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A. General information on residence permits for real estate owners in Greece
Residence permits in Greece.
A residence permit is any documentation issued by the Greek authorities, according to which a third country citizen is given the right to reside legally within Greek territory, in accordance with the provisions of the European Union (Regulation 1030/02 as applicable). Different categories of residence permits exist, as well as different types of permit within each category. Employment rights depend on the type of permit issued. Applications for the granting and renewal of residence permits are submitted directly to the municipality or the relevant authority of the Aliens and Immigration of the Decentralized Authority in the applicant’s place of residence, apart from certain specific types of residence permit for which applications are submitted to the Department for Migration Policy at the Ministry of Migration Policy.
Residence permits for real estate owners and who they apply to.
A residence permit for real estate owners is a new type of residence permit, for third country citizens who have entered the country legally on any kind of visa (type C or D) or are legal residents in the country, even if the residence permit, they hold does not allow for change of residence scope.
Preconditions for a residence permit for real estate owners in Greece.
The following conditions must be fulfilled to receive a permanent residence permit of investor, which shall be renewed every five (5) years:
a) The real estate property must be owned by and be in possession of its owners.
b) In cases of joint ownership, where the value of the property is €250.000, the residence permit is only granted if the owners are spouses or partners with a cohabitation agreement in Greece, with undivided ownership of the property. In all other cases of joint ownership, the residence permit is only granted if the amount invested by each of the joint owners is at least €250.000.
c) If the owner has acquired the property through a legal entity, the applicant must own 100% of the company shares.
d) The residence permit is also granted in cases where the third country citizen is the owner, either directly or through a legal entity, of more than one real estate property with a combined value of at least €250.000.
e) In cases where the applicant wants to enter the country with a type D visa, the documented intention to own property should be supported by documentation which prove the financial capacity (e.g., certificate of an A-class certified bank, or other recognized financial institution), which certify the existence of bank accounts or other mobile assets, such as bonds or shares, which can cover the cost of the investment of at least €250.000, and which certify the intention of the applicant to purchase the property (contract with a law firm or with a real estate office).
f) In the case of third country citizens who have signed a lease of at least 10 years for hotel accommodations or furnished tourist residences in integrated tourist resorts, provided the minimum value of the lease is €250.000, the contract must require a single payment of the lease for the equivalent of the ten year leasing of the property. In all cases outlined above, the value of the real estate property will be determined based on the value of the property, or the lease, indicated in the contract of purchase. The value of the property, according to law 4251/2014, is the amount stated explicitly on the contract which has been submitted for the purchase of the real estate property. The objective, or assessed, value of the property is not relevant, unless it corresponds to the amount which was, according to the contract, paid for the sale of the property.
Entry Visa requirement to obtain a residence permit for real estate owners.
An entry Visa, that is, legal entry in the country, is necessary to obtain a residence permit for owners of real estate property. Following the issuance of a residence permit, and for its duration, there is no need for a Visa. Pursuant to Law 4251/2014, any third country citizen who has entered the country legally holding a visa of any type or is a legal resident of the country irrespective of their status or type of residence permit, has the right to apply for a residence permit.
Duration of the residence permit for real estate owners.
This residence permit is permanent. The holder of the residence permit is however required to renew it every five (5) years.
B. The process for the issuing of a residence permit for real estate property owners.
Step 1: Issuing an entry Visa for Greek Territory
The interested party must submit an application for an entry visa to the Greek consulate authority in their country of origin.
Step 2: Collecting the documentation for the issuing of the residence permit
Applicants for a residence permit for real estate owners, valued at €250.000, must provide the following documents:
a) Two copies of the application document;
b) Four recent color photos (passport type, printed as well as in Compatible Disc form);
c) Certified copy of a valid passport or travel documents recognized by Greece and with the relevant valid entry visa, where required;
d) A fee paid and obtained through the "e-paravolo" platform according to provisions of article 38 par. 8 of Law 4546/2018, which amounts to €2000 for residence permits of up to a five year duration for real estate owners (code 2112). For family members the fee amounts to €150 (code 2107). Minor children (under 18 years old) are exempted from this fee.
e) A fee paid and obtained through the “e-paravolo” platform according to provisions of Law 4018/2011 article 1, which amounts to €16 concerning the printing of the separate document (electronic residence permit).
f) Certification by an insurance agency for the cost of hospitalization and medical care. To certify that this condition is fulfilled, the following are accepted:
- Insurance contracts which have been signed outside Greece, provided that they explicitly mention that they cover the interested party for the duration of their stay in Greece.
- Insurance contracts which have been signed in Greece.
In case the seller is a third country citizen, he must submit a certificate from Aliens and Immigration Department of the competent Decentralized Authority, whether this property has been used for issuing a residence permit for real estate owners.
The above, applies also to the sale of the property by legal entity.
Step 3: Submitting the documents
Applications for the residence permits must be submitted to the one-stop service of the Alien and Immigration Department at the Decentralized Authority where the property of the interested party is located. For more information on your case, please contact the one-stop shop of the Decentralized Authority where the property is located.
