Golden Visa programme for investors in Greece

Since 2013, Greece has introduced “Greece-My Residence” a very favorable golden visa programme which applies to all non-EU citizens who purchase a property in Greece of a total net value of minimum 250.000 Euros (former art. 35A of law 3386/2005, as modified by art. 6 par. 2 of law 4146/2013, currently abrogated by law 4251/2014). This kind of residence permit is renewable every five years and permanent, in the sense that the investor is entitled to renew the residence permit, as long as the real estate property remains in the ownership and possession of the investor.

According to the latest official report, issued by the Ministry of Migration Policy, Chinese citizens exploited more than everyone else the “Greek Golden Visa” program which offers residency permits to third country citizens and their families when investing more than 250,000 euros on real estate properties or other investment activity in Greece. By January 31, 2017, a total of 1,573 residency permits have been offered to real estate investors, of which 664 from China, 348 from Russia, 77 from Egypt, 73 from Lebanon and 67 from Ukraine.

In 2014, the Greek parliament approved the new immigration law (law 4251/2014) that sets out rules and regulations concerning the payment of the sale’s price of the property and introduces more benefits to the investors of real estate property in Greece, extending the right of residence to investors who are willing to buy a plot land or acreage and proceed to construction or restauration of the property purchase, as long as the maximum costs (price of land or acreage and construction costs) exceeds the sum of 250.000 Euros. This new law also allows investors to lease the property.

An amendment to the immigration law, enacted in 2015 (law 4332/2015), extends the right for residence permit also to the direct ascendants of the investors. Beneficiaries of the right for residence are therefore a) the investor and the spouse, b) the direct common descendants (children), until the age of 21, of the investor and the spouse and other unwed children of the other spouse, including children who have being adopted, provided that the applicant is their legal guardian, c) the direct ascendants (parents and grandparents) of the investor and the spouse.

Family members have the option of entering the country at a later date from the applicant, from whom they draw their residence rights. These family members are issued with a residence permit of the same duration as the applicant.

The residence permit for real estate investors does not include access to employment.

The children of the applicant, who have been originally admitted to the country under the terms and requirements of residence permits for the purpose of family reunification, are issued an independent residence permit when they reach the age of 21, with a maximum duration of one year (art. 76 par. 3 of law 4225/2014). Further renewals are possible in accordance with immigration legislation.

Why Greece

The Greek economy, having achieved high growth rates until 2008, showed signs of recession in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis, and from 2010 onwards the recession intensified considerably due to country’s fiscal imbalances.
    The need for consolidation led the country to embark on a trilateral mechanism of financial support, comprised of the EU, the IMF and the ECB.  The restrictive income policy and drastic limitation on public expenses during the past five years have had a negative impact on GDP growth, leading to its decrease by 5.4% in 2010, 8.9% in 2011, 6.6% in 2012 and 3.9% in 2013 (constant prices of year 2010).
    During 2014, the Greek economy returned to positive growth rates of 0.8%.

Economic hub of SE Europe

Despite the economic crisis that has emerged, mainly since 2010, Greece remains appealing as an investment location because it offers businesspeople a wide variety of investment opportunities that take advantage of the country’s strategic geographic location and unique competitive advantages. Greece is a natural gateway to more than 140 million consumers in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, a region with a GDP of almost 1 trillion Euro. As the hub of diverse emerging markets, Greece provides access to populations with a strong demand for consumer goods, infrastructure modernisation, technology and innovation networks, energy, tourism development, and light manufacturing.

Key Facts

  • Investment in property from €250,000
  • Full family residency. Children up to 21.
  • Flexible. No requirement to reside.
  • EU Schengen visa travel
  • Citizenship requires residency