Greece to revamp investor visa routes

By Moustafa Daly

Set to come in effect in January 2024, a new Parliament-approved Greek law opens new residency routes for foreign investors.

As it stands, foreigners are able to obtain Greek residency by investing between €250,000 ($270,000) and €500,000 ($541,630) in real estate in the country, or with a €400,000 investment in government bonds, private equity, or real estate shares.

“There are eight alternative options to get the golden visa in Greece, other than real estate, by investing in financial products. However, these alternative routes are less popular than the golden visa through real estate investments,” explains Alexander Varnavas, managing partner at Varnavas Law Firm. “Notably, from these eight options, only the investment in term deposits has attracted a few investors, but still only a few (probably less than 100 cases in total).”

The new law will make it possible to pursue residency for investors who are shareholders in domestic companies with paid-in capital amounting to €500,000. Another route will be open for board members or legal representatives of domestic or foreign companies which have assets or turnover of at least €4 million.

Though it may be attractive to some, real estate investment remains the most favored route. “As a process, it is less costly than the real estate purchase and provides a faster exit plan in case someone does not need the golden visa anymore,” adds Varnavas. “However, the real estate route usually is considered a lower risk with better ROI. It depends on the needs of the investor.”

More changes to Greece’s immigration code 

The new law also aims to streamline the application and renewal process for residence cards by fully digitizing them.

Also, non-EU citizens working in managerial and senior positions in Greece will no longer need to obtain a residence permit. Instead, they will be able to choose among the EU Blue Card, intra-corporate transfer permit, or special purpose residence permit upon renewal of their current permits or initial applications.

The intra-corporate transfer permit is a work and residence permit for managers, specialists and trainees who are temporarily relocated to other locations in their companies. It was first introduced at the EU level in 2014 and is meant to ease the flow of labor from to and from EU companies that have operations and branches abroad.

The law also digitizes the EU Blue Card application and renewal process to make it more convenient and transparent for applicants.

How the changes fit in the Greek golden visa big picture

The Greek golden visa, a popular EU investor visa route, has recently witnessed an uptick in popularity after Ireland and Portugal moved to scrap their golden visa programs – leaving Greece as one of the most attractive alternatives on the continent.

Early on this year, Greece had announced doubling the residency by real estate investment threshold to €500,000 in tourist areas like Athens and Santorini – this decision will come in effect by the end of July 2023. These circumstances created a reported spike in applications and interest in Greece’s golden visa this year, with investors attempting to make it before the price hike comes into effect.

However, changes to the Greek immigration law are not only meant to attract capital, but also talent. The tourism-reliant economy is suffering a labor shortage much like other EU nations, and the new changes to the law are aiming to shore up this gap by making it easier for non-EU nationals to live and work in the country.

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About the Author

Uglobal Staff
Uglobal Staff, along with its peer-reviewed magazines and conferences series, focuses on the global investment immigration market, offering the latest trends and analyses. is a media platform built to provide professionals involved with global programs with the most comprehensive and credible sources of information in digital, print and seminar mediums. The platform was created out of the need for marketplace transparency and to more efficiently connect individuals interested in learning about the global programs - either as a potential capital source or as a solution for their immigration needs. The Uglobal publication collaborates with a network of leading experts and an authoritative board of advisors to uphold a high standard in all content delivered and events hosted by the organization.

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