Residence permits for Investors in Greece

Greece constitutes a full member of the European Union, the International Monetary Union and NATO and it has likewise ratified Schengen treaty since 1997. Greek passport retains currently the 6th place amongst the most powerful passports globally, ranking in the same spot with countries such as the USA, the United Kingdom and Switzerland hence providing access without the prerequisite for an entry visa in 184 different countries.

Greece enacted the potential for the provision of residence permit regarding alien investors for the first time in 2014 by the voting of the Immigration and Social integration Code (L. 4251/2014 G.G. A 80). Initially, the specified privilege was endorsed to “strategic investors” and real estate property investors whereas upon the relevant amendment (L. 4605/2019) it has expanded to a broad circle of investors of financial and stock exchange products.

General Scope

1. Modernization of the process, bureaucracy elimination, short term procedure of just one week requiring a single visit of the investor to any area of the Greek territory.

2. Abolition of any restrictions regarding the residence in the country. The investor may remain in the country for 0 up to 365 days.

3. Absence of involvement by the Competent Authorities regarding the investor’s country of origin. There is no certificate required and practically the Competent Authorities of the investor’s permanent residence shall never be informed regarding the endorsement of the relevant residence permit.

4. Absence of involvement by the Greek Consular Authorities relevant to the investor’s current country of residence. The investor enters the territory of Greece for the submission of the relevant application with a basic tourist Visa. (Visa type C).

5. There are no further tax liabilities burdening the investor regarding the possession of the residence permit.

6. Provision of free access to Public Health and Public Education institutions.

7. The specified residence permit addresses to an extended family circle since in addition to the primary beneficiary-investor  it is also endorsed to the spouse and children under the age limit of 21 as well as to the direct relatives in the investor’s ascending line and the spouse’s correspondingly.

8. Initial endorsement of five (5) years duration with the potential of renewal provided that the initial investment has been preserved.

9. The duration regarding the possession of the residence permit admeasures the required time for the acquisition of the Greek citizenship. Following seven consecutive years possessing the residence permit the investor and his family members are able to apply for the acquisition of the relevant citizenship.

Specifically, regarding the endorsement of residence permit via investment in real estate property

(minimum investment of 250.000 Euro)

1. Investment in a thriving market with large margins of profit. In 2018 foreign investments in the Greek property market increased by a 172% percentage whereas in 2019 a further increase is anticipated as well.

2. Extremely low investment amount in comparison with other European investment programs. Indicatively, Spain and Portugal have set as minimum investment the amount of 500.000 Euro.

3. Ability of leasing the property by long term conventional lease agreement as well as exploiting

it via short term leasing electronic platforms. (Airbnb, booking).

4. Flexibility regarding the formulation of the investment: the minimum amount of 250.000 Euro is applicable to be consisted of a single or multiple properties, whereas two or three investors can opt for the acquisition of a property with market value at 500.000 or 750.000 Euro correspondingly and thus all of them to acquire the residence permit.

5. The ownership of the property is applicable to be acquired by an alien corporation resulting to the residence permit endorsement to a shareholder of the foresaid corporation.

6. Acquisition of full ownership of the building as well as the corresponding plot area by the alien property owner and his successors.

7. The alien property owner is not burdened with any additional property ownership tax  in relation to native property owners.

8. Greece possesses the oldest property legislative system in Europe providing total secure transactions.

Specifically, regarding the endorsement of residence permit via investment in bank deposits (minimum investment of 400.000 Euro)

1. Provision of currency and banking system stability. Operation of merely four systemic bank institutions, completely restructured.

2. Contemporary banking products with high performance ability.

3. Extremely low investment amount in relation with the rest of European investment programs. Indicatively, Spain has set as minimum investment the amount of 1 million Euro and similarly United Kingdom has determined the amount of 2 million Euro.

4. There is no additional fiscal charge. As sole tax rate is set a 15% percentage on the total profits which is automatically withheld by the Bank institution and therefore the use of accounting services in Greece is not required necessarily.

5. Automatic disengagement of the investor since Greece does not subject το any type of restriction relevant to capital flow (capital controls) and therefore the investor is free to transfer the invested amount to any country of his preference at any stage of the procedure.

6. Zero operating investment costs since there is no involvement of notaries, real estate agents, accountants, capital taxation etc.

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