Greece extends time limit to get “golden visa” with minimum investment

By Penny Konitsioti 

Greece has extended the period for obtaining a "Golden Visa" at 250,000 euros until July 31, 2023 for applications in central Athens, the northern and southern suburbs in Attica, Mykonos, Santorini and Thessaloniki.

This time window allows third-country nationals to secure a residence permit based on the limit of 250,000 euros, as long as a preliminary property purchase agreement with a 10% down payment was done by the initial April 30 deadline. However, unless a new time extension is granted, the minimum investment limit will double to 500,000 euros starting Aug. 1.

Therefore, prices will rise for applications received in all areas in the southern suburbs in Athens and Attica, namely the municipalities of Moschatos - Tavros, Kallithea, Palaio Faliros, Nea Smyrni, Ellinikos - Argyroupoli, Agios Dimitrios, Alimos, and Glyfada.

The same goes for central Athens districts (Athens, Byron, Galatsi, Dafni - Ymitto, Zografou, Ilioupoli, Kaisariani, and Philadelphia - Chalkidona), as well as in all the northern suburbs, i.e., in the municipalities of Agia Paraskevi, Amarousi, Vrilisia, Heraklion, Kifissia, Lykovrysi - Pefki, Metamorfosi, Nea Ionia, Papago - Cholargo, Penteli, Filothei – Psychiko, and Chalandrio.

More changes to the Greek Golden Visa

The common practice of acquiring two or three individual properties amounting 500,000 euros or more is no longer be allowed. The investment amount is now limited to one property.

In all other areas where the threshold remains at 250,000 euros, investors will continue to be able to purchase more than one property to reach the minimum investment threshold.

The minimum amount that applicants should place in Greek term deposits and in the bonds will also increase starting January 2024 to 500,000 euros from the current 400,000 euros.

Acquisitions affected by rising prices in Greece

The change in thresholds to secure a 'Golden Visa' threatens to exclude domestic prospective buyers from the affordable housing market as housing prices soar.

Real estate prices in high-demand areas like Heraklion and Marousi have increased in recent months due to the high demand from foreign investors.

There’s uncertainty as to how demand will shift after August, when the possibility for foreign investors to buy real estate under the 250,000 euros cap ceases to apply. Especially as the largest volume today is directed to central Athens, where there is a strong interest in short-term residential rentals.

Certain areas on the border of traditionally "forbidden" areas in Athens are expected to absorb the new demand, as Piraeus, Peristeri, Paania, Varkiza, Voula, Saronida, Anavyssos and Sounio in Attica, as well as some areas in Halkidiki, municipalities closer to central Thessaloniki.

In the event there’s not a new time extension, overpricing is expected for property mainly in central Athens to concentrate the 500,000 euros investments.

In any case, the issue for third country applicants is that the properties they acquire must be high on the rental demand list, whether short or long term.

These rises could continue as the European Parliament increases efforts to ban all "golden passport" schemes, due to concerns about distortions in property markets and money laundering.

Impact to Golden visa applications in Greece

The changes to the "Golden Visa" program in Greece have increased the number of applications from investors interested in getting ahead of the low prices. Also, Portugal’s recent end of its “golden passport program” seems to have shifted demand towards Greece, given it’s one of the few countries that does not intend to end the program.

In the first quarter of 2023, permanent investor requests rose by 357% to 2,015, almost four times the requests received in the same period last year. Between 2018-2023, 18,883 requests for a permanent investor permit (initial grant and renewal) were submitted, of which 69% were successful, 30% still pending approval, and 1% was rejected.

Between 2011-2019, at least 130,000 citizens from non-EU countries have made use of the relevant investment immigration programs.

In 2022, requests reached 5,547 and investments for more than 691.7 million euros were made, as 2,767 permanent investor permits were issued corresponding to the same number of real estate purchases, up 81% based on Ministry of Migration Policy statistics.

However, this number is still lower than the record high of 3,504 licenses totaled in 2019.

To date, 10,282 permanent investor permits have been granted to citizens of non-EU countries. The Chinese are the largest group of investors, having secured 6,386 permits, accounting for 62.1% of the total. The Turkish follow with 672 permits (6.5%), and the Lebanese rank third with 487 permits (4.7%), followed by the Russians with 381 licenses (3.7%) and the Egyptians with 300 licenses.

Before the pandemic, the Chinese share in permit grants was nearly 70%. They did not become active again until the end of 2022.

Applications from high-net-worth US citizens increased by 740% in 2021 alone, according to immigration investment firm Astons. Greece is Americans' third preferred "residence by investment" destination after Portugal and the UK.

Powered by Froala Editor

About the Author

Penny Konitsioti
Penny Konitsioti

Penny Konitsioti is a Greek immigration consultant. She currently operates her own legal practice in Athens, Greece.

As a member of the Athens Bar Association and an attorney at law in the Court of First Instance of Athens since 2003, Konitsioti applies her extensive experience in commercial law and civil law to advise clients on matters in property and real estate transactions, family cases, unjust enrichment cases, labor and employment disputes, international trades, unfair competition, intellectual property, licensing and franchising.

With a focus on sports law, Konitsioti also represents many sports committees, athletes and clubs in dispute settlement cases. Konitsioti is networked with other legal professionals, tax consultants, accountants and bailiffs based in Greece and abroad, which enables her to provide direct and effective responses to clients’ concerns in most sections of the law.

Prior to setting up her own law firm, Konitsioti worked as a legal advisor and in-house counsel for Eleftherotypia, a local newspaper, and AEK FC, an Athens football club. In these positions, she provided general legal advisory services. In addition, she has served as a research fellow at the Hellenic Centre for European Studies for more than three years, where she focused on the center’s program in southeastern Europe.

Konitsioti earned her bachelor’s degree in Hellenic law from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and her master’s degree in European studies from the Athens University of Economics and Business. She is an active speaker and participant of many domestic and international seminars and conferences on the topic of sports law.

Konitsioti speaks Greek, English, Spanish, French and Italian.

Magazine Sign Up

Sign up to receive a free copy of our industry leading global immigration magazine

Become a Verified Member

Join our the global immigration community

join for free