they have strong ties with the country's culture can apply for citizenship by naturalisation.
The required time of physical residence depends on the grounds on which the permanent residence was given. For example, those who got a residence permit by investment can become citizens after 7 years of living in Greece.
Permanent residents don’t get to vote in Greece, pass their status by inheritance, access to the national social welfare system, and reside in other EU countries. These are available only to citizens of Greece.
Types of permanent residence permits in Greece
There are two types of residence permits that allow non-EU citizens to reside in Greece permanently: permanent residence and long‑term residence. People often use the term permanent residence to define both permits in everyday speech.
Permanent residence, as the name applies, is a permanent status, even though, formally, it has to be renewed. This option is available to family members of Greek citizens and investors who have been holding a Golden Visa for at least five years.
Long-term residence can be obtained by citizens of non-EU countries legally residing in Greece for at least five years. Formally, the long-term residence is valid for five years. However, it's automatically renewable: the permit holder has to fill in a simple application and provide the expiring permit to get a new one.
Obtaining the Greek PR card as an investor
The Golden Visa Program has been operating in Greece since 2014. It offers foreigners willing to invest at least €250,000 five-year renewable residency in the Greek economy.
The investor can buy real estate, make a deposit in a Greek bank, or invest in securities. After holding the Golden Visa for five years, the investor can apply for permanent residence. And then, in another two years, it’s possible to apply for Greece citizenship.
Requirements for the applicant. Any non-EU citizen older than 18, has legal income and does not have criminal records can apply for the Greece Golden Visa Program and get residency afterwards.
Golden Visas for family members. Along with the investor, the Golden Visa is available to:
- their spouse or registered partner;
- unmarried children under 21 years old;
- spouse’s children under 21 years old – on the condition that they are not married and are in the investor’s custody;
Investment options. There are six ways to invest in the Greek economy to get into the program. Five of them related to real estate with the minimum investment amount of €250,000:
- Buy a property.
- Rent a hotel or tourist residence for 10 years.
- Purchase land for construction or agriculture.
- Timeshare for 10 years.
- Inherit real estate or receive it as a gift.
Another option under the Greece Golden Visa Program is to purchase securities or open a deposit account in a local bank. In this case, the investment threshold is €400,000.
Greek properties qualifying for the Golden Visa Program
Obtaining a Greece Golden Visa: a step-by-step procedure
Here’s how the process of obtaining a residence permit with Immigrant Invest goes:
1. Preliminary Due Diligence. A certified Anti Money Laundering Officer conducts a preliminary check on the investor to ensure they are eligible for the program. It allows reducing the risk of rejection to 1%.
2. Buying real estate. Our experts fully accompany the applicant during the process of investing. If they choose to purchase real estate, the real estate agents help the investor find a suitable property and then negotiate the conditions with the owner. The investor’s lawyer uses a power of attorney to gather all the real estate papers needed for the application.
3. Preparation of documents and application. The application documents include passport photos of the applicant, copies of their valid passport, receipts confirming the payment of fees, a certificate from an insurance company and a sample digital signature.
The application fees are €2,000 for the investor and €150 for each family member over 18 years old. Plus, €16 for the production of an electronic residence permit card.
Our lawyers prepare the documents for the application — they translate them into Greek, notarise and apostille. Then, the documents are submitted to a specialised department of the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum. At this point, the investor has to visit Greece to submit their biometrical data.
4. Getting the residence permit. Application for the resident permit is usually processed within 1—2 months. The investor can receive it by themselves or delegate that to our lawyer.
Getting permanent residence for investors: the procedure and required documents
After five years of holding a Golden Visa, an investor can apply for permanent residence.
The requirements for them are to still be in possession of their investment and actually reside in the country for all that time. To be able to apply for the status, investors should spend no more than six months at once and ten months overall outside of Greece.
The application process includes gathering the following documents and submitting them to the Department of Residence Permits of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum:
- A filled-in application form.
- A certified copy of a valid passport.
- Paid fees include a €2,000 application fee and a €16 PR card issuance fee.
- An insurance policy from a private insurance body.
- Photocopy of all pages of travel documents.
- Real estate ownership or leasing papers.
- Recent colour photographs.
Becoming a permanent resident as a family member of a Greek citizen
Close relatives of Greek citizens have the right to apply for a permanent residency card. The list of close relatives includes:
- a spouse;
- a partner if registered in Greece;
- dependent parents or spouse’s parents;
- dependent children under 21 years old, as well as those of a partner;
- children who have been adopted by the Greek citizen or their spouse or partner.
Before applying for permanent status, they need to obtain a temporary residence permit. Only after they reside in Greece based on that permit for five years they can apply for permanent residence. Within that time, they shouldn't leave the country for longer than 2 years at once.
Family members of Greek citizens have to gather almost the same documents as the investors. The difference is that they do not need to pay the €2,000 application fee. But they are required to present proof of family relations: for instance, a certificate of marital status or adoption papers. Spouses and registered partners must also state that their marital status hasn't changed.
