The Greece Golden Visa program
The Greek Golden Visa is one of the most popular programs for global investors; the program currently has a backlog of over 27,000 applicants, even with the minimum investment recently doubling in some areas. Greece has shown it can attract talented and wealthy foreign investors, with the program running for over five years. In 2023 alone, it generated over €1.5 Billion for the Greek economy, making a substantial impact on the country's GDP. The program offers a unique opportunity for individuals and their family members to reside in the tranquil and safe country of Greece.
In a world where global mobility and dual citizenship are increasingly sought after, the Greek Golden Visa emerges as a beacon of opportunity. This isn’t just a residence by investment program; it's a gateway to a European Mediterranean lifestyle, enriched by cultural depth and the serene landscapes of Greece.
Benefits of the Greek Golden Visa
The Greek golden visa opens the door to unparalleled freedom; you have the flexibility to stay as long as you wish in Greece – as there are no minimum physical presence requirements. Along with this, you can work towards a highly sought-after European Union passport with unparalleled visa-free access and the ability to live, work, and study in all EU countries.
When acquiring a residence permit in a Schengen area country, you have the ability to spend unlimited time in the entire zone; you can ski in the Alps or boat around the Mediterranean as much as you desire. Having a residence permit in Europe’s Schengen area removes the need for arduous visa planning.
The Greek golden visa has straightforward requirements; it’s as simple as purchasing a property that meets the minimum investment requirements in Greece. The residence permit is initially issued for five years and can renewed indefinitely as long as you maintain your investment in Greece. You can even rent out the property and receive rental income, and living in the purchased property is not required.
Greece is a member of the European Union, unlocking access to world-class healthcare and educational institutions; the EU has some of the highest quality standards in the world.
Greek Golden Visa application process
The Greek golden visa is fast to acquire and simple to maintain, with most golden visa applications getting approved in under 120 days. The minimum investment amount in real estate is €250k or €500k if the property is in the northern and southern provinces, the south Athens Attica region, or the municipalities of Thessaloniki, Mykonos, and Santorini.
Along with a real estate investment, other investment options include purchasing Greek government bonds, purchasing venture capital fund shares, purchasing shares in real estate investment companies, a fixed-term deposit with a minimum value of €500k, and signing a ten-year hotel accommodation or tourist residences lease agreement.
The first step to acquiring your Greek Golden visa is to confirm you meet the eligibility requirements of being a non-EU citizen and possessing a clean criminal record.
Next, you’ll obtain a Greek tax identification number as the main applicant, also known as an AFM. At this stage, there’s no requirement to visit Greece, and you can get your AFM remotely.
Once you have your AFM, it enables you to open a Greek bank account in a simple process that can also be completed remotely with power of attorney.
Once you have a Greek bank account, you will use it to make the required investment for the golden visa, for example, purchasing a real estate property.
When you’ve made the qualifying investment, you can now submit your application, along with the required documents for you and your dependents, and complete due diligence. You will also need to purchase medical insurance valid in Greece.
Once your application has been provisionally approved, you must visit Greece to submit biometric data and then receive your residence permit.
A smooth path to Greek Citizenship
The Greek Golden Visa program offers an advantageous path to citizenship, blending investment opportunities with the allure of becoming a Greek citizen. The journey from obtaining a Greek residence permit to acquiring Greek citizenship is long but well worth it.
The Greek Golden Visa is essentially a residency program, serving as a stepping stone toward citizenship. It begins with acquiring a residence permit, allowing you to apply for citizenship if certain conditions are met. However, it's crucial to understand that the Golden Visa itself does not automatically grant the right to citizenship.
Transitioning from a Golden Visa holder to a Greek citizen is a process that requires time and adherence to specific residency requirements. Although the Golden Visa can be obtained relatively quickly, the journey to citizenship is lengthier. Applicants must maintain seven years of residency before they can apply for citizenship. For the entire seven years, they must be a Greek tax resident.
To be eligible for Greek citizenship, Golden Visa holders must demonstrate a genuine connection to Greece. This involves residing in the country for a substantial amount of time each year (usually over 183 days), integrating into the Greek community, and showing proficiency in the Greek language. Additionally, maintaining the investment that qualified them for the Golden Visa is essential throughout this period.
Benefits of Greek Citizenship
Acquiring Greek citizenship unlocks a myriad of benefits, significantly enhancing one's global mobility and quality of life:
Greek citizens have access to some of the best visa-free travel on Earth, with the ability to visit 175 countries without a visa.
Greek citizens are also EU citizens. This comes with the right to live, work, and study in all European Union countries plus the entire Schengen zone, providing unparalleled freedom.
Full political participation rights in Greece, including voting and standing for public office.
The opportunity to fully immerse in the rich Greek culture and lifestyle, forming deeper connections with the country.
Unrestricted access to the European Single Market, removing all barriers to trade and business.
Alternatives to the Greek Golden visa
Malta has a less popular golden visa program, with the ability to acquire permanent residency through the purchase or lease of a property, plus some other financial contributions amounting to €28k if a property is purchased or €58k if leased.
This is along with a donation of €2000 to a non-governmental organization plus a non-refundable administration fee of €40k.
This will get you a permanent residence permit in Malta, enabling you to work towards citizenship and spend unlimited time in the Schengen area.
Spain also has a popular golden visa program with a minimum €500k property investment and a processing time of just 20 days. This visa is highly attractive, but one substantial downside is the 10-year path to Spanish citizenship. This is unless you are a Sephardi Jew or a citizen of Equatorial Guinea, Latin America, or the Philippines; in this case, the time to citizenship is reduced to just two years.
The main alternative to golden visa programs is golden passport programs; both work in a similar fashion, except with golden passports, you acquire citizenship in exchange for your investment or donation.
Some of the most popular Golden Passport programs are Turkey, Vanuatu, and Grenada, all allowing you to become a citizen in less than four months. These programs are best suited to individuals who need a second citizenship and need it quickly.
The Greek Golden Visa is an attractive route for those seeking to invest in Greece and eventually acquire citizenship. It presents a unique blend of investment opportunities and the charm of Greek life, culminating in the prized possession of an EU passport. While the journey to citizenship requires commitment and adherence to specific requirements, the resulting benefits are substantial and life-changing.