The government of Greece introduced a procedure to obtain residence permits which can be renewed every five (5) years for owners of real estate by third country nationals pursuant to the provisions of the law of Immigration and Social Integration Code (Law 4251/204, Article 20 par. B). The applicants must meet the requirements set out at the above legislation.
- Third country nationals who own real estate property in Greece, either privately or through an 100% privately owned legal entity, provided the property has a minimum value of €250,000;
- Third country nationals who have signed a timeshare agreement (lease) –for a minimum period of 10 years– for hotel accommodation or furnished tourist residences in integrated tourist resorts, provided the lease has a minimum total value of €250,000;
- Third country nationals who either legally reside in Greece, i.e. they have a residence permit, or wish to enter and reside in the country, and who have full ownership and possession of real estate property in Greece, which they purchased before the enactment of the Golden Visa Law, provided that they purchased the real estate property for a minimum of €250,000 or that the current objective value of their real estate property amounts to a minimum of €250,000;
- Third country nationals who fully and legally own real estate property in Greece, which has a minimum current objective value of €250,000 and which they acquired through a donation or parental concession;
- Third country nationals who have purchased a plot of land or acreage and proceed with erecting a building, provided that the cumulative value of the land (purchase value) and the contract with the construction company amounts to a minimum of €250,000;
- Third country nationals who have signed a ten-year timeshare agreement (lease), based on the provisions of Law 1652/1986. A time share lease, according to the provisions of article 1 of Law 1652/1986 is the commitment of the lessor to grant each year to the lessee, for the duration of the timeshare, the use of the tourist accommodation and to provide to them the relevant services for the determined period of time according to the contract, and in return the lessee must pay the agreed rent;
- Family members of the third country citizens described above. According to the law, family members of third country citizens entering the country include:
- The direct ascendants of the investor and/or their spouses (parents and parents-in-law);
- The direct descendants of the investors and/or their spouses, who are under the age of 21 (children). The applicants’ children, who have originally been admitted to the country under the terms and requirements of the Golden Visa Law, are provided with a family member’s residence permit until the age of 21. After that, they can switch to another type of residence permit until they reach the age of 24 and then they may renew it further, according to pertinent immigration legislation.
- The real estate properties must be owned by and be in possession of its owners;
- In cases of joint ownership, where the value of the property is €250,000, the residence permit is only granted if the owners are spouses with undivided ownership of the property. In all other cases of joint ownership, the residence permit is only granted if each of the joint owners has invested a minimum amount of €250,000. (i.e. two investors are required to purchase a property of a minimum value of €500,000);
- If the owner has acquired the property through a legal entity, the applicant must own 100% of the company shares;
- The residence permit is also granted in cases where the third country citizen is the owner, either directly or through a legal entity, of more than one real estate properties, provided the minimum value of the total real estate investment is €250,000;
- In the case of third country citizens who have signed a lease of at least 10 years for hotel accommodations or furnished tourist residences in integrated tourist resorts, provided the minimum value of the lease is €250,000, the contract must require a single payment of the lease for the equivalent of the ten year leasing of the property.
- Spouse and children up to 21 years old: Residence Permits are issued for the investor’s spouse and all their children up to 21 years old, provided that they are still unmarried. As spouses are considered opposite-sex married couples and both opposite-sex and same-sex couples who have entered a civil union in Greece;
- Parents / Parents-in-Law: The investor’s parents and parents-in-law may also be granted a Residence Permit, without any further requirements;
- Children over 21 years old: A Golden Visa can also be granted to children over the age of 21, provided that the value of the acquired real estate attributed to each child is at least €250.000.
This residence permit is permanent. The holder of the residence permit is however required to renew it every five (5) years. More specifically, residence permits may be renewed for the same duration and for as many times as the applicant requests. To renew the residence permit, the following conditions must be met:
- The real estate property should remain in the full ownership and possession of the applicant;
- The relevant leases/contracts should be ongoing. There is no minimum-stay requirement for applicants, in order to retain or renew their residence permits. Reselling the real estate property to another third country citizen, while the residence permit is still in force, results in the new owner being entitled to a residence permit and the seller’s residence permit being revoked.
- Two copies of the application form;
- Four recent biometric photos and digital copy on optical disc (CD);
- True Copy of a valid passport with entry visa;
- Stamp duty of €2,000 for the main investor;
- Stamp duty of €150 for each adult applicant;
- Stamp Duty of €16 for each applicant;
- Certification by an insurance agency for the cost of hospitalisation and medical care.
To certify that this condition is fulfilled, the following documents are accepted;
- Insurance contracts which have been concluded in Greece;
- Insurance contracts which have been concluded outside Greece provided that they explicitly mention that they cover the interested party for the duration of their stay in Greece;
- A notarised copy of the deed regarding the purchase of the property. And a Certificate of the notary who drafted the notarial deeds of transfer or the lease agreements of paragraph B of Article 20, the content is determined by law;
- Proof of title transfer from the competent Land Registry;
- For family members only: a recent birth or family certificate issued by the competent foreign authorities duly apostilled.
Submission of the application for the issuance of the residence permit, submission of all additional documentation, receipt of the residence permit or any additional documentation, may all be performed either in person or through a proxy.
However, all applicants must give their biometric data (digital photo, fingerprints and specimen signature). If the applicant is not present in the country at the time of filing, an appointment can be scheduled upon agreement with the authorised lawyer in the next 6 months. Children under the age of 12 years are excluded from the collection of specimens of signature and children under the age of 6 years are also excluded from the collection of fingerprints.
Once the application has been submitted, the applicant shall receive a receipt confirming the submission of the application (with a photo attached), which is considered as a temporary residence permit for one year. However, authorities usually process the applications within two (2) months. Any third country citizen, who has submitted an application and received the confirmation receipt described above, can legally reside in Greece. The holders of the confirmation receipt are entitled to the benefits of the residence permit they have applied for. Hence, they can proceed with any legal transaction regarding their investment and can transact with all competent authorities.
The documents required for the application for a residence permit should be submitted in Greek, except for the documents issued by foreign authorities which need to be certified before being translated. Two types of certification are accepted: a) The Apostille stamp for countries that participate in the Hague Convention; b) Certification by the Consular. It is possible to have the foreign public documents translated in Greece via the Translation Service of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs or a Certified Lawyer.
For owners of real estate property to obtain a residence permit, an entry Visa is required. That means all applicants are required to visit Greece at least once before submitting their application, even for one day. Pursuant to Law 4251/2014, any third country citizen who has legally entered the country holding any type of entry visa or who is a legal resident of the country, regardless of their status or residence permit type, has the right to apply for a residence permit. Once the residence permit is issued, and throughout its duration, there is no further need for an entry visa.
Twenty-two of the European Union (EU) member states and the four European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states participate in the Schengen Area. Of the six EU members that are not part of the Schengen Area, four –Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania– are legally obliged and wish to join the area, while the other two –the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom– maintain opt-outs.
The four European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states –Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland– are not members of the EU, but have signed agreements to comply with the Schengen rules. Three European micro-states –Principality of Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City– can be considered de facto participants.