RESIDENCE PERMITS FOR INVESTORS IN GREECE

INTRODUCTION:

 

In an effort to improve the regime of residence permits granted to citizens third countries (i.e. natural persons which do not have the Greek nationality or the nationality of any other member- state of the European Union) who invest in Greece, and taking into consideration the needs of the Greek economy as well as the increasing interest of foreign investors, the Greek Parliament recently voted an amendment of law 4251 of 2014– the Immigration Code – (the “Law”) and more particularly of section 16 of the Law regarding granting and renewal of residence permits for investors.

Pursuant to the foregoing, the Law provides for the following investor residence permits:

 

  1. RESIDENCE PERMIT FOR INVESTMENT IN SECURITIES AND BANK DEPOSIT

 

Article 16 of the Immigration Code as amended on 01.04.2019 expanded the scope of application of the existing regime, by adding intangible investments to the investment activities for which residence permits for investors in Greece may be granted.

 

As such, third-country nationals are allowed to enter and stay in Greece in case they have invested in one of the following categories of investments, which are considered as contributing to the development and boosting of the national economy:

 

a- Acquisition of shares during an increase of share capital or bonds during the issuance of bond loans of businesses having their registered address or an establishment in Greece and which are listed in the Greek stock exchange market, for an amount of at least four hundred thousand (400,000) euros;

 

b- Capital injection of at least EUR 400,000 to a Real Estate Investment Company, that aims to invest exclusively in Greece, for the acquisition of shares after an increase of its share capital. During the initial stage and until the introduction of the Real Estate Investment Company to the regulated market, the realization of the investment and its holding is certified by certificates issued by the Company;

 

c- Capital injection, amounting to at least 400,000 euros, to a Venture Capital Company for the acquisition of shares or to a Hedge Fund for the acquisition of shares, provided that their purpose is to solely invest in businesses with registered address or establishment in Greece;

 

d- Purchase of bonds of the Greek State, with a value of at least 400,000 euros, and a residual maturity at the time of purchase of at least three (3) years, through a credit institution established in Greece, which is also their depositary. The realization and the holding of the investment is certified by certificates issued by the credit institution;

 

e- A term deposit of at least 400,000 euros in a domestic credit institution, with a minimum annual maturity, with a standing order for renewal;

 

f- The purchase of shares, corporate bonds and / or Greek government bonds, which are admitted to trading or traded on regulated markets or multilateral trading facilities operating in Greece, with an acquisition value of at least 800,000 euros;

 

g- The purchase of shares of a value of at least 400,000 euros in a mutual fund incorporated in Greece or another country and intended to invest exclusively in shares, bonds and / or Greek government bonds which are admitted to trading or traded in regulated markets or multilateral trading facilities operating in Greece provided that (aa) the fund’s assets amount to at least EUR 3 000 000; and (bb) the fund and its manager are licensed by the authority overseeing the capital market of the country in which it is established, which for countries outside the European Union is required to be a member of the IOSCO and has a bilateral information exchange agreement with the Hellenic Capital Market;

 

h- The purchase of shares of at least 400,000 euros in an Alternative Investment Fund, which has been established in Greece or another EU country and invests exclusively in immovable properties in Greece, provided that (aa) the fund’s assets amount to at least EUR 3 000 000; and (bb) the fund and its manager are licensed by the authority overseeing the capital market of the country in which it is established.

 

 

In connection with the investments described in paragraphs a to f above, where the investment is carried out by a legal entity, it is possible to apply for a residence permit as follows:

 

1- Where the investment is carried out by a Greek legal entity, by a third country national who holds the entire share capital of the company.

 

2- Where the investment is carried out by a foreign legal entity, up to three (3), depending on the amount of the investment, third country nationals who are shareholders or executives of the foreign legal person, are allowed to enter and stay in Greece

 

 

Procedure:

 

The application and the required supporting documents are submitted to the Greek consular authority of the place of residence of the persons concerned, which within one month shall forward them to the Department of Foreign Capital of the Ministry of Economy and Development.

 

The Department of Foreign Capital of the Ministry of Economy and Development, will within one month, examine the application and forward the relevant suggestion to the competent consular authority in order to grant the entry visa.

 

The Department of Migration Policy of the Ministry of Interior, is responsible for examining the application and issuing a decision to grant or renew the residence permit to third-country nationals who have invested according to the Immigration Code.

