Why Umar chose the Greece investment program
Umar and Ifeoma are spouses from Nigeria who decided to move to Europe. They heard it was possible to get an EU residence permit by purchasing property and turned to Immigrant Invest for the details.
We presented to the spouses five EU countries that grant residence for buying real estate: Portugal, Spain, Malta, Cyprus, and Greece. The couple chose the Greece Golden Visa Program for several reasons.
A low entry threshold was the prevailing argument. Umar planned to spend no more than €300,000. Only the Greek investment program could let him fit the budget.
The minimum investment in Greek real estate is €250,000, the smallest value among European programs for investors. Additional expenses under the Greek program are also the lowest: the property transfer tax is 3.09%, and the card issuance fee is €16 per person.
Expenses under the EU investment programs if purchasing property:
- €260,000+ in Greece;
- €308,000+ in Portugal;
- €318,000+ in Cyprus;
- €390,000+ in Malta;
- €537,000+ in Spain.
Increase in the minimum investment amount
In spring 2023, the minimum investment in real estate purchases in Athens, Thessaloniki, Mykonos, and Santorini will increase to €500,000. In other areas of Greece, the investment threshold will remain €250,000.
Fast application process. Residence permits in Greece can be obtained in 3—6 months. In comparison, getting Portuguese residency, which is the second inexpensive option, takes from 8 months to 1.5 years.
Longer status validity. Greece Golden Visas are valid for 5 years, while Portuguese ones are only for 2 years.
Visa-free access to the Schengen Area. Holders of residence permits in Greece can visit other Schengen countries without visas and spend up to 3 months each half a year there.
While Cypriot Golden Visa holders have to apply for Schengen visas as Cyprus is part only of the European Union but not of the Schengen Agreement.
Affordable property and living costs. The real estate market in Greece is not overheated as in Portugal or Spain. The average price per square metre in the centre of Athens is €2,600, while it is €5,380 in Madrid and €5,800 in Lisbon.
For Umar’s means, 250—300 thousand euros, it is possible to buy a one- or two-bedroom apartment in Greece.
Consumer prices in Greece are also moderate. The country holds the 21st position out of 43 in the list of European states sorted by the Cost of Living Index.
Selection of a city to live in and a property to buy
Umar and Ifeoma have a daughter, so they wanted to buy an apartment with at least 2 bedrooms. Other requirements were the presence of kindergartens and schools nearby and the neighbourhood’s safety.
The investor also planned to register a company in Greece and hire employees. That’s why he would prefer to live in Athens, the country’s capital and business centre with the largest number of qualified workers.
Immigrant Invest real estate experts selected several properties from our catalogue suitable for the spouses’ needs.
The spouses chose an apartment for €270,000 in a calm neighbourhood outside the city centre. The apartment was planned to be renovated, with the repair costs included in the property’s price. It was convenient for the investor who asked to turn the living room into a children’s room in the repair process.
How Umar’s family obtained Greece Golden Visas by spending €291,590 and 4 months
Besides the property cost, Umar paid the property transfer tax, legal and notary services and administrative fees.
Before signing a Services Agreement with Umar, we ran an internal Due Diligence check on the investor. It is an obligatory step that ensures an applicant has high odds of getting approval.
Under a power of attorney, the Immigrant Invest lawyer got Umar an individual taxpayer number. Then he checked the legality of the sale and signed a sale and purchase agreement on the investor’s behalf.
Umar transferred the investment money and bore additional expenses: 3.09% transfer tax, 3% legal and notary services and 0.3% technical expertise. The services were also subject to 24% VAT.
The lawyer submitted a sale and purchase agreement to the Land Register and received a certificate of ownership for Umar, which was attached to the package of other documents, including:
- copies of the passports of the investor and his wife;
- marriage certificate;
- birth certificates;
- passport-sized photos;
- medical insurance.
To submit an application, Umar’s family came to Greece. They had valid Schengen visas.
Accompanied by the lawyer, they applied to the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum and also got fingerprinted. Umar paid the application fee of €2,000 for himself and €150 for his wife. For including children, fees are not charged.
In exchange for the application, the family first received a certificate that allowed them to stay in Greece for a year while their case was considered. In most cases, the process takes much less time, and Umar’s application was not an exception: he received approval in 2 months.
The certificate was replaced with residence permit cards, issued when Umar paid the fee of €16 per person.
Life of Umar’s family after relocation to Greece
Umar’s family has settled in Athens. The couple’s daughter has entered a private kindergarten with English-speaking staff, but she also learns Greek there to prepare for school.
The spouses enjoy a mild Greek climate, abundant historical attractions and ancient relics. They also plan to travel in Schengen much more as they do not have to get visas.
Before the move, Umar worked with his father and brothers in the family business. Now they plan to expand on the European market. Umar is going to register a company in Greece that will become an intermediary between their family’s company and EU customers.
As a Greece Golden Visa holder, Umar can only be a shareholder of a Greek company and receive dividends. He is not allowed to access the Greek labour market, so he will need to hire employees.
Umar and Ifeoma’s opportunities before and after obtaining residence permits in Greece:
- Could live only in Nigeria → Live in Greece but are not tied to the country: can choose where to live.
- Had to get Schengen visas to travel to Europe → Have visa-free access to the Schengen Area.
- Difficult to expand family business to Europe → Can register a company and a bank account in Greece and arrange work with European customers.
In 5 years, Umar will be able to renew his family’s Golden Visas or apply for permanent residence. To be eligible for a lifelong PR status, Umar and Ifeoma will need to pass the Greek language exam for the A2 level. Greece’s permanent residents get the right to work in the country.