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Updated September 2023
With its relaxed lifestyle, warm climate, healthy cuisine, and wealth of historic architecture, Greece has always been a sought-after destination for foreigners. Many visitors are interested in living in Greece for an extended period to fully experience the country’s unique offerings.
Thankfully, Greece offers a Golden Visa program that permits individuals to obtain residency permits by making a qualifying investment in the country. If you’re considering living in Greece through th Golden Visa program, here’s all the essential information you need to know.
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Greece Golden Visa new rules
The Greece Golden Visa law has recently been amended. As a result, certain areas in Greece, including the North Central and South Sector of Athens in the Attica Region, the islands of Mykonos and Santorini, and the Municipality of Thessaloniki, will see an increase in their minimum investment amount from EUR 250,000 to EUR 500,000. However, the minimum investment threshold of EUR 250,000 will still apply to other regions.
Individuals from non-EU countries who are in the process of finalizing ongoing agreements in regions where the minimum investment amount has been changed will be granted an extension until the end of 2023.
Greece Golden Visa
The Greece Golden Visa is a residency permit that allows its holders and their families to live permanently in Greece and the EU by making a financial investment in the Greek economy. The program is designed for foreign investors from non-EU/EEA countries who must meet a minimum investment threshold to be eligible for the program.
Individuals who hold the Greece Golden Visa are entitled to a wide range of benefits. Some of the key advantages include:
- residency permits for family members, including spouses, children under 24, and parents or in-laws
- the program is open to all nationalities without any restrictions
- access to high-quality education and healthcare systems throughout Europe at no cost
- business opportunities in Greece are available to program participants
- citizenship may be obtained after seven years of residency, with a minimum stay required per year
- there is no limit to how many times the residency permit can be renewed as long as the investor still holds the qualifying investment
- Greece Golden Visa holders can enter 26 Schengen countries without needing a visa
To qualify for the Greece Golden Visa, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- be at least 18 years old
- have a clean criminal record
- make a significant investment in the Greek economy
- hold medical insurance from a Greek insurance provider for each family member residing in Greece under the program
Applicants are also allowed to bring their family members to live with them in Greece. However, eligible family members are limited to:
- spouses of the applicants
- unmarried children below the age of 21
- parents and parents-in-law of the applicants
- children between the ages of 21 and 24 who are pursuing their studies
There are several investment options available for individuals seeking a residency permit in Greece. Applicants may choose from the following investment choices:
- purchase a real estate property with a minimum value of EUR 250,000
- invest capital in a Greek company with a minimum value of EUR 400,000
- invest in bonds or shares of real estate investment companies with a minimum value of EUR 400,000
- deposit money in a Greek bank account with a minimum of EUR 400,000
- invest in government or corporate bonds with a minimum value of EUR 800,000
- sign a lease contract for hotel accommodation in Greece for a minimum period of 10 years
Under the recent changes made to the Greece Golden Visa law, certain areas in Greece, including the North Central and South Sector of Athens in the Attica Region, the islands of Mykonos and Santorini, and the Municipality of Thessaloniki, have increased their minimum investment amount from EUR 250,000 to EUR 500,000. However, other regions will still maintain the minimum investment threshold of EUR 250,000.
To apply for the Greece Golden Visa, candidates are required to provide the following:
- Greece Golden Visa application form
- passport photographs
- a valid passport
- proof of visa payment
- proof of health insurance
- proof of sufficient funds to cover the investment and its origin
- other relevant documents associated with the investment
It is important to note that all the documents must be translated into Greek by a Greek attorney or the Translation Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Athens.
Applying for a Greece Golden Visa is a relatively simple process. Applicants can follow these steps:
- choose the investment method that meets the minimum investment requirements
- obtain a Greek non-resident tax number
- open a Greek bank account
- purchase the property or make the investment based on the chosen method
- gather all the necessary documents
- submit biometric data to the relevant authority in Greece
By law, it is possible to apply for a visa remotely. However, applicants and their family members (if applicable) must visit Greece once to provide biometric data. After the application has been submitted, it typically takes approximately 2 months to process the visa.
To issue the visa, applicants must pay EUR 2,000, with an additional of EUR 150 for each family member applied. Moreover, there will be a medical insurance cost of around EUR 100 – 500, depending on the age of the applicants.
The Greece Golden Visa program provides a unique opportunity for investors and their families to reside in Greece on a full-time basis. It also offers a pathway to citizenship that can be challenging to obtain otherwise. After completing 5 years of residency in Greece, investors can apply for permanent residency. After an additional 2 years, they can then apply for citizenship.