Looking for the most affordable golden visa programmes in Europe? Greece offers foreign investors the ability to gain residency by investment from only €250,000 excluding fees. Find out more about the Greece Golden Visa Programme in 2018, or contact us for a free consultation to discover your options.
Established in July 2013, the Greek residency by investment programme, more commonly known as the Greece Golden Visa Scheme, is one of the most affordable EU residency programmes available to South Africans. Given the relatively low investment requirement, combined with the fact that no minimum in-country stays are enforced, the programme is an excellent option for families wishing to gain a back-up plan in the EU.
The programme makes provision for your spouse and children under the age of 18 to obtain EU residency as well. The visa is valid for 5 years, and becomes renewable every 5 years. Visa holders are required to possess their investment property for the entire duration of their visa based residency.
While the minimum investment amount is only €250,000, investors need to make provision for an additional property tax payment of 24% of the value of the property. Inclusive of fees, the total cost of obtaining Greek residency therefore comes to around €300,000.
Both residential and commercial property purchase over €250,000 qualify. It therefore comes as no surprise that the programme has become incredibly popular among foreign investors; between the period 2013 to 2017, over 1,500 foreigners have become Greek residency through the scheme.
In addition to the pricing, the programme has another competitive advantage: residency cards can be obtained in as little as 40 days from purchasing a property. Yet as has been the case with the Portugal Golden Visa Programme, the programme has received its fair share of criticism.
A Greek Golden Visa is provisioned for by the Immigration and Social Integration Code, Law 4251, 2014. Under this law, residence permits may be granted to foreign nationals and their family members subject to the purchase of property in Greece valued at no less than €250,000. For more government issued guidance on the eligibility requirements and application process, click here. For a handy animation explaining the programme, click here.
Greek Golden Visa recipients are taxed on their income generated in Greece, but not on income earned outside the country. The Greek entry level tax rate on income is 22%. Rental income derived from property in Greece is at between 11% and 33%, and certain expenses can be deducted from gross income. The capital gains tax on property sales is 15%.
The application process
Once an eligible property has been purchased, EU residency cards can be obtained in under 2 months, making it one of the fastest Golden Visa Programmes in Europe.
Greek citizenship eligibility
Recently approved legislative provisions mean that you could become eligible to apply for Greek citizenship after maintaining Greek permanent residency for a period of 7 years. However, as is often the case with Golden Visa programmes, this can be a cumbersome process.
Alternatives for EU residency
There are many valid reasons why prospective investors choose Greece as a host country for their Golden Visa. Yet if your primary objective is to obtain EU residency, the Slovenian Residency By Investment Programme offers an even more affordable alternative, with the business investment required starting from only €150,000 excluding fees.
Why choose the Greece Investment Residency Programme
Low investment requirement: Foreign property investors need to purchase property worth only €250,000 to become eligible to apply for a Golden Visa.
Flexibility: You have the option to buy a single or several properties, as long as the total value is no less than €250,000, and unlike is the case in Portugal, there are no prescriptive conditions as to where the property should be situated, nor what type of property it needs to be. The programme also makes provision for group based investments, provided that the individual applicants’ investments are no less than the prescribed minimum amount.
Value for money: Residential property in Greece’s cities is priced competitively compared to the large cities of Spain, Malta and Portugal, in particular. At under €1,500 per square meter, the programme has therefore also been well supported by value investors across the board. While Latvia’s property pricing is comparable, Greek offers better potential capital appreciation, driven at least in part by the country’s higher popularity as a tourist destination.
Rental income potential: According to statistics published by the World Tourism Organisation and the World Bank, Greece receives more than 2 times the number of international tourists visiting Portugal, and over 10X times more than Latvia. Given the rise of short-term letting platforms, sweating a second home as an asset therefore becomes a very viable strategy.
Freedom of movement: Live, travel and study visa-free across the European Union, and give your family the ability to do the same. It is important to note that while the programme does make provision for company establishment as a Golden Visa holder, this status does not make you eligible to work for an employer in Europe.
Mediterranean lifestyle: Greece offers an unrivalled climate and natural beauty. Whether you’re interested in culture, cuisine, architecture or the arts, Greece is a second country residency option bar none.
NB: The above article is for general informational purposes only. It is deemed accurate at the time of publication, however the accuracy of the information is not guaranteed by Maiden & Associates due to the changing nature of the requirements involved. Prospective clients frequently find this website using Google search terms such as “Greece investor visa“, “Greece investment visa” also.