Golden Visa: Residence Permit for Real Estate Owners in Greece

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A residence permit is any documentation issued by the Greek authorities, according to which a third country (non-EU) citizen is given the right to reside legally within the Greek territory. Different categories of residence permits exist, as well as different types of permit within each category. 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. lawyer for real estate law greece

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.

In order to obtain a residence permit for owners of real estate, an entry Visa is necessary. For this purpose, the third country citizen is required to have been awarded either a Visa type D or a Visa type C (Schengen). If the foreign citizen needs a long period for research or after the acquisition wishes to stay in Greece for an extended period of time, a type D national visa is more appropriate. In any case, the application for a residence permit must be submitted before the expiration of the visa.

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.

The submission of the application for the issuance of the residence permit, the submission of additional documentation, the receipt of the residence permit or of a rejection, or any additional documentation from the relevant file, can be done either in person by the third country citizen, or through a proxy. This means that third country citizens who have never entered Greece are not allowed to submit an application for a residence permit via a proxy. The applicant is allowed to enter the country, to assign their representation to a lawyer, either with a proof of authenticity of their signature issued by a police authority or with a notarized power of attorney, and then depart from the country and not be present during the submission of the application for a residence permit and/or the granting of the relevant permit. The authorities receiving the application will issue a confirmation that the application has been submitted, provided that all the necessary documentation has been submitted with the application. This confirmation is valid for one year. The third country citizen, who has submitted an application and received the confirmation receipt described above, can reside legally in the country for the duration of the confirmation receipt. Once the authority of Aliens and Immigration of the Decentralised Authority has verified that the application fulfils all necessary conditions and, in accordance with the decision of the Secretary General of the Decentralised Administration, they will issue a five-year residence permit.

In conclusion, the procedure of obtaining a residence permit for real estate owners in Greece can often be a quite complex procedure which requires the contribution of a specialized attorney which will handle and complete all the necessary steps, i.e. all necessary title work, drafting and executing the deed, registration with the relevant Greece land registries, handling all related real estate taxes and tax law matters, filing the application for the residence permit etc.

Daphne Siopi is a lawyer in Thessaloniki enlisted in Thessaloniki Law Association since 2013. She has worked with major law firms and offices in Thessaloniki and Athens, having handled various cases mainly related to immigration, civil and commercial law.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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