Golden Visa Greece 2022 The Ultimate Guide by Experts | GCS

Greek citizenship by investment, also known as the Greek Golden Visa Scheme or Greece Investment Visa is a perfect option for those looking for a path to EU residency. Whether you’re a non-EU citizen, retiree, digital entrepreneur, or investor, the golden visa in Greece enables you to enjoy a relaxing lifestyle, delicious cuisine, and fantastic weather. In no time, you can find yourself feeling at home in this gorgeous nation.

In this Golden Visa program guide, you’ll find information on the following to secure the Greece golden passport

  • Step-by-step guide on acquiring Greek residency
  • Investment options
  • Fees 
  • Plus more!

In essence, this guide will arm you with everything that you’ll need to know about obtaining Greek citizenship by investment.

What is the Greece Golden Visa Program?

Kickstarted in 2013, the Greek Golden Visa is a residency by investment program that enables non-EU citizens and their family members to obtain permanent residency, in exchange for a qualifying investment in the nation. Usually, investors opt to buy a property at a minimum value of €250K in order to obtain residency. Investment programs are becoming increasingly popular, and Greece’s Golden Visa program has many benefits attached to it. The Golden Visa law varies in different countries, with differing requirements and benefits. 

In case you were wondering, golden visa programs are the fastest ways for non-EU citizens to obtain residency in the EU, and are packed with attractive incentives.

Benefits of the Greek residence permit

  • Visa free travel in Europe’s Schengen Zone (26 countries)
  • Greece golden combo of living in a European country with stunning beaches and an excellent climate
  • No stay requirements in Greece
  • Permanent residency (Greece PR by investment) is possible
  • Fast application processing time of two months
  • Option to rent out the investment property
  • Residence extended to entire family
  • Citizenship possible after seven years of residence
  • Can hold shares and get income from the dividends in companies. The company will need to be registered in Greece (but not be employed in the country)

Family benefits

  • Spouse and children under the age of 21 are included in the application
  • Applicant’s or spouse’s parents can also receive residence permits

How to get the Golden Visa in Greece?

You must first make a qualifying investment in Greece before you can obtain a residence permit. There are several investment options on the table, which we detail below.

Real Estate Investment

  • Buy a property in Greece worth at least €250,000
  • Enter a ten-year lease agreement, whether for hotel accommodation or furnished tourist residences in tourist resorts

Luckily, the Golden Visa program offers alternative investment options, listed below.

General investment options

Invest a minimum of €400,000 in Greek government bonds

Invest a minimum of €400,000 in Greek government bonds

Make a capital contribution of at least €400,000 in bonds or shares of a venture capital fund, private equity fund, or a mutual fund based in Greece

Make a capital contribution of at least €400,000 in bonds or shares of a venture capital fund, private equity fund, or a mutual fund based in Greece

Make a capital contribution of €400,000 in securities or a bank deposit in Greece

Make a capital contribution of €400,000 in securities or a bank deposit in Greece

Invest €800,000 in shares, corporate bonds, or Greek Treasury bonds, listed in trading facilities operating in Greece

Invest €800,000 in shares, corporate bonds, or Greek Treasury bonds, listed in trading facilities operating in Greece

Until recently, the only option was to invest in real estate in Greece. However, now the options are more diversified. Note that the majority of investors still opt to purchase the property. Dual-ownership is also possible, as long as each individual invests at least €250.000.

Visa requirements for Greece

Any third-country national can apply, provided that they have:

  • Adequate medical insurance coverage
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Hold a clean criminal record
  • Be of ‘good’ character

You must also have all the documentation needed to lodge your application. When in doubt, consult a golden visa consultant who can help you to successfully submit your application.

Step-by-step guide to the Greece investment visa

1. Prepare Your Application

2. Submit Application

3. Complete Final Verification Step

4. Receive Your Golden Visa

1. Prepare

Collect the necessary paperwork, choose your property, or opt for a more general investment.

2. Submit application

Open a bank account in Greece. Then, transfer the necessary money to make the investment in your Greek account and present your application to the Greek government.

3. Complete verification

Due diligence checks are performed, as well as any legal steps required to secure Greece residency by buying property. A temporary permit is issued, allowing you to freely travel to Greece before the golden visa residence permit is issued.

4. Receive your golden visa

Using the temporary residence visa to enter the country, submit biometric data in a confirmed appointment with the authorities. Afterward, the golden visa is issued within 20 business days.

Application Processing Time

Week 1: Select your preferred investment route

Week 2: Open a bank account. As an extra option, assign an attorney to help you out

Week 3: Acquire the property or make the respective investment 

Week 4: Pre-submit your application either by yourself or with the help of a lawyer. Gather all the required documentation. For the Golden Visa in Greece laws will need to be upheld every step of the way, so having a lawyer on your side is important.

