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30 December, 2020

How to obtain a residence permit in Greece in 2021: new conditions due to the pandemic

The Greek government has extended the validity of residence permit cards and allowed investors to apply without health insurance. We tell you how and why the procedures have changed.

Residence permit in Greece for investment in real estate: when to renew documents under the new rules
Photo: Adobe Stock

The changes apply to investors who have already received residence permit cards for investments or plan to participate in the programme in 2021.

The changes are enshrined in the amendments to Act No. 4674/2020. They entered into force on 23 December 2020 - from the date of publication in the national gazette.

Validity of residence permit cards under the new conditions

A residence card is a document that confirms rsidence status. Investors receive a residence card for 5 years.

A foreigner submits documents to the Greek migration service in order to renew his residence permit. This must be done within two months before the residence permit card expires. There is a penalty for being late. And if the card expired more than a month ago, the Migration Service will not accept the documents.

A foreigner also has to re-issue biometrics when he renews his residence permit card. Therefore, if the resident is in another country, he/she has to return to Greece in order to reissue the documents.

In 2020, many foreigners were unable to come to Greece because of the pandemic. Therefore, the government of the country has extended the validity of residence permit cards that have already expired or will expire by 31 March 2021. This gives foreigners the opportunity to renew their documents and retain their residency status.

Until what date do residence permit cards remain valid

Validity has expiredTo be valid
From 1 January to 31 July 2020Until 31 March 2021
From 1 August 2020 to 31 March 2021Another 8 months from the expiry date of the card

Terms and conditions for new participants in the programme

The amendments to the law also simplify the procedure by which a foreigner applies for a residence permit for investment.

The application can be made by an authorised representative of the investor, e.g. his lawyer. To appoint the representative, the investor draws up the power of attorney in the name of a lawyer at the Greek Consulate.

Health insurance is allowed to be provided for 12 months after the investor has applied for the programme. Previously, investors provided the insurance together with the application.

Biometrics have to be taken at the Greek Immigration Service, as before. Fingerprints are needed to issue a biometric residence permit card. Therefore, the condition remains mandatory for all applicants.

How to get a "golden visa" in Greece in 2021

The Greek residence permit programme offers three investment options. An investor can buy real estate, open a deposit in a bank or invest in shares in local companies.

Buying a property from €250,000 is the most popular option. The foreigner owns the property for 5 years. During this time, he can rent out the property and then sell it and recoup his investment.

In 2020, house prices in Greece rose at half the rate of 2019. But they will start rising faster when the country lifts the quarantine and opens the border. Tourism Minister Charis Theoharis believes that the flow of tourists will fully recover in the second half of 2021.

Until the end of the pandemic, investors can buy property under a simplified procedure. For example, they can enter into a purchase contract remotely and pay the costs from an overseas account.

Immigrant Invest real estate experts recommend looking at Greek properties now, while prices are rising slowly and residence permits can be obtained under simplified procedures.

Greece allows up to 500 Russians a week to enter the country, so the investor can personally choose a property, enter into a contract and submit biometrics. You must bring a certificate with a negative coronavirus test result and a document with the address of your stay in Greece, such as a hotel reservation. If you enter the country before the 7th of January, you will have to stay for 3 days in quarantine upon arrival.

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How to obtain a residence permit in Greece in 2021: new conditions due to the pandemic