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How can I purchase property through a co-owned company and qualify for the Greek Golden Visa?

My wife and I co-own a real estate agency in my home country. We are thinking about purchasing a property under the company’s name and applying for the Greek Golden Visa program. Is that possible to do that? Our plan is to make me the primary applicant with my wife as my dependent.

  • Dafni Siopi & Associates Law Firm
    August 16, 2018

    In order to purchase a property through a company and get the Golden visa, the applicant must own the whole company, i.e., be the only member of the company. On the contrary, you can buy the company in your name together with your wife (50 percent each) and get the Golden Visa together, or buy the property in your own name and your wife will get also the visa as a family member.

  • Papalois & Associates Legal
    August 14, 2018

    This is not possible. If you purchase a property under the company's name, you are not entitled to a residency permit, only if you purchase it under your name or your wife's name.

  • Synergia Technical and Consulting SA
    August 15, 2018

    The government of Greece has introduced a procedure to obtain residence permits, which can be renewed every five years for owners of real estate by third-country citizens, the value of which exceeds 250,000 euros, adopting a friendlier stance toward those who wish to own real estate property in Greece. The following conditions must be fulfilled to receive a permanent residency investor permit, which shall be renewed every five years: a) the real estate property must be owned by and be in possession of its owners; b) In cases of joint ownership, where the value of the property is 250,000 euros, the residency permit is only granted if the owners are spouses with undivided ownership of the property. In all other cases of joint ownership, the residence permit is only granted if the amount invested by each of the joint owners is at least 250,000 euros; c) If the owner has acquired the property through a legal entity, the applicant must own 100 percent of the company shares. Legal entities through which real estate is acquired in Greece should have their registered office in Greece or a member state of the EU. Additionally to the information above, third-country citizens can be accompanied by their family members who will be granted the appropriate residency permit. Members are: spouses; the direct descendants of the spouses who are under the age of 21; the direct relatives of the spouses in the ascending line. According to the above, your request to invest in real estate and enjoy the privileges of Golden Visa through your existing company in your country is not possible. Other issues to be considered toward the choice of the best structure of investment are, in one hand, the cost of establishment and holding a legal entity and, on the other hand, the tax provisions in force for individuals and legal entities.

    August 15, 2018

    Unfortunately, the wording of the relevant law provision governing the Golden Visa requirements does not favor the case in which the property is not purchased by a wholly owned company of the third-country citizen, but by a company owned jointly by him and his spouse. Specifically, pursuant to the immigration law, a third-country citizen can apply for a Golden Visa if the 250,000-euro or more valued property is purchased by him/her directly, or jointly by him/her and his/her spouse, or by a company the shares or quotas of which belong in their entirety to him/her. Furthermore, the property purchased can belong jointly to more than one person, but if the other person is not the spouse, then the value of each person's co-ownership right in the joint ownership of the property should be at least 250,000 euros. Hence, this wording implies a contradiction: A third-country citizen may jointly purchase with his wife a property of a value of 250,000 euros and thereby qualify for the Golden Visa, but not if the property of the 250,000 value is purchased through a company that belongs jointly to him and his wife. Possibly, this contradiction could be eliminated in court if it considers that a company wholly owned by the two spouses should be treated for this purpose in the same way with a company wholly owned by a single person, thereby aligning the treatment of the purchase through a company with the direct purchase by the two spouses. However, if we file a query at the immigration directorate, in order that they interpret this case accordingly, they would probably be reluctant to do so, by taking the following stance: "Where the law had wanted to treat the two spouses as one and the same person, it had done so explicitly.” Therefore, if the company/real estate agency belongs to both you and your spouse, I would recommend to avoid using it to purchase through it the property, but rather purchase it in either your or your spouse's name (provided she is also a third-country citizen), or in both your and your spouse's name directly.