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:
- For work purposes.
- For studies, voluntary work, research and vocational training.
- For a family reunion.
- For humanitarian, exceptional and other reasons.
- 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 criteria||Ordinary residence permits||Greece Golden Visas|
|Status validity||Initial: 1 or 2 years|
Renewed: up to 3 years
|Mandatory residing in Greece||183 days a year||Not required|
|Which family members can join the applicant||A spouse and children under 18||A spouse, unmarried children under 21, parents of the main applicant and their spouse|
The standard procedure for getting a residence permit in Greece
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:
- A completed application form.
- A recent colour photograph of the applicant.
- A passport or any other travel document recognised by the competent Greek authorities.
- A criminal record certificate from the applicant’s country of residence.
- A medical certificate showing that the applicant does not suffer from any diseases that may constitute a risk to public health.
- An insurance policy.
- 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:
- A completed application form.
- A certified copy of a valid passport or travel document recognised by Greece, with a valid entry visa.
- A receipt for the application fee, if applicable.
- A receipt for the fee for the issuance of a residence permit card.
- An insurance policy.
- Four printed passport-type colour photographs and an original on a CD.
- 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.
Useful online services
- Pay the prerequisite fees
- Keep track of the status of your application
- Make an appointment for residence permit delivery
- Apply for renewal of a Greece residence permit
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:
- Buying a property, residential or commercial.
- Purchasing a land plot for construction or agriculture.
- Inheriting a property or receiving it as a gift.
- Renting a hotel or tourist residence for 10 years.
- 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 estate
- Purchase and sale agreement
- Confirmation of the agreement registration with the Greek Land Register
If purchasing land
- Purchase and sale agreement
- Agreement with a construction company
- Construction permit
- Contractor invoices and receipts for their payment
- Notary certificate
- Certificate of a mortgage registry or a real estate office showing that there are no charges
If renting a property
- Copy 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
- Timeshare 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:
- Capital injection into a company or venture fund.
- Purchase of securities.
- 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
|Option||Investment scenario||Required documents|
|Transferring capital||Investing in a venture capital fund, or EKES, which invests only in Greek companies||Statement 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 company||Attestation proving the increase in the company’s share capital or the issue of a debenture loan|
|Buying securities||Purchasing shares in a mutual fund intended to invest in shares, corporate bonds and Greek government bonds||Certificate 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 years||Bond 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
|Depositing||Depositing money in a Greek bank||Certificate of the time deposit information|
Certificate of an order for the automatic renewal
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.
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.
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.
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 case
- Act 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 employment
- Higher 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.
Long-term residence permit in Greece
To obtain permanent residence in Greece, an applicant must meet the following conditions. They have:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The obtaining period depends on the type of residence permit. The average is 3—4 months.
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.
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.
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.