What is a Greece Golden Visa
Greece Golden Visa is a residence permit by investment issued to non-EU citizens who significantly contribute to the Greek economy. Any Nigerian citizen over 18, with legal income and no criminal record, can apply for a Greece Golden Visa.
Applicants from Nigeria and their immediate family can get residence permits in Greece by investing in real estate, securities, Greek business, or opening a bank deposit. The most popular investment option is buying residential properties.
The rules under which investors are granted residence permits are regulated by the Greece Golden Visa Program, an initiative of the Greek government. Thirty thousand foreigners have acquired golden residence permits since the program started in 2014.
The Golden Visa holders are not required to live in Greece or pass a Greek language proficiency test.
The minimum investment required for a Greece Golden Visa is €250,000 (≈ NGN 123.5 million). Here and throughout the article, amounts in the Nigerian Naira are calculated on February 21st 2023.
For the minimum amount, applicants can buy or rent properties. Greece’s real estate option is the most inexpensive among EU countries that offer residence permits by property investment.
What are the benefits of Greece residency for Nigerians
No minimum presence requirement. Nigerian citizens are not required to live in Greece to maintain and renew their residence permits.
Visa-free travelling to the Schengen Area. Greece residence permit holders can travel to other Schengen countries without a visa and spend up to 90 days out of 180.
Nigeria has the third highest Schengen visa refusal rate after Syria and Ghana. Nigerians had 46.1% of their Schengen visa applications rejected in 2021. In addition, only 43.3% of issued visas were multiple-entry.
Greece residence permit eliminates the need to obtain Schengen visas and increases the number of visa-free destinations for Nigerian citizens from 46 countries to 73. This is significant progress towards freedom of movement.
Investment programs expert
Preparing a plan B. Investors and their families who hold a Golden Visa are allowed to enter Greece anytime, even when the country's borders are closed to tourists. You are welcome to have vacations in Greece for as long as you want.
Be aware that there are no direct flights from Nigeria to Greece. The quickest flight takes 10 hours and has one stopover.
Relocation to Europe. Holders of the Golden Visa have the right to relocate to Greece, though it is not required. Some advantages of living in Greece are friendly locals, a relaxed pace of life and lovely weather. The crime rate in Greece is also low, so it is a safe country to live in. The Greek public healthcare system is great, especially in major cities.
Comparison of living standards in Nigeria and Greece
|Quality of Life Index||38.5||128.6|
|Health Care Index||48.5||57.5|
EU citizenship in 7 years. After living in Greece for five years, investors can get permanent residency. They can apply for Greek citizenship after another two years.
Greece allows its citizens to hold several passports, so you will not have to renounce Nigerian citizenship if you are Nigerian by birth or descent.
Tax optimisation. New Greek residents can use one of the preferential tax regimes instead of paying income tax according to the progressive scale of up to 45%:
- High-net-worth individuals can pay a flat tax of €100,000 (≈ NGN 49 million) annually on their global income.
- Retirees can pay tax on their income at 7%.
- Nigerians employed in Greece or conducting business in the country can get an exemption from tax on 50% of their income.
Yet, note there is no Double Tax Treaty between Greece and Nigeria.
Registering business in Greece to work with European customers without intermediaries or the need to pay commissions from trades to the partner.
Accounts in Greek banks. Nigerians with Greek residency can open personal and corporate bank accounts in Greek banks. It helps to avoid the foreign currency control effective in Nigeria, as well as keep savings in hard currency and eliminate losses from the Nigerian Naira decline.
Can Nigerians get the Greece Golden Visa for all their family members?
Applicants for a Greece Golden Visa can include their family members in the applications. However, there are some limitations.
Family members that can join the investor:
- a spouse or partner with a Cohabitation Agreement registered and signed in Greece;
- unmarried children under the age of 21;
- spouse or partner’s unmarried children younger than 21 under the investor’s custody;
- investor or spouse’s parents, with no age limit.
Greek residence by investment costs: what Nigerians can invest in?
Greece offers several options for investors to obtain a residence-by-investment visa. Most of them have to do with buying or renting real estate.
The minimum investment amount of €250,000 (≈ NGN 123.5 million) applies to 5 options:
- Real estate purchase. The investor can buy both residential and commercial properties in any area of Greece. It’s allowed to rent the real estate out.
- Rent of property for 10 years. The investor can rent a hotel or a tourist residence, making a one-time payment before getting a residence permit.
- Purchase of a plot of land. The investor can buy a plot of land to build a house or a farm. The investment includes the building contractors’ services and the site’s overall cost.
- Timeshare for 10 years. The investor can sign an agreement that gives the right to use the property for specific periods, for example, from July 1st to 31st every year for 10 years.
- Inheriting real estate or getting it as a gift. The inheritor must pass Due Diligence and submit the documents required in the residence permit application.
After May 1st 2023, the minimum investment in real estate purchases in Athens, Thessaloniki, Mykonos, and Santorini will increase to €500,000 (≈ NGN 247 million).
The investment of €400,000 (≈ NGN 197 million) applies to the following options:
- Opening a bank deposit. The investor can deposit an investment amount in a term deposit bank account with automatic renewal. The initial term of the deposit is one year.
- Capital injection. The applicant can invest in a venture capital fund, a real estate investment company or any other Greek company.
- Purchase of securities. The investor can buy shares of mutual or alternative funds or Greek government bonds with a residual maturity of at least 3 years.
The maximum investment of €800,000 (≈ NGN 395 million) applies when the investor collects a portfolio of stocks and corporate and government bonds traded on the Greek stock exchanges with no restrictions on the maturity of the bonds.
