Is it necessary to hire a lawyer to collect the documentation?
There is no legal requirement to collect and process the documents through a lawyer. In cases where the applicant does not speak Greek and / or is located outside of Greece, it may be preferable to ask for the support of a legal representative or proxy who is in Greece, to facilitate the process.
Who is considered a family member?
According to the law, family members of third country citizens entering the country are:
- the other spouse or partner with whom a third-country national has a cohabitation agreement in Greece,
- The direct unmarried descendants of the spouses, who are under the age of 21,
- the unmarried children of the supporter or of the other spouse/partner, provided that their custody has been legally entrusted to the sponsor (for his/her children) and to the other partner (for his/her children), under 21 years of age.
- the direct relatives of the spouses in the ascending line.
Can my relatives in the ascending line (namely my parents and my spouse’s parents) or my children who are over the age of 18, accompany me (in cases of real estate ownership in Greece), and be included in the family provision? What about the children who turn 18 during the period when their parents’ residence permit is valid?
Ascendants are included in the provision above but not children over the age of 21. Children of third country nationals, who have been admitted to Greece under the terms and requirements of residence permit for property owners, are granted a residence permit for family reunification until the age of 21. After that, it is possible to acquire a renewal as a 3-year independent residence permit until they reach the age of 24 and then it is possible to renew it further according to pertinent immigration legislation.
Are unmarried partners entitled to a residence permit?
Family members do not include unmarried partners.
Can I travel to other countries within the EU with the residence permit for owners of real estate? Are there any conditions related to this?
Yes. The residence permit and long-term visas are valid
as far as the free movement of the person in the Schengen area is concerned. Any citizen who holds a long-term visa (such as the residence permits for real estate owners) which has been issued by a member state and are valid for one year, are able to travel to other member states for up to 3 months within a six month period, under the same conditions which apply to the holder of a residence permit, while they are also granted a right for multiple entries.
Can the residence permit be considered as a work permit? Can my spouse, the legal representative of my company, my children, or myself, work in Greece?
In no case does the residence permit provide access to any type of employment. Employment, according to paragraph 6, article 20, of Law 4251/2014, does not include the exercise of economic activity in the capacity of a shareholder or a Chief Executive Officer for an already existing company. The family members that have been issued a residence permit for the same duration as the sponsor are similarly not granted access to the employment market.
Does the residence permit give me the right to apply for citizenship?
According to the decision of the Minister of Interior no. 130181/6353/27.3.2018, published in the Government Gazette 1208/Β/2.4.2018, the residence permits of Real Estate Owners and permanent residence permit for Investors have been added to the categories of residence permits that are eligible for the submission of an application for the acquisition of Greek citizenship. In this case, the applicants must fulfill all the preconditions of the Greek Citizenship Code applied for the acquisition of Greek citizenship by naturalization. The above ministerial decision applies only to the real estate owners and investors themselves, and not their family members, who must first obtain the long-term residence status, which is a prerequisite for naturalization.
Does the amount of €250,000 include the Value Added Tax? What should the value of the investment be if the ownership / sale document include the name of both spouses?
The amount of €250.000 refers to the price indicated on the contract. In cases of joint ownership of the real estate property by spouses, the residence right is granted to both spouses
Can I obtain more than one piece of property, the individual value of which is less than €250.000, if the combined value is equal or greater than € 250.000?
You are entitled to residency rights irrespective of whether you own one or more properties, provided that their combined value is equal to or greater than €250.000.
Can I buy commercial property or a combination of commercial and residential properties or land?
The law states that €250.000 must be the stated price on the contract. It does not distinguish between commercial and residential properties.
Are there any restrictions that apply to the real estate market? (e.g. location, size in square meters, or other factors).
There are restrictions on properties located in border regions. It should be noted that as border regions are defined the prefectures of the Dodecanese, Evros, Thesprotia, Kastoria, Kilkis, Lesvos, Xanthi, Preveza, Rodopi, Samos, Florina, Chios, and the islands of Thera and Skyros, as well as the former regions of Nevrokipi in the former prefecture of Drama; Pagoniou and Konitsas in the prefecture of Ioannina; Almopia and Edessa in the prefecture of Pella; and Sintiki in the prefecture of Serres. Individual or legal entities, which are affected by the restrictions above, can request the lifting of the ban for the border regions, along with their application, which should clearly state the intended use for the property. The decision to lift the ban is made by the Minister of Defence, following the submission of an application.
Can I travel in Schengen countries directly, after my residence permit has been issued, from my country, or do I need to first come to Greece?
You can arrive to any Schengen country you wish to.
What is the arrangement regarding the access to education and health services? Can the children of the residence permit holder attend a Greek public school?
The holders of the residence permit have access to public education, analogously to that of Greeks. Regarding access to health services, third country citizens and their family members who fall under the regulations of the current law, must have insurance that covers their healthcare and medical care expenses. To prove this condition, the following documents are accepted:
- Insurance contracts which have been signed outside Greece, provided they explicitly mention that they cover the applicant for the duration of their stay in Greece
- Insurance contracts which have been signed in Greece
Can I purchase a car with Greek license plates for my transportation needs in the country?
Yes, under the specific regulations of the Ministry of Transport, which apply to third country citizens.
Can I take a mortgage out on the property in order to receive a loan?
You can take a mortgage out on the property, in the same way as Greeks.
Is it required of the buyer to prove economic capacity?
The income of the applicant must be proven by documentation which proves their capacity (e.g. Certificate by class-A recognised bank or an official financial institution or other recognised institutions to store bonds) and certify the existence of bank accounts or other transferable securities, especially shares or bonds (the above are checked for the issuance of a type D visa). In all cases, before the contract, the price of the real estate is paid via a crossed bank cheque or through another banking transaction.
If 8 third country citizens jointly buy a property for
€2.000.000, are all the joint owners entitled to a residence permit?
Yes, provided that the amount invested by each one is €250.000.
What happens in the cases where someone tarnishes their criminal record, either in their country of origin or in Greece, during the period of when their residence permit is valid?
This leads to the revocation of the residence permit.
If someone holds a long-term Visa for a different Schengen country, does this Visa need to be cancelled to obtain a visa in Greece?
A Schengen visa by a different country gives the applicant the ability to enter Greece and settle issues regarding the purchase of the property.
Does the residence permit continue to be valid if the real estate property is transferred/reselled?
In cases when the real estate (property) is transferred, the third country citizen loses the right to residence. In case of resale of the property during the period of validity of the residence permit to another third country citizen, the right to a residence permit is granted to the new buyer along with a simultaneous revocation of the seller’s residence permit.
Is it possible to rent the real estate property to third parties?
Third country citizens who own real estate have the right to rent their property.