In Greece the cost of living is lower compared to the rest of Europe and every resident can enjoy a sunny life, combined with an unparalleled beauty and diversity in landscape & vegetation. People in Greece are friendly and hospitable and residents of Greece can enjoy a relaxed lifestyle, including outdoor activities, modern culture and active social activity.
There are numerous ways to obtain Permanent Residence in Greece. These include indicatively:
– Residence permit for non-EU family member of Greek or other EU citizens,
– Residence permit for financially independent people (FIP),
– Residence permit for students at Greek universities,
– Residence permit for self-employed entrepreneurs,
– Residence permit for non-EU spouse or child (younger than 21) of a non-EU citizen living and working in Greece for two years (family reunification),
– Residence permit for executives, administrators or board members,
– Residence permit for foreign investment etc.
In this article, we are going to describe the most common and popular types of residence permit, i.e. the residence permit for property owners (Golden Visa) and the residence permit for financially independent people.
I. Golden Visa Program
One of the most popular ways to obtain a residence permit in Greece is via the Golden Visa Program. The recent Law 4251/2014 (Article 20) has established a new type of residence permit for real estate owners (Golden Visa). In order to obtain a residence permit for real estate owners, the following preconditions must be fulfilled:
a) The real estate property must be owned by and be in possession of its owners.
b) 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 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.
c) If the owner has acquired the property through a legal entity, the applicant must own 100% of the company shares.
d) The residence permit is also granted in cases where the third country citizen is the owner, either directly or through a legal entity, of more than one real estate property with a combined value of at least €250.000.
e) In cases where the applicant wants to enter the country with a type D visa, the documented intention to own property should be supported by documentation which prove the financial capacity (e.g., certificate of an A-class certified bank, or other recognised financial institution), which certify the existence of bank accounts or other mobile assets, such as bonds or shares, which can cover the cost of the investment of at least €250.000, and which certify the intention of the applicant to purchase the property (contract with a law firm or with a real estate office).
f) In the case of third country citizens who have signed a lease of at least 10 years for hotel accommodations or furnished tourist residences in integrated tourist resorts, provided the minimum value of the lease is €250.000, the contract must require a single payment of the lease for the equivalent of the ten year leasing of the property. In all cases outlined above, the value of the real estate property will be determined based on the value of the property, or the lease, indicated in the contract of purchase. The value of the property, according to law 4146/2013, is the amount stated explicitly on the contract which has been submitted for the purchase of the real estate property. The objective, or assessed, value of the property is not relevant, unless it corresponds to the amount which was, according to the contract, paid for the sale of the property.
The duration of the residence permit is 5 years and it can be renewed for another 5 years each time, provided that the applicant still owns the property. Also, the members of the investor’s family have the potential to request individual residence permits. For this purpose, they must submit separate applications and their own permit expires at the same date that the investor’s permit expires.
II. Residence Permit for Financially Independent People (FIP)
According to article 20 of Law 4251/2014 (Immigration Code), citizens of third countries (non-EU) who are economically independent persons are eligible to obtain a residence permit in Greece if they have sufficient resources at a fixed annual income level to cover their living expenses, without having any work or independent economic or investment activity in Greece (high income pensioners etc.).
In order to grant a residence permit in Greece as a financially independent person, the third-country citizen must apply for a long-term VISA (D) to the Greek Consulate of his place of residence, proving to this end that he/she is able to cover his living expenses in Greece, without having to work or exercise any economic activity. This person may also be accompanied by members of his / her family who are required to submit a separate application for a long-term visa (VISA) to the relevant Greek consular authority.
The amount of money that a third-country citizen wishing to obtain a residence permit in Greece as an economically independent person is required to have monthly amounts to EUR 2,000.00, which is increased by 20% for the spouse and by 15% for each child he/she wishes to bring with him/her in Greece. The existence of this amount is evidenced by elements such as the retirement or the bank account. In addition to supporting documents proving the existence of sufficient financial resources in accordance with the above, the third-country citizen must also provide proof that he has full medical and hospitalization coverage during his stay in Greece (i.e private insurance contract ) or a certificate stating that he/she has filed an application with an insurance institution.
Upon receipt of the entry visa (type D) and entry into Greece, the third-country citizen is obliged to submit a request to the competent Authority of Aliens and Immigrants of the decentralized Authority for the issue of a residence permit. The residence permit for economically independent persons lasts for two (2) years and can be renewed every three years. This type of residence permit does not provide access to the labor market in Greece.
*Our office has extensive experience in immigration law and internatioanl law (residence permits, citizenship, naturalization, deportation, asylum applications, etc.). For more information or legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact us at +30 2313 079293 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org*
Dafni I. Siopi
Attorney at Law, LLM
52 Tsimiski Str, Thessaloniki
T. +30 2313 079293, +30 6977 568673
E. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org