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Recent Changes to the Law 



March 25.  Today is a big day for the Greek Golden Visa. Following an amendment of the Golden Visa Law, enacted on the 23/12/2020, for the first time an investor can apply for a Golden Visa completely remotely, without having to visit Greece. At the same time, it is possible to receive by courier services the "blue certificate", which is equal to a temporary residence permit.

This application can be submitted by a local law firm, after the investor signs a Power of Attorney (PoA) at a local Greek Consulate. The same Power of Attorney can, of course, be used for the fully remote conclusion of the investment itself, namely the purchase of real estate with a minimum value of 250,000 EUR or the realization of an alternative investment option, such as a term deposit bank account with a minimum value of 400,000 EUR.

That is not new; what is new is the ability to use this Power of Attorney for the Golden Visa Application itself, without a prior entry into Greece.

Under the previous regime, it was still possible to apply by proxy, however, at least one prior entry to Greece was required for all applicants. Namely, not only did the investor have to visit Greece at least once, but so did all their family members, including minors. Without a previous trip, it was not possible to apply for a Golden Visa remotely, so applications were delayed until such a trip could be arranged, despite the fact the investment was already concluded.

The Greek Government heeded these concerns and took action to fix the problem. Under the new provisions, it is finally possible to remotely conclude each and every step required for the issuance of a Golden Visa, up to and including the collection of the permit itself, with the sole exception of the biometrics. This means that an investor and all their family members will only ever need to travel to Greece once, just to submit their biometrics in person.

This is a major step forward, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic which has made international travel much more difficult.

This new option offers the opportunity of a Golden Visa in Greece to a much wider circle of investors around the world; investors who have never visited Greece before, but who appreciate the potential of this program and wish to invest in the country.

The Law

The government of Greece instated a procedure to obtain permanent residence permits (Golden Visa Program), 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 friendlier stance towards those who wish to own real estate property in Greece. This residence permit for real estate owners is a new type of residence permit, for third country citizens who have received a Visa for the same purpose. The last positive amendments of July 2015 provide that a 5-year residence permit is also granted to the spouse, children and the parents of the Real Estate Investors. This right will be also given to the parents of the wife or husband, who is not included in the purchase contract.

The Details

Beneficiaries of the right of entry and residence, for a period of five years, are:

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

b) third country citizens who have signed a timeshare agreement (lease) – for a minimum of 10 years – for hotel accommodations or furnished tourist residences in integrated tourist resorts according to article 8, paragraph 2 of Law 4002/2011 (Government Gazette 180 Issue A), provided the minimum cost of the lease is

c) third country citizens who either reside legally, with a residence permit, in Greece, or wish to enter and reside in the country, and who have full ownership and possession of real estate property in Greece, which they have purchased before the enactment of the current law 4146/2013, provided that they had purchased the real estate property for a minimum of €250,000 or the current objective value of their real estate property is at a minimum of €250,000;

d) third country citizens who fully and legally own real estate property in Greece, the minimum value of which is €250,000, and which they acquired through a donation or parental concession. The right to a residence permit in this case can only be exercised by the receiver of the donation or parental concession.

e) 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 €250,000.

f) third country citizens who have signed a ten-year timeshare agreement (lease), based on the provisions of Law 1652/1986. A time share lease, according to the provisions of article 1 of law 1652/1986 is the commitment of the lessor to grant, each year, to the lessee, for the duration of the timeshare, the use of the tourist accommodation and to provide to them the relevant services for the determined period of time according to the contract, and the lessee must pay the agreed rent.

g) family members (parents and children) of the third country citizens described above.

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