On 12/05/2020 was published in the Official Gazette law 4686 on the improvement of the immigration legislation, the amendment of law 4251/2014 (the Greek Immigration Code), law 4636/2019 (the Greek law on International Protection) and law 4375/2016 (the Greek law on the Organization and Operation of the Asylum Service) and other provisions, which was voted by the Greek Parliament on 08/05/2020.
Among other things, the aforementioned law effected the following important amendments to the Greek Immigration code:
- Financially Independent Persons (FIP)
According to the amended provisions of the law, it is provided that absences from Greece do not impede the renewal of the residence permit, provided that these absences do not exceed six months per year. Previously it was provided that absences from Greece did not impede the renewal of the residence permit, thus it was not required that the applicant reside in Greece during the validity of his/ her residence permit. However the authorities considered that non- EU citizens who had no intention at all to reside in Greece, were granted the said Greek residence permit with the purpose to circulate within the Schengen area, and this was contrary to the purpose of the Greek immigration legislation.
Consequently, further to the foregoing, it is now expressly provided that the holders of residence permits for financially independent persons are required to reside in Greece at least 6 months per year, in order to be eligible for the renewal of their residence permit.
It is further expressly provided in the amended provisions, that non- EU citizens residing legally in Greece and receiving pensions from a Greek Public Pension Fund, independently from the amount thereof, may renew their residence permit as financially independent persons, without the requirement of sufficient funds.
- Investors in real estate in Greece (Golden visa)
Among other things, the law was amended in order to provide that children falling within the category of family members of holders of residence permits as owners of properties in Greece, that reach the age of 21, may apply for a personal residence permit valid for 3 years, thus until they reach the age of 24.
The provisions on residence permits for investors were amended so as to provide that for investors effecting investments having a positive impact to the Greek economy and investors in securities and bank deposits, absences from Greece do not impede the renewal of their residence permits. It is thus now expressly provided that the investors falling under these categories are not required to reside permanently in Greece.
Additionally, children falling within the category of family members of holders of residence permits for investors, that reach the age of 21, may apply for a personal residence permit valid for 3 years, thus until they reach the age of 24.
- New residence permit for non- EU citizens seeking medical, nursing or comforting care
The amendments voted in law 4686 also introduced a new residence permit for non- EU citizens seeking medical, nursing or comforting care. In case of a minor child or adult who, due to his/her medical condition requires an accompanying person, a residence permit may also be granted to the parents or guardians of the minor or the spouse or an accompanying person for the adult.
This residence permit does not provide access to any kind or work in Greece, nor to the social security or insurance system of Greece.
This residence permit is valid for one year, and it may be renewed annually up to 4 years, provided that the requirements are fulfilled.
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