2024
Reading Time: 5 min

Cost of freedom: Greece Golden Visas for visa-free travel within the EU

My wife and I travel to Europe four times a year. Recently, Schengen countries began issuing visas valid for only six months. As I both work and study, applying for a visa more than once a year is inconvenient.

We opted for the Greece Golden Visa because it allowed us to buy a holiday home and obtain residence permits there.

Initially, we planned to purchase our acquaintances' villa, where we had stayed several times during vacations.

It was only by accident that we discovered such a deal would not enable us to obtain residence permits. The experts at Immigrant Invest enlightened us about this fact when we contacted them to obtain the status.

Rachid and Amina

Rachid and Amina,

3D artists from Algeria

Clients’ names and photos have been changed

Greece Golden Visa for a couple from Algeria

This case was provided by our expert

Julia Loko
Julia Loko

Investment programs expert

Cost of freedom: Greece Golden Visas for visa-free travel within the EU

Why Rachid and Amina needed Greece Golden Visas

Rachid and Amina are a married couple from Algeria. Rachid works as a 3D artist and is pursuing a second higher education degree in their home country.

During the holidays, they travel around Europe, having visited Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, and Greece.

The¬†problem arose when Rachid and¬†Amina‚Äôs last summer vacation was¬†marred by¬†the¬†short validity of¬†their Schengen visa for¬†France¬†‚ÄĒ it¬†was¬†issued for¬†the¬†dates of¬†the¬†trip. Thus, they had¬†to¬†apply for¬†a¬†visa again for¬†their Christmas holidays in¬†Europe in¬†winter. The¬†visa was, once again, granted only for¬†the¬†duration of¬†the¬†trip.

Scheduling an appointment to obtain a Schengen visa became increasingly difficult. Amina assisted Rachid by monitoring available slots at the visa centre; sometimes, she had to do this at night.

The solution. Rachid and Amina’s friends had already obtained Portugal Golden Visas and advised the couple to follow in their footsteps, as EU residency granted access to visa-free travel across the Schengen Area.

However, Rachid and Amina did not consider Portugal because the country did not issue residence permits for property purchases. The couple wanted a permanent home by the sea where they could spend their holidays.

The Greece Golden Visa seemed like the ideal option. Rachid and Amina had acquaintances from the United Kingdom there, from whom they had rented a villa several times.

The¬†owners offered the¬†couple the¬†opportunity to¬†buy¬†the¬†villa for¬†‚ā¨255,000, with the¬†transaction to¬†be¬†conducted in¬†pounds. The¬†couple only needed to¬†find a¬†lawyer to¬†handle the¬†transaction and¬†assist with the¬†residence permit application.

Rachid and Amina searched for investment program agents online and discovered the Immigrant Invest website.

Consultation with Immigrant Invest lawyers and property selection

During an individual consultation, Rachid and Amina learned that purchasing the property from their British acquaintances would not lead to obtaining residence permits. The issue was that the owners intended to receive payment into a British account.

Julia Loko

Julia Loko,

Investment programs expert

A foreigner must conduct transactions in euros to obtain a Greek residence permit by investment, and the funds must be deposited into a Greek account.

Had Rachid and Amina bought the villa in pounds, they would have needed to purchase another property and transfer the money to Greece to obtain residency.

Rachid and¬†Amina obtained their residence permits at¬†the¬†end¬†of¬†2023. At¬†that time, Greece had¬†not¬†yet¬†raised the¬†investment threshold to¬†‚ā¨800,000 in¬†the¬†country‚Äôs most popular regions. Lawyers from Immigrant Invest helped them find a¬†villa on¬†the¬†island of¬†Crete for¬†‚ā¨400,000.

In¬†total, Rachid and¬†Amina invested ‚ā¨420,360 in¬†Greek real estate. This amount included:

  • a¬†property transfer tax¬†of¬†3,09%;

  • notary fees of¬†2%.

Requirements to obtain residency in Greece in 2024

Starting April 1st, 2024, the requirements for the property cost depends on the region where investors purchase real estate:

  • ‚ā¨800,000+ for¬†properties in¬†Attica, Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Santorini, and¬†islands with a¬†population of¬†more than 3,100 residents;

  • ‚ā¨400,000+ for¬†properties in¬†other regions of¬†Greece.

