Residence permit for real estate property purchasers in Greece

The government of Greece has recently introduced a procedure to obtain residence permits, which can be renewed every five years, for owners of real estate by third-country citizens, the value of which exceeds €250.000, adopting a more friendly stance towards those who wish to own real estate property in Greece. A residence permit for real estate owners is a new type of residence, intended for third-country citizens who have entered the country legally on any kind of visa or are legal residents in Greece.

Who are beneficiaries of the right of a five-year residence?

  • third country citizens who own real estate property in Greece, either personally or through a legal entity of which they own the total of the company shares, provided the minimum value of the property is 250.000.

  • third country citizens who have full ownership and possession of real estate property in Greece, which they have purchased before the enactment of law 4146/2013 (about properties and residence permits), provided that they had purchased the real estate property for a minimum of €250.000 or the current objective value of their property is at minimum of €250.000.

  • third country citizens who purchase a plot of land or acreage and proceed to erecting a building, provided that the cumulative value of the land purchase and the contract with the construction company is at minimum of €250.000.

  • third country citizens who have signed a ten-year timeshare agreement (lease) for hotel accommodations or furnished tourist residences in integrated tourist resorts, provided that the minimum value of the lease is €250.000.

What conditions must be fulfilled to receive a residence permit?

  • The real estate property must be owned by and be in possession of its owners.

  • In case of joint ownership, where the value of the property is €250.000, the residence permit is only granted if the owners are spouses with undivided ownership of the property. In all other cases of joint ownership, the residence permit is only granted, if the amount invested by each of the joint owners is at least €250.000.

  • If the owner has acquired the property through a legal entity, the applicant must own 100% of the company shares.

  • The residence permit is also granted in cases, where the third country citizen has purchased more than one real estate property with a total value of at least €250.000.

  • In the case of a ten-year lease, the contract must require a single payment of the lease for the equivalent of ten year leasing of the property.

For how long is the residence permit real estate owners get?

The residence permit is valid for 5 years, however it can be renewed for the same duration and for as many times as the applicant requests. In order to renew the residence permit, the real estate property must remain in the full ownership of the applicant or the relevant leases/contracts must be ongoing.

What is the process for the issuing of a residence permit for real estate property owners?

Step 1: Issuing an entry Visa for Greek Territory

Step 2: Collecting the documents needed:

  • Two copies of the application document

  • Two recent colour photos

  • Certified copy of a valid passport or travel documents recognised by Greece and with the relevant valid entry visa, where required

  • A fee paid and obtained through the “e-paravolo” platform, which amounts to €500 for residence permits of up to a five year duration.

  • The contract of purchase and a proof of transfer of the contract by the competent Land Registry.

  • Certification by an insurance agency for the cost of hospitalisation and medical care.

How long does it take for a residence permit to be issued?

The time required to process the application depends on the authority, where it has been submitted, yet it may not exceed two months after all the necessary documents have reached the competent authority. The owner of the real estate property is not affected by the duration of the processing of their application, from the moment the application is submitted to the relevant authorities until the issuing of a decision by the Secretary General of the Decentralised Authority regarding their residence permit. After the application has been submitted, the applicant receives a confirming receipt, which is valid for one year. The third country citizen, who has submitted an application and received the confirmation receipt described above, can reside legally in the country for the duration of one year. The holder of the confirmation receipt is entitled to the benefits of the residence permit that they have applied for. Hence, they can proceed with any legal transaction regarding their investment and can transact with all the relevant authorities.

What about family members?

Third country citizens can be accompanied by their family members, who can enter the country at a later date from the applicant, from who they draw their residence rights. They are issued with a residence permit of the same duration as the applicant, but this permit does not include access to employment. The children of the applicant are issued with a residence permit for family reunification until the age of 21. After that, it is possible to acquire a renewal as an independent residence permit until they reach the age of 24 and then it is possible to renew it further according to pertinent immigration legislation.

Can I travel to other countries within the EU with the residence permit for owners of real estate?

Yes. The residence permit and long-term visas are valid as far as the free movement of the person in the Shengen area is concerned. Any citizen who holds that residence permit, is able to travel to other member states for up to 3 months within a six month period, while he is also granted a right for multiple entries.

Does the residence permit allow me to apply for citizenship?

The years covered by the residence permit for real estate owners are not taken into account for the required years for the granting of citizenship to residents.

Can the property be commercial property or a combination of commercial and residential properties or land?

The law states that as long as €250.000 is the stated price on the contract, it doesn't matter if it's a commercial or residential property.

Are there any restrictions that apply to the real estate market?

There are restrictions on property located in border regions, such as the prefectures of the Dodecanese, Evros, Thesprotia, Kastoria, Kilkis, Lesvos, Xanthi, Preveza, Rodopi, Samos, Florina, Chios, the islands of Thera and Skyros and some others.

Can the real estate property owner take a mortgage out on the property in order to receive a loan?

He/she can take a mortgage out on the property, in the same way as Greeks.

Does the residence permit continue to be valid, if the real estate property is transferred?

If the real estate property is transferred before the end of the five-year term, the third country citizen loses the right to residence.

Is it possible to rent the property to third parties?

Third country citizens who own real estate properties, have the right to rent their property.
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