Real estate owners in Greece may have different rights.
- Full ownership (absolute or joint)
- Bare ownership (absolute or joint)
- Usufruct (absolute or joint)
It is essential that the buyer establishes which (among the aforementioned) is the right of the seller to be transferred in every transaction, in order to ensure that the value of the real estate is reflected in the rights that come along with the sale.
There are various ways of acquiring real estate in Greece. For investors, these mainly concern the two following:
- Acquisition by contract: The buyer and seller appear before a notary public and sign a deed which is subsequently registered at the local cadaster or land registry.
- Acquisition of property through public auction: As of 2017, the Greek State has conducted electronic auctions. Greeks and foreigners (whether natural persons or legal entities) can subscribe online. The procedure is open to the public and the properties offered are easily accessible via a weekly journal.
- After selection of the property, the buyer appoints a lawyer to perform all the necessary legal searches. The title search takes place at the Land Registry and ensures that the asset in question indeed belongs to the seller and that it is clear of any encumbrances (such as mortgages, liens, foreclosures etc). The lawyer also checks the suitability of the asset and if this is located in an area where prohibitions or restrictions apply.
- Issuance of a tax number. It is a requirement of the Greek State that every transacting party (natural person or legal entity) has its unique tax number before acquiring real estate.
- Technical survey of the property. This is not a compulsory stage, but it is highly recommended as planning and or structural issues may occur that could render the sale invalid or the investment poor.
- Payment of transfer tax. Currently at 3% of the contract value.
- Completion of the acquisition contract before a notary public. The buyer gets the title deed, which is the first step to ownership of the property.
- The registration of the title deed takes place at the local Land Registry and is the absolute proof of ownership.
- Registration of the property online with the tax authorities.
D1. FOR OWNERSHIP OF PROPERTY
Ownership of real estate in Greece is subject to an annual tax (ENFIA) which is calculated based on the value of each property usually between 0,1% and 0,8%. Currently the annual tax is payable in 5 installments and it is applicable in all types of real estate assets – including cases of rights on properties (as mentioned in 1. above). This kind of tax applies to both natural persons and legal entities regardless of whether they are resident and/or have their registered seat in Greece.
D2. FOR INCOME GENERATED BY THE PROPERTY
Property-based income (short or long-term rentals, Airbnb, long-term leases etc) are subject to taxation. Natural persons who benefit from rental income are taxed at various rates (thresholds are in place depending on the amount of revenue produced). Legal entities owning real estate assets are taxed differently as the rental income is regarded as revenue and is subject to 24% corporate tax.
As in every country, certain restrictions apply to investors who buy real estate in Greece:
E1. Acquisitions in forest areas: Subject to the Hellenic Constitution, land uses in areas regarded as forest cannot be changed.
E2. Acquisitions outside urban zoning: Special attention must be paid to plots which happen to be outside urban or residential areas as they often have limitations with regard to the development capacity they offer and in most cases plots cannot be divided in smaller segments. In contradiction to other countries building outside of city/town plan is permitted in Greece and you should know as general rule that land over 4.000 m2 outside of town plan is buildable.
E3. Acquisitions of real estate in regions close to the national borders : There are specific prerequisites for acquisitions in areas close to the borders. In these areas, foreign investors can acquire real estate upon receipt of special permission by joint ministerial approval. A publicly available list identifies such areas. Strict restrictions apply and investors should conduct thorough research into such plots prior to purchase.
E4. Acquisitions on the coastline: Development of real estate that is situated close to the coast may be prohibited or allowed under very specific terms set by the State.
Acquisitions on the coastline: Development of real estate that is situated close to the coast may be prohibited or allowed under very specific terms set by the State.
E5. Acquisitions in areas where antiquities are located: Development may be prohibited or allowed under very specific terms in areas where historic monuments may be located. In most cases, special permission is required by the Ministry of Culture’s competent directorate.
E6. Acquisitions in areas of outstanding natural beauty (Natura) or under a special environmental protection regime. Both acquisition and development of real estate in such areas may be blocked by the Ministry of Environment due to restrictions that may apply.
The Golden Visa for Greece is one of the most popular investment visa programs in the EU.
It is a residence-by-investment visa, issued to non-EU citizens who make a significant contribution to the Greek economy. There are several investment options, but the most common route is through purchasing real estate worth at least a quarter of a million.
Golden Visas issued by the EU Member States such as Greece are especially coveted, as they may eventually lead to citizenship and thus access to the EU.
The Greece Golden Visa offers immediate five-year residency to the investor as well as their immediate family members, as well as free travel in the Schengen Zone.
F1. INVESTMENT OPTIONS FOR THE GOLDEN VISA IN GREECE:
To qualify for a Golden Visa for Greece, you must make one of the following investments:
- Purchase a real estate property worth at least €250,000
- Sign a lease agreement with a hotel or tourist establishment for at least 10 years
- Make a capital investment of at least €400,000 in a company registered in Greece
- Make a €400,000 investment in Greek government bonds.
- Make a €400,000 investment in bonds or shares of real estate investment companies.
- Make a €400,000 deposit in a Greek bank.
- Make an €800,000 investment in corporate or government bonds.
Considering the funds involved, most applicants will obtain legal help during the process.
We collaborate with specialised legal consultants that will make the process easy for you.
F2. AM I ELIGIBLE?
Eligibility criteria for a Greek Golden Visa are:
- You must be over the age of 18.
- You must not have any history of criminal records, in any country in which you have lived.
