Greece has a mild climate, warm waters and friendly people. But those are not the only reasons to choose it for life: doing business and making a profit from renting out real estate are also among the benefits to consider. Other reasons for obtaining a residence permit and then Greek citizenship include travelling around the world without visas or the ability to open an account with a European bank.
The Greece Golden Visa Program allows investors to get a residence permit and then Greek citizenship by naturalisation. Applicants invest in real estate, stock or deposits. The money can be returned after five years.
Unlike other residents, investors have no obligation to live in the country: they can come and go whenever they want. They will keep their residence permit even if they do not visit Greece. However, to become a citizen, they have to live in the country.
In this article, we will explain the nuances of the Greek Golden Visa Program and paths to citizenship that do not require investment.
How to obtain Greece citizenship
Naturalization. The residence permit card is issued to the applicant for five years. After its expiration, the status can be extended, or documents can be submitted for permanent residence and, after another several years, for Greece citizenship. The minimum period of living in the country to apply for a passport is seven years.
Greek citizenship by investment is also obtained through naturalisation. Investors get a Golden Visa, live in Greece for seven years, pass a citizenship attestation and get a passport.
Marriage. Greece citizenship is not issued to those who officially register relations with the citizens of the country. But this simplifies the procedure for obtaining permanent residence: you can apply in three years and submit documents in five years to become a Greek citizen.
Repatriation. It is possible to obtain Greece citizenship if the parents and grandparents are citizens of the country. To do this, you need to provide documents with proof of Greek origin to the country’s diplomatic mission for migration.
Military service. Citizenship can be obtained by ethnic Greeks who serve in the Armed Forces of Greece or go to study at the Military Academy.
How to get a Greece residence permit by investment
Investors over 18 years old, with official income and no criminal record, can participate in the Greece residence permit program.
Simultaneously, the family of the investor also receives the status, including spouses, partners without marriage registration, children under 21 years of age and parents.
The purchase of a real estate in Greece requires approximately €250,000. The objects can be sold after five years with the money returned. This is the most popular investment option.
Conducting economic activities. An investor can open a bank deposit or buy Greek companies’ shares and bonds for €400,000 or more. The applicant has the right to close the deposit or sell securities after five years.
Residence permits for financially independent people. If you get a source of income outside of Greece, you can get a residence permit card for two years and then extend it for another three. To do this, you need:
- have an income of €2,000 for the main applicant;
- open an account with a Greek bank in the amount of €24,000 or more;
- reside in Greece for 183 days a year.
A residence permit for financially independent people is more challenging to obtain than an investment status. For example, it is mandatory to obtain a type D visa, and the approval period is stretched over several months.
How to get a residence permit in Greece when buying real estate
More about how to invest: for example, let’s take the option with the purchase of the real estate.
Immigrant Invest lawyers conduct a preliminary Due Diligence check. It helps to identify the risk of rejection and find a solution. The verification is confidential and takes one business day.
After Due Diligence, the applicant invests in real estate. There are different options:
- rent a hotel for five years;
- rent an apartment in a tourist complex for ten years;
- buy a plot of land for five years — for construction or for farming;
- buy a share in a tourist property for five years.
Immigrant Invest experts help investors choose properties from reliable developers. If desired, the property can be viewed in person or remotely.
When the investor has decided on the property, the preparation for the application begins. Basic list of documents includes:
- passport photos;
- a certified copy of a valid passport;
- a receipt confirming the payment of the fee in the amount of €2,000 for the investor and €150 for family members over 18 years old;
- a receipt confirming the payment of a fee of €16 for the production of an electronic residence permit card;
- sample digital signature;
- certificate from an insurance company.
Immigrant Invest lawyers help to draw up the documents: they translate into Greek, notarise and apostille.
As soon as the documents are ready, they are submitted for consideration, in person or by proxy. On the same day, you need to submit biometric data — fingerprints. If the documents are submitted by an authorized lawyer or a close relative, biometrics are prescribed the next day.
Immediately after submitting the application, the investor receives a certificate with which he can legally reside in Greece for a year or until they receive a residence card.
Within two to three months, the authorities at the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Greece study the documents and decide on the issue of a residence permit card.
After a positive decision, the applicant is issued a residence permit card. It is unnecessary to come and collect as the card can be delivered to your home.
Who can get a residence permit in Greece with an investor?
