Conditions for obtaining Greece Golden Visa by purchasing a property
Residency by investment in Greece can be obtained by the purchase of the real estate. Investors get a residence permit within 2—3 months after submitting documents. There is no need to pass a Greek language proficiency test or live in the country permanently.
Cost of real estate for obtaining a Greece residence permit. To participate in the Golden Visa Program, investors purchase real estate that costs at least €250,000. If the property is in joint ownership, each owner must invest €250,000 or more to obtain a residence permit; the only exception is made for married couples.
In 2023, the minimum investment in some regions’ real estate may rise to €500,000.
Types of real estate qualifying for the program. Any type of property gives the right to obtain a residence permit. You can buy a villa, a city apartment, a hotel complex, or a land plot and apply for a residence permit.
The main requirement for a real estate option is an investment of at least €250,000. You can buy several real estate objects, apartments, or commercial properties for this amount.
The Greece investor visa program allows you to rent a hotel for ten years and apply for a residence permit. And even inherited real estate is suitable for getting a Golden Visa.
Requirements for the main applicant and family members. Investors can apply to participate in the program alone or with family members. The property can be owned by a single investor or a married couple.
Requirements for the main applicant:
- over 18 years old;
- a clean police record;
- medical insurance that is valid in Greece and covers at least €30,000;
- a Greek bank account.
A spouse, children under the age of 21, and parents of both spouses can also apply for a Greek residence permit with the main applicant. Family members can submit documents for the residence permit with the main applicant or separately.
Real estate purchase prices in Greece
Property prices in Greece steadily grew from 2018 to 2021. Despite this, Greek properties are still cheaper than in most popular Mediterranean countries, especially France and Italy.
Greek property average prices depend on the regional unit.
Average real estate prices by region in Q2 2022
- Central Athens — €1,700 per m²
- North Athens — €2,583 per m²
- South Athens — €3,067 per m²
- West Athens — €1,500 per m²
- Piraeus — €1,726 per m²
- Thessaloniki — €1,750 per m²
- Corfu — €1,688 per m²
- Corinthia — €1,333 per m²
Athens, the capital of Greece, is attractive to investors because it is not subject to seasonality: tourists come to the city all year round.
The average price of real estate in Athens differs and depends on the region. Housing prices in the southern areas are the most expensive because the apartments and houses are closer to the coast.
The cost of properties away from the sea is cheaper, and they are usually not in high demand. If you want a good return on investment, you might consider apartments or houses attractive to tourists. Renting out real estate in Greece usually brings a yield of 2.5% to 6% annually.
Greek villas vary in price, but the average cost is still lower than in other European countries. For example, the average price per square metre in the city centre in Greece is €1,970 while in Spain it is €3,220 and in Italy — €4,057.
Examples of properties for obtaining an investment visa in Greece
Property taxes in Greece
Transfer tax. The first tax you need to pay on the property is a transfer tax. It is 3.09% of the taxable value of the real estate.
Property tax. This tax is paid in Greece once a year. It consists of a main and an additional part. The amount of tax varies for cities and districts. If we consider the coast, you will have to pay an average of €10—12 for one square metre per year. An additional 0.5—1% tax applies to real estate exceeding €300,000.
Municipal taxes. They usually amount to 0.025—0.035% of the cadastral cost of the property. You do not need to pay them separately as they are included in the electricity bills.
Tax on rental income. If you decide to rent your property out, you will have to pay tax on the income. There are progressive tax rates for individuals:
- 15% on annual rental income of €12,000 or less;
- 35% on €12,000 to €35,000;
- 45% on more than €35,000.
How to buy real estate in Greece and obtain a residence permit
The process of obtaining a Greek residence permit takes around 6 months. At least 2 months of this period is needed for buying property and preparing all the documents.
First, you need to choose one or more properties that meet the investment amount criteria.
Immigrant Invest experts help investors at any stage of obtaining a Greece Golden Visa, including the selection of real estate. If you do not have an opportunity to come to Greece, we organise online viewings of the properties.
