The European golden visas have attracted many foreign investors around the world. Aside from being provided numerous investment opportunities, the visa holders are granted more convenient means to obtain residency or even citizenship rights in European countries.
In particular, the Greek golden visa program, which was launched in July 2013, has become increasingly popular as it has one of the lowest minimum investment costs in Europe. For only €250,000, you can already invest in real estate properties or other business ventures throughout Greece.
However, Greece implements a 24% tax on real estate; thus, the overall investment costs may sum up to €300,000. But this is still comparatively much lower than other European countries such as Portugal and Spain which require a minimum capital investment of €500,000.
To invest, you may buy an existing commercial or residential property, purchase a vacant lot, or enter a timeshare agreement. For the latter, you agree to a minimum of 10-year lease contract on hotel or tourist accommodations. However, the minimum capital investment must be paid in full prior to application.
Only spouses are allowed to jointly own a property or multiple properties that cost at least €250,000. Other cases of joint ownership require each individual to have a share of at least the required minimum amount.
Once your golden visa Greece application is accepted, you are already entitled to a five-year permanent residency permit in Greece with no minimum stay requirement. Your family with children up to 21 years old, your parents, and the parents of your spouse are also covered in the residency rights.
The permit is renewable every five years as long as the visa holder keeps an active investment in the country. After 7 years, you and your family may already apply for the Greek citizenship.
What makes this golden visa Greece even more desirable is that it allows you to travel freely to any Schengen country for up to 3 months in a period of 6 months — without the rigorous application process to obtain a Schengen visa, and the tedious customs checks.
Aside from these perks, you have the same exclusive rights to education and health services as the Greeks. However, you may have to obtain health insurance to cover your medical costs in Greece. It is also quite interesting to note that education in public institutions in Greece is free. On the other hand, the visa holders and their families are not entitled to any form of employment in the country.
To apply for the golden visa Greece, you must first have a visa to enter Greece. You need to submit the necessary documents and other requirements to the nearest embassy or consulate in your country. For this particular circumstance, it is advisable for the applicants to secure a Type D visa as it provides the necessary proof of financial capacity to purchase a real estate investment contract. In return, this may expedite the whole application process.
Moreover, to qualify for residency, you must secure medical insurance whether outside or inside Greece that will cover your medical costs; and you must not have any criminal record.
Upon your arrival, you may already start making arrangements to own or lease a real estate property. There are law firms and real estate agencies that can assist you or actually carry out all the necessary legal procedures on your behalf. With the no minimum stay requirement, this means you would not have to visit Greece from time to time to take care of your investments.
As of January 31, 2017, the Ministry of Economy, Development, and Tourism has reported that around 1, 500 residency permits have already been issued to real estate investors, most of which are Chinese and Russians.
In the future, the investment options for Greek golden visa holder may even extend to investments in bonds or shares. This may suggest that the boom of foreign citizen investments continues to prosper even more and thus makes Greece a good place to invest in.