A Guide to Real Estate Investors' Residence Permits in Greece

In brief:

By virtue of article 20 of the Greek “Immigration & Social Integration Code” (Law 4251/2014) third-country nationals and their family members (spouses, children and parents) can obtain a renewable five-year residence permit in Greece on the basis that they own immovable property in Greece valued at €250,000.

Non-EU Nationals obtaining the 5-year residence permit may:

  • Live in, exit and re-enter Greece without the need for a visa and without limitations on lengths of time spent in Greece.
  • Travel from and to all Schengen countries without further documentation other than their passport and their Greek residence permit attached on the passport.
  • Be accompanied by family members, including spouse, children under 21 years old and spouses' parents.
  • Lease this property and profit out of it.
  • Renew the residence permit for an equal period each time for as long as the property remains in their ownership.

Key requirements for the grant of the residence permit:

  • Entering Greece with a valid Visa of any type, issued by the Greek consular office/embassy in the country of origin or already having a Greek residence permit of another type.
  • Owning immovable property in Greece with a minimum value of €250.000.

Basic documentation for the issuance of the residence permit:

  • True copy of valid passport or equivalent travel document recognized by Greece, together with a valid visa.
  • Copy of the contract for the purchase of immovable property or properties with minimum value of €250.000.
  • Certificate of Registration of the contract to the competent Land Registry.
  • Certificate that the applicant has applied to a medical insurer for full coverage of his/her medical care and expenses.

What happens after I submit the application through my lawyer:

The competent Greek authorities will provide applicants with a certificate of receipt, permitting the third-country national to stay in Greece until the authorities reach a final decision on the application. The resident permit is typically issued by the competent authorities within a maximum period of two months after receiving the application.

Cautionary note when purchasing real estate in Greece:

In recent years some "immigration agencies" (especially in China) and local realtors in Greece have appeared in the market offering "competitive" packages by allocating very cheap properties and selling them at huge profits. You need to be cautious as you may end up purchasing a property with a real market value far below €250,000 EUR. Whereas this will still grant you the residence permit (as long as you paid over €250,000), it is not a sound investment if the property's real market value is, for example, half of what you paid. Retaining the services an independent Greek law firm is vital in getting your money's worth and protects you from either "immigration agencies" and realtors bloating property prices.

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