Who is eligible for long-term residence in Greece
Long-term residence can be granted to non-EU citizens legally residing in Greece for at least five years.
Financially independent persons. Non-EU citizens with a high income in their home country can apply for a residency permit for financially independent persons. For that kind of residency, Greece requires the applicants to have at least €2,000 monthly income plus €24,000 in their savings accounts.
To keep the residency, one must stay in Greece for a minimum of six months a year. The permit has to be renewed every two years.
Residence permit for financially independent persons doesn’t allow them to work within the country.
Blue card holders. A Blue Card is a work and residence permit for non-EU citizens. It is given to highly qualified professionals to make it possible for them to work within the EU. To apply for a Blue Card, one has to:
- have a valid work contract or binding job offer from a Greek company for highly qualified employees with a duration of at least 1 year;
- meet the minimum salary threshold, which in Greece is €30,675;
- present a valid travel document;
- have medical insurance;
- provide documents proving that the national legal requirements are met;
- has been absent from the country for no longer than 12 months at once and 18 months overall within the last five years
The Blue Card is valid for two years if the work contract of the applicant is not shorter than that.
Aside from mentioned conditions, long-term residency is also available to diplomats and refugees.
To obtain the status, Blue Card holders and financially independent individuals must continuously reside within the country for at least five years. They shouldn't live outside Greece for longer than six months at once and ten months overall.
The list of documents an applicant has to provide to get the long‑term residency includes:
- A confirmation that they have income more than the country's minimum wage, which is currently €713. For each dependent family member, this amount increases by 10%. The income shouldn’t come from the social assistance of the country.
- Medical insurance.
- A proof of their sufficient knowledge of the Greek language, as well as the history and culture of the country with a recognised graduation degree from Greek language departments of foreign universities, a certificate from a local school, a certificate of knowledge of Greek on level B1, or a certificate from a Greek Language Centre.
- A copy of a travel document.
Types and terms of permanent residence in Greece
|Type of a residence permit||Grounds for obtaining||Allowed time of absence from the country||Need to renew the document|
|Permanent residence||Golden Visa||6 months at once and 10 months overall within the last five years||Every five years|
|Family relationships||2 years||Every ten years, renewed automatically|
|Long-term residence||Blue card||12 months at once and 18 months overall||Every five years|
|Independent financial means||6 months at once and 10 months overall within the last five years||Every five years|
How to get Greece citizenship after holding permanent residence as an investor
After another two years, the investor can apply for Greece citizenship. Overall, it takes 7 years from getting the Golden Visa to obtaining a Greek passport. The application fee for the passport is €700.
To obtain citizenship, the investor has to spend most of the year in Greece and prepare to take an exam on the Greek language, culture, history, geography and government structure.
The exam consists of 20 questions, a written part and a speaking part. The questions are broken down into four categories:
- 4 questions on geography;
- 4 questions on culture;
- 6 questions on history;
- 6 questions on the political system.
The written part consists of 20 questions and an essay. The candidate will be asked 10 questions on three different topics during the speaking part.
The applicant needs to perform their written and speaking skills during the exam at the B1 level.
Frequently asked questions
One of the options for obtaining Greece permanent residence is joining the Golden Visa Program by investing in the country’s economy. The investment should be at least €250,000.
Aside from that, close relatives of Greek citizens are also eligible for permanent residency in Greece.
There are other ways of residing in Greece permanently. Financially independent persons and Blue Card holders can obtain a long-term residence permit that automatically renews every five years.
Greek law permits second citizenship. It means that a person who obtains a Greek passport doesn’t have to give up their other citizenship if their country of origin doesn’t require otherwise. Note that there is a difference between the terms dual citizenship and second citizenship.
Technically, one cannot buy residency in Greece. However, it is possible to invest in the country’s economy and get into the Greece Golden Visa program. After that, a residence permit can be obtained. The minimal investment threshold is €250,000.
EU citizens can stay in Greece for up to three months without additional permits. For a more extended stay, they can unregister at their current state of residence and then get a permit in Greece.
Non-EU citizens can obtain residency in Greece by investment. The local Golden Visa Program requires a relatively low minimum investment and doesn’t require its participants to reside within the country to keep the residence.
Other ways to obtain Greek residency include moving to Greece as a financially independent person, finding a Greek employer and getting the Blue Card, and, if there’s such an option, getting a PR card as a close relative of a Greek citizen.
Indians, like other non-EU citizens, can obtain Greek residency by taking advantage of the Greek Golden Visa program and investing in the country’s economy. To get a residence by investment, one needs to prove that their funds are legally earned and are older than 18 years old. To get a PR card afterwards, investors should continuously reside in Greece for 5 years and still own their investment.
There are several ways to move and reside in Greece legally. They include joining the Golden Visa program, moving to the country as a financially independent person, and getting a Blue Card as a highly required professional. Close relatives of Greek citizens and descendants of Greek also can obtain residency and move to Greece.