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Residence permit types in Greece: choose the one that suits your needs

Greece offers 5 main options for obtaining a residence permit, but in practice, they branch out into numerous ways.

The Greek government is especially interested in attracting wealthy people who can positively impact the country’s economy. So, they have designed residence permits for property owners and renters, securities owners, deposit holders, business investors and financially independent persons.

Those who want to work, conduct a business, study or retire in Greece can also qualify for residency.

types of residence permits in Greece

Types of Greek resident permits

A residence permit is a permission to live in a country for at least a year. According to Greece’s legislation, residence permits are issued due to the following reasons:

  1. For work purposes. 
  2. For studies, voluntary work, research and vocational training.
  3. For a family reunion.
  4. For humanitarian, exceptional and other reasons. 
  5. For victims of human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

Behind these dry lines of the law, various practical ways to get a residence permit are hidden. For instance, “work purposes” apply not only to employees but also entrepreneurs and investors. “Exceptional and other reasons” give the right to obtain Greece residence for real estate owners, renters, and financially independent persons.

Peculiarities of different types of resident permits

Most Greek residents have equal rights and obligations. Greek residence card holders can live in the country, study, receive health care, and travel in the Schengen without visas. They must obey the law and pay taxes. 

Several types of residence permits stand out: a holder of such a permit is subject to more benefits and fewer restrictions. These permits are granted in exchange for investment in the Greek economy and are often referred to as Greece Golden Visas.

The term comparison of ordinary residence permits and Golden Visas

Comparison criteriaOrdinary residence permitsGreece Golden Visas
Status validityInitial: 1 or 2 years

Renewed: up to 3 years
5 years
Mandatory residing in Greece183 days a yearNot required
Which family members can join the applicantA spouse and children under 18A spouse, unmarried children under 21, parents of the main applicant and their spouse
A spouse must be of the opposite sex, as same-sex marriages have not been legalised in Greece yet

The standard procedure for getting a residence permit in Greece

1
Collect the documents, get a D visa
2
Enter Greece on a D visa and apply for a residence permit
3
Give biometric data
4
Receive a residence permit card

A national D visa application process. Greek diplomatic missions and consular posts issue a D visa. It is valid for a year and gives its holder the right to enter Greece, apply for a residence permit and stay in the country till it is issued. On a D visa, one can also travel to other Schengen countries. 

To get a D visa, you have to show up at a consulate, be interviewed on the purpose of your entry and stay in Greece, provide the required documents and pay the fees. During the application for a D visa, you will not be fingerprinted.

A set of documents to apply for a D visa:

  1. A completed application form.
  2. A recent colour photograph of the applicant.
  3. A passport or any other travel document recognised by the competent Greek authorities.
  4. A criminal record certificate from the applicant’s country of residence.
  5. A medical certificate showing that the applicant does not suffer from any diseases that may constitute a risk to public health.
  6. An insurance policy.
  7. Additional documents corresponding with the purpose of entry and stay in the country.

In most cases, the fee for issuing a D visa is €180. In some instances, like studies or family reunification, the fee is reduced to €90.

A residence permit card application process. An initial application must be filed in person: by the applicant, their lawyer or a first-degree relative. 

Government agencies that accept applications are the Aliens and Migration Directorate of the Decentralised Administration and the Directorate of Migration Policy of the Ministry of Interior.

During the application, candidates get fingerprinted. If a lawyer or a relative applies, the fingerprinting is scheduled for another date. The residence permit card will not be issued without biometric data.

To obtain a residence permit, applicants also provide the following documents:

  1. A completed application form.
  2. A certified copy of a valid passport or travel document recognised by Greece, with a valid entry visa.
  3. A receipt for the application fee, if applicable.
  4. A receipt for the fee for the issuance of a residence permit card.
  5. An insurance policy.
  6. Four printed passport-type colour photographs and an original on a CD.
  7. Additional documents corresponding with the residence permit type.

