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.
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
|Criteria||Residence permit by investment||Other types of residence permits|
|Validity period of the residence permit||5 years||1‑2 years|
|Mandatory stay in the country per annum||No||183 days|
|Travel to the Schengen states without visas||Yes||Yes|
|Open an account in a European bank||Yes||Yes|
|Inclusion in the application of a spouse and minor children||Yes||Yes|
|Inclusion in the application of parents and adult children under 21 years old||Yes||No|
|Income tax benefits||Yes||No|
|Work in Greece||No||Depends on the type of residence permit|
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.
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:
- The head office of the company must be located in the EU.
- 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
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:
- Investing in the capital of a Greek company.
- Purchasing 3‑year (or longer) Greek government bonds.
- 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.
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:
- Meet the conditions set out for eligibility to participate in the residence by investment program.
- Collect and submit the necessary documents to apply for a residence permit.
- 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.
- Come to Greece.
- Pay the state fee for filing an application.
- Apply for a residence permit.
- Submit biometric data.
- Get a residence permit card.
List of required documents, depending on the option selected
|Main applicant||Application 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
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 member||Certificate of marital status, certificate confirming relationship|
|Investment option||Documents required|
|Purchase of real estate||Purchase and sale agreement|
Confirmation of registration of the contract in the Greek Land Register (Greek Cadastre)
|Real estate rental||Copy of the lease agreement|
|Purchase of a plot||Sale and purchase agreement|
Notarized agreement with a construction company
Contractor invoices and receipts for their payment
|Investment in a Greek company||Certificate from an intermediary on the creation of a personal registration record of an investor in the electronic securities system|
|Purchase of government bonds||Certificate of purchase of bonds|
|Purchase of venture fund shares||Certificate from a mutual fund manager|
Certificate, confirming the transfer of the amount by the investor
|Opening a deposit||Certificate of information on a term deposit |
Certificate of an order for the automatic renewal of the deposit
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.
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.
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.
Frequently asked questions
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.