Week 5: Visit Greece and submit your biometric data

Week 6-8: Your Golden Visa is approved

Year 5: Renew your golden visa residence card every five years

Year 7: Apply for citizenship

Greek Taxes to Consider

There is a flat 7% tax rate for the first ten years on all foreign income in Greece. This means that all foreign earnings from investments, pensions, and other income will be taxed at 7%. However, if you’re not a tax resident in Greece, you won’t need to pay tax on your worldwide income.

Additionally, there are gift and inheritance taxes to consider. They’re based on kinship and the rates are 10% for spouses, parents, and children, 20% for other relatives, and 40% for everyone else. Above this, it’s worth mentioning that tax accrued from your property acquisition is applied including property tax, and if applicable, tax from rental income of the property.

Can I buy Greek citizenship? 

You absolutely cannot buy citizenship. While Greece immigration by investment doesn’t lead to citizenship directly, citizenship by naturalization is possible after living in Greece for seven years. Alongside this, you must be a registered tax resident during this seven-year period, pass a Greek language test, and show a genuine connection to the nation. Provided you fulfill these criteria, you are eligible for a Greek passport.

Document checklist for the Greek Golden Visa Program

To ensure you receive a residence card, you must submit the necessary paperwork. This starts with compiling all your documents together. Below we’ve outlined what you need, but note that requirements can change.

  • Copy of valid passport and a three-month visa. The passport must have at least two blank pages.  
  • Real estate notarized purchasing agreement
  • Certificate confirming the registration of the Purchasing Agreement in the Land Registry
  • Receipt for the payment of Governmental Fees 
  • Certificate issued by the Notary confirming that the property acquisition has fulfilled legal entity obligations
  • Health insurance policy for the main applicant and all accompanying family members
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Birth certificate of the main applicant and dependents, duly certified
  • Engagement Agreement on the property purchase, signed with a lawyer or realtor in case the property is still not transferred to the name of the Greek Golden Visa applicant
  • Financial documents confirming there are sufficient funds to invest (e.g. a bank account statement showing the fund amount of at least €250,000

Costs involved

On top of the amount you invest in, there are extra fees to consider, namely legal fees, translation fees, tax fees, and other administrative costs. If you go for the property investment route, expect to pay around 11-12% of the property value.

Some estimated costs to consider for the real estate investment option:

  • Property transfer tax- 3.09% of the Greek real estate value
  • Notary public fees-1-1.24% of the property value
  • Land registry fee-0.6%-0.8% of the property value
  • Lawyer fee- around €10,000 
  • Payment to the Greek government – €2000 for the main investor, and €150 per each other family member
  • Golden Visa Greece healthcare: health insurance is roughly €100 for adults and €80 for dependent offspring (varying by age)
  • Fee to the Greek Consulate for the visa application, which costs around €300 
  • Visa renewal: this will cost you an extra €500 when the time comes

Note, these are fee estimates.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the golden visa scheme in Greece?

It’s basically a European residency scheme, whereby foreign investors are granted legal residency in the country, in return for a qualifying investment in the nation (usually real estate).

What are the benefits of applying to the investment program?

Key benefits include the chance to live in Greece with a permanent residence permit, visa-free access to the European Union, and owning a real estate property with the opportunity to rent it out and gain back in returns.

Are there any restrictions in place to buy real estate?

At present, there are no restrictions in place.

How long until I get my Golden Visa?

Once you submit your EU Greece Golden Visa application, it usually takes between 1-2 months to get your residence permit.

Do I have to go to Greece for my application?

As of December 2020, you don’t need to visit Greece before or during the application procedure. However, you will need to go to Greece when the time comes to submit your biometric information.

What family members can I bring when I get the golden visa?

Family members of third country nationals include the spouse, children under the age of 21, and the primary applicant/spouse’s parents. Unmarried partners are not eligible.

Can I work in Greece with a golden visa?

No, unfortunately, you can’t work with the residence permit, not even as a freelancer. The only exception is when you’re acting as a shareholder, CEO, or other board member.

Is Greece citizenship possible?

Greek citizenship is possible after being a resident for seven years.

What other golden visa programs exist?

What other golden visa programs exist? The Greece program compares to the Portugal golden visa, a residency by investment option for qualifying investors.

Can I retire to Greece after Brexit?

Following Brexit, British expat will need to follow non-EU application procedures, but you can stay in Greece for up to three months without the need for a visa. After this, you will need to apply for permanent residency.

Is it necessary to hire a lawyer to collect the documentation?

It is recommended to hire a lawyer to make sure that you have all the required documentation.

Can a non-EU investor travel to other countries within the EU with the Greek permit for owners of real estate?

Yes, the permanent residency and long-term permit provide the investor with toral freedom of movement within the EU.

Can the investor buy commercial property? Or a combination of commercial and residential properties or land?

The law in Greece states that €250,000 must be the stated price on the contract and this does not distinguish between commercial and residential properties.

Can Americans apply for Golden Visa in Greece?

Yes, Americans can definitely apply for the Golden Visa in Greece.

How to get greek citizenship by investment?

You must first make a qualifying investment in Greece before you can obtain a residence permit.  There are several investment options and the most popular route is investing in property, where a €250,000 minimum investment is required.