 

 

Duration of the residence permit:

 

The residence permit is granted for 5 years with the possibility to renew it for equal periods of time, provided that the investment activity continues.

The residence permit shall be withdrawn or refused renewal if the conditions for granting it are no longer fulfilled.

Residence permits granted in accordance with the Immigration Code do not establish the right of access to any form of work.

 

 

Possibility to apply for residence permit of applicant’s family members:

 

Third-country nationals may be accompanied by their family members who are granted, upon their request, a residence permit for family reunification which expires at the same time as the residence permit of the sponsor.

 

Family members are:

(a) the spouse or partner with whom the third-country national has a civil partnership

(b) unmarried joint children of the spouses or partners under the age of 21,

(c) the unmarried children of the sponsor or of the spouse or partner, provided that the custody of the child has been legally entrusted to the sponsor under the age of 21,

(d) the direct ascendants of the spouses or partners.

 

 

 

 

  1. RESIDENCE PERMIT FOR INVESTMENT ACTIVITY

 

Third-country nationals are allowed to enter and stay in Greece as investors in order to make an investment that will have a positive impact on national growth and the economy.Where the investment is carried out by a foreign legal entity, up to three (3), depending on the amount of the investment, third country nationals who are shareholders or executives of the foreign legal person, are allowed to enter and stay in Greece

 

For the implementation of the aforementioned investment, it is also provided that up to ten citizens of a third country, may be allowed entry and residence, depending on the amount of the investment.

 

 

Precondition:

 

A motion from the competent department of the Ministry for Economy, Infrastructures, Shipping and Tourism regarding the characterisation of the investment and the suitability of granting residence permits to the said persons in relation to the relevant investment is required.

 

 

Procedure:

 

An application for the designation of the investment as falling within the scope of these provisions, is made to the Ministry through the competent consular authorities of the place of residence of the person applying.

If the Ministry considers the granting of such entry visa appropriate, it informs the relevant consular authority and an entry visa is granted.

Subject to receiving the relevant entry visa, the interested party may then file the relevant application for residence permit.

 

 

Duration of the residence permit:

 

The residence permit is granted for 5 years with the possibility to renew it for equal periods of time, provided that the investment activity continues.

 

 

Possibility to apply for residence permit of applicant’s family members:

 

Third-country nationals may be accompanied by their family members who are granted, upon their request, a residence permit for family reunification which expires at the same time as the residence permit of the sponsor.

 

Family members are:

(a) the spouse or partner with whom the third-country national has a civil partnership

(b) unmarried joint children of the spouses or partners under the age of 21,

(c) the unmarried children of the sponsor or of the spouse or partner, provided that the custody of the child has been legally entrusted to the sponsor under the age of 21,

(d) the direct ascendants of the spouses or partners.

 

 

Existing undertakings and persons already residing in Greece:

 

All the above apply also to citizens of a third country in case of new investments from existing Greek or European undertakings and/or to persons already legally residing in Greece and who benefit of a residence permit for independent economic or investment activity.

 

 

  1. RESIDENCE PERMIT FOR STRATEGIC INVESTMENTS

 

The Immigration Code provides also for the possibility to apply and obtain a 10- year residence permit for investors in Greece in case of investments qualified as “Strategic Investments”.

 

According to the provisions of the Law, subject to receiving first a type D Visa (where required), up to 10 citizens of third countries may be allowed entry to the country, where it is considered necessary in order to make such investments.

 

 

Procedure for visa and residence permit:

 

The aforementioned visa is granted free of charge, on presentation of the decision of the Interministerial Committee of Strategic Investments qualifying the investment as “Strategic Investment” and with a motion of the Secretary General for Strategic and Private Investments with regard to the relation of the relevant person applying for visa with the entity making the investment.

 

By decision of the Minister of Interior, the aforementioned person may be granted a residence permit, subject to submitting a relevant application to the competent authority along with the requisite supporting documentation.

 

The residence permit is issued within 5 days from the date the application for the residence permit is lodged.

 

 

Duration of residence permit:

 

A residence permit for Strategic Investments is issued for 10 years, with a possibility of renewal for an equal period of time, provided the relevant requirements are met.

