Residence Permit for Investment Activity in Greece
Investment activity for non-EU/EEA foreign investors in Greece has proven to be very appealing, since it combines a flexible, fast and relatively cheap procedure with the benefits of a very profitable solution. Nowadays, there are many investment opportunities in Greece in various fields, such as tourism, gastronomy, history and culture, communication technologies etc.
The investment activity may be implemented through the construction of new facilities (greenfield investments) or business acquisitions, restructuring as well as expansion of current activities (brownfield investments), provided that it has a positive impact on the national economy.
The legal basis of the entry and residence for investment activity in Greece is found in Article 16 of Law 4251/2014, as amended and completed by Article 8 (par. 21) of Law 4332/2015 and Article 84 (par. 1 to 6) of Law 4399/2016. Residence permits for investment activity are granted to non-EU/EEA citizens (investors or executives) in the context of the implementation of an investment project following a positive assessment of the investment by the Directorate for Foreign Capital at the Ministry of Economy and Development. There are no restrictions regarding the sector of activity or the location of the investment project. The only requirement that must be met by the investment is to have a positive impact on national development and the economy in general.
In order to obtain a residence permit in Greece, an investor should contribute to the investment with an amount of at least €250,000, available through own funds. In order to apply for a residence permit for investment activity, the non EU/EEA citizens must either enter the country on a national visa (type-D) issued for investment purposes by the competent consular authority or already legally reside in the country and hold a residence permit or a visa or a residence permit granted by another EU Member State (in this case Schengen rules for temporary stay in a member state apply) or a long-term residence permit (2003/109/EC) granted by another EU Member State.
Beneficiaries of the right to enter and obtain a permanent residence permit under this program are not only the non-EU/EEA citizens who intend to invest in Greece (investors), either personally or through a legal entity, but also non-EU/EEA citizens, company executives, involved in the implementation and/or the operation of the investment project. The above provision for non-EU/EEA citizen company executives also applies with the same preconditions to domestic established enterprises which are currently in operation and implement a new investment. Up to 10 permits may be issued for investors and executives for an investment project, depending on the investment scale (for example if the investor’s contribution amounts up to 300.000 Euros, no executives shall be granted with a residence permit, if the investor’s contribution amounts from 300.000 Euros up to 1.000.000 Euros, 1 executive can be granted with a residence permit etc.).
Furthermore, beneficiaries of the right to enter and reside permanently in Greece are the family members of the non-EU/EEA citizens described above who are granted a residence permit and specifically: a) The spouse, b) Their unmarried children up to the age of 21, c) The unmarried children of the dependant or his/her spouse up to the age of 21, provided that the right of custody has been legally granted to the sponsor for his/her children and to the other spouse for the children thereof, d) The first degree ascendants of the spouses.
In order to grant an entry visa, the non-EU/EEA citizens (investors or executives) should submit an application to the competent Greek consulate, enclosing all the necessary documentation for the applicant and the investment project. Specifically, the interested person has to include a presentation of the investment project, enclosing all the necessary details regarding the description of the investment, the budget, the location, the timetable etc, and also some information about the applicant’s background (cv, position, duration of residence etc.). The consular authority has the obligation to forward all the above documentation to the competent department at the Ministry of Economy and Development for assessment. The positive opinion of the above department regarding the positive impact of the investment project is necessary for granting the entry visa.
After entering the country, the non-EU/EEA citizen should complete the required process for applying for the residence permit before the expiration date of the entry visa to the Directorate for Migration Policy at the Ministry of Migration Policy in Greece. The residence permit for investment activity (either for investors or executives) is granted for a five-year period and can be renewed every time for an equal duration, on the condition that the beneficiary maintains the status (investor or executive) in relation to the investment and that the investment continues to be active.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dafni Siopi
Dafni 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.