The Greece Golden Visa program is one of Europe’s and the world’s most common residency-by-investment programs. There are some valid explanations for this:
- The program provides a variety of reasonably priced investment options that will qualify you for a Greek resident permit.
- You are not expected to spend any time in Greece as a resident.
- You can fly within the European Schengen Area without needing a separate visa if you have a Greek resident card.
- You can easily include a large number of family members in your application.
- The program is a legitimate residency-by-investment offering that is not included on any blacklists.
- You can live and work anywhere in the European Union if you become a Greek citizen.
- Greece is a safe and secure country with a high standard of living, low cost of living, excellent education and healthcare, and a pleasant environment.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of inaccurate, biased and outdated information about the Golden Visa program in Greece on the internet. Golden Capitalist is powered by Global RCG, a leading mobility assets provider in America. We help many Americans get residency in Greece. So, let’s get started with this ultimate guide to the Greece Golden Visa program.
Table of Contents
A Complete Guide to the Greece Golden Visa 2021
History of the Greek Golden Visa
The Greek economy was severely impacted by the global financial crisis of 2008 and the subsequent Eurozone debt crisis. The recession became a full-fledged economic crisis, which lasted far too long. The Greek government established a Greece residency-by-investment program in 2013 to draw foreign capital to the country. As a result, the Greek Golden Visa was created.
Everything You Need to Know About Greece’s Golden Visa Program
The Golden Visa in Greece enables non-EU/EEA citizens to receive a temporary resident permit in exchange for financial investment in the country.
A Golden Visa is granted to you and your family if you invest 250,000 euros or more in real estate in Greece. You can enjoy all of the benefits of becoming an EU citizen, including visa-free travel within the Schengen Area, with this residency permit. The best part is that you are not expected to remain in Greece for any period.
As of 2021, more than 23,500 investors and their families had benefited from the initiative. The program has benefited Greece’s economy as well, generating more than 6 billion euros in foreign direct investment in just a few years.
The Greek government supports the initiative because it helps both investors and the Greek economy.
Who Can Apply for a Greek Golden Visa?
You must meet all of the following requirements to apply for a Golden Visa in Greece:
- You must be a non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss national
- You must be at least 18 years old
- Have no felony convictions on your record
- Make sure you and your family are covered by medical insurance
- You are not a security risk
What are the Requirements for the Greek Golden Visa?
Primarily, you need to make an investment that qualifies according to the program’s guidelines. Keep the money in the bank for as long as you have a Golden Visa. If real estate isn’t your thing, the Golden Visa program provides a variety of other investment options and opportunities.
Any of the following investment options will entitle you to participate in the program:
- A €250,000 minimum investment in Greek real estate
- A minimum investment of €400,000 in Greek government bonds
- A minimum investment of €400,000 in Greek bonds or shares of real estate investment firms
- A minimum capital investment of €400,000 in bonds or shares of a Greek-based venture capital firm, private equity firm or mutual fund.
How Much Does the Application Cost?
To apply for the Greek Golden Visa, you will have to pay some administrative fees.
The main applicant must pay €2,000 for the initial application and each renewal. In addition, each family member over the age of 21 must pay €500, while those under the age of 21 must pay €150.
Complete Process to Obtain a Greece Golden Visa
1) Selection of Investment Route and Property
To finish this stage, you’ll need to decide on your investment criteria and choose a property to invest in. One great feature of this platform is that you can invest in a variety of functions, as long as the added value is equal to or greater than 250,000 euros. You can also pay a visit to the property and the neighborhoods that have been shortlisted.
Finally, you must transfer a reservation fee and sign a reservation agreement to reserve the property.
2) Legal Steps
Obtaining a Greek non-resident tax number and opening a Greek bank account will complete this phase. You may also get the power of attorney executed as an extra step.
3) Acquisition of the Property
This step entails a lawyer conducting legal due diligence on the property on your behalf. After that, you’ll need to get a promissory sale-to-purchase agreement and get a public deed executed.
