Obtaining Greek residency through investment in 2021
Since 2003, Healy Consultants has been assisting Clients and their families obtain residence permits and citizenship in countries around the world, including in the European Union (EU). Obtaining Greek residency through investment is a viable, and cost-effective, route to EU citizenship for non-EU nationals.
Why obtain Greek residency through investment?
Greece’s Golden Visa program offers a five-year residence visa for non-EU citizens who invest in real estate including i) land ii) off-plan developments and iii) new or resale properties, as well as other permitted sectors in the country. The visa is renewable every five years provided the investment is retained. The Greece Golden Visa also offers a fast track to permanent residency and Greek citizenship for non-EU investors.
Advantages of obtaining Greek residency through investment
- With a minimum investment threshold of €250,000 (US$288,156), the Greek Golden Visa is the lowest-cost program of its type in Southern Europe;
- Both individuals and foreign entities can invest in Greek property. However, if an entity, the visa applicant must own 100% of the company shares;
- The Greek government is reducing property taxes to encourage investment. Since 2019, the imposition of VAT on new properties was suspended;
- A Greek residence permit does not currently require the investor to spend time, or be tax-resident, in Greece. However, the country offers a good work-life balance, is affordable, and has a pleasant climate.
Disadvantages of obtaining Greek residency through investment
- The Golden Visa scheme has come under criticism and scrutiny within the European Commission, amid concerns it offers a route for criminals to launder money and evade tax. Consequently, the EU may, in future, introduce new security protocols or increased thresholds to clamp down on ‘cash for visas’ schemes;
- Despite promising developments in 2019, the Greek economic and fiscal situation remains precarious, with significant long-term downside risks to the real estate market;
- If the property is sold, the residence permit is automatically cancelled;
- Since the global financial crisis, Greek property taxes increased seven-fold. Rental income is taxed progressively at between 11% and 33%, though income-generating expenses are deductible from gross income;
- All documents in Greece must be submitted in the Greek language.
The Greek residence permit
- The residence permit is issued between 10 and 40 days after completion of property investment. Children up to 21 years of age can be included in the residency application;
- With a Greek residence permit, investors can obtain a Schengen visa, allowing visa-free travel throughout the EU for up to 90 days in a six-month period;
- The five-year residence visa is renewable every five years, provided the property investment is retained. After five years, the investor can apply for Greek permanent residence;
- Permanent residents can apply for Greek citizenship after living in Greece for seven years. As an EU citizen, the investor can live, work, travel, receive healthcare or pursue education anywhere within the EU. Furthermore, a Greek passport is considered one of the world’s most powerful, with visa-free travel to 183 countries.
Greece real estate market
- Greek real estate is some of the best value in the EU. Residential property prices plunged 40.8% between 2008 and 2018 during the country’s economic crisis. Consequently, there is currently significant upside potential to Greek property investment;
- Greek real estate prices are surging again as the national economy rebounds with growth rates not seen since 2007. In Greek cities, house prices rose 9.32% in the first three quarters of 2019 from end-2018. Central Athens apartment rental yields, meanwhile, are currently in the region of 4.2%;
- The process of buying Greek real estate is straightforward.
Steps to obtain Greek residency through property investment
- The investor enters Greece on a Type-D visa, applied for in the nearest Greek embassy/consulate to the investor’s home country;
- The investor finds a suitable investment property in Greece and proceeds to purchase;
- The investor submits details (in Greek) of the property investment including i) sales agreement and ii) property deeds to the relevant government department for approval;
- The investor files the five-year residence permit application, along with a €2,000 fee per adult applicant;
- Since 2020, the Greek Government allowed property investors to buy real estate and collect their residence permits without personal travel required to Greece.
Healy Consultants can complete formalities and paperwork without our client needing to visit Greece including i) assistance to locate a suitable investment property ii) assistance with property purchase paperwork iii) disbursing payments to lawyers and notaries in Greece iv) registration of title deeds and v) resident permit applications.