The Greek government is looking to make changes to its golden visa programme, allowing investors to obtain full Greek citizenship after seven years.
A bill scheduled to go through parliament could allow non-EU buyers to aquire full citizenship in Greece. Currently, the investment for residency programme (or golden visa) in the country grants renewable five-year residency permits to non-EU investors who buy property worth more than €250,000. This means they can live (but not work) in Greece for as long as they own the property.
Under the new scheme, participants will have the option of full citizenship after seven years – meaning the new passport-holders gain all the advantages of the EU. This should make Greece a more attractive prospect to Chinese and Russian investors in particular. The Greek government has also been promoting its visa scheme in the middle east – and it’s surprisingly popular with Egyptians.
The bill will be tabled in parliament in coming weeks and could come into effect by the end of the year, according to Vas Agridhiotis of Alternative Asset Alliance.
“If approved by Greek parliament, the amended program, will also be extended to provide residency for the parents of investors. Until now, non-EU property investors in Greece have only been able to obtain residency for spouses and children under 21,” he told OPP.
“Another slight change to the policy is that residency visas can be transferred to a new owner if they are also non-EU investors and buy the property within the five-year residency period, something that is not allowed under existing legislation.”
According to Greek daily newspaper “Kathimerini”, Angelos Syrigos, General Secretary for Population and Social Cohesion at the Ministry of the Interior, said that the initiative is part of a Greek government plan to make property investment in Greece even more attractive. The Greek golden visa is one of the cheapest in Europe, costing half as much as in Spain or Portugal.