To complete this step, you’ll need to gather all of the necessary documentation for your Golden Visa application. Hiring a lawyer is usually a good idea because this can be daunting.
5) Visit Greece
You will be required to send all biometric data to the appropriate Greek authorities.
6) Golden Visa Approval
This process is completed by the authorities, after which your Golden Visa application will be accepted and you will be issued a Golden Visa resident card.
You can apply to renew your Golden Visa resident card every five years, making it easier to gain permanent residency.
After seven years of residency and payment of taxes, you will be able to apply for Greek citizenship and a Greek passport. In addition, you will need to be physically present most of the year in Greece for it to count as a year. You will also need to pass a Greek language test and a civic test. The application process for Greek citizenship takes between two to three years, so you should expect the total process from start to finish to take 10 years. If you are looking for an EU citizenship, there are better and faster paths such as the Portugal Golden Visa. If you are American, you might be one of the 170 million Americans that could claim an EU citizenship by ancestry.
What are the Benefits of the Greece Golden Visa Program?
Live in Greece and Experience the Freedom of Schengen Travel
Greece has some of the world’s best sightseeing spots, and for good reason! Greece’s history and heritage are fascinating. Toss in some fantastic beaches and islands, and you’ve got yourself a winner. The Golden Visa allows you to live in this magnificently beautiful country and travel freely in the Schengen Area. When you add in healthcare and education, this deal becomes unbeatable.
Bring Your Dependents With You
Is there anything more valuable than family? This program will provide you with the opportunity to enjoy a rare blend of European and Mediterranean cuisine with your entire family. You will enroll your spouse and children under the age of 21 in this program. It also offers extended family benefits. This ensures that parents and in-laws of the principal applicant will be compensated without any additional criteria. The application process is a small price to pay for your whole family’s permanent residency.
Low Investment Threshold in a Highly Promising Real Estate Market
Greece’s Golden Visa program boasts the lowest investment requirement in Europe. You can invest 250,000 euros in one of the world’s fastest-growing markets: real estate! And it’s not just any house; it’s property in Greece.
Invest in a house on a mountain where nature will flourish unencumbered, or maybe a beachfront property where the beauty lasts forever. Whatever perspective you take, the chance is just too good to pass up.
What are the Disadvantages of the Greek Golden Visa Program?
You Cannot Work in the EU
This program’s style of residency helps you to take advantage of several advantages. Working in the EU outside of Greece is unfortunately not one of them. As a Greek citizen, however, you can live and work freely anywhere in the EU.
Complicated Naturalization Process
As previously stated, being a Greek citizen is a little more difficult than in Portugal. Investors must remain in Greece for seven years and pay taxes there. You also need to pass a language and civic test. The naturalization process can take two to three years. However, the Greek Golden Visa program remains the most successful due to its low cost and speedy approval.
Taxes in Greece
To entice foreign investors, a slew of new tax laws has been enacted. The double taxation treaty is one of these statutes. This is in addition to being a part of the ever-expanding Greek real estate market and reaping the rewards that come with it. According to the Greek double taxation treaty, income earned outside of Greece while living in Greece is not taxed. That is, you can continue to operate any company you have outside of Greece while benefiting from tax-free foreign profits. It may seem to be too good to be true, but it is.
You are technically exempt from paying taxes if you do not reside in Greece. However, tax planning is still necessary, especially if you want to become a citizen. In that scenario, you’ll have to pay taxes for the next seven years. This method can be perplexing, but with the right professional assistance, it can be simplified. If you decide to become a tax resident in Greece, as an non-domiciled person, you can opt for an annual lump sum taxation payment of €100,000 instead of the regular Greek income tax. As an American, be aware that you will continue to pay tax to the U.S. federal government.
The Greek Ministry of Finance recently introduced legislation that will impose a flat income tax rate of 7% for overseas retirees. Foreigners who relocate their tax residency to Greece will benefit from this rule.
Real Estate Market in Greece
Since the major crash in 2009, the Greek economy is still recovering. With a rise of approximately 2.7% in 2017 and 3.1% in 2018, it has been gradually regaining strength.
