A number of jurisdictions provide residency or even citizenship options against certain investments. Greece was one of the last countries to introduce a similar offering. An EU member state as well as a country of the Schengen area, Greece embodies the rule of law and the democratic principles of Western democracies, all in idyllic surroundings.
The initial success of the Greek investment residence program triggered additional reviews of the respective provisions, in order to cover a wider range of willing investors in times of financial growth as well as in times of geopolitical uncertainty.
Five-Year Residence Permit With Subsequent Renewals
Third-country nationals and immediate family members are granted a five-year residence permit provided that they engage in any of the following investments – with the option of equal five-year renewals, should the requirements still be fulfilled:
Real estate investments – full ownership of real estate in Greece with a value of EUR 250,000, either in person or through a fully owned legal entity established in Greece or another EU member state. The residence permit is also granted to persons who have concluded a long-term contract for a complex tourist accommodation or a time-share leasing agreement with a total contract rent of EUR 250,000. This type of residence permit is also granted to those who have acquired full ownership of real estate of EUR 250.000 in value as a result of parental benefit or heritage, securing the respective residence right to descendants of the original applicant in the long run.
Broader investment activity, with positive impact on growth & the economy – an investment that will have a positive impact on national development and the economy, following a respective suggestion by the Directorate of Foreign Funds of the Ministry of Economy, Infrastructure, Shipping, and Tourism. The minimum amount of the investment, in order to be granted the permit, amounts to EUR 250,000, according to a ministerial decision that further determines the number of eligible residence permits, depending on the amount of the investment.
Investments in securities or cash deposits – which variously include: (1) capital contributions, amounting to a EUR 400,000 minimum, to a company established in Greece for the acquisition of shares in a share capital increase, or bonds to be listed in regulated markets, or multilateral trading mechanisms operating in Greece; (2) capital contributions in a capital increase, with the same minimum, to a Real Estate Investment Corporation with the scope to invest exclusively in Greece; (3) capital contributions, with the same minimum, to a Business Holdings Capital Company or to a Mutual Fund of Business Participations for the acquisition of shares exclusively in Greek companies; (4) Greek government bonds, with a EUR 400,000 or above acquisition value and a remaining duration, at the time of purchase, of at least three years, through a credit institution established in Greece that is also their custodian; (5) term deposit with the same minimum to a Greek credit institution, of at least one year duration, with a permanent renewal order; (6) shares, corporate bonds and/or bonds of the Greek state that are listed in regulated markets or multilateral trading mechanisms operating in Greece, with an EUR 800,000 or above acquisition value; and (7) shares with an acquisition value of EUR 400,000 or more in a mutual fund established in Greece or another country aiming to invest exclusively in shares, corporate bonds, or Greek government bonds listed in regulated markets or multilateral trading mechanisms operating in Greece.
Ten-Year Residence Permit With Subsequent Renewals
A ten-year residence permit is granted to up to ten third-country nationals, and their family members, who are deemed essential for implementing strategic investments, following a decision by the Interministerial Committee on Strategic Investments. This type of residence permit is subject to quotas that vary with the specific type of investment. Priority is given to low-carbon or instrumental digital investments, which have the lower threshold of EUR 10 million.
In a highly competitive forum shopping area, the Greek offering is already successful. The low entry requirements, lack of hidden charges, and wide variety of investment options for the applicant to choose from, as well as the income margin, provide the competitive edge. Additionally, the top-tier benefits associated with residing in Greece or traveling within the EU and Schengen area establish Greece as a favorable investment visa destination.
Prior to applying for an investment visa, the sanctions and restrictions regime – as currently in force – should always be considered.
By Eirinikos Platis, Partner, Platis Anastassiadis & Associates, EY Law