Investor Residence Permits in Greece
1. Purchase of Real Estate Property
(First post April, 2017) The Greek Immigration law has been recently amended and now provides for the granting of residence permits to third country nationals who purchase real estate property in Greece, with a value of at least 250,000 Euros.
How this is done:
The investor needs to acquire a Greek tax id number. This can be done with only one visit to the tax office. Then he will need to open a bank account. Paperwork is limited and the opening of the account can be completed again with only one visit to the bank.
What can be purchased:
Real estate consisting in land or already constructed property as villas, houses, apartments.
As mentioned the minimum investment is 250,000 Euros and needs to be paid through bank transfer to a Greek bank. This gives the right to the investor to get a residence permit for five years. The residence permit is issued within two months from applying. A residence permit can also be issued for the spouse, unmarried children of up to 21 years of age, and the parents of the spouses.
If two or more investors wish to purchase a more expensive property then the share of each investor should be of 250,000 Euros minimum.
The residence permit of the investor and his family is renewable every five years for as long as the property remains in the name of the investor.
This investment can also be made through an SPV, (a company established specifically for this reason). Only limitation is that the names of the beneficial owners need to be disclosed as they will be the ones who will apply for the residence permit. By disclosing the UBO names, the payment of high property tax is avoided.
The same type of residence permit can be granted to individuals who have signed a lease of hotel accommodation or time sharing contract for a period of at least 10 years.
It is interesting to note that the investor does not need to use the property personally. Leasing is permitted. This kind of residence permit has the advantage of visa-free travel to Schengen-zone countries and it is not required that the residence permit holder continuously resides in Greece
Some important tax issues:
Property transfer tax in Greece is of 3% on the contract value. The capital gains tax, imposed on the margin between purchase and sale prices of a real estate property is 15% but at present it is suspended until the end of 2017 and it is expected that the suspension will continue for the next two or three years.
For newly constructed properties there is a 24% VAT charge which does not apply when the initial residence permit had been issued before 2008 as is the case for most properties.
2. Strategic Investment Projects
Depending on the amount and the characteristics of the investment, up to ten (10) third country nationals may enter and reside in the country, including the investors, for the implementation and operation of the investment.
The procedure starts by applying at the Greek Consulate at the country of residence of the investor. The Consulate forwards the application to the Directorate for Foreign Investments at the Ministry of Economy and Development.
For a project to be accepted as a strategic investment, a business plan and a feasibility study needs to be presented. Within a month’s time, the application is examined and the Consulate and the investor are given notice whether it has been approved or not. Following the approval, the Consulate will issue the visas to the investors. This visa allows for applying for a residence permit which is valid for five years, subject to renewal for an equal period each time if the operation of the project is continued after its completion.
Again, visas will be issued to family members of each investor.
Depending of the value of the investment up to ten (10) third country nationals, per investment, can be granted visas.
The minimum investment is of 300,001 Euro and gives the right to one permit and as the amounts go up more permits can be issued. Investment amount for all investors Number of executives allowed:
Up to €300,000: 0
€300,001- 1,000,000: 1
€1,000,000- 3,000,000: 2
€3,000,001- 5,000,000: 3
€5,000,001- 10,000,000: 4
€10,000,001- 15,000,000: 5
€15,000,001- 20,000,000: 6
€20,000,001- 25,000,000: 7
€25,000,001- 30,000,000: 8
€30,000,001- 40,000,000: 9
Over €40,000,000: 10
Should you have any question, please contact :
Nikolaos K. Margaropoulos
Scientia Legis Law Firm
Athens – Thessaloniki