Greece has long been a popular destination for tourists and expats alike, with its beautiful beaches, rich history, vibrant culture, and the good weather all year round. In recent years, the country has also become a hub for foreign investors seeking to take advantage of the Greek Golden Visa program.
The Greek Golden Visa is a residency-by-investment program that was launched in 2013. It allows non-EU citizens and their families to obtain a five-year residence permit in Greece in exchange for investing in the country’s real estate market or other eligible assets. The program has been very successful in attracting foreign investment as it is the most affordable and the most competitive in the EU.
This program has been very successful in attracting foreign investors, including many Indians, who are looking for a second home or a base in Europe.
The program allows investors and their families to obtain a five-year residency permit in Greece, which can be renewed indefinitely, by investing in real estate or other eligible assets. This permit also allows them to travel freely within the Schengen area and to conduct business in Greece or other EU countries.
By investing 250,000 euros in a property, in most parts of Greece, the investor and his family are granted visa free travel access to all Schengen area countries, free access to the public health care system and free access to public schools. Apart from the investor, the residency is also made available to the investor’s spouse, their children under the age of 21, and both spouses’ parents. Once the permit has been granted, they can all travel directly to the Schengen area without stopping over in Greece, should their business or other obligations require it. They may also reside in another Schengen country for up to three months every six months with the right of multiple entries. The permit is renewable every five years throughout the ownership of the property and does not carry any obligation to spend days in Greece. The process is very streamlined and easy and allows the investor to acquire the resident permit within a couple of months from the property acquisition. The property can be residential or commercial, and investors can choose to rent it out or use it as a holiday home.
On the investment side, real estate prices and the cost of living in Greece are among the lowest in the EU. Tourism in Greece has been rising steadily and the Airbnb industry has been growing alongside it, providing the investor with the opportunity to turn a property purchase into potential rental income. Furthermore, Greece benefits from a strategic geographical location between Europe, Asia and Africa and it sits within a convenient time zone between East and West.
An additional reason why Greece is now a key destination for foreign investors interested in obtaining a residence permit is the discontinuation of other popular programs, such as those of Portugal and Cyprus, during the previous months. In fact, according to related research by the British immigration investment company Astons, only during the previous month, online searches for the Greek program increased by 75.2 per cent. This is precisely the period during which Portugal’s corresponding program was abolished, recording a drop of 18.7 per cent in terms of online searches.
A number of companies dealing with investment immigration, such as the Risvas & Associates Law Firm, have ranked Greece among the top choices for international investors due to the fact it is in the European Union and the threshold for securing a residence permit is only 250,000 euros and have recorded recently an increased interest from Indian citizens.
The Greek Golden Visa program offers a fantastic opportunity for Indian citizens to obtain a residence permit in Greece and take advantage of all the benefits that come with it. The Greek real estate market has great development prospects, as it is an attractive investment destination, and the Greek economy has become much more extroverted. So, whether one is looking for a holiday home or an investment opportunity, the program has a range of options to suit everybody needs.
The author is the Managing Director, Golden Venn, an Athens and London based property consultancy firm.
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