GREECE POSTPONES NEW RULES FOR ITS RESIDENCY BY INVESTMENT PROGRAM
Imagine being a resident of Greece – a European Union country, close to North Africa and the Middle East, known for its mild Mediterranean climate, natural beauty, and healthy diet, and considered by many as the birthplace of western civilization. In March, Greece proposed new rules that would expand the options for a person to achieve residence under its residency by investment program. While these new rules were to be adopted on July 1, it was announced on July 1 that they will be postponed until later this year due to the Greek legislative elections on July 7.
These new rules are generally tied to “400,000 euros intangible property investment” alternatives. Specifically, an investment of 400,000 euros in any of a purchase of shares in, or bonds issued on, companies based or located in Greece listed on the Greek stock market, a capital contribution to a real estate investment company which invests exclusively in real estate in Greece, an acquisition of shares in domestic alternative investments organizations investing exclusively in companies with headquarters or establishment in Greece, a purchase of Greek government bonds, a time deposit to a national banking institute, a purchase of shares, corporate bonds, and/or Greek government bonds admitted to trading or traded on the Greek stock market, a purchase of units in a mutual fund incorporated in Greece or another country and investing exclusively in transferable securities (shares and treasury bills or Greek government bonds) admitted to trading or traded on the Greek stock market, or a purchase of shares in an alternative investment organization which is incorporated in Greece or another European Union country and invests exclusively in immovable property in Greece, would enable an investor to become a resident of Greece under Greece’s residency by investment program under these new rules.
These “400,000 euros intangible property investment” alternatives would be added to an existing option under Greece’s residency by investment program – an investment of 250,000 euros in real estate property. The real estate property can be located anywhere on the Greek mainland or Greek islands, and can be residential or commercial property. In addition, multiple real estate properties can be combined to make up the minimum investment of 250,000 euros. Because the purchase of new real estate property in Greece is subject to a 24% VAT, as a practical matter, investors need to have a minimum amount of over 300,000 euros to obtain Greek residence under this “real estate property” alternative under Greece’s residency by investment program.
The application process under Greece’s residency by investment program takes approximately 40 days from the time of investment until the residency permit is issued.
In addition to the principal applicant, the principal applicant’s spouse, children under 18, children 18 and over if studying and dependent, parents, and spouse’s parents, can qualify for Greek residence under Greece’s residency by investment program.
As a resident of Greece, a person is able to travel visa-free across the 26 “Schengen area” countries in Europe. Persons who reside in Greece can apply for citizenship after 7 years.