- The Purpose
Schengen Agreement is signed in Luxembourg between five European countries which are the members of EU on June 14, 1985 for eliminating internal border checks. These countries are France, Western Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg.
Schengen Convention signed in June 19, 1990 has entered the Agreement into effect. However, entering of the agreement into force has extended to March 26, 1995 and within this period, Portugal and Spain have also become the Parties of the agreement. Although Monaco, Norway, Iceland are not the members of EU, they were also included in the Agreement. Switzerland was also included in the same way within the scope of Schengen Agreement in December 2008. Schengen Agreement is included in the EU Law in 1997. Greece was included in the Region in 2000.
Recently, by integration of visa policies in a territorial area of 4,312,099 square kilometers, 26 European countries are involved in the Schengen Region enabling passport-free movement of a population of over 400 million individuals within the region as in a single state with common visas but without any internal border control.
If you’re not a citizen of European Union you may obtain permanent residency permit by purchasing a property in Greece with a value of at least 250,000 Euros.
You may apply for Greek citizenship after seven years of uninterrupted residency.
- Planning a trip to Greece
- Being informed about the required formalities
- Visit the properties that are searched for you
- We’ll inform you about the residence permit and obligations for property ownership and answer all your questions regarding these issues. We’ll do everything within 3 working days during your visit (We’ll visit the properties and issue tax ID –AFM- number.
The first thing is to arrange a trip to Greece to get informed about the required formalities, view the properties that are searched for you.
During your stay we will do practically everything within 3 working days. We will answer all your questions regarding the residency programme and present your obligations as a property owner in Greece.
As you decide to proceed; we shall
- Open an account at a local bank,
- Sign a power to attorney document to represent you before the Greek authorities.
- Sign a property acquisition pre-agreement. A deposit of 10% should be transferred to bind the process. The property may be transferred to you after receiving this deposit.
- Register you as the new owner of the property at the land registry authorities,
- Apply for your residency permit.
- You don’t have to be in Greece for the rest of the procedures as we shall fulfill them on your behalf.
- All money transactions shall be carried out from your account in the Greek Bank after you transfer the money in your account.
- You shall be informed about the progress of the procedures at each step.
- You shall not need a lawyer legally to collect the documents of the operations.
- You’ll need an authorized representative to help you through the process if you do not speak Greek.
Spouses, children of the spouses under the age of 21, direct relatives of the spouses as mother and father are considered as the family members who enter the country as third country citizens. Children under the age of 21 may renew 3-year independent residence permit until the age of 24 and renew later as in immigration regulation.
- Partner /wife/husband
- Children up to the age of 21
- Parents of the main investor
- Parents of the spouse
Are the family members allowed to go with the investor and shall obtain permanent residency permit which shall be renewed every 5 years.
- There is no restriction on the number of the family members.
- Unmarried couples are not included in family members.
Children may study both at private and public schools in various languages. As a Greek resident, they may also access to universities in other European countries.
- The applicant’s income has to be certified by a recognized bank or financial institutions by documents. The applicant has to pay the price of the real estate before the contract. Application for residence permit is made after completing the purchase of the real estate. The process cannot be completed otherwise.
- Only spouses may share the investment of 250,000 Euros jointly. If the investment is shared with a third party, each owner must invest minimum 250,000 Euros. In other words, for two permits, the investors have to purchase a real estate equivalent to at least 500,000 Euros.
- Each investor purchasing a property jointly is entitled to obtain a residence permit if each one invest minimum 250,000 Euros.
- The property may either be a commercial or residential.
- More than one property may be purchased as long as the total value of the properties is equivalent to at least 250,000 Euros.
- Apart from the value of the property you shall pay a real estate transaction tax of 1% of the value of the property, notary and service fees which is approximately 5-6% of the property selling price in total. You’ll be informed about the costs in detail.
- In case the real estate property is resold during residence permit, the seller losses his residence permit and the right for residence permit is transferred to the buyer if he is a third party citizen.
- Third country citizens who become a Greek resident may rent their property.
The properties located in border are restricted. Dodecanese, Kastoria, Kilkis, Lesvos, Preveza, Rodopi, Thesprotia, Samos, Florina, Chios, Xanthi, Evros, and the islands of Thera and Skyros prefectures are considered as border regions.
Duration of residence permit for real estate owners is permanent. However, residence permits have to be renewed every 5 years.
The residence permits shall be renewed every five years according to the following conditions which must be must be met:
- Full ownership on the property must remain on the applicant.
- Contract and leases related to the real estate property must be in progress.
- Resale of the property during an effective residence permit provides the new owner from another country to have the right for a residence permit which results with forfeiture of the right of the seller.
- Condition of renewal of the residence permit is not obstructed for the owner’s absence from the country.
- It takes less than 45 days for decision on granting residence permit by the Greek authorities.
- The residency permit is permanent and the only provision is owning a property.
- The residency permit shall be renewed every 5 years.
- Children over the age of 21 are not included in the family permit any more. They are allowed by law to extend their permit for 3 more years and work.
- A permit authorization card shall be granted to the applicant approved to have a residence permit and that card shall also be considered as an ID card and travelling card to be used both in Greece and other European Union countries.
- A residence permit holder may
- Enter Greece
- Live in Greece
- Go to school
- Perform business activities
- Have training, healthcare, justice rights
- Travel to Schengen countries
An insurance contract signed either in Greece or outside Greece is required to receive healthcare and medical care expenses.
- Personal Income Tax (regardless of being a Greek resident or not, every person earning income)
- Corporate Income Tax
- Real estate transaction tax
Children born in Greece can apply directly to Greek nationality.
Having a criminal record either in Greece or in their country of origin results in cancellation of the residence permit.
Residence permit gives the right for applying for Greek Citizenship only after having a seven years of continuous residence permit.
Residence permit gives the holder to obtain a long-term resident permit only if all provisions of Law No. 4332/2015, Greek Government Gazette Number 76 A’, July 2015 are duly met.
- Basic level of Greek speaking
- Knowledge on Greek history
- As the application of the investor is approved he shall receive Greek –European Union passport and have voting rights
Residence permit is not a work permit. The family members are not allowed to work as an employee either. Paragraph 6, article 20 of Law 4251/2014, does not include the exercise of economic activity in the capacity of a shareholder or a CEO.
Purchasing a car with a Greek license plate and travel around is allowed under the regulations of the Ministry of Transport effective for third country citizens.
Establishing a branch of a foreign company is subject to procedures at Greek Law Digest.
Pets are allowed to be brought provided that all vaccinations are completed and identification microchip is available.
After obtaining the residency permit you may visit all countries in all European Union countries and countries in Schengen Area as Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. It is possible to visit all Schengen countries without coming to Greece.