A Golden visa application in Greece can now be processed even faster and grant residency by investment in around 2 months. In an effort to handle the ever-increasing demand for residency by investment applications, the Greek government has announced some interim measures in order to lessen the processing times of investor Golden Visa applications.
Why is the Greek government introducing reforms for handling Golden Visa applications faster?
The Golden visa programme has seen sudden growth especially after 2016 with application rates skyrocketing. The success of the Programme and the volume of applications had naturally caused delays in the application processing times.
What exactly will happen to make Golden Visa investor applications faster in Greece?
A simple solution has been introduced, to be implemented from the 1st of May of 2019, onwards.
Once the investor completes their investment (property acquisition or set up of business or capital investment) their application can be submitted in any government processing center in Greece. Previously, there had been ties between the location of the property acquired and the center at which the application must be submitted; therefore areas with a high real estate demand such as Athens Center accumulated a disproportionate amount of applications to process. This will now be eased by the Greek government allowing investors and their lawyers or consultants to pick which center they wish to submit their application in. For instance, one might buy a property in Glyfada, South Athens, and choose to submit their application in a center in the Greek islands which is less busy and likely to set up an appointment for them sooner. This may prove exceptionally important for families wishing to move abroad and have time constraints with school, work, etc.
What is the process of applying for a Golden Visa in Greece and how many times do I have to visit?
The way we have worked out to be the most efficient in terms of time, cost and hassle has been the following:
Two trips in total, the first with the main investor and the second with the entire family that wishes to also be granted residency through the same investment.
For the scenario below, the most common route towards residency by investment, property acquisition has been taken as an example.
Trip no.1: The investor, already informed about the necessary documents to prepare from their personal advisor in our firm, visits Greece to view properties, open a bank account and register for a tax number. This takes about a week or so, less if the investor is short on time. They bring with them the relevant documents for the bank to open their account. Before leaving, they decide on property options for acquisition and assign us to represent them through notarial POA to begin the due diligence process (legal and mechanical) for the properties they list as possible to buy. (Usually around 5 property options).
Once the due diligence checks have been completed, as well as price negotiations and evaluation by both the investor and our consultants, we carry on to buy the property the investor finally chooses on their behalf. We then prepare their residency application and book an appointment with the relevant authorities (this is where the process has now become more flexible).
Trip no.2: The investor and their family have two options regarding their application:
A. Within 6 months of the appointment: Instruct us to attend their appointment without them, submit their applications and receive their temporary residence permits on their behalf. They then visit Greece upon their availability within six months to submit their biometric data.
B. Immediately for the appointment: Alternatively, they can visit Greece and attend their appointment, submit their biometric data on the same appointment and acquire the temporary residence permit. This can be used to travel before the permanent permit is issued.
Finally, when the Golden Visa is issued, we normally mail it to the investor and family, to save them another trip to Greece.
It is worth noting, that within the law governing the Golden visa investor scheme, a two-month processing period is written as an acceptable timeframe within which investor applications are dealt with. More details on the process of how a Golden Visa is issued in Greece can be found on our page: How to Get a Golden Visa in Greece.
What documents does one have to prepare before investing in Greece for a Golden Visa and opening a Greek bank account?
We always brief our clients on the relevant documents to bring with them, besides identification like a passport and entry visa, so as to make sure the entire process goes smoothly. Namely, the documents include proof of address, funds and profession as well as utility and mobile phone bills. When reaching out to us, your delegated personal advisor from our team will be able to check if these are in the format that the Greek banks accept.
How do we know of the changes regarding the Golden visa process, laws and news in general?
As professionals in the field of investment consultancy we make sure to keep updated in regards to new policies and amendments in order to be able to provide the best quality services to our clients.
A solution to be kept in the loop regarding the Greek residency by investment scheme it to sign up for our newsletter in order to be directly mailed any upcoming news.
We make sure to double check our sources and consult reliable publications and organisations. Unfortunately, these tend to usually be in Greek, but we are happy to translate and communicate the news in a simplified manner.
In this case, the changes mentioned above were published in the official government newspaper of Greece (F.E.K) which is one of the most formal and reliable ways of communicating news on Greek laws and their amendments and improvements. The excerpt including the matter at hand is issue number 1106 published on the 3rd of April 2019.
What do these reforms show about the future of the Golden Visa Programme in Greece?
If anything, the measures taken show that the Greek government is paying attention to the Golden visa programme and is trying to help both the investors and the professionals working in this industry. This step can be linked to the recent additions to the Golden visa law, which will be expanded to include capital deposits and investments in shares or bonds. The future of the Golden Visa programme is expected to be remarkable and help the economy overall, by attracting investors from all around the world and we are very happy to be a part of it!