Jan. 19, 2023.
On December 21, the Greek Parliament passed an amendment to change the program for issuing residence permits to foreign investors from outside the European Union.
The program, also known as the "Golden Visa," has been in effect since 2012 and grants a five-year residence permit to non-EU foreign investors who meet certain conditions and invest a minimum of 250,000 euros in the purchase of real estate or the leasing of tourist accommodation.
The amendment doubles the previously applicable minimum investment threshold of 250,000 euros per property to 500,000 euros in certain areas of the capital city of Athens, as well as in Thessaloniki, Mykonos, and Santorini.
In the other regions, the previous minimum investment threshold of EUR 250,000 will continue to apply, and the government hopes that the revision will increase foreign investors' interest in these regions.
According to data issued by the Greek Ministry of Immigration for November 2022, a total of 39,921 residence permits have been issued so far since the start of the Golden Visa Program. Of these, 31% were initial 5-year residence permits issued to foreign investors who invested money in real estate, 57% were issued to relatives of foreign investors, and the remaining 12% were renewals of 5-year residence permits upon expiration.
By nationality, China accounted for the largest number of foreign investors who obtained residence permits under the Golden Visa Program (6,036), accounting for 63.6% of the total. Next are Turkey, Russia, Lebanon, Egypt, Iran, the United Kingdom, the United States, Israel, and Iraq, in that order.
According to the Bank of Greece (Central Bank), total inward direct investment in real estate in 2021 amounted to €1,176 million, of which €628 million came from investors from outside the EU.