- You must make a significant investment in Greece (see the investment options below).
- You must have obtained health insurance from a company operating in Greece.
F3. BENEFITS OF THE GREEK GOLDEN
A Greek Golden Visa is one of the most competitive Golden Visas in the EU and is accompanied by the following benefits:
- The threshold investment options are relatively lower than in most other EU countries with Golden Visa routes.
- You can extend the visa to include your family members, like your spouse, (unmarried) children under 21 years of age, and dependent parents of either yourself or your spouse. If your child is over the age of 21, but no older than 24, and they are a student, they may also be included in the Golden Visa application.
- You and your family members will enjoy visa-free travel to the Schengen Zone.
- here are no requirements to live in Greece for any duration in order to renew the residence permit.
- You can choose to rent out your property after purchase.
- You can apply for Greek citizenship after seven years of residence. Greece is an EU Member State, so you would have access to the EU free market and visa-free travel to more than a hundred countries.
- You can live and invest in Greece.
- You have access to Greek education and healthcare
F4. DURATION OF THE GOLDEN VISA
The Golden Visa for Greece is issued for five years and can be renewed indefinitely as long as you maintain the investment.
If you ultimately choose to live in Greece, then after seven years of continuous residence, you can also apply for Greek citizenship
F5. HOW LONG DO I NEED TO LIVE IN GREECE TO RENEW MY GOLDEN VISA?
Unlike most other countries that issue Golden Visas, you do not need to live in Greece at all in order to renew the residence permit. You can keep renewing it every five years, as long as you have still maintained your investment.
To renew the residence permit, you have to provide proof that the real estate property is still in your ownership or a solemn declaration by the relevant representatives that the investment is still ongoing.
F6. CAN I GET GREEK CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT?
es, you can become a Greek citizen by making an investment in Greece and obtaining a Golden Visa. However, unlike residency, you cannot apply for Greek citizenship without actually living there and paying taxes. You must live in Greece for at least seven years before being eligible to apply for citizenship.
In addition, you must also be able to prove you have ties to the country and knowledge of the Greek language and culture, at least on a basic level.
F7. HOW TO APPLY FOR A GOLDEN VISA IN GREECE?
You have to apply for a Greek Golden Visa at the Alien and Immigration Department at the Decentralised Authority in Greece. Before that, you must apply for an entry visa at one of the Greek Embassies or Consulates abroad.
An outline of the Golden Visa application process is the following:
- Apply for a Greek national visa at an Embassy or Consulate.
- Enter Greece and finalize your investment. It is your choice whether you decide to hire professional legal help through this step.
- Collect the required documents for the Greek Golden Visa.
- Submit the documents to the local Alien and Immigration Department.
- Wait for the visa to be processed. You will usually hear back about a decision within 3 months.
- If the decision is positive, you have to travel back to Greece and submit your biometric information.
- You will receive a Golden Visa residence permit, which will be valid for five years.
Our experts can help you arrange your trip to Greece, will guide you through the investment process, accompany you as you visit properties, meet with lawyers and government officials, and finally, apply for the Greek Golden Visa.
F8. WHAT DOCUMENTS DO I NEED TO APPLY FOR GOLDEN VISA?
The required documents when applying for a Greece Golden Visa are the following:
- Application form.
- Recent, passport-size pictures of yourself.
- Your valid passport along with a copy. The passport must include the entry visa as required.
- Proof of having paid the relevant government fees.
- Proof of having obtained health insurance in Greece for yourself and any family members.
- Proof of your funds.
- Additional documents according to the type of investment you make, such as:
- For purchasing real estate:
- A contract of purchase that attests to the fact that there are no conditions or exemptions in the purchase, states the total price of the purchase, and the method of payment (it must be in full, via credit held in an institution operating in Greece or via a credit transfer.
- Proof of transfer of the contract by the accountable Land Registry
- Certificate issued by the Land Registry proving there has been no impediment related to the purchase.
- For renting a hotel or tourist establishment:
i) Timeshare contract for a minimum period of five years which should state the corresponding price per year;
ii) Proof of transfer registration issued by the competent Land Registry;
iii) A certificate issued by the National Tourism Organisation (EOT) that it has been informed of the conclusion of the particular timeshare contract.
- For investment in a company:
- Documents with details of the company receiving the investment, whether it is established or to be established (must include name, type of legal entity, and share-holders)
- A document detailing the investment
- The budget and financing structure for the investment
- A timeline detailing the implementation of the investment
- Predictions for the results on the first five years of investment (feasibility study and cash flow forecast)
- A document detailing the number of jobs that will be created by the investment
- A short CV
- Your position in the investment project
- Any other documents requested by the relevant authorities.
- The documents you submit have to be translated into Greek by either the Translation Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Athens, Greece, or by an attorney who is part of a Greek bar association.
- The documents you submit must be certified either by an Apostille Stamp (if your country is part of the Hague Convention) or by the nearest Greek Embassy or Consulate (if your country is not part of the Hague Convention).
- Travel medical insurance with a minimum 30,000 € coverage within Greece and the entire Schengen area
- A cover letter stating the purpose of visit to Greece and itinerary
- Flight itinerary with dates and flight numbers specifying entry and exit from Greece
- Proof of accommodation in Greece for the entire duration of your stay
- Proof of sufficient funds for the period of stay in Greece.
Note: Before you apply for the Golden Visa, check if you do also need to apply for a Greek Schengen Visa to enter the country. This application will require a different set of documents, such as: