Greece: Residency Schemes for Third-Country Nationals

Contributed by Fiducenter, 22 October, 2013

Introduction

The Law entitled "Creation of a Development Friendly Environment for Strategic and Private Investments" (4146/2013) facilitates the granting of residence permits to third-country nationals willing to make strategic investments in Greece. In addition, residence permits can be granted to third-country nationals and their family members, who invest in property, in Greece.

 

A) Residence Permits - Strategic investments

In the case of investments classified as Strategic Investments, under a decision of the Inter-ministerial Committee for Strategic Investments (ICSI), residence permits may be issued to a legal representative of the investor and to up to 10 additional persons, for whom a residence permit is a prerequisite for the unobstructed implementation of the investment plan. Such persons may be accompanied by members of their families, as specified in the Law, as well as by domestic workers, provided that an applicant has disabilities necessitating personal assistance.

Upon request, the additional persons mentioned above may be granted a personal residence permit that is renewed or/and expires concurrently with the residence permit of the sponsor (the legal representative).

Procedure

Stage 1

In order to submit the final investment plan, the investor shall initially raise a request for a meeting (through the website of Invest in Greece SA, the promotional agency for attracting foreign investments in Greece). The request must be accompanied by an Executive Summary of the investment. The requests are processed by Invest in Greece SA strictly on a first in - first out basis.

Stage 2

During the meeting the investor shall submit the following documents:

A comprehensive and detailed receipt of the investment plan shall be created and signed by both parties. The investor shall sign an irrevocable order and authorization to be registered in the Strategic Investment Protocol Book of Invest in Greece SA and receive a relevant reference number. There is a 5-day deadline for the evaluation of the investment proposal by Invest in Greece SA, which commences from the date the plan is registered in the Strategic Investment Protocol Book.

The Inclusion Application shall not be registered in the Strategic Investment Protocol Book in case any required documents are missing. In case Invest in Greece SA is not able to perform a complete and thorough evaluation within the above set deadline because more information is needed, it is obliged to send its evaluation to ICSI, making clear reference to the additional information required opinion. ICSI will then take a decision and set a new (final) deadline accordingly for the evaluation of the investment plan.

Within a period of no more than 5 days from the receipt of the application by ICSI, the latter's proposal must be submitted to the Minister of Interior, also attaching the opinion of Invest in Greece SA. The Minister of Interior shall decide on the granting of the residence permit, which may be valid for a period of up to ten years.

 

B) Residence Permits - Investments in real estate

By decision of the General Secretary of Decentralised Administration, a residence permit for five years is issued to a third-country citizen, if he/she owns, either personally or through a legal entity whose shares are wholly owned by him/her, property/ies in Greece or has a time-sharing contract with a minimum duration of ten years under Law 1652/1986: "Time-Sharing and Regulations on Related Issues". Alternative investments include a lease for at least 10 years of hotel/s or furnished tourist accommodation complexes.

The aforementioned residence permit may be renewed for the same duration (five years), if the property remains unchanged in its legal ownership status as described above, the contract of ownership/lease remains in effect, and other statutory conditions detailed above are met.

The minimum value of the property/ies or the contract price, accordingly, has been set at EUR250,000. By joint decision of the Ministers of Interior and Finance, the above mentioned amount may increase or decrease from time to time, to reflect market conditions.

Procedure

The procedure to be followed for obtaining the permit is as follows.

A request for a type D visa is requested from the Greek Consulate of the country in which the investor is a resident, presenting, among other, evidence of the investment in immovable property in Greece of at least EUR250,000 or evidence of the financial capacity and intention of purchase , in case the investment is not yet completed. A notary must confirm that the purchase contract meets the requirements of the Law. If the purchase is made through a company, a copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association must be presented, confirming that the investor is the sole shareholder of the company. Evidence of the financial capacity includes confirmation by a bank or other financial institution, which certifies the existence of bank accounts or other movable assets, especially shares and bonds.

In case of leasing, what needs to be submitted is a lease agreement which clearly specifies the granting of an operation license from the Greek Tourism Office.

Once the visa is issued the investor can enter Greece and ask for the residence permit to be.

The application for residence permit is submitted, either by the investor or a representative, at the Decentralisation Administration or the Municipality in which the immovable property/ies fall under. It is accompanied by the following documents:

For purchase of property/ies, the following additional documents should be provided:

Where instead of purchase of property/ies, third country citizens enter in to lease agreements of at least 10 years for hotel/s or furnished tourist accommodation complexes as per Article 8 of the Law 4002/2011, all the above documents are provided but instead of a copy of a purchase agreement a copy of the lease agreement for hotel/s or furnished tourist accommodation complexes should be provided, confirming the payment of a lump sum of EUR250,000 and which specifies the granting of an operation license from the Greek Tourism Office.

In cases where the property/ies are held/leased through a legal person, the shares of which are wholly owned by third-country citizens, a copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association, showing the third-country citizen as the owner of all shares or units.

 

Family Members

A third-country citizen may be accompanied by the members of his/her family. Upon request, family members may be granted a personal residence permit that is renewed and/or expires concurrently with the residence permit of the sponsor (property owner).

For family members, the following documents are needed:

 

Other

The permit does not give the right of occupation in Greece. Occupation does not cover ownership of shares or appointment in the Board of Directors or as a Managing Director of a company.

The period of residence, under these specific conditions, is not taken into account for the purpose of granting citizenship to said residents.

Persons already in Greece under a different arrangement can apply for obtaining the particular residence permit, assuming the requirements of the Law are met.

 

Please note

This publication aims to present a summary of the main provisions and possible or typical solutions in the most plain and practical way possible. Whether or not what is presented could apply to a specific case will depend on its own facts and circumstances. We will be happy to discuss these facts with you and present you with possible solutions, in the most straightforward, accurate and comprehensive way possible. You can find our contact details at the back of this publication.

The above mentioned provisions have been integrated into the existing Law 3386/2005, entitled "Entry, residence and social integration of thirdcountry nationals in Greece". The requirements, which have to be satisfied for qualification for either of the two schemes as well as the application procedure to be followed, are explained below.


 

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August 2013

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