The Golden Visa program in Greece offers a unique opportunity for citizens of third countries to acquire a privileged residency status in Greece. This program, known for its flexibility and competitiveness, provides the opportunity for residency, travel, and many other benefits for those who wish to invest in Greece. Here’s what you need to know about the Greek Golden Visa:

What is the Golden Visa?

The Greek Golden Visa allows citizens of third countries to obtain a residency permit in Greece. It is issued for a period of five years, with the possibility of renewal as long as the property is owned. To obtain a golden visa, it is necessary to purchase real estate worth a minimum of 500,000 euros or more, depending on the region and area where the property is located. Similar programs exist in other European countries, but the cost of the golden visa in Greece is one of the lowest. It is important to note that the residency permit based on the golden visa does not include the right to work in Greece.

In 2023, the Greek government increased the minimum investment amount from 250,000 euros to 500,000 euros for purchases in northern and central provinces, the southern Attica region, and the municipalities of Thessaloniki, Mykonos, and Santorini. However, an additional increase to 800,000 euros is expected in 2024 for properties in cities and Greek islands where demand is high.

In 2024, a new rule is expected to be adopted - an increase in property value, so the minimum amount will depend on the region where the property is purchased and a minimum property area will be specified (120m2).

To qualify for the Golden Visa program for Greece, applicants must first have a clean criminal history and invest in Greece with a current minimum value of 500,000 euros - if investing in real estate.

Who can obtain the Golden Visa?

This visa is available to all citizens of third countries who meet the investment or property ownership requirements in Greece. To qualify for the Golden Visa program for Greece, applicants must first have a clean criminal history and invest in Greece with a current minimum value of 250,000 or 500,000 euros - if investing in real estate, or 400,000 if investing in the Greek economy.

What are the requirements for obtaining the visa?

The requirements for obtaining the Greek Golden Visa include:

  • Having a valid passport and no entry ban to Greece and the Schengen area.
  • Purchasing real estate worth at least 250,000 euros or 500,000 euros for purchases in northern and central provinces, the southern Attica region, Attica, and the municipalities of Thessaloniki, Mykonos, and Santorini.
  • Investing a minimum of 400,000 euros in the Greek economy - alternative investment options, for example:
    Investment of 400,000 euros in Greek government bonds;
    Investment of 400,000 euros in stocks and corporate bonds of Greek companies;
    Investment of 400,000 euros in investment funds focusing on stocks, corporate bonds, or government bonds in Greece;
    A combination of real estate and alternative investments can also meet the minimum threshold;
  • Submitting complete documentation for obtaining the golden visa.

What are the benefits of the Golden Visa?

The Golden Visa allows:

  • Continuous stay in Greece during the validity of the golden visa, and at the same time, if you do not wish to reside, you can have the visa without living in Greece (i.e., residence in Greece is not a condition for holding the visa).
  • Travel to Schengen countries.
  • Access to healthcare and education.
  • The right to apply for Greek citizenship after 7 years of residency.
  • Family members also gain the right to enjoy privileges, including spouses, children, unmarried dependent children up to 21 years old, and dependent parents of both spouses.
  • Return on investment: you can generate income by renting out properties or through dividends if you invest in Greek companies.

What does the Golden Visa NOT entail?

  • Possessing a golden visa does NOT GRANT the right to work!
  • Being a shareholder or board member is allowed, but not being an employee in a company.

The Golden Visa is valid only as long as the property is owned by the owner. If the property is sold, the residency permit is revoked.

New rules for obtaining the golden visa announced in March 2024

The new rules bring changes regarding

  • The value of investment (money invested)
  • The size of purchased property, and
  • The purpose of use.

The aim of the new rules, according to officials, is to protect the local real estate market and make it more accessible to local residents (especially young couples) who want to buy property or renovate their existing properties but are struggling with high competition from foreign investors.

The expected new rules are outlined below:

  • In Attica, Thessaloniki, and all islands with over 3,000 inhabitants, the minimum investment amount for a five-year residency permit will increase to 800,000 euros. With the new changes, areas such as Evia, Crete, and all popular island destinations will now have a high threshold of 800,000 euros.
  • The investment amount of 500,000 euros applies only to the center of Athens and its northern and southern suburbs, as well as the municipalities of Thessaloniki, Mykonos, and Santorini.
  • In the rest of the country, the threshold will also increase to 400,000 euros from the current 250,000 euros.
  • The only case where the 250,000 euro limit will apply is for so-called “conservation” estates and industrial buildings if they are converted into residential properties. The goal is to attract investors to give “new life” to unused properties.

Property Size

The purchase of a golden visa will be accepted only for properties with a minimum size of 120 square meters.

Use of Property

Properties purchased for the purpose of the Golden Visa cannot be used for short-term rentals such as Airbnb. Under the new system, short-term rental of apartments (Airbnb) will not be allowed, but owners will have the right to rent them out full-time.

Important Note
The new rules stipulate that the minimum threshold of 250,000 remains only for protected properties, regardless of size, with the obligation of restoration. If restoration is not completed within 5 years, the residency permit will be revoked from the investor.

In addition, in cases where the property is converted into residential space, it is prohibited to use it as a business headquarters. Otherwise, the residency permit will be revoked.

It is also clarified that the residency permit can be extended for an additional five years as long as the property remains in the ownership of the investor.

Transition Period

For individuals who have started property purchases - investments and obtaining a golden visa, a transition period is provided to complete the process under the “old” rule.

How to apply for the golden visa?

The condition for submitting a visa application is that the purchase or investment is completed.

The application for the Greek Golden Visa is submitted to the Directorate of Foreigners and Immigration, with accompanying documentation including:

  • Completed application form
  • Copy of a valid passport
  • Proof of possession of health insurance covering hospitalization and healthcare costs during stay in Greece. Insurance can be purchased in the buyer’s home country or in Greece.
  • Electronic processing fee (2000 euros for the applicant).
  • Evidence - contracts for purchased real estate or investment in shares and proof that the property or shares are fully paid.

Application for a golden visa for family members:
A separate application is required for each family member, and proof of relationship must be provided.

How long does the process take?

The process from application submission to receiving a decision can take from 40 days to three months, depending on the complexity of the application and submitted documents.

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