Greece is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa and is comprised of 11 different geographical areas. Greece has the largest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and has the 11th longest coastline in the world, with a climate of 300 days of sun per year with a short mild winter season.

Greece is surrounded by Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey to the north, the Aegean Sea to the east, the Ionian Sea to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greek's capital, Athens, has been standing for over 7,000 years, making it one of Europe's oldest cities. The population of Greece is roughly 11 million people, whereby 40% of the population live in Athens. Greece has been in the Eurozone from 1981, and from then has been using Euro as its official currency.

Greece has a thriving culture and economy and has always been a budget-friendly destination. Greece & the Greek Islands are known for 3 things: ancient civilization, amazing landscapes and high developed tourism.

Greece is a democratic and developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life and a very high standard of living. The country's main exports include food and beverage products, oil, chemicals and textiles. Greece produces over 300.000 tons of olive oil per year. They have good trading relationships with Italy, Germany and Bulgaria.

The Greek language has been spoken for over 3,000 years and it is one of the oldest spoken languages in Europe. Greece remains among the safest countries of the world as the criminal rate is extremely low.

The Government of Greece introduced in 2013 the so-called Golden Visa Scheme, a procedure whereby third country nationals may obtain residence permits. Our guide provides information on the preconditions, the process and the supporting documents required to obtain such a resident permit.

1. Introduction

The Greece Golden Visa is granted by virtue of the Immigration and Social Integration Code. Pursuant to the Law 4136/2013 as amended by 4251/2014 Greece has introduced provisions to facilitate the residency of non-EU nationals in Greece. Residence permits are granted to third-country nationals and their family members by acquiring a property in Greece valued at a minimum of €250,000.

2. Procedure

The Applicant needs to appoint a Law Firm. If the applicant prefers not to travel to Greece, then a Power of Attorney ("POA") may be used in the name of the legal representative of the Client, to enable him to perform all steps required for acquiring a property, which include the following:

  • Issuance of a Greek Tax Registration Number (TIN-ΑΦΜ), in the name of the Applicant;
  • Medical Insurance for all applicants;
  • Open a Bank Account in the name of the Applicant;
  • Find a property of at least €250,000 in Greece;
  • Perform legal, tax and technical due diligence on the Property in order to investigate the identity of the property/ies registered owner/s (title deeds) and the existence of registered charges and encumbrances, if any; The technical due diligence consists of hiring a civil engineer (mandatory) for controlling and certifying that the Property has been constructed in accordance with the building and planning rules and permissions;
  • Appoint a Notary-at Law in order to prepare, verify and stamp the Sales Agreement;
  • Submit the Sales Agreement to the National Land Registry and transfer of the ownership / Title Deed into the name of the Applicant;
  • Accompany the Applicant for the provision of biometrical data;
  • Deposit the Application for Permanent Residence;
  • Acquire a certificate of registration «Blue Paper» and
  • Issuance of the Permanent Residency Permit.

3. Documents Required

  • Copies of the Applicant's Passport and family members, if applicable, which need to be (certified by the Greece authorities with the relevant valid entry visa).
  • 4 photos per applicant and family members if applicable;
  • Marriage certificate (original translation, certified with apostille);
  • Children birth certificates (original translation, certified with apostille);
  • Certificate of medical insurance covering the costs of hospitalization and medical care for the applicant and family members (if applicable).

4. Ιmportant Notes

  • Each applicant must have visited Greece at least once before applying for the golden visa procedure;
  • If the Applicant chooses not to be present in Greece from the beginning of the procedure, he has the option to sign a POA in favor of the Legal Representative but needs to take into consideration that there will be a delay (approx. 2 – 3 months) for making an appointment with the Greek Embassy in China for the POA to be signed and certified. In the event that the Applicant will be present in Greece, he will need to stay for 2 to 3 days for the procedure;
  • The Applicant is entitled to acquire more than 1 (one) property comprising the investment of €250,000;
  • The time frame which is required for the issuance of the Permanent Residency Permit, depends mainly on the area / region on which the Property is situated;
  • In the event that the Applicant wishes to buy a property within a region that is liable to delay, we suggest that the Client buys a second property (at a lower cost) in another region which is not subject to such delay. We will then have an option to file the Application in any of the above two regions, meaning of course that we will choose the region which is more time effective.
  • All passports need to be valid for at least 1 (one) year from the date of applying;
  • Applicants who are holding golden visas are not allowed to work in Greece but are allowed to have shares in Greek companies;
  • The property or properties bought for the above purposes may be rented to third parties or to companies or individuals that are associated with Airbnb;
  • The original passport of the Applicant is absolutely necessary on the date of approval in order for the stamp to be inserted in the said passport (if the applicant cannot travel he may send his passport via private courier company to his legal representatives);
  • No criminal report is required;
  • The property bought may either be upon construction providing the relevant architectural plans, new or old (resale);
  • The purchase price of the property needs to be transferred directly from a personal bank account of the applicant from abroad to his new bank account in Greece;
  • Upon the date of depositing the Application Form and providing biometric data, the Applicant is given the Blue Paper (temporary Permit) which allows him to travel from China to Greece and vice versa;
  • The Applicants, after acquiring the Golden Visa, do not need to show presence in Greece;
  • The expenses for depositing the Application are €2.000 per applicant and €150,00 per member of the family;
  • The Golden Visa will be examined every 5 (five) year period in order to verify that the property bought is still registered in the name of the Applicant;
  • The Applicants, after acquiring the Golden Visa, do not need to show presence in Greece;

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.