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Greece provides the best investment immigration opportunity through the ‘’Golden Visa’’ law.
Permanent Residence Permit granted with a 250.000€ real estate investment.
The Greek Golden Visa program is one of the most renowned investment immigration programs in the world and competes with the US EB-5 program in the global golden visa rally. According to Greek Ministry of Migration & Asylum sources, till 01.02.2020, 6.692 investors and their families (19.836 people in total) have benefited from the Greek Residence Permit program.
The Greek Golden Visa Law (art. 20B, L. 4251/2014) grants the right of permanent residence to third country nationals who own property in Greece, provided the minimum value of the property is 250.000€. The investors can own the property either personally or through a legal entity of which they own all of their company’s shares, based either in Greece or another EU member state. The investor has the right to own more than one properties of any type – commercial or residential – with a combined value of at least 250,000€. Third country citizens also have the right to purchase a plot of land and proceed to construct a building, provided that the cumulative value of the land purchase and the contract with the construction company is minimum 250,000€. Adult third country citizens also have the right to acquire the real estate property with intestate succession, will or parental concession and to obtain the residence permit, should the minimum objective/state value of the real estate property is 250,000€ and provided they have the full and legal ownership.
The holders of the permanent residence permit will have to renew it every five years. It is not obligatory for the permit holders to reside in the country during this time and their absence from it will not impact or impede the renewal of the residence permit. The investor and his family will lose this right only in the event of the original property being sold without it being replaced with another property of equal value. The investor also has the right to resell the real estate property, during the period which the residence permit is valid, to another potential investor. This will lead to the revocation of the original investor’s residence permit, which will in turn be obtained by the new owner of the property. In this case, the original investor will have to re-invest a minimum of 250,000€ in Greek real estate in order to obtain another residence permit.
According to the Golden Visa law, the family members of the investors who are entitled to the residence permit are the following:
– spouse or partner, which has to appear in a cohabitation agreement in Greece.
– the direct unmarried descendants of the spouses, under the age of 21, who will be able to extend the permit until they reach their 24 years of age.
– the direct unmarried descendants of the investor’s spouse or partner, provided that their custody has been legally entrusted to the sponsor (for his/her children) and to the other partner (for his/her children), under the age of 21.
– the direct relatives of the spouses in the ascending line (the parents of the spouses).
Family members do not include unmarried partners.
The investors must have full ownership of the real estate properties. In cases of joint ownership, where the value of the property is 250,000€, the residence permit is only granted if the owners are spouses or partners with a cohabitation agreement in Greece, with undivided ownership of the property. In all other cases of joint ownership, the residence permit is only granted if the amount invested by each of the joint owners is at least €250,000. If the owner has acquired the property through a legal entity as mentioned above, the applicant must own 100% of their company’s shares.
According to the Golden Visa law, the purchase contract must be not subject to conditions or exemptions and the contract’s price has be paid in full with a crossed bank cheque to a bank account of the beneficiary held in a credit institution operating in Greece, with a banking transfer / credit transfer or with a POS machine (as defined by law). The above payment methods may be made by a spouse and / or relatives by blood or marriage up to the second degree of the buyer.
Investors also have the right to rent the property or to purchase properties which are already rented.
The holders of the golden visa have the right to travel to other Schengen zone countries as often as they wish and they are able to stay to other member states for up to 3 months within a six month period.
The residence permit does not provide access to any type of employment for the investor and his family.
Regarding the application procedure, the investor and his family need to enter Greece legally at least once, with type C or D Visas. They will need to to sign a Power of Attorney (POA) with the Law Firm in order for the attorneys to represent them before the immigration authorities. The investor and his family members are obliged to have their fingertips taken, either the same day or within 6 months of applying to the immigration authorities for the permanent residency permit.
Regarding the purchase of the real estate property, the investor has the right to buy property without entering Greece. They can visit their country’s Greek consulate and sign a Power of Attorney (POA) there, after the Law Firm arranges an appointment on his behalf with consular authorities and sends the relevant POA draft.
Concluding, it should also be noted that Greece has consistently provided investors with their permits promptly and efficiently in comparison to other countries with similar programs. This is an even greater achievement, considering the large number of applications as well as the bureaucratic procedures that are usually needed for the issuance of such permits.
*For more information visit the Enterprise Greece which is the official agency of the Greek State, under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to promote investment in Greece and to download a brief guide to Residence Permits for real estate owners in Greece. https://www.enterprisegreece.gov.gr/images/public/permits-EN-low_FEB2020.pdf