Changes on the horizon for Greece's golden visa grogram

by Catherine Carey | March 14, 2024
Santorini Greece golden visa

The government in Greece wants to implement some changes in its golden visa. Some of the proposed changes are to raise the minimum amount of money to invest in real estate to €800.000 in some areas of the country.

This increase is not new, as in 2023, the country already raised the minimum real estate investment for golden visas from €250,000 to €500,000 in areas like Athens and Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Santorini.

The Greece golden visa is a "residency by investment program" that allows foreigners to obtain the right to stay in Greece. With this visa, affluent foreigners can purchase properties of a certain value to become temporary residents in Greece. They receive a five-year residence permit, visa-free travel within the Schengen Zone, family reunification, and access to the double taxation treaty.

The proposed real estate investment minimums vary across different regions in Greece. The minimums expected are:

  • Zone A: €800,000 minimum to invest in a property in central, southern, and northern Attica; Athens capital region; central Thessaloniki; Mykonos and Santorini islands, potentially including Crete, the Cyclades, and the Dodecanese islands.
  • Zone B: from €500,000 minimum to invest in a property in Athens, Thessaloniki, Mykonos, and Santorini. This measure has been in effect since July 31st, 2023, and it stipulates that the investment must be made in a single property.
  • Zone C: from €250,000 minimum to invest in one or multiple properties in municipalities with less foreign real estate demand and less residential pressure.

When will the changes be implemented?

Although there is no official deadline, it is believed that the increase can happen in May 2024.

Eligibility criteria for Greece golden visa

If you want to invest in a property in Greece and get a golden visa, you must follow these requirements:

  • Be a non-EU/EEA national
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Have medical insurance for yourself and your family
  • Be of good character

Greece’s golden visa can also be obtained by making a €400,000 investment in:

  • Greek government bonds
  • Bonds or shares of real estate investment companies in Greece
  • Shares and bonds of venture funds and private equity which have headquarters in Greece

Why is this change to the golden visa proposed?

Back in 2013, Greece launched the program, one of the last remaining programs of this sort in Europe. Since then, the visa program has been very successful and has become an important revenue stream for the state, generating €4.3 billion in revenue between 2021 and 2023.

Why change it then? This change is being considered due to the current issue of rising rents and property prices, which makes it difficult for many Greek citizens to own a house. As a matter of fact, rents in Greece have increased around 40% since 2018.

Raising the minimum investment in properties in some areas of Greece is aimed to try to fix these problems while continuing to attract foreign money and investment. While some predictions are positive, other ones think that this change can scare foreign investors off to invest in other European countries that have much cheaper golden visa programs like Cyprus (€300,000), Malta (€350,000), and Spain (€500,000).