You can get residence permits for the whole family right away by including a spouse, a partner, children, and parents.
|Spouse||Financially dependent on the main applicant|
|Partner||Domestic partnership agreement in Greece and financial dependence on the main applicant|
|Children under 21||Financially dependent on the main applicant. The status can be extended up to 24 years|
|Parents||Financially dependent on the main applicant|
What are the benefits of a Greece residence permit and citizenship?
The Greece residence permit opens up many opportunities for investors and their families. And after seven years of permanent living in the country, it will be possible to apply for citizenship. A passport gives investors additional opportunities: for example, to move to any EU country under a simplified registration procedure.
Visa-free travel to the Schengen Area is a benefit of a Greece residence permit. And with a Greek passport, one may visit 186 countries, including all the EU states, the USA, the UK, Canada, and Australia.
Living in Greece and enjoying its warm climate, picturesque nature, and the sea is an opportunity for investors with a Golden Visa or a Greece passport.
Access to healthcare and the educational system of the country is another benefit of residency. And if you get citizenship in Greece, you may study or get treatment in other EU countries on beneficial terms.
Family members may acquire the status with the investor. In the case of the Golden Visa, a spouse, children under 21 and parents are eligible to participate and get a residence permit. And for Greece nationality, children may obtain citizenship if unmarried and under 18 when the naturalisation procedure is finished.
Opening bank accounts in Greece may be easier if you have a residence permit in the country. The Due Diligence check can be less severe, and the probability of a refusal is lower than for the third country national without residency in Greece.
Other benefits are available only for Greece citizens. For example, they may move to any EU country without obtaining a residence permit in advance and transfer the status by inheritance to their children.
Benefits of a residence permit and citizenship in Greece
|Living in the country at will|
|Access to medical services and education|
|Registration of status for a family|
|Account in a European bank|
|Social benefits for Europeans|
|Transfer of status by inheritance|
|Residence in any EU country|
Do you need to renounce your first citizenship to get a Greek passport?
Greece allows its citizens to have multiple citizenships. Thus, investors mustn’t refuse their first passports unless their motherland countries allow dual citizenship, too.
Each country will consider the investor to be its citizens. Upon arrival in Greece, a person is a citizen of Greece, and upon arrival to their motherland, a citizen of that country. And also, a person should fulfil their civil duties in both countries.
Taxes in Greece are paid in some cases: for example, you live there for most of the year, get income in the country, or have a property.
To get a Greek passport by naturalisation, investors should permanently live in the country for seven years — so they become tax residents for that time, and their global income is taxed in Greece. After becoming a Greek citizen, they may move to another country.
Frequently Asked Questions
Greek citizens’ children, grandchildren and spouses, ethnic Greeks serving in the Armed Forces of the country, and foreigners who live there for at least seven years, may obtain Greece citizenship.
Greece nationals may travel to 180+ countries visa-free, live in Greece or another EU state, and get access to high-quality healthcare and education. Also, they can run businesses in Europe, work there, and use the services of European banks.
There’s no direct path to getting a golden passport in Greece, but you may obtain a residence permit by the investment of €250,000. Investors may apply for citizenship by naturalisation on standard terms after seven years of living in Greece.
Citizenship can be obtained by naturalisation, repatriation, birth and military service. If you do not have Greek roots, it is still easier to obtain Greek citizenship through a residence permit card by investment.
Yes. You don’t need to renounce your previous citizenship to get a Greek passport if your motherland also allows multiple citizenships.
With Greece citizenship, you can:
- Travel to the Schengen Area and other visa-free countries with a Greece passport.
- Open an account with a European bank.
- Reside in Greece at will.
- Use medical services.
- Reside in any EU country.
- Apply for citizenship for a family.
- To transfer Greek citizenship by inheritance.
The first step towards citizenship is a residence permit. A residence permit card in Greece can be obtained by investment.
The Greek passport is among the top 10 strongest passports globally because this state’s citizens may travel to 186 countries without getting visitor visas in advance.
The term depends on the way you’re getting Greece citizenship. The most popular one, naturalisation, takes 7+ years: you should live in the country for five years to get permanent residency, and then at least two years to apply for citizenship. Applications are usually processed in several months.
Yes, if you get a residence permit — for example, by the Golden Visa program.
Yes, the Greece Golden Visa program allows one to buy real estate for €250,000 and get a residence permit. You may purchase a property for yourself or rent it out.
Investors should hold the property until they get the following status, permanent residency. They can apply for it after five years of living in Greece.