Greece golden visa: how to obtain a residence permit by investment

To obtain a Greece residence permit, the applicant must invest at least €250,000 in the country’s economy. They can buy a home, deposit €400,000 in a deposit account in a Greek bank, or invest in securities.

We explain the differences among the investment options, what a golden visa is and how to get it.

Greece golden visa: Greek residence permit by investment
 
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Greece golden visa: Greek residence permit by investment

Greece golden visa: how to obtain a residence permit by investment

Benefits of a Greek golden visa

The Greece Golden Visa Program is a government‑supported investment program. The Greek golden visa is a temporary residence permit by investment in the country’s economy.

Any person over 18 years old who has no criminal record is eligible to apply for a Greece golden visa. Applicants need to prepare and submit the required documents and pass the state’s Due Diligence check. They can then receive a residence permit card in three months. Russians were ranked third in the list of foreigners who received a residence permit in Greece by investment in 2020 and 2021.

Greece is the only country that issues a golden visa for 5 years for first‑time applicants. For example, in Portugal and Spain, the first residence permit card by investment is valid for 2 years; the holder then needs to again collect and prepare a package of documents and pay state duties in order to extend the residence permit.

5 years
Validity of Greece golden visa

A Greek residence permit offers the following benefits:

  • travel to the Schengen states without a visa for up to 90 days in any six month period;
  • travel to and from Greece, even when the borders are closed to tourists;
  • open an account at a Greek bank;
  • admittance to European medical clinics;
  • visit European resorts at any time.

The residence permit by investment also has the following additional advantages:

  • the holder is not obliged to live in the country for 183 days;
  • the main applicant’s spouse, parents and children under 21 who are not married, can be included in the same application;
  • investors can apply for a residence permit through a person appointed by them rather than in person. However, within six months of submitting an application, the applicant must visit Greece to have their biometric data taken;
  • as an investment, you can buy real estate and earn rental income;
  • the investor can become a tax resident of Greece, and for 15 years pay a fixed annual income tax of € 100,000.

However, Greece’s golden visa also has some drawbacks: the investor and their family members who receive a residence permit by investment are not allowed to be employed in the country.

Differences between residence permits by investment from other types of residence permits

CriteriaResidence permit by investmentOther types of residence permits
Validity period of the residence permit5 years1‑2 years
Mandatory stay in the country per annumNo183 days
Travel to the Schengen states without visasYesYes
Open an account in a European bankYesYes
Inclusion in the application of a spouse and minor childrenYesYes
Inclusion in the application of parents and adult children under 21 years oldYesNo
Income tax benefitsYesNo
Work in GreeceNoDepends on the type of residence permit
Crete: Greek golden passport
Old pier for ships in the city of Heraklion in Crete

Minimum investment for a Greek golden visa

A Greek residence permit can be obtained by buying securities, opening a deposit account in a Greek bank, and renting or buying a house.

The amount of investment depends on the option chosen and on the number of family members included in the application. Investments in real estate require € 250,000, while the other options require € 400,000.

€ 250,000
minimum investment for obtaining a Greek golden visa

Purchasing real estate. An investor can buy real estate in any area of ​​Greece as an individual or through a legal entity. When buying through a legal entity, the following conditions apply:

  1. The head office of the company must be located in the EU.
  2. The investor must own a controlling stake in the company.

A Greek golden visa can also be obtained by a person who has inherited real estate worth over € 250,000 or accepted it as a gift. They will need to pass a security check and submit the documents stipulated in the residence permit application.

Examples of approved real estate for participation in the program

ВНЖ в Греции через покупку недвижимости

Apartments in the historic district of Athens overlooking the Acropolis

Apartments in the historic district of Athens overlooking the Acropolis

Apartments in the historic district of Athens overlooking the Acropolis

ВНЖ в Греции через покупку недвижимости

Apartments in the historic district of Athens overlooking the Acropolis

Apartments in the historic district of Athens overlooking the Acropolis

5 km
Distance to the sea
69 m²
Area
€ 250,000
Price

Split‑level villa with sea and mountain views on the island of Lefkada

Split‑level villa with sea and mountain views on the island of Lefkada

Split‑level villa with sea and mountain views on the island of Lefkada

Split‑level villa with sea and mountain views on the island of Lefkada

Split‑level villa with sea and mountain views on the island of Lefkada

500 m
Distance to the sea
123 m²
Area
€ 561,000
Price

The amount of investment in real estate depends on the number of additional family members included in the application:

  • children: the investment amount is not affected;
  • spouse: at least € 250,000, as long as the couple sign a joint residence agreement in Greece and own indivisible real estate shares;
  • parents: minimum investment of € 500,000 as long as the parents also sign a joint residence agreement.