There are¬†exceptions to¬†the¬†new¬†rules where the¬†threshold remains at¬†‚ā¨250,000. For¬†example, this applies to¬†the¬†purchase of¬†architectural monuments for¬†restoration and¬†the¬†conversion of¬†properties into residential units.

However, the¬†Greek government has¬†provided a¬†transition period. To¬†obtain residency by¬†property investment for¬†‚ā¨250,000, applicants need to:

  1. Make a 10% deposit by August 31st, 2024.

  2. Pay the remaining amount by December 31st, 2024.

  3. Submit the residency application after fulfilling the investment requirement.

If the investor makes the deposit but does not complete the transaction by December 31st, 2024, they have the right to choose another property. In this case, they must meet the investment requirement by April 2025.

Documents for applying for a residence permit in Greece

Rachid and Amina provided the lawyers with the following set of documents:

  • a¬†completed Golden Visa application form;

  • valid passports;

  • a¬†receipt for¬†the¬†payment of¬†government fees;

  • health insurance;

  • a¬†marriage certificate;

  • a¬†sale and¬†purchase agreement;

  • a¬†certificate of¬†registration with the¬†Land Registry.

The documents were translated into Greek. Additionally, the lawyers assisted in getting them apostilled.

Greece Golden Visa

Balos Lagoon is one of the most famous beaches on the island of Crete. However, only the most determined can reach it: the road is 7 km long and goes uphill

How the couple obtained Greece Golden Visas by purchasing real estate: a step-by-step procedure

Rachid applied as¬†an¬†investor and¬†included his¬†spouse in¬†the¬†application. The¬†process took 8¬†months, which was¬†faster than expected. Typically, foreigners receive residence permits in¬†9‚ÄĒ11 months.

The¬†total expenses amounted to¬†‚ā¨422,510.

1

May 5th, 2023

Preliminary Due Diligence

A certified Anti-Money Laundering Officer reviewed Rachid and Amina’s documents and identified no potential risks. Following the check, the couple signed a Services Agreement with Immigrant Invest.

2

1 week

Selecting a property

Immigrant Invest real estate experts proposed a suitable property: a villa of at least 120 square metres, featuring a balcony and two bedrooms, on the island of Crete.

Rachid and Amina liked the villa, and Rachid acted as a buyer.

3

1 week

Preparing documents

Lawyers filled out government forms and compiled a personalised list of documents for Rachid and Amina.

4

7 business days

Obtaining a tax number in Greece

Immigrant Invest lawyers submitted the application and documents necessary to obtain a tax number in Greece, which is required for purchasing real estate in the country.

5

3 months

Purchasing a villa

Rachid signed a¬†preliminary sale and¬†purchase agreement and¬†made a¬†deposit of¬†10% of¬†the¬†property value, amounting to¬†‚ā¨40,000.

Lawyers, along with a notary, prepared the final agreement. Rachid then signed it and paid the full property price. The lawyers submitted the agreement for registration with the Land Registry to obtain a registration certificate.

Rachid received a package of property documents with officially certified translations.

6

1 day, October 9th, 2023

Applying for residence permits

The couple submitted their residence permit application online via the official Greek migration service website. They were able to stay in Greece until the decision was made, with a special certificate.

The¬†application fees were ‚ā¨2,000 for¬†Rachid and¬†‚ā¨150 for¬†Amina.

7

1 day

Submitting biometrics

Two weeks after submitting their residence permit application, Rachid and Amina provided their biometrics. They travelled to Greece using their valid Schengen visas.

8

2 months, November 12th, 2023

Receiving residence permit cards

The couple received their residence permit cards in person and returned the certificates that had allowed them to stay in Greece during the application process.

Rachid and Amina’s life with Greek residence permits

The Greek residence permits obtained by investment are valid for 5 years. During this time, the couple plans to travel extensively, visiting countries such as Hungary, Austria, and Germany.

Rachid does not intend to sell the property, allowing the couple to renew their permits every 5 years.

The couple does not need to live in Greece permanently to maintain residency, which is beneficial since Rachid needs to return to Algeria for his exams.

Rachid

Rachid,

Residence permit holder in Greece

Life has become much easier. We hesitated for a long time, wondering if our desire to travel was worth such an investment.

In the end, the investment paid off completely; we no longer worry about visas, and the bot for tracking visa centre appointment slots now appears only in our nightmares. Indeed, freedom is the best investment.

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