The application fee is €150 for a 1-year permit, €300 for a 2-year one and €450 for a 3-year, but there are some exceptions. Children under 18 are exempt from this fee. The residence card issuance fee is €16 in each case.

Greece residence permit for property owners

Requirements. One can invest in real estate to get a residence permit in Greece. The minimum investment amount is €250,000. Applicants have five options to choose from:

  1. Buying a property, residential or commercial.
  2. Purchasing a land plot for construction or agriculture.
  3. Inheriting a property or receiving it as a gift.
  4. Renting a hotel or tourist residence for 10 years.
  5. Concluding a timeshare agreement for 5 years.

The most popular choice is purchasing real estate. An investor can make a deal as an individual or through an EU-based company whose controlling stake they own. 

The Greek Prime Minister warns that the minimum investment amount may change to €500,000, but the change has not been ratified yet.

Investment properties in Greece

Application process. An investment can be fulfilled remotely if an investor signs a power of attorney for an Immigrant Invest lawyer. The lawyer will obtain an individual taxpayer number, open an account in a Greek bank, check the legal purity of the real estate object, sign a purchase and sales agreement, receive a certificate from the Land Register and pay the taxes. The procedure will take about 2 months.

The investor can come to Greece to see the property live before purchasing, but it is not necessary. The applicant and their family members included in the application must visit Greece only to get fingerprinted.

Property owners are exempt from obtaining a D visa. For them to enter Greece to apply, a usual Schengen visa will do, or an exemption from it. 

The application fee is €2,000 for the main applicant and €150 for each adult family member included in the application.

Supporting documents, specific to the option

If buying a real estatePurchase and sale agreement

Confirmation of the agreement registration with the Greek Land Register
If purchasing landPurchase and sale agreement

Agreement with a construction company

Construction permit

Contractor invoices and receipts for their payment
If inheritingNotary certificate

Certificate of a mortgage registry or a real estate office showing that there are no charges
If renting a propertyCopy of a notarial deed of renting accommodation showing that the rent has been paid in full

Proof of transfer of the mortgage registry to which the lease contract has been registered 
If time-sharingTimeshare contract of at least five-year duration

Proof of registration with the mortgage registry

Residence permit for security owners and deposit holders

Requirements. To get a Greek residence permit, an applicant can transfer a capital of at least €400,000 to the country. The investment options are:

  1. Capital injection into a company or venture fund. 
  2. Purchase of securities.
  3. A time deposit with a Greek bank with a fixed term of renewal.

The application process is pretty standard. The application fee is €2,000. An applicant needs to provide a CV and a declaration with their data. Immigrant Invest lawyers will help you choose a reliable bank or fund and prepare the papers. 

Possible investment scenarios and supporting documents

OptionInvestment scenarioRequired documents
Transferring capitalInvesting in a venture capital fund, or EKES, which invests only in Greek companiesStatement revealing the details of the increase of the company or fund’s share capital
Investing in a real estate investment company, or AEEAP, which invests only in Greek properties
Investing in any other Greek companyAttestation proving the increase in the company’s share capital or the issue of a debenture loan
Buying securitiesPurchasing shares in a mutual fund intended to invest in shares, corporate bonds and Greek government bondsCertificate for the participation of the applicant in the fund

Statement confirming the money transfer
Purchasing stocks or shares in an alternative investment fund, or AIF, incorporated in the EU and intended to invest exclusively in immovable property in Greece
Purchasing Greek government bonds with a residual maturity of at least 3 yearsBond purchase certificate
Collecting a portfolio of shares, corporate and government bonds

This option requires doubled investment: over €800,000
Attestation, certifying the creation of a private Investor Share in the Dematerialized Securities System of the Greek Central Securities Depository S.A.