When you have chosen the property, you need to reserve it by depositing some funds in a special bank account. Usually, it is 1% of the property cost. This process will be controlled by a state lawyer who becomes the guarantor of its legality.
You have seven days to return the deposit fully. During this time, you can cancel the transaction. If your decision takes longer, the deposit will automatically transfer to the seller’s account.
Investors should get the tax ID number to complete the reservation. The tax number can be obtained via the General Commercial Register’s electronic system.
A legal check of the property is carried out. After receiving positive results, you pay a real estate transfer tax.
You can already use the property at this stage but don’t own it yet. You need to pay 40—60% of the property cost.
One copy of the sale contract is drawn up in your native language; the second is in Greek. You will receive the keys once this amount appears in a special bank account. A notary and a lawyer will be required to sign the main sales contract.
Expenses for the purchase of real estate include the services of a lawyer, a notary, the cost of registration, and the real estate transfer tax. Be prepared that you will have to spend 10—12% of the property’s price on making a purchase.
After the documents have been notarised, it is necessary to register the sale in the Land Register. Now you fully own the property and can immediately submit a package of documents for obtaining a residence permit.
Investors should provide a package of documents. It includes:
- two copies of the application;
- four recent coloured photos;
- a certified copy of a valid passport;
- medical insurance.
If you apply with your family, you must also provide a recent certificate of family status confirming the relationship between the investor and relatives.
The complete list of necessary documents is provided by Immigrant Invest lawyers, according to legislation and your case. The preparation of documents usually takes about two months.
To get a residence permit in Greece, you must provide biometric data. Family members who apply for a residence permit should also provide their fingerprints, including children over six years old.
After you submit all the documents and biometric data, the authorities will give you a confirmation that your application has been submitted. This confirmation is valid for one year. During this period, you can legally reside in the country.
You will get your residence permit when the Secretary-General of the Decentralised Administration reviews the application and makes a favourable decision.
Benefits of buying Greece property
Visa-free travelling. When you hold a residence permit in Greece, you can visit other Schengen countries without a visa and spend up to 90 days out of 180 there.
Additional income from renting. After buying the property, you can rent it out. Greece is attractive to tourists, and real estate rentals are popular. In 2021, investors could receive up to 4% profit from renting out apartments and more than 9% from renting hotels.
Living in a beautiful place with a pleasant climate. Investors can buy homes for themselves to visit Greece anytime or move there. Picturesque landscapes, beaches, mountains and historical sights may be the reasons to spend more time there.
Greece has a warm but not stifling climate. Spring and fall are more pleasant periods to visit the famous places of Greece. Winter time is also mild, with an average temperature of +15°C.
Essential aspects of investing in real estate in Greece
Associated costs when buying real estate and obtaining a residence permit in Greece make up quite a high share of the investor’s expenses.
When buying a property on the secondary market, you pay a one-time tax of 3.09% of its value. Buying properties on the primary market will cost much more — the VAT on them is levied at 24%.
Terms of selling real estate. If you wish to remain a Greek resident, you should keep the investment until you obtain permanent residency. One can apply for it after five years and, after getting a PR card, may sell the property. The profit from this deal will be subject to a 15% capital gains tax.
How to renew a Greece residence permit
For property owners in Greece, a residence permit will need to be renewed every five years. To get a new residence card, investors must fully own the property, and the relevant contracts and leases must be ongoing.
Resale of real estate during the validity period of a residence permit grants another person the right to obtain a residence permit. But in this case, the seller’s residence permit will be cancelled.
To extend a residence permit, you need to provide the following list of documents:
- a filled-in application;
- four recent colour photos;
- a true copy of a valid passport;
- a certified copy of the previous residence permit;
- insurance contracts.
Family members should also submit a package of documents, including certification by an insurance agency for the cost of medical care. You have to provide the sponsor’s statement that family circumstances have not changed. If a child was born during the validity period of the residence permit in Greece, provide a copy of the birth certificate.
You and your family must submit documents for the renewal of residence permits at least two months before they expire. Otherwise, you will have to pay a fine of €50.