The real estate market, on the other hand, has taken longer to recover. After the market’s high in 2008, property prices have dropped by nearly half. Since 2008, the number of transactions in that field has decreased by nearly 72%. However, thanks to the country’s effective economic policies, the industry has grown by about 0.5% to 0.6% per year.
All of this means that there has never been a better time to buy Greek property at a low price and then sit back and watch the value rise gradually. Slow and steady wins the race in the end. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greek government announce a VAT holiday until the end of the year 2022. This means investors buying a new construction in Greece would save the 24% VAT until the end of 2022.
The table below provides an estimate of the costs of purchasing real estate in Greece.
Used Residential Apartment
1.5% – 2% + VAT
€1,860 – €2,480
1.5% + VAT
Title Transition Fee
Real Estate Broker Fee
2% + VAT
Mortgage Registry Fee**
* VAT is 24% in Greece. There is not VAT until the end of 2022
** Calculated with the assumption that a mortgage is used in the property acquisition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it important to retain an attorney to gather the paperwork?
Although it is not needed by law, it is still a good idea to seek professional advice.
What is the definition of a family member under the Golden Visa program?
Family members of third-country nationals who enter the country are considered the following:
- The spouses’ immediate descendants are under the age of 21
- In the ascending line, the spouses’ immediate relatives
Is it possible for unmarried couples to live in Greece?
Unmarried couples are not considered family members.
Can the investor travel to other countries within the EU with a resident permit in Greece for owners of real estate?
Yes, indeed. In terms of a person’s free movement within the Schengen Area, the permit and long-term visas are valid.
Is it possible to use the Greek resident permit as a work permit?
The permit does not grant access to any form of jobs.
Is it possible to apply for citizenship in Greece if you have a resident permit?
It does not allow you to apply for Greek citizenship directly. It does, however, allow the holder to become a long-term resident, which is a requirement toward eventual citizenship.
Is the value-added tax included in the €250,000 figure? And what should the investment be worth if both spouses’ names appear on the ownership/sale document?
The sum of €250.000 refers to the contract’s stated price. The residency right is given to both partners in cases of joint ownership of real estate.
Is it possible to acquire several pieces of land, each with a value of less than €250,000, if the total value is equal to or greater than €250,000?
The residency program’s investors can invest in multiple properties. The application is valid as long as the total value is equal to or greater than €250,000.
Is it possible for the investor to purchase commercial property, a mix of commercial and residential properties, or land?
According to the rule, the contract’s specified price must be €250,000. It makes no distinction between residential and commercial properties.
Is it possible for the applicant to obtain a loan by taking out a mortgage on the property?
Yes, this is possible.
Is it necessary for the buyer to demonstrate financial capability?
The applicant’s income must be supported by evidence that demonstrates their financial capability. This could be existence of bank accounts or other types of movable property. Shares and bonds, in particular, must be accredited.
Are all joint owners of a property purchased for €2,000,000 by third-country residents entitled to resident permits?
Yes, as long as each person invests a minimum of €250,000.
What happens if a person’s criminal record is tainted while their resident permit is valid, whether in their home country or Greece?
The resident permit would be revoked as a result of this.
Is it possible to rent out your real estate property to others?
Third-country nationals who own real estate have the option of renting it out.
Is it necessary for me to know Greek to obtain residency?
No. To be qualified under this program, you must spend a minimum of €250,000. It is not necessary to have any prior knowledge of the Greek language. However, if you want to become a citizen, you will need to learn Greek.
What is the validity of the permit?
The permit lasts for five years and can be extended indefinitely as long as the property investment is maintained.
How long would I remain in Greece?
The investor does not have to reside in Greece to participate in this scheme. If you want to apply for citizenship, you must remain in the country for seven years.
Do I have to pay taxes in Greece if I get a Golden Visa and become a resident?
Because of the double taxation treaty, you only have to pay taxes on the money you earn in Greece. Of course, if you spend the majority of your time in Greece, you become a tax resident and must pay taxes.