If any members in the application do not enter into a joint residence agreement with the main applicant, the minimum investment is increased by € 250,000 for each person included in the application.

Purchasing a plot of land. The investor buys a plot of land for building a house or for farming. The investment is made up of the total cost of the site and the services of the building contractors.

Buying securities. A minimum of € 400,000 must be invested in any of the following types of assets:

€ 400,000
minimum investment in securities
  1. Investing in the capital of a Greek company.
  2. Purchasing 3‑year (or longer) Greek government bonds.
  3. Buying shares in a venture fund that specializes in investments in stocks and bonds listed on the stock exchanges in Greece.

For an investment of € 800,000, the buyer can independently collect a portfolio of stocks, corporate bonds or government bonds, which are traded on the Greek stock exchanges. In this case, there are no restrictions on the maturity of the bonds. The Portuguese investment program offers a similar option. Until the end of 2021, the minimum investment in Portuguese funds is € 350,000. From 2022, the minimum amount will be raised to € 500,000.

Opening a deposit account in a Greek bank. The investor deposits € 400,000 in a term deposit account with automatic renewal. The initial term of the deposit is one year.

Rental of property. Instead of buying real estate, the investor can choose to rent accommodation in a hotel or a furnished apartment in a tourist complex. The rental/lease agreement is concluded for a period of 10 years. The investor makes a one‑time payment before obtaining a residence permit.

The average cost depends on the region: a three‑bedroom apartment can be rented for € 770 in Corfu or € 360 in Lamia.

All investments, except for real estate rental, are returned to the investor

Investors must hold their investments in real estate and/or securities for the entire duration of the residence permit in order to maintain their residency. After receiving a Greek permanent residence permit or citizenship, they can sell the real estate and/or securities, and they can withdraw their deposit. This can usually be done 5 or 7 years after receiving a residence permit.

Obtaining a residence permit by investment: Greece Golden Visa Program
The medieval town of Mystras near Sparta is one of the main cultural and political centers of Byzantium

How to obtain a Greek residence permit by investment

Investors and holders of Greece golden visas often choose the option of getting a residence permit by buying real estate. Although, other options, such as opening a deposit in a bank and buying securities, are also popular.

Stages of obtaining a residence permit:

  1. Meet the conditions set out for eligibility to participate in the residence by investment program.
  2. Collect and submit the necessary documents to apply for a residence permit.
  3. Get a visa. When buying real estate, a tourist visa is sufficient; for the other options, the investor needs a long‑term type D visa.
  4. Come to Greece.
  5. Pay the state fee for filing an application.
  6. Apply for a residence permit.
  7. Submit biometric data.
  8. Get a residence permit card.

List of required documents, depending on the option selected

Applicants Documents required
Main applicantApplication for residence permit in duplicate

4 passport‑type color photographs in printed form and on a CDCertified copy of passport with a valid visa

A copy of the summary of the investment
Receipt of payment of state duty

Receipt of payment of the fee for issuing a residence permit card

Medical insurance

Certificate of no criminal record

Medical certificate confirming absence of diseases that pose a risk to public health: for example, HIV, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases
Additional family memberCertificate of marital status, certificate confirming relationship
Investment option Documents required
Purchase of real estatePurchase and sale agreement

Confirmation of registration of the contract in the Greek Land Register (Greek Cadastre)
Real estate rentalCopy of the lease agreement
Purchase of a plotSale and purchase agreement

Notarized agreement with a construction company
Construction permit

Contractor invoices and receipts for their payment
Investment in a Greek companyCertificate from an intermediary on the creation of a personal registration record of an investor in the electronic securities system
Purchase of government bondsCertificate of purchase of bonds
Purchase of venture fund sharesCertificate from a mutual fund manager

Certificate, confirming the transfer of the amount by the investor
Opening a depositCertificate of information on a term deposit 

Certificate of an order for the automatic renewal of the deposit

Bank statement 

The state duty for applying for a residence permit is € 2,000 for the main applicant and € 150 for each adult family member included in the application. There is no fee for children under the age of 18.

The fee for issuing a residence permit card is € 16 and is paid for each person in the application. Payment receipts are provided on the e‑Paravolo electronic platform.

