The "golden" program of Greece
The Golden Visa program guarantees the right to reside and move freely in Schengen countries to non-EU citizens who invest 250.000 euros in real estate properties. The program was originally valid for 5 years, but now has a permanent character and a lifetime continuation for the investors as long as the property is in their possession but with an obligation to renew it every 5 years. All members of the investor's family (wife/husband and children up to 21 years with the option of extension for 3 years after 21, investor parents and spouse's parents) have the right to acquire it, and after years, automatically they acquire citizenship, too. The program first came into force in 2013 and Le Parisien has called it the most successful program in Europe.
The program is increasing its momentum in our country year after year (in 2018 there were 1.399 licenses issued, in 2017 961 and in 2016 583). Although in Greece there is a long wait for the approval and issuance of a golden visa, due to the fact that applications are processed by the asylum claims management service of 10.000 refugees and immigrants, in the first three months of 2019 there were 262 new investors who increased the permissions to 4. 154.The main clients of the program are the Chinese followed in order by the Russians, Turks and Lebanese. Until June 2019 there were 645 real estate transactions and 12.666 people were licensed according to the Ministry of Migration Policy.
The Greek state has one of the cheapest gold visa market packages in Europe and together with its comparative advantages over Europe (lower transfer tax, considered a safe country) makes it attractive for a permanent residence. The Mitsotakis government approved by amendment to the draft «Invest in Greece » the payment of the visa by POS, crossed check or by credit or debit card transfer. From the 1st of July 2019 the visa was extended to other investment products too, and not only to real estate properties. Finally, plans are underway to change the amount of the investment (no ceiling of 250.000 euros) depending on the demand area.