Residence permit in Greece by real estate acquisition
The Law “Creation of a Development Friendly Environment for Strategic and Private Investments” (4146/2013) of the Ministry for Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks and more specifically Article 36A, grants residence permit to citizens of non-Schengen countries and their family members (children under 21 years old and spouses), who buy property in Greece, the value of which exceeds €250,000.
The residence permit may be renewed for the same duration (five years), if the property remains unchanged in its legal ownership status.
The residence permit does not grant a right to employment of any kind nor does it count for future nationality acquisition purposes. Nevertheless it can create a strong incentive for establishing a legal entity or a company in Greece and start investing in Greece.
Acquisition of real estate property Q&A
Q: Whom does it concern?
A: Citizens of countries, which are not European Union members
Q: What is the minimum value of the real estate property?
A: 250.000 Euros
Q: Does this sum concern one or more properties?
A: It does not matter. Whether one or more, the total invested amount must be at least 250.000 Euros.
Q: How is the value of the property/ies proved?
A: The purchase mentions the value deposited and is the official proof of the investment. It has the form of a notarial public act which is the contract
Q: What happens if the property belongs to a legal entity?
A: It does not matter as long as the company shares or the shareholdings belong in whole (100%) to the person that will request the residence permit.
Q: Am I allowed to rent out the property?
Residence permit by real estate acquisition
Q: What is the duration of the residence permit?
A: 5 years
Q: Is the residence permit renewable?
A: Yes, for another 5 years each time, provided that the applicant still owns the property.
Q: May the members of the investor’s family request a residence permit?
A: Yes. The may request individual residence permits . They must though submit separate applications. Their own permit expires at the same date that the investor’s permit expires.
Q: Do persons holding this residence permit have the right to work in Greece?
Q: Who decides on the application for a residence permit?
A: The Secretary General of the Decentralized Administration. (Ministry of Internal Affairs)
Q: What advantages provides to its holder a residence permit in Greece?
A: – He/she may stay continuously in Greece for its whole duration
– He/she may travel to other Schengen countries without a visa, but his/her stay in those countries cannot exceed 90 days in each 6-month period.
– He/she has access to health or education services, just like any European citizen.
Q: How long can it take until the residence permit is issued?
A: It must be issued within 2 months from the day on which the application was submitted or reached the Decentralized Administration. Your lawyer in Greece takes care of all the details of the issuing
Q: Is the applicant covered from the moment he/she submitted the application until the day the residence permit is issued?
A: Yes. If all the supporting documents are submitted, a proof of submission Is issued.
Q: Can I travel to other countries within the EU with the residence permit for owners of real estate? Are there any conditions related to this?
A: Yes. The residence permit and long-term visas are valid as far as the free movement of the person in the Schengen area is concerned. Any citizen who holds a long-term visa (such as the residence permits for real estate owners) which has been issued by a member state and are valid for one year or more, are able to travel to other member states for up to 3 months within a six month period, under the same conditions which apply to the holder of a residence permit, while they are also granted a right for multiple entries.
Q: Who is considered as a family member?
A: According to the law, family members of third country citizens entering the country are:
a. Spouses who are over the age of 18, as well as unwed children under the age of 18 where there is shared custody, including children who have been adopted
b. Other unwed children under the age of 21, of the other spouse, including children who have been adopted, provided that the applicant is their legal guardian.
Q: Are unmarried partners entitled to a residence permit?
A: The family members do not include unmarried partners.
Q: How can one obtain a tax identification number in Greece?
A: It can be done with the assistance of the tax representative, usually your lawyer in Greece Tax identification number is necessary to open a bank account and purchase and then register a property. All property owners are forced by law to have due fiscal representation.
Q: What is the arrangement regarding the access to education and health services? Can the children of the residence permit holder attend a Greek public school?
A: The holders of the residence permit have access to public education (all in Greek language except the private international schools), analogously to that of Greeks. Regarding access to health services, third country citizens and their family members who fall under the regulations of the current law, must have insurance that covers their healthcare and medical care expenses.
Three-generation” Golden visa for investors of real estate in Greece
The Greek law 4251 /2014 that introduced a very favourable policy for non EU citizens has now been amended. On the 9th of July 2015 the amendments were made official and were pubished in the government’s gazette (No. 76/9-7 2015) .
The main characteristics of the law, as it exists until now, are that non EU citizens who purchase property in Greece of a value more than 250,000 euros can stay continuously in Greece for the whole duration of the residence permit, they may travel to other Schengen countries without a visa, but their stay in those countries cannot exceed 90 days in each 6-month period and they have access to health or education services, just like any European citizen.
Now the Greek parliament has approved the new immigration law that introduces more benefits to investors of real estate with value more than 250,000 euros (approximately 1,7m CNY) .
According to the newly approved law:
· The 5 years residence permit is renamed to “Permanent residence permit for investors”.
As long as the investors holds the ownership of the property, the residence permit is permanent and it is renewed every five years.
· Real estate investors who got the permanent Residence Permit are allowed to apply for Greek citizenship, under certain conditions, following the same legal procedure, as other foreigners and holders of Residence Permits.
Investors and their spouses can now apply for citizenship after a 7-year stay in Greece. Their children can apply if i) they have attended for 9 years a Greek school, or ii) they have attended during 6 years a Greek secondary school, or iii) they have attended a Greek University.
· Investors’ parents can now also benefit from the Residence Permit, without being obliged to purchase a property, because according to the law, the right for Residence Permit is extended also to the direct ascendants of the investors.
· The investor can now sell his/her property any time. If the new buyer is another non EU citizen, then the new owner can also apply for Residence Permit, but the seller will abolish his/hers.
These amendments also apply to those foreign citizens who have already purchased properties and got the 5 year Residence Permit.
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