Residence Permit Law
The Law No. 4146/2013 “Formation of a Friendly Developmental Environment for Strategic and Private Investments” is the first Law that provides people with the opportunity of acquiring the long-term residence permit by purchasing a real estate property in Greece with total value at least 250.000 Euros.
The Law No. 4251/2014 “Immigration and Social Integration Code and other Provisions” is the most recent Law related to the investment program in Greece amended by Law No. 4332/2015.
Law No. 4251/2014
Immigration and Social Integration Code and other provisions
Other reasons for the issue of residence permits
B. Owners of property in Greece
1. By decision of the secretary general of the decentralized administration, a five-year residence permit subject to renewal shall be granted to a third country national who:
(a) Has legally entered the country with any type of visa or legally resides in the country, even if the residence instrument in his possession does not permit change of purpose;
(b) Personally has the full ownership, possession and peaceful enjoyment of real estate property in Greece. In case of joint ownership of a property to the value of EUR 250 000, the right of residence shall only be granted if the owners of the property are spouses with indivisible shares in the property. In all other cases of joint ownership, the right of residence shall only be granted if the joint ownership rate of each joint owner equals to the value of EUR 250 000;
(c) Has the full ownership, possession and peaceful enjoyment of real estate property in Greece via a legal entity whose shares are fully owned by such national;
(d) Has made a agreement with a minimum term of ten years for the lease of hotel accommodation or furnished tourist residences in tourist accommodation complexes pursuant to Article 8(2) of Law 4002/2011 (Government Gazette, Series I, No 180);
(e) Has made a time sharing agreement pursuant to the provisions of Law 1652/1986 regulating time sharing agreements and related matters (Government Gazette, Series I, No 167), as in force.
2. The minimum value of the real estate property and the contractual consideration of leases of hotels or tourist residences referred to in this Article is set at two hundred and fifty thousand euros (EUR 250 000) and must be fully paid up on the signing of the agreement. The consideration is paid by crossed bank cheque or other bank transaction, the particulars of which must be solemnly stated by the contracting parties before the notary who prepares the agreement and declared in the agreement. By joint decision of the Ministers for the Interior and Finance, the value of the above real estate property may be adjusted, and shall result from the value of the property stated in the contract or of the lease agreement
3. Third-country nationals who own real estate property may lease that property.
4. Such third-country nationals may be accompanied 1318 GOVERNMENT GAZETTE (SERIES A) by their family members to whom an individual residence permits shall be issued following a relevant application, which shall expire together with the residence permit of the sponsor. Family members shall mean:
(a) the spouse;
(b) the lineal descendants of the spouses or either spouse, who are under 21 years old.
5. The above permit may be renewed for an equal period each time, provided that the real estate property remains in the ownership and possession of the third country national, or the agreements referred to in paragraph 1 above remain effective and all other requirements provided for by law are met. Periods of absence from the country shall not hinder the renewal of the residence permit. Resale of real estate property during the period of validity of the residence permit to another third-country national shall not entitle the buyer to the issue of a residence permit. (Amended by Law 4332/2015, Article 8: 29. The third sentence of paragraph 5, Chapter II, Article 20 of Law 4251/2014 shall be replaced to read as follows: “Resale of real estate property while the residence permit is valid to another third-country national grants to the new buyer the right to a residence permit while at the same time the seller’s residence permit is being withdrawn.”)
6. The residence permits issued pursuant to paragraphs 1 and 4 of this Article shall not grant the right of access to any form of employment. (According to the Law 4332/2015, citizenship offers the privilege of employment as soon as it is acquired)
7. The period of residence referred to in the provisions of part B hereof shall not be taken into account for inclusion in the status of long-term resident and the granting of nationality to the relevant residents. (Amended by Law 4332/2015, Article 8: 30. Paragraph 7, Chapter II, Article 20 of Law 4251/2014 is abolished and paragraph 8 is renumbered as paragraph 7.)
8. The residence permit shall be issued within two months from procurement of all file information to the issuing authority.