White Tower in Thessaloniki: Greek investor visa
The White Tower in Thessaloniki houses the Museum of Byzantine Culture, but the tower itself was built by an Ottoman architect

How to obtain Greek citizenship

An investor does not need to be permanently resident in the country in order to maintain a residence permit. However, to obtain citizenship by investment, applicants need to have lived in Greece for at least 7 years.

7 years
residence in Greece to obtain citizenship

First, the investor receives a Greece golden visa for 5 years and moves to the country. After 5 years, they extend the residence permit card or receive permanent residence in Greece. Permanent residence is issued to those investors who have not spent more than 10 months outside Greece in the previous 5 years.

After another 2 years, the investor applies for a Greek golden passport. The filing fee is € 700.

To obtain Greek citizenship, the applicant needs to pass an exam on their knowledge of the Greek language and the history of the country, as well as take an oath of allegiance. In addition, they confirm that they do not pose a threat to the life or health of Greek citizens, they have a stable income, and they will not apply for unemployment benefits.

The main applicant’s minor children automatically receive Greek citizenship, provided that they permanently reside in Greece.

By marrying a Greek citizen, a foreigner can get Greek permanent residence and citizenship faster. In this case, an application for permanent residence can be submitted after 3 years of residence in the country, and for citizenship, after 5 years.

Interesting facts about Greece

🏺 Athens has the most archaeological museums in the world: 110.

🚠 Greece is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe: 80% of its territory is covered with mountains. The most famous are Olympus, Parnassus, and Smolikas.

⛰️ At a height of 2917 meters above sea level, Olympus is the highest mountain peak in the country.

⛪ The Greeks learned to build dwellings even on top of mountains. For example, the famous Orthodox monasteries of Meteora are located on the top of a rock formation.

🏝️ The Greek island of Santorini is an active marine volcano.

🕺 Greeks are very fond of dancing. In total, there are over 4,000 traditional Greek dances.

🐦 The island of Mykonos has an official mascot: a pink pelican.

Landmarks of Greece: Meteora

Translated from Greek, Meteora means literally “floating in the air”. It is a monastic complex located on top of rocks

Attractions of Greece: Athens

Athens is the oldest European capital. The approximate age of the city is 3,400 years, and the area itself was inhabited at least 7,000 years ago. A third of the population in Greece live in Athens

Attractions of Greece: changing of the guard in Athens

Evzones is an elite unit of the Greek army, which guards the presidential palace in Athens

Attractions in Athens, Greece

Cultural Center of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in Athens

Sights of Greece: Mykonos

Pelican Petros is the official mascot of Mykonos

Frequently asked questions

What are the investment options for obtaining a Greece golden visa?

An investor can buy real estate or land for € 250,000. Alternatively, they could instead rent a room in a hotel or an apartment in a tourist complex.

Investors can also invest in securities: stocks, bonds, government bonds, or shares in a venture fund. They also have the option of opening a time deposit account in a Greek bank. In these cases, the minimum investment is € 400,000.

How to get permanent residence in Greece?

An application for permanent residence by investment in Greece can be submitted after 5 years of residence in the country.

Applicants who get a residence permit in Greece by marriage with a Greek citizen can apply for permanent residence after 3 years of residence.

How to obtain Greek citizenship?

An application for Greek citizenship can be submitted after 7 years of living in the country based on a residence permit or permanent residence. Applicants will also need to pass an exam on knowledge of the Greek language, history and culture.

Foreigners who marry a Greek citizen can apply for citizenship after 5 years.

Which taxes are paid when obtaining a Greek golden visa through the purchase of real estate?

When buying real estate, a transfer tax of 3% of its value and municipal tax of 0.9% must be paid. In some cases, instead of these taxes, the buyer needs to pay VAT at 24%.

For owning real estate, you must pay two taxes: on the property and municipal tax. The rates depend on the area, cadastral value, date of construction and location of the property. If the value of the property is more than € 300,000, an additional tax ranging from 0.1 to 1% needs to be paid per annum.

Buyers of land plots need to pay a tax ranging from € 0.003 to € 9 per square meter.

Rental income earned on real estate owned by individuals is taxed at 15 to 45%, and rental income on properties owned by legal entities are taxed at 24%.

Is it possible to obtain a Greece residence permit as a financially independent person?

Yes, but the terms for obtaining such a residence permit differ from the conditions for getting a residence permit by investment. Financially independent persons need to spend more than 183 days a year in Greece and must have a bank account with a Greek bank. Their residence permit cards are valid for two years.

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