Residence Permits in Greece
As part of the Greek government’s efforts to encourage investment into the country, a law with the name, “Creation of a Development Friendly Environment for Strategic and Private Investments” (4146/2013) was passed. This law allows the residence of investors in Greece through the granting of residence permits for executives of strategic investment projects. Also, citizens of non-EU countries who buy property in Greece, the value of which exceeds €250,000, can obtain residence permits in Greece as will their family members.
Once the non-EU citizen acquires a residence permit in Greece, he or she is allowed to live in Greece, exit and re-enter Greece at any time without a visa and can travel to all Schengen countries without further documentation other than his or her passport.
The following 26 countries are currently active Schengen Visa members within the open passport Schengen area: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
Other advantages to holding such a residence permit in Greece include access to government health and education services, in the same manner as any Greek citizen.
After the purchase of property in Greece with a value above €250,000, the non-EU citizen / buyer of that property or properties applies for the residence permit, taking the following steps:
1. Before travelling to Greece, visit the Greek Consulate of their country of residence, in order to obtain a National Visa Type (D).
2. Travel insurance is also necessary.
3. Prior to any purchase, income should be proved by documents, showing the financial capability (e.g. certificate by a recognized bank A policy or official financial institution or other recognized agency for securities custody) with certification of the existence of bank accounts or other securities, in particular bonds or shares. The lawyer whom you have engaged for the purchase of your Greek property will assist you in this regard.
4. The permit does not allow any form of employment in Greece. The concept of employment does not include economic activity in the capacity of shareholder, board member or as the C.E.O. of a company.
5. The procedure must be completed prior to the expiration of the visa. The non-EU citizen must be in Greece at the time of application, even if the application is made by proxy, usually through a lawyer.
6. A criminal report will from the country of residence will be requested.
A) Residence Permits – Strategic Investments
In the case of investments classified as Strategic Investments, under a decision of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Strategic Investments for the inclusion in the process of Law 3894/2010 (Hellenic Government Gazette Issue Α 204), residence permits may be issued to a legal representative of the investor and to up to 10 additional persons, for whom a residence permit is a prerequisite for the unimpeded implementation of an investment plan.
Such persons may be accompanied by members of their families, as specified under paragraph 1 of article 54 of Law 3386/2005, as well as by domestic workers, provided that an applicant has disabilities necessitating personal assistance.
Upon their own request, applicants may be granted a personal residence permit that is renewed and / or expires concurrently with the residence permit of the sponsor (the legal representative).
The request for the issuance of the aforementioned residence permits, and all other required supporting documents, shall be submitted to “Invest in Greece S.A.”.
“Invest in Greece S.A.” shall submit to the General Secretary for Strategic and Private Investments its opinion within five (5) days on the relationship of the applicant(s) to the strategic investment, also forwarding to the General Secretary all submitted documentation (the dossier).
Within a period of no more than five (5) days from the receipt of the dossier by the General Secretary for Strategic and Private Investments, the General Secretary shall forward to the Minister of Interior its proposal, to which the decision of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Strategic Investments and the opinion of “Invest in Greece S.A.” shall be attached. The Minister of Interior shall decide on the approval of the issuance of the residence permit, which will be valid for a period of up to ten (10) years.
Requests for these residence permits (pertaining to investments included in the procedures under Law 3894/2010) shall be reviewed by all competent authorities as a matter of absolute priority.
B) Residence Permits – Real Estate Owners in Greece
By decision of the General Secretary of Decentralized Administration, a residence permit for five (5) years is issued to a non-EU citizen, if he/she has obtained a visa, if required, and legally owns, either personally or through a legal entity whose shares are wholly owned by him or her, property in Greece with a value over Euro 250,000, or has, at a minimum, of an equivalent or higher value, a ten-year time-sharing contract under Law 1652/1986: “Time-Sharing and Regulations on Related Issues” (A’ 167) as applicable, or a 10-year lease of hotel accommodations or furnished tourist accommodation (houses) in tourist accommodation complexes according to Article 8, par. 2 of Law 4002/2011 (A’ 180).
The aforementioned residence permit may be renewed for the same duration (five years), if the property remains unchanged in its legal ownership status as described above and the contracts of ownership remain in effect, and other statutory conditions detailed above are met.
The minimum value of the property and the contract price of the time-share leases and the leases for hotel accommodations or tourist furnished accommodations (houses) in tourist accommodation complexes, according to this Article, shall be two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) Euro.
By joint decision of the Ministers of Interior and Finance, the value of the above-mentioned property may increase or decrease, and will be determined in accordance with the stated prices of the sale documents of the properties, or leases as per their contracts, or as determined by ministerial objective values.
The period of residence, under these specific conditions, is not taken into account in cases where such residents make applications to gain or to be granted citizenship of Greece.
The non-EU citizen (property owner) may be accompanied by the members of his or her family, as specified under paragraph 1 of Article 54 of Law 3386/2005. Upon their own request, family members may be granted a personal residence permit that is renewed and / or expires concurrently with the residence permit of the property owner.
The residence permits do not allow a right to employment of any type, given that being a board member, shareholder or a CEO of a company is not in this case considered to be employment.