Greece welcomes 25 Million tourists every year and is renowned for it's beaches, weather and amazing food. It is the oldest country in the world and often referred to as the craddle of civilisation; the sheer number of archeological sites show the culture and history that Greece has to offer. Though it has faced a catastrophic crisis in recent years, the country is now well on it's way to recovery and is now full of opportunities both personal and professionally speaking.
The Schengen Area is an area comprising 26 European states that have officially abolished passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. The area mostly functions as a single country for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. Anyone who wishes to travel to any of the 26 states must get a Schengen wide visa. Anyone holding a Schengen visa or a Residency permit from any of the Schengen country is granted free access to all.
The "Golden-Visa" program allows any foreign national to request a residency permit on the basis that they own property in Greece. Restrictions exist but are rarely an issue: have no criminal record, not be on any government blacklist, have stable income and positive credit history. The residency permit is transferable; this means that if you sell the estate, the buyer will get the residency permit along with his purchase (while yours will be canceled of course). Though the permit only has a 5year validity, it can be renewed at the end of each 5 year period. There is no obligation for you to even step foot in Greece once you have obtained the permit as there is no minimum requirement for you to be in Greece.
The program requires that you purchase one or more pieces of real estate in Greece for a minimum sum of 250,000€. This could be a single villa worth 250,000€, two villas worth 125,000€ each or a villa worth 220,000€ & a piece of land worth 30,000€. Any combination is possible, land, residential or commercial. The same is true for partial ownership; you can purchase half of a villa worth 500,000€ and both owners can request the permit. Though you are obliged to own the property in order to keep the permit; you can use it however you please; as a holiday home, as a permanent home or simply as a source of income by renting it out.
The residency permit is not only granted to the owner of the estate but also to his/her spouse; both of the couple's parent's and all of their dependant children under the age of 21. This not only grants your children access to the Schengen zone for holidays but also grants them access to the highly renowned schools and universities accross the continent.
The permit granted under these circumstances is a living permit and does not allow any of the members buying the permit to work in Greece or anywhere else in Schegen. A different application will be needed if any member of your family ever seeks employment within the Schengen area. This will not apply if you choose to open your own business however. Non-residents in Greece will pay tax on their income derived in Greece but not on income from outside of the country. Income tax starts at a rate of 22%. Rental income from property in Greece is taxed at rates, from 11% to 33%. Certain expenses are deductible from the gross income. Capital gains tax (CGT) is charged at 15% on property sales.
The Golden-visa program will only allow you to live, travel and stay in Greece or in the Schengen area but is not designed to ultimately provide citizenship. However; if you establish Greece as your permanent residency for 7 years, you can then apply for a Greek passport. Should the application be successful, you can then dispose of your investment at will. Though the program is designed to be a residency program, the option for citizenship is there for those committed to living in Greece.
MyEcoHome is not a law firm and can therefore not assist you directly with the application process to obtain this permit. This is why we have partnered up with a dedicated law firm, with whome we will put you in direct contact with, that specialises in the Greek Golden Visa program and can assist you with every step and answer even the most obscure questions you may have. MyEcoHome will focus exclusively on the design and construction of your project as that is our speciality.