Participation in the Greece Golden Visa Program requires additional expenses in the form of the application fee: €2,000 for the main applicant and €150 per adult dependent.
Upon the purchase of property, buyers pay the real estate transfer tax of 3.09% of its value.
How Nigerian citizens obtain Greece Golden Visas: step-by-step procedure
On average, it takes 6 months from contacting Immigrant Invest to receiving Greek residence permit cards.
This check allows for spotting possible issues and shows the risks of a residence application denial.
Our experts help the investor find a suitable property. A lawyer acts on the investor’s behalf in Greece. The buyer gets the complete package of documents for the property with an officially certified translation.
The investor and their family members have forms with personal data filled out and all required documents collected, translated into Greek and notarised.
The investor pays application filling and processing costs, including document translation, lawyers and notaries services, and state fees for examining an application.
The investor, a spouse, an adult relative or an authorised lawyer submits the documents in person to a specialised department of the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum. After applying, the investor gets a certificate which allows them to stay in Greece for a year.
Fingerprints are taken on the application day. If the investor was not in Greece and the lawyer submitted the documents, the fingerprinting is scheduled for another day.
After the application is processed within 1—2 months, the investor receives a residence permit card.
The Greece residence permit card must be renewed every five years, with the application submitted within two months before the expiration date.
What documents are required from Nigerians to get residency in Greece
The standard package of documents for the main applicant includes the following:
- application form for a residence permit in duplicate;
- four recent passport-type coloured pictures in printed form and on a CD;
- certified passport copy with a valid entry visa;
- copy of the investment summary;
- receipt on a state duty payment;
- receipt on payment of the residence permit card issuance fee;
- medical insurance;
- certificate of no criminal record;
- medical certificate confirming the absence of diseases that pose a risk to public health: HIV, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.
For an additional family member, a certificate of marital status or a certificate confirming the relationship is required.
Each investment option requires specific documents confirming the fulfilment of the condition. For example, property buyers provide the purchase and sale agreement and the confirmation of the agreement registration with the Greek Land Register.
How Nigerians can acquire Greek citizenship
Nigerian Greece Golden Visa holders can apply for citizenship after living in Greece for seven years.
First, the investor obtains a golden residence permit and moves to Greece. After five years, they receive permanent residence or renew their Golden Visa. The investor gets the right to apply for Greek citizenship after another two years, with a €700 (≈ NGN 345.500) application fee.
To get a Greek passport, the applicant has to pass a Greek language proficiency test, a history exam, and take an oath of allegiance.
If the applicant's minor children permanently live in Greece, they are automatically granted citizenship.
A faster way to get Greece permanent residence and citizenship is to marry a Greek citizen. In this scenario, an application for permanent residence can be submitted after three years of living in the country and citizenship after five years.
Greek citizenship gives you the opportunity to travel visa-free to 186 countries.
Major things about Greek residency for Nigerian citizens
- Nigerian citizens can get a Greece residence permit by investing at least €250,000 (≈ NGN 123.5 million)
- Investors and their immediate family can get a Golden Visa through a variety of options: one can invest in real estate, Greek business, securities, or open a bank deposit
- After obtaining the Greece Golden residence card, Nigerians can travel visa-free to Schengen countries, relocate to Greece at any moment and apply for EU citizenship in seven years
Frequently asked questions
No, Nigerian citizens are required to have a visa to enter Greece, including applicants for a Golden Visa. If participating through buying real estate, a Schengen visa is enough. For the other options, the investor needs a long-term D visa.
There are several options to move to Greece: getting a Greece Golden Visa by investing, qualifying for a student visa, marrying a Greek citizen, qualifying for an independent financial means visa, or proving you have Greek ancestry.
Yes, but visitors from Nigeria must have visas, and those willing to move to Greece must obtain residence permits.
Since 1990, the Nigerian Community Greece (NCG) organisation has been operating, which helps recent immigrants from Nigeria obtain legal status in Greece and gives them a social network. Also, there is a Nigerian embassy in Athens, employees of which can provide assistance to citizens of Nigeria in Greece.
Yes, over 3,000 Nigerians lived in Greece in 2001, with Athens housing most of them. Since then, the number of Nigerian immigrants in Greece has increased, but no precise data exist.
The Schengen visa fee for Nigerian citizens is €80 (≈ NGN 40,000).
The state duty for applying for a residence permit is €2000 (≈ NGN 980,000) for the main applicant and €150 (≈ NGN 73,500) for each adult family member included in the application. There is no fee for minor children.
Yes, purchasing property for €250,000 is one of the options of the Greece Golden Visa Program.
The minimum investment sum is €250,000 (≈ NGN 123.5 million). The investor can purchase real estate, a plot of land, rent a hotel or sign a timeshare agreement.
Alternatively, they can invest €400,000 (≈ NGN 197 million) in securities or open a time deposit account in a Greek bank.
The Greece Golden Visa Program is among the most affordable residence by investment programs among other EU countries. A golden residence card gives the investor and their family visa-free access to Schengen countries and many other benefits.
The applicant must be over 18, have legal income, have no criminal record and be a non-EU citizen. The investor’s spouse, unmarried children under 21, and parents can get residence permits with the investor. The investor’s partner can obtain a residence permit if the couple signs and registers a Cohabitation Agreement in Greece.
You can apply for permanent residency after five years of living in Greece or after three years if married to a Greek citizen.
You can apply for Greek citizenship after seven years of living in the country with a residence permit or permanent residence. You must pass a Greek language proficiency test and a history and culture exam. You can also marry a Greek citizen to apply for citizenship after five years.