Step 4: Procedures until the final issuing of the permit Upon arrival
A third country citizen who intends –and has the necessary supporting documentation– to own real estate property or to lease hotel accommodations or furnished tourist residences and has entered the country legally, is required to complete the required actions to apply for the residence permit before the expiry of the entry visa. In this case, the prospective applicant is able to undertake legal acts and transactions with the competent authorities, using their entry visa.
Since February 20, 2017, the new procedure for granting non EU-EEC nationals residence permits in Greece was launched, pursuant to Regulation (EC) 380/2008, under which all EU Member States will issue an electronic residence permit, which will replace the sticker, typically affixed in a valid passport.
a) If the investor submits his application in person or accompanied by his attorney, will be called to submit, on top of the application and the related specific documents required by the law (joint ministerial decision 31399/2018 - Category C 3.2.), the following:
- 4 printed digital passport photos, also stored in digital form(CD)
- A sample of his digital signature
- A fee of 16 euro, which covers the costof supply, printing and secure handling of the e-card, paid through the “e-paravolo” online payments platform
- Completion of the fingerprinting process (for two fingers)
(b) If the application is filed by an appointed attorney, in the absence of the interested investor, then written notification will be given for the applicant to define a specific date for submitting his biometric data, required for the issue of the residence permit, in consultation with his attorney, so that this date is convenient for the applicant. If the applicant’s travel arrangements change and thus cannot attend the biometrics appointment, then he should promptly inform the competent authority through his attorney so as a new date for the appointment is fixed. In any case, since the applications must be handled quickly and should not remain pending for a long time,
the attendance of the applicant for submitting his biometric data should be completed within six months from the time of application and in any case before the lapse of 1 year.
One of the major advantages enjoyed by holders of permanent investor residence permit, is that following their initial entry into Greece, they have no other obligation to stay in the country for any length of time, without affecting in any way their residence permit. Therefore as the investor, after signing the property purchase contract or even after filing the application for his investor permanent residence permit, may depart from Greece it is necessary to instruct the relevant department, where his application was filed, about the attorney through whom communication between the department and the permit holder will be carried out, whenever necessary.
The authorities receiving the application will issue a confirmation that the application has been submitted, provided that all the necessary documentation has been submitted with the application. This confirmation is valid for one year and it constitutes an evidencing document until the residence permit is issued.
Application processing timeframe
The owner of the real estate property is not affected by the duration of the processing of their application, from the moment the application is submitted to the relevant authorities until the issuing of a decision by the Secretary General of the Decentralized Authority regarding their residence permit. After the application has been submitted, the applicant receives a receipt confirming the submission of the application, which is valid for one year. The time required to process the application depends on the authority where it has been submitted yet it may not exceed two months after all the necessary documents have reached the competent authority.
Provisions during the application processing period
The third country citizen, who has submitted an application and received the confirmation receipt described above, can reside legally in the country for the duration of the confirmation receipt (one year). The holder of the confirmation receipt is entitled to the benefits of the residence permit that they have applied for. Hence, they can proceed with any legal transaction regarding their investment and can transact with all the relevant authorities.
Issuing of the decision
Once the authority of Aliens and Immigration of the Decentralized Authority has verified that the application fulfils all necessary conditions and, in accordance with the decision of the Secretary General of the Decentralized Administration, they will issue a five-year residence permit.
Procedure for residence permits for family members.
According the information above, third country citizens can be accompanied by their family members, who will be granted the appropriate entry Visa. Members are:
b. the other spouse or partner with whom a third-country national has a cohabitation agreement in Greece,
c. the direct unmarried descendants of the spouses, who are under the age of 21,
d. the direct unmarried descendants of the supporter or of the other spouse/partner,
provided that their custody has been legally entrusted to the sponsor (for his/her children) and to the other partner (for his/her children), under 21 years of age,
e. the direct relatives of the spouses in the ascending line.
Family members are not obliged to submit their application for initial residence permit simultaneously with the investor, they have the option to submit it subsequently, whenever they enter the country. These family members are issued with a residence permit of the same duration as the applicant, but this permit does not include access to employment. The children of the applicant, who have been originally admitted to the country under the terms and requirements of residence permit for property owners, are issued with a residence permit for family reunification until the age of 21. After that, it is possible to acquire a renewal as an independent residence permit until they reach the age of 24 and then it is possible to renew it further according to pertinent immigration legislation.
Family members have the same obligation pertaining to the collection of biometric data. The requirement to provide their fingerprints applies to all third-country nationals over six (6) years old, and the digital signature requirement applies to all citizens over the age of twelve (12) years.
Cost associated with the application process for the residence permit for owners of real estate.
Interested parties are subject to the fee for the issuance of a five-year residence permit amounting to €2000.
At the time of application for the residence permit a fee is paid, which covers the cost of supply, printing and secure handling of the electronic residence permit, set at 16 euro per card. This fee is independent from the respective Application fee, even if the applicant is exempt from paying the fee (e.g. minors), and collected in the form of electronic fee (e-paravolo). The obligation to pay the fee applies to all third country citizens, whose applications for residence permits are successful and eventually lead to their issue, including children under 6 years old, although fingerprinting is not required.