Law No. 4251/2014
Immigration and Social Integration Code and other provisions
Issue and renewal of residence permit for purposes of investment activity
A. 1. Third-country nationals may enter and reside in Greece for the purpose of making investments which will have a positive impact on national growth and the economy. , entry to and residence in the country shall be allowed to no more than ten third-country nationals to implement the investment, who shall be:
a) senior executives, financial and legal advisors, in order to take the necessary actions, as required by the Greek legislation, to start the implementation of the investment;
b) experts and middle executives, in order to provide services at the stage of implementation of the investment;
c) specialised employees or workers, in order to be employed during the stage of operation of the investment.
2. Entry and residence of the above third-country nationals in Greece shall require a motion from the Department of Intragroup Services and Direct Investments to the Ministry for Development & Competitiveness, relating to the feasibility of residence permits issued to third-country nationals in relation to the investment.
3. The application and the required supporting documents, as specified by the joint ministerial decision referred to in Article 136(12) shall be submitted to the Greek consular authority in the area of residence of the interested persons and shall be forwarded to the Ministry for Development & Competitiveness.
The Department of Intragroup Services and Direct Investments to the Ministry for Development & Competitiveness shall forward the motion relating to the investment to the competent consular authority in order for the required national visas to be issued.
4. A third-country national who has been granted a visa for investment purposes shall be granted a residence permit on the same grounds, on procurement of the required supporting documents. The duration of validity of the residence permit shall be five years subject to renewal for five years each time, provided that the investment activity continues.
5. By way of derogation from the provisions of Article 70(1), the above third-country nationals may be accompanied by their family members who shall be granted a residence permit for family reunification,
expiring simultaneously with the residence permit of the sponsors.
6. The Directorate for Migration Policy to the Ministry for the Interior shall be the competent authority to review applications and decide on the issue or renewal of residence permits for purposes of investment activity.
7. The provisions of this Article shall apply accordingly to the entry and residence of third-country nationals in the context of new investments made by operating Greek and EU undertakings, or by thirdcountry nationals who already legally reside in Greece and hold residence permits for purposes of independent economic or investment activity.
8. The residence permit of a third-country national referred to in paragraph 1 hereof shall read ‘Residence permit for investment activity’ and state the holder’s professional capacity under the heading ‘Remarks’.
B.1. Subject to the issue of a D-visa, entry to the country shall be allowed to no more than ten (10) hirdcountry nationals per investment, as considered appropriate to make investments that have been characterised as “strategic”, pursuant to a decision of the Interministerial Committee of Strategic Investments on inclusion in Law 3894/2010 (Government Gazette, Series I, No 204).
The above visa shall be issued free of charge on procurement of the decision of the Interministerial Committee of Strategic Investments which characterised the investment as “strategic”, and a motion of the Secretary General for Strategic and Private Investments with regard to the relation of such third-country nationals with the entity making the strategic investment.
2. By decision of the Minister for the Interior, the above persons shall be granted a ten-year residence permit subject to renewal for ten years, provided that the same requirements apply.
3. Issue of the residence permit shall be subject to the submission of an application with the required supporting documents to the Directorate for Migration Policy to the Ministry for the Interior, as these are stipulated in the joint ministerial decision referred to in Article 136(1). The residence permit shall be issued within five (5) days from the date that the application was lodged.
4. By way of derogation from the provisions of Article 70(1), the above third-country nationals may be accompanied by their family members who shall be granted a residence permit for family reunification, expiring simultaneously with the residence permit of the sponsors, and by aides in the case of disabled persons.
C. 1. Third-country nationals who are subject to Chapters A and B hereof and legally reside in the country shall not be required to leave the Greek territory in order to lodge an application for a residence permit.
2. The competent agencies to the Ministry for Development and competitiveness shall notify the Directorate for Migration Policy to the Ministry for the Interior in writing or by email about any change to the progress of the investment activity.
To see Law No. 4251/2014 click here.
To see Law No. 4332/2015 (Amendment of Law 4521/2014) click here.