How to obtain a Golden Visa for buying a property in Greece
A REALTING partner from Corfu, the «Roula Rouva» Real Estate Agency, shared secret details about how to get the longed-for Golden Visa of Greece and make trips to the EU more affordable.
Distinctive features of the Golden Visa of Greece
Obtaining the Greece Golden Visa has many advantages:
- low entry threshold: only €250,000;
- no required minimum period of residence in the country;
- a residence permit is issued for 5 years;
- the time frame to receipt the status is only 2 months;
- all family members can be included in the application;
- visa-free entry into EU countries;
- refundable payments;
- income from real estate rental.
It is the loyal requirements for properties and applicant’s family members that made the Greece Golden Visa one of the most affordable in the entire European Union.
Programs to get the residence permit
There are 3 state programs for obtaining the residence permit in Greece:
- A Golden Visa family program. Buying immovables is one of the investment options.
- The residence permit for financially independent persons. No capital requirements: it is enough to prove its existence.
- The residence permit for business investors. Purchase of securities, opening bank accounts, contributions to government funds, or companies’ capital.
The most common and affordable variant is the first one. After purchasing a property, applicants and their entire families can apply for the Golden Visa.
Real estate investments in exchange for the residence permit
To become a temporary residence permit holder in Greece, an applicant will need €250,000. There are two investment options:
- Purchase of real estate objects. There are no restrictions on the type of purchased property. Moreover, it is possible to buy several housings for the total amount of €250,000 and get income from renting them out.
- Property rental. The agreement provides for a ten-year lease of a hotel room or tourist apartment, and the entire amount must be paid all at once. The object (or several objects purchased for a certain amount) must have a registration issued by the Greek National Tourism Organization (ЕОТ).
It is worth noting that all accommodation can be registered not only to an individual but also to a legal entity. In the second case, an owner must own 100% of the company’s shares.
Although Greece offers the residence permit for buying almost any property, there are some restrictions. For example, to purchase property in border areas, a foreigner will need to obtain a permit from the state authorities.
The real estate purchasing process
Buying housing for less than €250,000 gives the right to receive only a year multiple entry visa (in some cases, it can be extended to three years), which allows you to stay in the country for no more than 90 days a year. Applicants for the Golden Visa receive a five-year residence permit.
Regardless of the value of an object, the procedure for acquiring a property is always the same. The Roula Rouva agency has provided us with a scheme for a standard real estate transaction:
- Reservation and verification of the object. First, one needs to get an Individual Taxpayer Number. Usually, a lawyer handles this. Although legal assistance, unlike notarial one, is not mandatory, experts strongly recommend cooperating with a lawyer at all stages of the transaction. Then, one makes a deposit, which is 10% of the cost of the object, and can be paid in cash or by transferring money to a real estate agency’s account. After that, the buyer’s lawyer conducts a legal check for encumbrances and delinquencies in the mortgage register.
- Signing a transaction agreement. The document must be signed in the presence of a notary and a lawyer. After signing the contract, the new owner receives the object’s keys.
- Transaction payment. The new owner of the property transfers money to an account of the real estate agency.
- Registration of the new owner. A lawyer registers the contract in the mortgage register, where they issue a certificate of ownership of the new owner.
Important! To complete the transaction, there are additional expenses for lawyer, notary, and realtor services. One will also need to pay taxes and duties.
Residence permit registration process
If a buyer has purchased a property worth more than €250,000, they have the right to apply for a five-year residence permit.
- Having completed a transaction for a property purchase, an applicant, with the help of a lawyer, must prepare a set of documents to obtain the residence permit.
- Later, one needs personally submit all documentation to the Aliens Department in Greece. There, they will issue a certificate confirming the possibility to stay in the country and cross its borders during a year. An applicant and all family members will need to submit biometric data.
- The Greek authorities will examine all the documents and, in case of a positive decision to issue the residence permit, will provide the applicant and his family members with residence cards.
The impact of the pandemic on the real estate market in Greece
Even though the spread of COVID-19 has negatively affected many areas and industries, Greek realtors do not despair but on the contrary, make positive forecasts.
After the full lifting of quarantine measures, the demand for obtaining the Golden Visa through real estate purchases will grow again, especially among non-EU citizens.
Even in the coronavirus pandemic times, many high-income investors prefer property acquisition programs in European countries. The authorities of these countries offer favorable conditions for quickly obtaining the residence permit, while a Golden Visa holder retains the right to passive income by renting out accommodation or with capital gains.
It is important to mention that the authorities of most European countries accept dual citizenship.
Real estate experts say that the country has recently come to the attention of Forbes’ wealthiest people. In the period from May 1 to 25, there was an increase in interest in purchasing Greek luxury residences by 53.5% compared to the same period last year. The pandemic not only kept the demand for Greece, as might have been expected, but increased interest in it thanks to the successful resolution of the health crisis.
Prosperous investors have always looked for a place with maximum privacy and security. During the pandemic, the demand for such places has increased significantly. In Greece, offered accommodation is located on large plots or in isolated areas. Moreover, which is important, outside of large resort settlements.