General grounds for obtaining a Greek residence permit
Greece is one of the EU countries that offer a residence permit in exchange for the purchase of real estate or investment in the country’s economy.
The Golden Visa program, i.e. obtaining a Greek residence permit for the purchase of real estate was enshrined in law in 2013 and among similar programs (Golden visa in Spain, Portugal) is the third most popular scheme for obtaining residency for investments in Europe.
During the operation of the state program, more than 2,000 investors became holders of a Greek residence permit, a fifth of whom were citizens of Russia and the CIS countries. The program provides several ways to obtain a Greek residence permit, in particular, on the basis of purchasing a timeshare for 10 years, confirming financial independence and obtaining a stable income (Greek residence permit without the right to work).
However, the main investment direction for obtaining a Greek residence permit remains the purchase of residential or commercial real estate. The driving force in this case is the factor of the accessible threshold for entry into visa programs compared to other EU countries – an investor needs to purchase real estate worth at least 250,000 euros, while in Portugal and Spain the minimum investment in housing to obtain a residence is 500 000 euros.
In the case of Greece, 250 thousand euros can be the total cost of several real estate properties or one property. This is what made the current advantage of investing in Greek real estate obvious to buyers.
The investment program is regulated by the Greek laws “Entry, residence and social integration of third-country nationals in Greece” and “On the creation of a favorable environment for strategic and private investments.”
Conditions for obtaining a Greek residence permit when purchasing real estate
Registration of a Greek residence permit when purchasing real estate is possible under the following conditions:
- acquisition of real estate worth at least 250,000 euros – one or more objects, the total value of which satisfies the requirement;
- the investor is a citizen of a country outside the European Union.
Other requirements include: the applicant must be over 18 years old, have a stable financial income to support themselves and their family in Greece, and have health insurance.
A residence permit in Greece when purchasing real estate does not imply obtaining the right to work or conduct economic activities in the country and is issued for a period of 5 years with the possibility of subsequent extension. Renewal of a residence permit card is carried out for a period of 5 years, subject to maintaining ownership of real estate for a specified amount.
Features of obtaining a Greek residence permit when purchasing real estate
Residence permit for the whole family
The program for obtaining a Greek residence permit when purchasing real estate provides for the inclusion in the application of the spouse and minor children of the main applicant under the age of 21. In accordance with amendments to the Greek Immigration Code in 2015, along with the main applicant, a Greek residence permit can be requested by his parents. The requirement for the parents of the property owner is to own an object worth at least 250,000 euros.
The Greek residence permit for family members of the main applicant is valid as long as the residence status of the home owner is valid. Resident status, in turn, remains as long as the property owner owns a home in Greece.
A significant advantage of the government program for obtaining a Greek residence permit for the purchase of real estate is the short duration of the procedure. The decision to issue resident status is made within 2–3 months by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Economy.
Probability of receiving
Refusals to issue a Greek residence permit when purchasing real estate are extremely rare. The main reason for refusals is the provision of false information or documents when applying for a Greek residence permit.
To purchase real estate in Greece in order to obtain a residence permit, the use of borrowed funds is prohibited. Confirmation of the form of payment and compliance of the object with the terms of the program is the purchase and sale agreement and a notarized deed, which is attached to the package of documents at the time of filing an application for a Greek residence permit.
The procedure for obtaining a Greek residence permit through the purchase of real estate
In most cases, to obtain a residence permit in Greece, 2-3 visits to the country are enough: to select a property and open an account in a Greek bank, to submit documents for a residence permit and provide biometric data after approval of the application. Entry to Greece for these purposes is possible with any visa, including a tourist one.
The procedure for registering the purchase of real estate
Stage 1: choosing a property
First of all, you should study the Greek real estate market in detail and select a property that satisfies the applicant’s requirements and complies with the conditions of the residence permit program (as already mentioned, the total cost of one or more properties is 250,000 euros). If there is no intention to carry out an examination of the object, then the next steps will be the preparation of documents and the payment of a deposit in the amount of 10% of the cost of the object.
To carry out any economic activity in Greece, a foreigner must obtain an individual tax number, which is needed to open a bank account, pay taxes, etc. The foreigner’s tax number is issued by the local tax authorities on the day of application.
Stage 2: opening an account in a Greek bank and purchasing real estate
Opening a bank account for a residence permit in Greece when purchasing real estate is a short procedure that takes no more than one day. To open an account, you need to collect a package of documents, which includes:
- copy and original of the applicant’s passport;
- documents translated into Greek or English confirming the source and legality of the buyer’s income;
- employment document;
- confirmation of the applicant’s actual residential address;
- an extract from the applicant’s existing accounts.
Once an account is opened in a Greek bank, it is necessary to transfer a sufficient amount to it in order to make full payment for the purchased object. The next steps will be the purchase and sale transaction and payment of the remaining amount. In about a month, the transaction will be registered in the pledge registry and the local cadastre.
Stage 3: submitting documents for a residence permit in Greece based on the purchase of real estate
After purchasing real estate, you can submit a package of documents to the Office of Foreign Citizens and Immigration of Greece to obtain a residence permit. The applicant must submit documents in person. Then the foreigner is issued a certificate allowing him to stay in the country for a year. After approval of the application for a Greek residence permit, the applicant and his family members (except for children under 5 years old), if the latter were included in the application for a residence permit, must provide biometric data. You can receive a completed residence permit in a few weeks.
Documents for applying for a residence permit in Greece based on the purchase of real estate
The package of documents required to obtain a residence permit in Greece based on the purchase of real estate includes:
- a copy of the passport (translation into Greek and an apostille are required);
- 2 color photographs (4 x 6 cm);
- confirmation of payment of state duty;
- original real estate purchase and sale agreement;
- confirmation that the purchase and sale agreement has been registered in the pledge registry;
- medical insurance.
Family members included in the application for a Greek residence permit must provide:
- copy of passport;
- health insurance;
- 2 color photographs (4 x 6 cm);
- Marriage certificate;
- birth certificate of a child.
All documents must be translated into Greek and notarized.
What does a Greek residence permit give when buying real estate?
- The right to reside in Greece permanently throughout the validity of the residence permit (it can be extended an unlimited number of times for a period of 5 years) and to enjoy all the benefits of a European residence permit, except for the possibility of official employment.
- The ability to travel between Schengen countries without visas (you can stay in each country for no more than 90 days in six months).
- The opportunity to use high-quality European medical services.
- For children – the opportunity to receive a European education in any EU country (no student visa required).
- Guarantees of the safety of your own funds, since the European banking system is one of the most stable in the world.
- The right to apply for Greek citizenship, subject to staying in the country for at least six months a year for 10 years.