Certificate for the creation of the exclusive use account
DepositingDepositing money in a Greek bankCertificate of the time deposit information

Certificate of an order for the automatic renewal

Bank statement

Opportunities for Greece Golden Visa holders

Residence permit types described in the two sections above fall within the Greece Residence by Investment Program. They are valid for five years, and their holders are not obliged to live in Greece. 

Investors are not allowed to work in Greece, but they can still earn income. It’s permitted to rent a property; the rental yield is 2 to 5% per year. Investors can also receive dividends and interest and be shareholders or managing directors of businesses.

After obtaining permanent residence, the property and securities can be sold, and the deposit closed. It becomes possible after living in Greece for 5 years. On average, real estate prices in Greece rise by 1.2% every quarter, so in five years, the cost can increase by 24%.

Greek residency for financially independent persons

To be considered a financially independent person in Greece and qualify for a residence permit, one must confirm they have over €24,000 in their bank account. If an applicant is a retiree, they must prove their pension is over €2,000 per month.

€2,000 a month
Minimum income of a financially independent individual

When family members accompany a candidate, the necessary amount increases by 20% for the spouse and 15% for each child. For example, a couple with two children will need €36,000.

Holders of these residence permits do not have access to the Greek labour market.

The application fee is €1,000, and for pensioners, €150.

Obtaining a residence permit in Greece through a work visa or investor visa

Paros island is one of the two hundred inhabited Greek islands. For the convenience of travelling between islands and abroad, Greece has 46 airports

Greek residence permit through a digital nomad visa

Symi island is a part of the Dodecanese island group known as the sunniest corner in Greece. Another way to travel around the country is by ferry or yacht. Tour companies do regular island hops

Residence permit in Greece through a retirement visa

Rion-Antirion Bridge links the town of Rio on the Peloponnese peninsula to Antirrio on mainland Greece. The bridge was opened in 2004 in the run-up to the Olympics. Olympic torchbearers were the first to cross it officially

Employment in Greece as a way to get residence

Employers must get approval from the decentralised administration to hire a foreign worker. They need to file a tax clearance note, proving they are able to pay the monthly wage as set out in the labour contract.

€713 a month
Minimum salary in Greece

The contract is concluded for at least a year. An employer is subject to a €200 fee each time they ask permission to hire a foreigner.

The minimum wage in Greece is €713 per month or €31.85 per day. This rule applies to foreign workers as well. 

Highly-qualified employment. Certain jobs are considered highly qualified. Thus, additional requirements apply. A highly-qualified employee’s wage must be at least 1.5 times higher than Greece’s average gross annual salary. In 2022, it is €24,390 per year. 

The number of highly-qualified foreigners that can be employed in Greece is restricted. The quota for 2021—2022 includes 380 spots in the Attica region and 226 spots available across Greece. 

This type of residence is also called an EU Blue Card. 

Supporting documents, specific to the option

In each caseAct of the Secretary-General of the competent Decentralised Administration, authorising employment

Copy of a labour contract lasting at least one year
Only for highly-qualified employmentHigher education diploma or proof of a 5-year work experience in the field

Certificate from the Professional Qualifications Board, if the profession is regulated

Other ways to obtain residence in Greece

Family reunification. If a foreigner has obtained a residence permit in Greece, they can apply for family reunification so their spouse and children will be issued a residence permit, too. An applicant must provide marriage and birth certificates or other proof of kinship. 

Children born in Greece with foreign parents and spouses of Greek citizens are eligible for 5-year residence permits.

Studies. Those who have entered a Greek higher education institution are also eligible for getting a residence permit. They need to prove they have enough money to live and study in Greece. The minimum amount is €400 per month, besides the tuition fee.

Students are allowed to work part-time but are not allowed to apply for a family reunion.

International protection. A residence permit may be granted to asylum seekers who have fled to Greece. To apply for international protection, you can schedule a registration appointment online.

An applicant may include up to 8 members in their request, filling in adult and minor family members separately. All persons arriving at the registration location will be required to reside in the facility until the registration process is completed, for a maximum period of 25 days.