Greece Golden Visa in comparison with the Spanish and Portuguese ones
Greece is not the only country offering wealthy people a residence permit by investment in real estate. Spain and Portugal also allow HNWIs to get Golden Visas on similar but not the same terms.
In comparison to the programs of Spain and Portugal, the Greek government has offered investors conditions that are twice as profitable: applicants may choose any real estate of €250,000 or more. To buy real estate to live in Portugal or Spain, one usually pays at least €500,000.
In Portugal, there is also an opportunity to reduce the investment amount to €280,000. However, this concerns the purchase of housing in low-density areas, and you buy the object itself for restoration.
The investment amount in real estate in Athens, Thessaloniki and some other areas for a Greece residence permit was announced to increase and be €500,000, as in Portugal and Spain. The changes are expected to come into force in 2023.
Greece Golden Visa Program provides investors with a wide range of possibilities. They may buy several objects, residential or commercial properties, land plots, or even rent hotels or use inherited real estate to apply for a residence permit. Also, there are no restrictions on the property’s location.
Comparison of residence permits in Greece, Portugal and Spain
|Return of investment||5 years||5 years||5 years|
|The minimum time of residence for obtaining citizenship||7 years||5 years||10 years|
How to obtain a Greece golden passport
Investors can’t acquire Greece citizenship by purchasing real estate or securities. They need to obtain a Golden Visa and then meet all requirements for citizenship by naturalisation.
First, Golden Visa Holders get permanent residence in Greece after five years of residence. To apply for PR, they spend at least 183 days a year there. And after two more years, they can apply for citizenship. So, the minimum time of residence in Greece before applying for citizenship is seven years.
Greek legislation requires citizenship applicants to prove their knowledge of the Greek language and the country’s geography and history. They must pass the “Panhellenic” exam with more than 80% of the total score.
Greece allows its citizens to have multiple citizenships at once. Investors do not have to reject their first citizenship if their country of origin does not require it.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can get a residence permit in Greece by purchasing a house for at least €250,000.
Investors can apply alone or with their family members. The property can be owned by a single investor or a married couple.
If you want to stay in Greece for permanent residence, you must live there for at least 183 days a year during these five years. After that, you can apply for permanent residence and, after another two years, for Greece citizenship.
You can get only a Golden Visa; it is impossible to obtain Greek citizenship by investment. The minimum investment amount for a residence permit is €250,000, which you can spend on real estate or land. It is also possible to rent a room in a hotel or an apartment in a tourist complex.
In 2023, the minimum investment in property in some regions is expected to increase to €500,000.
Instead of real estate, investors can buy bonds, stocks, or shares in a venture fund. It is also possible to open a time deposit account in a Greek bank. In these cases, the minimum investment is €400,000.
If you want to stay in Greece for permanent residence, you must live there for at least 183 days a year for five years. Then you get a permanent residence and can apply for a Greek passport after another two years.
Yes, foreigners can buy properties in Greece and even get residence permits if the cost of the property exceeds €250,000. There are no restrictions as to who can purchase property in Greece.
The minimum investment amount is €250,000. You can buy real estate or land for €250,000. It is also possible to rent a room in a hotel or an apartment in a tourist complex. If you apply with your parents, the minimum investment amount increases to €500,000.
Investors can also buy bonds, stocks, government bonds, or shares in a venture fund. It is also possible to open a time deposit account in a Greek bank. In these cases, the minimum investment is €400,000.
Yes, a property tax in Greece should be paid once a year. It consists of a main and an additional part. The amount of tax varies for cities and districts. If we consider the coast, you will have to pay an average of €10—12 per year for 1 sq. m. An additional 0.5—1% tax applies to real estate exceeding €300,000.
You also need to take into account municipal taxes. They usually amount to 0.025—0.035% of the cadastral cost of the property. You do not need to pay them separately as they are included in the electricity bills.
No, foreigners can also buy property in Greece and even get a residence permit if the cost of the property exceeds €250,000. There are no restrictions as to who can purchase property in Greece.
You can get a residence permit if you own a property in Greece. With this document, you are allowed to stay in Greece for as long as you want. However, you need to renew your residence permit every five years.