What is the Greek Golden Visa?
Several countries on the southern side of Europe offer appealing residency by investment programs that can ultimately lead to citizenship. These countries include Spain, Malta, Cyprus, France, Portugal, and Greece. Of these, Greece is growing quickly in popularity with South Africans.
In recent years, Greece has had strong economic growth and rebound with 8% economic growth in 2021 and a further 6% in 2022. The forecast for 2023 is 1.8% growth, which is comparatively good in the context of global affairs. (Source)
To assist in further economic recovery, in 2013, Greece introduced the Greece Investment Residency Program (GIRP), also known as the Greek Golden Visa.
How to apply for the Permanent Residence in Greece?
To apply for the Greek Golden Visa, there are no onerous requirements. You do not have to be physical resident and there are no language, educational, or management/ career standard restrictions. There is also no requirement on original nationality, other than the applicant must be from a Non-EU country, such as South Africa. Under the Greek Golden Visa, non-EU citizens who purchase property in Greece can apply for a residence permit to live in Greece for 5 years.
When purchasing property under the Greek Investment residency program, the value of the property must be EUR 250,000 or higher. The property can be freehold or leasehold, commercial or residential, and can be for one or multiple properties, provided the total amount meets the requisite threshold.
You can obtain the property individually or jointly (providing each applicant invests into the required EUR 250,000), privately or through a wholly owned company in Greece. If the property is a lease, it must be leased for at least 10 years, and the minimum prepayment must be at least the EUR 250,000 limit.
Can I live permanently in Greece with my family?
Under the Greek Golden Visa, the applicant can bring a spouse, their parents, and dependent children under the age of 21. The GIRP permit allows your family to live, work, and study in Greece indefinitely. The permit is valid for 5 years and is renewable.
After 7 years, your family is eligible to apply for citizenship. However, there will be residency and language requirements at this stage.
Among the listed benefits, many applicants find the possibility of obtaining Portuguese citizenship the most important factor, as you will effectively become a citizen of the EU. Another large and popular advantage is that Portugal also allows for dual citizenship.
What are the benefits of the Permanent Residence in Greece (Greek Golden Visa)?
With the Greek Golden Visa, it is possible to obtain Greek residency, which has several advantages. As a member of the EU, Greek residents can travel visa free throughout the Schengen region for 6 months per year (90 in every 180 days). The Greek passport is also one of the most advantageous in the world, often rated in the top ten.
The Greek schooling system at primary, secondary, and post-secondary levels is also good and basic schooling is free.
Additionally, Greece has no wealth tax and has a very low property tax by European standards.
The GIRP allows you to start a business and Greece offers many opportunities, particularly in tourism which is about 20% of the economy. Development projects combining residential and resort properties, new and improved marinas, conference and MICE centres, and the wellness and health industries are attracting significant capital.
The Greek government is encouraging business development, especially in the tourist sector, by relaxing a number of laws and providing further tax incentives.
Should South Africans consider the Greek Golden Visa?
“The Greek Golden Visa is an option that any South African should consider if they are thinking about gaining residency overseas and ultimately a second citizenship,” according to Bastien Trelcat, Managing Partner of Harvey Law Group (HLG). “Processing is rapid, usually within 6 months.” Mr. Trelcat also points out, “The regulations do not require residency, so you can continue to live in South Africa if you wish, while having Greece as a back-up plan,” points out
Where can I get advice?
Harvey Law Group (HLG) has been working in the immigration law sector for more than 3 decades and has more than 20 offices around the world, including in South Africa. For more information on Greek residency and citizenship, please refer to https://harveylawcorporation.com/golden-visa-greece/ .
If you have questions or would like to make a consultation appointment, please call +27 087 109 0725 or email us at [email protected].