What is the Golden Visa of Greece?
Since 2013, Greece has offered the opportunity to foreigners to obtain a residence permit by purchasing a property worth €250,000 or more, making it one of the most attractive in terms of price and benefits if compared to any other EU program.
With such a reasonable investment, this gives the opportunity to all non-European investors to travel freely without the need of a Visa to ALL 26 member countries of the Schengen zone listed as per table to the right.
Comparative Advantages of the Golden Visa of Greece
· Quick and transparent procedure;
· Investment amount €250,000-Lowest threshold in Europe;
· Immediate family members can accompany applicant including in-laws;
· No need to reside in Greece;
· You can own property without having to live or work in Greece;
· Rental of the property is permitted;
· There is no restriction on the types of properties to be acquired, may include land, residential or commercial;
· Joint ownership is permitted;
· Multiple ownership allowed (if more than one property);
· Applicants who permanently reside in Greece for seven years are eligible to apply for Greek citizenship;
· No interview procedure;
· No language test
· No minimum stay requirement;
· Issue of residence permit within months from the submission of an application.
Financial Criteria & Conditions
The acquisition of property under the scheme can take place in any the following ways:
· Directly in the name of the applicant;
· In the case of spouses, directly in the name of each spouse;
· Through a company or other entity provided that the applicant is the sole shareholder of such company or entity;
· In the case of multiple applicants (two or more) directly in their names, provided each applicant acquires a total investment amount of €250,000 or more;
· By leasing contract in the case of hotels or other buildings providing tourist accommodation, provided the lease duration is at least ten (10) years and the lease amount is at least €250,000; or
· By entering into a time-sharing agreement provided the duration is at least ten (10) years and the amount is at least €250,000.
When can someone apply?
The property purchase process must have been completed (i.e. the contract of sale must have been registered and the relevant Registration Certificate must have been issued) before an application under the scheme can be submitted.
The residence permit under the scheme can be valid indefinitely, provided every five years, the holder still owns property.
The members of the main applicant’s immediate family (wife and children under 18) are also entitled to submit an application for a residence permit, as well as parents and in-laws.
Provided that all supporting documents are in good order before submission, the residence permit should be issued within two (2) months of submitting the application and provided the biometric process has been completed.
The holder of a residence permit (Golden Visa) is not permitted to work in Greece. However, he/she can be a shareholder or stakeholder in a company based in Greece, as well as a member of its Board of Directors or a Managing Director.
Golden Visa holders who reside in Greece permanently for seven (7) consecutive years are eligible to apply for Greek citizenship.
· Due Diligence
Once a prospective applicant has reached a decision to purchase a particular property, his/her lawyer will undertake a due diligence on the property in order to make sure that everything is in order regarding the legal and proprietary status of it. The property should not be mortgaged, seized or be the subject of any lawsuits.
· Register with the tax office
Before the purchase of the property, it is necessary for the purchaser(s) to obtain a VAT Registration Number.
· Opening a bank account
The purchaser must open a bank account with a Greek bank in order for the transaction between the purchaser and seller to take place.
· Pre-Contract Taxes
Pre-contract property taxes are payable by the applicant prior to signing the contract of sale, noting that the relevant payment receipts must be attached to it.
· Drafting of the Contract of Sale
In accordance with Greek Law, it is mandatory for the contract of sale to be drafted by a Notary Public.
· Representation for the signing of the Contract of Sale
If the applicant resides overseas, he/she can authorize his/her lawyer or his/her local proxy to represent him/her in connection with any or all acts and transactions required for the purchase of the property, by providing the lawyer with a special Power of Attorney during his/her first visit to Greece.
This special Power of Attorney could also be signed at any Greek Embassy or Consulate abroad or if the applicant resides in a country which is party to the Hague Convention, it may also be made at the competent authorities in that country, and an Apostille stamp is then affixed thereto to make it valid in Greece.
· Registering the Contract of Sale
Once signed, the contract of sale must be registered with the local Land Registry or Deeds Registry.
· Health Insurance
At the time of application and at each stage of renewal of the residence permit, the main applicant and each family member applicant must be the holder(s) of health insurance.
· Visiting Greece
All members of the applicant’s family seeking to apply for a residence permit must enter Greece at least once in order to give biometric data.
Snap Shot of Procedure:
Schengen Zone Countries
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