In yesterday’s blog, QICMS discussed the benefits of Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programs (CIPs), which focused on convenience, greater travel freedom, and overall affordability by comparison to European second citizenship programs. While Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programs are certainly easier on your pocketbook than their European counterparts, this is not always the case for Residency by Investment Programs offered in Europe.
These programs are known as a “Golden Visa” and offer foreign nationals and eligible family members residency permits through various investment opportunities, with the most common option being real estate purchase. European countries such as Malta, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, and Greece all provide residency permits in exchange for an investment in real estate property. Real estate options vary from country to country and can include a personal residence or rental property, office buildings, or even commercial structures for manufacturing and shipping.
Today’s Residency by Investment market reflects the needs of foreign nationals all over the world, and access to the European Union’s business sectors ranks among the top benefits investors are seeking. This is certainly the case for Greece, whose government has issued nearly 3,000 residency permits through real estate investment as of January this year, making the country’s Golden Visa Program a gateway to Europe for many. According to the latest statistics from Greece’s Ministry of Economy, Chinese investors have been issued 1,580 residency permits, with Russian nationals following at 787, 211 to Iraqi nationals, 203 to Lebanese investors, and 179 to Egyptian citizens.
However, these demographics will likely see a greater shift towards the Middle East as global events continue to influence foreign investors, particularly for entrepreneurs and businesspersons affected by the highly-publicized Qatar Crisis.
Details about Greece’s Golden Visa Program
Greece’s Golden Visa Program was launched by the Greek government in July 2013 as a response to the country’s economic crisis. Through foreign investment in real estate, the government of Greece aimed to revitalize its damaged economy and has since observed a positive turnaround since the program was established.
Through Greece’s Golden Visa Program, investors can apply for Greek residency by purchasing real estate property for a minimum of EUR 250,000, making its Golden Visa the lowest investment level of any real estate residency program in Europe. Applicants may also choose to sign a 10-year timeshare agreement, provided the minimum value of the lease is EUR 250,000. In exchange for a capital contribution to the country’s economy, foreign nationals and their immediate family are granted temporary residency permits for a period of 5 years, which can be renewed indefinitely thereafter. After 7 years of residency in Greece, the investor is eligible to apply for Greek citizenship, at which point he or she is free to dispose of the real estate investment.
Unlike other European or North American Residency by Investment schemes, applications for Greece’s Golden Visa Program are quickly processed within two months. Successful applicants are afforded the right to live, work, or study anywhere in the country and granted visa-free access to the Schengen region. If citizenship is obtained after 7 years of residency, holders of a Greek passport have the added benefit of visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to 171 countries worldwide.
Today, foreign nationals from all over the world are showing an increased interest in obtaining Greek residency through real estate investment opportunities. From large offshore corporations investing hundreds of millions in the Greek economy to affluent global citizens purchasing personal residences, the historic southeastern Mediterranean country will continue to see a rise in economic gain.
For more information about Greece’s Golden Visa Program, please click here.
To view our European Golden Visa Program comparison table, please click here.
If you would like to see our Residency and Citizenship Programs through Real Estate Investment comparison table, please click here.
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