Greece Investment-Based Immigration
The nation of Greece is a number one tourist destination every year. Its unique cuisine, language, culture, beaches, and architectural wonders including the Parthenon, the Acropolis, and the numerous temples to the ancient Greek gods, attract millions of visitors to explore one of the oldest countries in the world.
Even in the face of the recent global financial crisis, Greece’s economy is booming and its service, agriculture, merchant, and tourism industries are continuing to grow. The nation’s economy is the 15th largest in the European Union and it is the 7th most visited country in the EU as well. For these reasons, foreign nationals are turning to Greece as a viable choice for relocation and investment.
To help spur international investment and to keep pace with its European neighbors, Greece enacted its investment-based immigration program that offers a renewable five-year Greek residency visa to foreign nationals who invest at least 250,000 Euros into residential real estate that is physically located in the country.
One reason why the Greek program is particularly attractive is because this required investment amount is the lowest among the Southern European countries that have their own investment-based real estate programs. Additionally, a foreign investor may purchase multiple properties whose values total 250,000 Euros in order to meet the required investment amount.
Process for Obtaining Residence
In order to apply for Greek residence, the applicant must first have a visa valid for entry into the country. The process for this first step is widely dependent upon the foreign national’s country of origin as nationals of European Union countries and the United States have different entry visa requirements than other nations.
Once a foreign national has entered Greece – regardless of the type of visa used for entry – the national can apply for residence pursuant to the real estate investment-based immigration program. The application for foreign real estate owners must contain three color photos of the investor, a copy of the investor’s passport, and a health certificate from a Greek doctor certifying that the investor is free of communicable diseases. Additionally, the application must have a copy of the contract for the purchase of the property (or properties) that are valued at a minimum of 250,000 Euros, along with a notarized statement confirming that the contract meets the requirements for investment-based residence in Greece. If the real estate has already been transferred to the investor, the application must contain proof of the title transfer.
The investor submits the application to Greece’s Aliens and Immigration of the Decentralized Authority agency. If the agency Secretary approves the application, the investor and family will receive the residence permit. The permit is initially valid for five years and may be renewed in further five-year increments as many times as the investor desires.
No Pathway to Citizenship
Importantly, Greece’s real estate investment-based immigration program does not lead to citizenship in the country. Any years spent residing in Greece pursuant to the real estate investment are not usable for meeting the residency requirement for citizenship in this nation.
On account of the many options available to foreign investors seeking to acquire a second residence or citizenship, it is highly advisable that interested parties speak to a knowledgeable immigration attorney who can help explain the various benefits and drawbacks of the many citizenship by investment programs.