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RESIDENCE PERMIT THROUGH PROPERTY INVESTMENT

MEMO ON THE APPLICABLE LAWS FOR OBTAINING RESIDENCE PERMIT THROUGH ACQUISITION OF PROPERTY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAWS OF THE HELLENIC REPUBLIC 1

Greece constitutes the new “hot spot” of European and Southeast Mediterranean real estate market. In an effort to encourage foreign investment in Greece, the Greek Parliament has recently enacted the Law “Creation of a Development Friendly Environment for Strategic and Private Investments” (LAW. 4146/2013 and LAW 4251/2014) of the Ministry for Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks providing for a new type of residence permit, whereby non-EU citizens and their families can acquire residence permit upon the acquisition of property whose equals or exceeds Euros 250,000. Such allowance has been integrated into the existing Law “Entry, residence and social integration of third-country nationals in Greece” (L. 3386/2005).

The introduction of the new type of residence permit allows potential applicants and members of their family to obtain residence permit within a short period of time provided that the competent General Secretary of Decentralised Administration is satisfied that the applicant fulfils the stipulated criteria as set out below:


Residence Permit to Real Estate Owners in Greece

A. Parties entitled to receive residence permit

1. The applicant who has purchased and legally owns, either personally or through a legal entity (whose shares are wholly owned by him/her) property (of the value set out below) in Greece.

2. The applicant who has entered into, at minimum, a ten-year time-sharing contract under Law 1652/1986, or a 10-year lease of hotel accommodations or furnished tourist accommodation (houses) in tourist accommodation complexes (of the value set out below) according to Article 8, par. 2 of Law 4002/2011.

3. Only the family members of the aforementioned persons have the right to obtain said permits. Spouses, Direct Descendants of the Spouses who are under the age of 21 (children) and Ascendants of the Spouses (parents) are included in the provision of this Law.

Minimum value
The minimum value of the property and the contract price of the time-share leases and the leases for hotel accommodations or tourist furnished accommodations (houses) in tourist accommodation complexes, is Euro 250,000.

It is noted that (i) an applicant may purchase multiple properties whose aggregate minimum value is Euro 250,000 and (ii) multiple applicants can purchase a property or properties of an aggregate amount equal to multiples of Euro 250,000 for each applicant.

B. Requirements

1. Paragraphs A.1 – A.3 are satisfied and the applicant has become the registered owner of the relevant property.

2. The applicant has legally entered and stays in Greece for the purposes of completing the transaction of purchasing property, entering into time-share lease or lease and of obtaining the residence permit.

If applicant comes from a country in which case a Visa has to be obtained in order to visit Greece, such applicant has to obtain a Class “D” Visa from the Greek Consulate Office at the place of origin entitling him to enter Greece in order to complete purchase of property and lodging of residence permit application.

3. Evidence in respect of applicant’s intention to purchase the relevant property, evidenced through:

(a) written confirmation issued by a first class bank, official financial institution or bond depository organisation, certifying financial standing of the applicant evidenced through maintenance of bank accounts, negotiable instruments (e.g. shares, bonds) covering the investment in the minimum amount of Euro250,000; and

(b) formal appointment of lawyers by the applicant for the purposes of facilitating and conducting the residence permit application procedure.

4. The applicant has adequate health and hospitalisation cover valid in Greece for himself/herself and his/her family members (as applicable), at the time of his/her application such cover being subject to annual renewal.

C. Nature of residence permit

1. Provided the requirements under paragraph 2 above are met and the formal procedure is complied with, the General Secretary of Decentralised Administration issues a residence permit for five (5) years in the name of the applicant property owner.

2. Such residence permit may be renewed for additional periods of five (5) years, provided that the property remains unchanged in its legal ownership status as described above and the contracts of ownership in respect of the relevant property remain in effect.

3. Once the non-EU citizen acquires a residence permit in Greece, then s/he is allowed to live in Greece, exit and re-enter Greece any time without a visa and travel to all Schengen countries without further documentation other than his/her passport.

4. The applicant/sponsor (property owner) may be accompanied by the members of his/her family (e.g. spouse and unmarried children under 18 years old, including adopted children of either spouse provided that the applicant/sponsor or his/her spouse is exercising custody in respect of the relevant children), as specified under paragraph 1 of Article 54 of Law 3386/2005. Upon their own request, such family members of the applicant/sponsor (property owner) may be granted a personal residence permit that is renewed and/or expires concurrently with the residence permit of the sponsor (i.e. property owner). The children who are granted residence permit through the sponsor are entitled to have access to Greek public educational system. A husband and wife can purchase one said property in joint tenancy, of €250.000 value. For more than one co-owners who are not married, each person’s interest in the property should be at least €250.000.

5. Absences from the country do not impede the renewal of the residence permit.

6. The property owner can rent the purchased property to a third party.

7. The period of residence, under these specific conditions, is not taken into account in cases of granting citizenship to said residents.

8. The residence permits do not allow a right to employment of any type (i.e. in respect of the property owner or his/her family members). It is not a work permit.

9. The applicant can purchase a car with Greek licence plates for his/her transportation needs under the specific regulations of the Ministry of Transport, which apply to third country citizens.

10. Pursuant to the Ministerial Decision 130181/6353/7.3.2018 (Govern ment Gazette 1208/B/2.4.2018), this type of residence permit has been added to the titles allowing direct access to apply for the acquisition of Greek citizenship through naturalization process. Applicants (holders of this type of residence permit) should fulfil all prerequisites required under Greek Citizenship Law.

1 Legal Disclaimer: the contents of this Memo do not constitute comprehensive legal advice but a brief summary of the legal framework in respect of the granting of residence permit following the enactment of the Law “Creation of a Development Friendly Environment for Strategic and Private Investments” (L. 4146/2013). The applicant is advised to obtain legal advice on any matter relating to this Memo.

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