Greece is increasing the number of “golden visas” to individuals investing more than 250,000 euros in property, aiming to boost state coffers while offering five-year residency rights in return for real estate acquisitions or for strategic investments.
The Greek government has issued more than 983 golden visas under the said program which kicked off in 2013 – the majority (335) to Chinese investors. Russian investors follow with 315 permits and United Arab Emirates nationals with 151 permits. Chinese buyers have also intensified buying activity increasing the number of permits from 335 in September 2015 to 547 permits this year.
Investors from China (547 permits), Russia (331) Ukraine (62), Lebanon (59), Egypt (58), Iraq (46), Syria (35), Jordan (27) and Turkey (26) make up the purchasing activity thus far, according Interior ministry data for September 2016.
The visa grants a five-year residence permit renewable for third country nationals who purchase – individually or through a legal entity – property in Greece valued at a minimum of 250,000 euros, or who have taken out a minimum 10-year lease in hotel accommodation or tourism facilities.
Enterprise Greece, which is behind the promotion of the program, said interest picked up pace last May thanks to improvements including offering the option to rent property, the issue of residence permits to grandparents, and extending residence permits for minors from 18 to 21 years of age.
The program has been heavily promoted at international trade shows in China, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Turkey and Russia, with Enterprise Greece set to participate in the 10th Luxury Property Show to take place in Shanghai on December 9-11.