 

 

Possibility to apply for residence permit of applicant’s Family Members:

 

Third-country nationals may be accompanied by their family members who are granted, upon their request, a residence permit for family reunification which expires at the same time as the residence permit of the sponsor.

 

Family members are:

(a) the spouse or partner with whom the third-country national has a civil partnership

(b) the unmarried joint children of the spouses or partners under the age of 21,

(c) the unmarried children of the sponsor or of the spouse or partner, provided that the custody of the child has been legally entrusted to the sponsor under the age of 21,

(d) the direct ascendants of the spouses or partners.

 

 

  1. THE INVESTOR’S PERMANENT RESIDENCE PERMIT (GOLDEN VISA FOR OWNERS OF REAL ESTATE)

 

According to the provisions of the Law, a citizen of a third country (i.e. non EU- national), having entered in Greece legally through any type of entry visa or already residing in Greece legally, is entitled to apply for a residence permit which is valid for 5 years in Greece, if :

 

1- The said person holds either personally or through a Greek or EU- based corporate entity the shares of which are fully owned by him/ her, in full ownership and possession, real estate in Greece, with the value of the property amounting to at least €250 000.

– The terms “value of the property” refer to the value mentioned in the sale contract (i.e. it is not a reference to the fair market value of the property).

– The property may consist of several real estate properties the total value of which must be equal to or exceed €250 000.

– In case of co- ownership of the property, the residence permit is granted only if the value of each percentage of ownership of each co- owner amounts to €250 000.

– In case of co- ownership between spouses the residence permit is granted only if the property is owned jointly. This applies also in case of companions having entered into a civil partnership.

– A person having acquired the property either through intestate succession, through a will or as a parental benefit may also benefit of this type of residence permit, provided he or she is over 18 years old.

 

OR

 

2- The said person has entered into a timeshare agreement or a lease for hotel accommodations or furnished touristic residences in a combined tourist facility in Greece, for a duration of at least 10 years, in an amount not less than 250 000 €.

– The amount of the lease must be paid upfront, upon the execution of the relevant agreement.

 

 

Possibility to apply for residence permit of applicant’s Family Members:

 

The holder of an investor’s permanent residence permit, may be accompanied by the members of his/ her family, to which a personal residence permit may be granted upon filing a relevant application. The residence permit of the said family members expires simultaneously with the residence permit of the sponsor.

 

Family members are:

(a) the spouse or partner with whom the third-country national has a civil partnership

(b) the unmarried joint children of the spouses or partners under the age of 21,

(c) the unmarried children of the sponsor or of the spouse or partner, provided that the custody of the child has been legally entrusted to the sponsor under the age of 21,

(d) the direct ascendants of the spouses or partners.

 

 

Duration of residence permit

 

The residence permit is granted for 5 years and may be renewed upon relevant application for another five- year periods for as long as the property remains under the ownership and possession of the applicant or the lease agreements remains in force and provided that all the relevant conditions required by law are fulfilled.

The sale of the property during the validity period of the residence permit to another non- EU citizen provides to the new buyer the right to be granted a residence permit along with the simultaneous revocation of the residence permit of the seller.

 

 

Procedure

 

Step 1: Application for an entry visa for the Greek territory at the consulate authority of the applicant’s country of origin (where applicable).

 

Step 2: Purchase of the property or entry into lease/ timeshare agreement and collection of the required supporting documentation.

 

Step 3: Submission of the documents to the relevant authority and payment of the application fee amounting to € 2016 (for family members above 18 years old the fee is 166 euros).

It is worth noting that the applicant is not required to submit the documents in person, and thus the filing of the application may be effected through a power of attorney, provided that the applicant has entered the country in order to assign his representation to a lawyer, before the expiry of the relevant entry visa.

The applicant shall however need to provide his/ her fingerprints, either at the time of submission of the file or at a later appointment.

 

Step 4: Receipt of a document confirming submission of the application. The said document is valid for one year and may be used as temporary permit until the issuance of the final permit. This document will allow the applicant to travel freely to and from Greece, without however granting the applicant the right to travel to any other country within the Schengen area.

 

Step 5: Verification by the competent authorities of the application and documents submitted and issuance of the relevant decision/ residence permit.

 

 

Residence permit for investment in Greece

 

 

April 2019

 

Should you require information in connection with the foregoing, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

 

*This document intended for information purposes only and does not amount to legal advice.