Greece residence permit through a student visa
The National & Kapodistrian University of Athens is modern Greece’s oldest higher education institution. About 69 thousand students attend it

Long-term residence permit in Greece 

To obtain permanent residence in Greece, an applicant must meet the following conditions. They have:

  1. Legally resided in Greece for five straight years. It’s allowed to leave the country for no more than 10 months in total and no more than 6 months in a row.
  2. Knowledge of the Greek language at an A2 level and elements of Greek history and culture. If an applicant cannot meet this condition, the necessary residing period extends to 12 years. Greek citizens’ relatives are exempt from this requirement.
  3. Income not lower than the annual minimum wage. In 2022, it is €8,556. The amount is increased by 10% for each family member, but their income is also considered.
  4. A registration address in Greece.

The application fee is €150; the processing time is 6 months. The status of a permanent resident is termless, and the residence card has to be renewed every 5 years.

All permanent residence holders are allowed to work and do business in Greece.

Benefits of holding a Greece residence permit card

Moving to Greece. For Greece Golden Visa holders, relocation to Greece is an option; for holders of other types of residence permits, a must. Life in Greece is beneficial because of the mild climate and low cost of living.

Tax incentives. New residents of Greece can benefit from one of the three preferential tax regimes. Those who work or run a business in Greece can get a tax exemption for half of their income. Retirees’ income is taxed at a flat rate of 7%. Wealthy foreigners can pay a lump tax of €100,000 per annum, regardless of their income.

Visa-free travelling. A holder of a Greek residence permit can travel to the Schengen without visas and stay there for up to 90 days out of 180. Time spent in Greece is not counted.

EU citizenship prospect. After living in Greece for at least 7 years, residents permit holders may apply for Greek citizenship. To get it, they must pass an exam on Greece’s geography, culture, history and political system, as well as prove knowledge of Greek at a B1 level. After the exam, candidates are also interviewed to assess how well they have integrated into Greek society.

Frequently asked questions

What is a Greek residence permit?

A Greek residence permit is a permission given to a foreigner to stay in Greece for at least a year. Unlike visa holders, residence permit holders have access to Greek public education and healthcare. Access to the labour market is granted to holders of residence permits of certain types.

How to immigrate to Greece?

To move to Greece, you need to obtain a residence permit. They are issued for work, study and investment purposes, as well as for family reunification and on the grounds of international protection.

What is a visa type D for Greece?

A visa D is a long-term residence visa that allows its holder to enter Greece with the aim of applying for a residence permit. Greek consulates issue this type of visa, and, in most cases, it is a necessary step to obtaining a residence permit card.

What is the easiest way to get residence in Greece?

If you don’t have strong ties with Greece, it’s not an obstacle. You can get residency as a financially independent individual or by investment in real estate or securities.

How do I get a Greek residence card?

To obtain a residence permit, you need to fulfil the conditions of the residence type you have chosen to apply for, collect the papers, get a D visa, enter Greece, apply for residency, and get fingerprinted. If you get approval, a residence permit card will be issued for you.

How long does it take to get a Greek residency card?

The obtaining period depends on the type of residence permit. The average is 3—4 months.

How long does a Greek residence permit last?

An initial ordinary residence permit is valid for 1 or 2 years and can be renewed for 3 years. A residence permit received by investment is valid for 5 years.

Can I work with a Greek residence permit?

It depends on its type. Holders of residence permits obtained by investment and financially independent persons don’t have access to the labour market in Greece. If a permit is issued for employment purposes, the right to work goes without saying. Holders of student residence permits are allowed to work part-time.

How can I get permanent residence in Greece?

The permanent residence becomes an option after five years of living in Greece. To acquire a permanent residence permit, applicants must pass an exam and have a certain income and a registration address in Greece.

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Residence permit types in Greece: choose the one that suits your needs