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How long do I need to wait for Greek citizenship if I have already accumulated residency before investing in a Golden Visa?

I am an international student studying in Athens. This is my third year staying in the country. My landlord bought the house I rented under the Golden Visa program and now he is considering selling it. I heard that Greek residency is transferable to the new owner of the property if the current resident sells it, and those who stay in Greece for seven years are eligible to apply for citizenship. My question is, if I purchase the property from my landlord and obtain a residence permit, how many more years do I need to wait until I can apply for citizenship? Is it four more years (since I’ve already accumulated three years of residency under the student visa), or seven years (as a new investor under the Golden Visa program)?

  • Dafni Siopi & Associates Law Firm
    August 01, 2018

    Greek citizenship by naturalization requires that you stay in Greece for at least seven consecutive years. It doesn’t matter which residency permits one had during the seven years, as soon as he/she has a "strong" residency permit during the time he/she applies for citizenship. The residency permit which is granted to homeowners is considered to be a "strong" residency permit (while on the other hand, the residency permit for students is not), and thus its holder can apply for the Greek citizenship. The answer to your question is that you will be able to apply for Greek citizenship after four years from now if you eventually get the Golden Visa. It is important, though, to file every year's tax declarations in Greece, because the time period is not the only thing that is examined. They examine also if you file tax declarations in Greece.

  • Papalois & Associates Legal
    August 01, 2018

    If you buy the property, with a value 250,000 euros, then of course you get the residency permit as an investor / property owner. Since you are already three years into your stay in Greece, you need more four years to get citizenship. But you should stay in Greece for real, and prove that you have real relationship with the country. You should also start learning some Greek and main things of Greek history in order to apply for citizenship after seven years.

  • Varnavas Law Firm 1978
    July 31, 2018

    The code of Greek citizenship provides that the applicant must live in Greece for seven years before starting the naturalization process. Therefore, if you have already spent legally three years in Greece and you have all relevant proving documentation, then you need four more years in order to fulfil this requirement. A very recent amendment of the law allows now to Golden Visa holders to apply for citizenship directly without switching to the long-term type of residence permit. You should also take in consideration that you must be registered as a tax resident in Greece as well as pass language exams, etc.

  • Energopiisi SA Investment Consulting Services
    August 02, 2018

    Regarding the acquisition of Greek citizenship, please be advised about the related provisions of the law in force. For the foreigner who wishes to acquire Greek citizenship by naturalization, it is required to: be an adult at the time of the application for naturalization; be able to prove seven years of permanent and legal residency in Greece; not be convicted of sentences for more than six months, for certain types of crimes, or for more than one year for crimes that have been committed intentionally; keep a permanent residency permit of the types that are recognized by the law. On occasion of this communication, I would like to inform that, according to a recent legal amendment, the permanent residency permit of a landlord or a permanent investor residency permit were included as final titles, acceptable for naturalization of foreigners. Since you have already three years as a student, you need four more years to submit your application for naturalization. At this point and since the student residency permit has different benefits than the property owner’s residency permit, I would like to inform that we already forwarded this question to the competent authority of ministry of internal affairs to confirm which is the most appropriate time point for activating the force of golden visa.