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Residence Permits for Non-EU Citizens


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Greek Government offers residence permits to non-EU citizens who buy real estate in Greece.
(First successful sale to Chinese citizen, client of our office, has taken place in Rethymno, Crete)

Greece can grant residence permits, for Non-EU citizens and their families with the acquisition of property worth more than 250.000 Euros. The residence permits are renewed every five years, as long as the non - EU citizen keeps the ownership of the property. It is not a work permit. Once the non - EU citizen acquires a residence permit in Greece, then is allowed to live in Greece, exit and re-enter Greece any time without a visa and travel to all Schengen countries without further documentation other than passport.

According to the Law "Creation of a Development Friendly Environment for Strategic and Private Investments" (4146/2013) there is added a new paragraph in the Greek Immigration Law, which mentions that there can be granted a residence permit to citizens of countries not members of the European Union, who want to invest on buying or renting property worth more than 250.000 Euros.

The initiative, comes in response to strong demand from Arab, Chinese and Russian investors and is anticipated to give a great boost to the property market. Valid for five years and open to renewal, the residence plan follows similar measures adopted by Hungary, Spain and Portugal in the past. The permits will enable the holders, their spouses and children under the age of 18 to freely travel-though not work-in the Schengen area for three consecutive months at a time.

In more details: By decision of the General Secretary of Decentralised Administration, a residence permit for five (5) years is issued to a third-country citizen, if he/she has obtained a visa, if required, and legally owns, either personally or through a legal entity whose shares are wholly owned by him/her, property in Greece, or has, at minimum, a ten-year time-sharing contract under Law 1652/1986: \"Time-Sharing and Regulations on Related Issues\" (A' 167) as applicable, or a 10-year lease of hotel accommodations or furnished tourist accommodation (houses) in tourist accommodation complexes according to Article 8, par. 2 of Law 4002/2011 (A' 180). The aforementioned residence permit may be renewed for the same duration (five years), if the property remains unchanged in its legal ownership status as described above and the contracts of ownership remain in effect, and other statutory conditions detailed above are met.

The minimum value of the property and the contract price of the time-share leases and the leases for hotel accommodations or tourist furnished accommodations (houses) in tourist accommodation complexes, according to this Article, shall be two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) Euros.

By joint decision of the Ministers of Interior and Finance, the value of the above-mentioned property may increase or decrease, and will be determined in accordance with the stated prices of the sale documents of the properties, or leases as per their contracts, or as determined by ministerial objective values.

The period of residence, under these specific conditions, is not taken into account in cases of granting citizenship to said residents.

The aforementioned third-country citizen (property owner) may be accompanied by the members of his/her family, as specified under paragraph 1 of Article 54 of Law 3386/2005. Upon their own request, family members may be granted a personal residence permit that is renewed and/or expires concurrently with the residence permit of the sponsor (property owner).

The residence permits do not allow a right to employment of any type.

For more information feel free to contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is property ownership secure in Crete?

The Registry of Mortgages is the State authority charged with securing property ownership. All property titles are held, and all encumbrances registered, there. Property is filed under the owner's name; lawyers/attorneys are entitled to check under the name of any individual or organisation. A thorough property title search here will uncover any/all extra hidden claims, covenants or charges attached to the property; it will also confirm the proper previous transfer of the property. This must always be done as part of the transactional process.

Who can purchase property in Greece/Crete?

EU citizens Generally speaking, all EU citizens have the right to purchase property in Greece/Crete. Non EU citizens Generally, Non EU citizens have the right to purchase property in Greece/Crete. For details of current regulations, contact the Greek consulate or embassy in your home country. Residence Permits for Non EU citizens Greece can grant residence permits, for Non EU citizens and their families with the acquisition of property worth more than 250.000 Euros... [Read more]

Am I required to purchase property in my own name?

Not necessarily. You can purchase property in joint name, with spouse and/or other third parties, in the names of children, legal heirs or a company.

Do I need a Greek Tax Registration?

Yes. Anyone purchasing a property is required to have a Greek Tax Registration Number. You should apply to the local (Greek) tax office, with your passport/ID and sometimes birth certificate. Your appointed solicitor can make the application on your behalf, if you have granted him/her Power of Attorney.

Can I obtain a mortgage in Greece?

Yes. Each bank or financial institution may have its own stipulated requirements of the applicant; but generally, with your passport/ID, you will need to provide proof of earnings (P60's, payslips or tax returns if self employed) for 2-3 years. You should also bear in mind that you must be able to pay all closing costs before the bank will release any funds.

What is a Notary Public, and do I need one?

The Notary Public is a lawyer who represents the Greek government in the property purchase transaction. You must appoint a Notary or you will not be able to legally purchase a property. It is his/her responsibility to process and certify the transaction. He/she will draw up all the necessary legal documentation. The contracts must be signed in the presence of the Notary who must be happy that they have been read and understood by all parties.

Do I need a lawyer?

It is highly recommended to have legal representation throughout the transaction. Your lawyer is also responsible for carrying out the necessary legal surveys and property title search.

Do I need a Greek bank account?

Yes. You need a Greek bank account for the transfer of funds. Among other things this account shows that the money has come from an external country; and so is not subject to local taxation. Opening an account is usually easy. You will need to show your passport/ID and tax registration. It takes no time at all, and you are not required to make an opening deposit on the day.

Am I required to sign the contract personally?

Not necessarily. If you wish, your solicitor can sign on your behalf if you have granted him/her Power of Attorney.

What and how much are ‘closing costs'?

Closing costs include all legal expenses, fees and taxes. There is no set figure for this; but it is generally prudent to budget for an additional 9 - 12% as a guide for total purchase costs. You or your appointed representative should clarify this at the earliest opportunity.

How should I best insure my new property?

The building industry on Crete is subject to EU regulations and standards. In addition there are strict local regulations for earthquake protection. It is therefore prudent to insure your new property in the standard manner against fire, water damage, storm damage, earthquake, theft and third party.

As a property owner, will I have to file Tax Returns in Greece?

Yes. Anyone owning a property in Greece is legally bound to file annually an E9 form with the Greek tax authorities. This must be filed in conjunction with the basic Income tax E1 form. If you don't actually have an income in Greece you should enter "0" income in the E1. Your accountant will help with this.

What is meant by the Tax Objective Value of property?

The Tax Objective Value of a property is assessed by the Greek tax authorities for the purpose of levying taxes. It is not the purchase price of the property; generally being significantly lower than that.

How are utilities bills generally paid?

Generally, these can be paid by standing order by your bank. You can, of course, pay in person at the relevant office.

 

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