After you decide on the property you wish to buy, there is a procedure that needs to be followed and it is thoroughly explained in this section.
First, the part concerning legal affairs. The Buyer/ investor will require a Lawyer to assist him with, and represent him in the purchase process. Lawyer’s responsibility includes ensuring the Seller owns clear title to the land or property, carry out searches and prepare all necessary documents for the contract. The lawyer also makes sure that the title is transferred to the buyer’s name by obtaining the relevant certificate from the Land Registry Office.
Next, a local Bank account should be opened. Opening a local bank account is your Lawyer’s obligation. It is important to feel safe on who will be handling your finances for the purchase and any ongoing transactions. It is not necessary to deposit any funds at first.
As part of the purchasing process, your lawyer will obtain a Tax Number or AFM for each of the Buyers. This is required by Greek law and it is needed for all owners of any assets such as a plot of land, a house, etc.
Next, a public notary should be appointed, in the presence of whom the contract is read and understood by both parties, and who is responsible for the verification and the registration of the transaction, in order for you to acquire the title of the property. The Notary mostly represents the interests of the Buyer and is a public official. The paperwork is lodged with the Notary who, when all is in order, drafts the contract and is present when it is read to both Buyers & Sellers or their legal representatives. A member of our professional team can escort you to the Notary Public and act as translator to ensure you are up to date.
The time from your decision to purchase to the actual signing of the contract can take from 15 days to well over a month. A Power of Attorney (or POA) enables the lawyer of your choice here in Greece to receive the Tax Number, to open the Bank Account, to carry out all necessary checks and to sign the purchase contract on your behalf or you can sign by yourself if you want to be present during the process. In Greece, it takes just a short time to obtain the POA.
Then, the investor has to decide about the desired property, by visiting Greece. The members of our team will assist you and explain in more detail what each option entails so that you can make an informed decision.
After the above, it is time for the agreement of purchase. A form is completed here by the Lawyer which identifies the Buyer and Seller, the property and location, the agreed property price plus estimates for the property transfer tax and legal fees. In addition, a deposit amount is specified and timescales agreed. A deposit which will be identified in the agreement to purchase, normally of 10% of the agreed selling price, is required before commencing contract preparation. This deposit should be paid into your own bank account here in Greece.
The lawyer will agree the amount of property transfer tax with the relevant tax office which is approximately 3% of 250.000 euro. When agreed, the transfer tax must be paid to the local Tax office by the buyer or his lawyer prior to signing the contract. The obtained receipt and the remaining title and permission documents will enable the property transfer to take place.
When the Notary and Lawyers agree all is in order, the balance of the agreed purchase price (after deposit has been deducted) is required simultaneously with the signing of the contract, and Seller’s and Buyer’s lawyers together with the Notary will execute the contract. When full and final payment for the property is made, the deed is transferred and registered in the name(s) of the Buyer(s). At this time the legal expenses & agents fees are also due. Please note that all amounts should be transferred to your Greek bank account in time for this to be completed.
After purchasing property in Greece, you will be required by law to complete an annual tax declaration. Our team and our accountant can guide you through this process.
After the property is transferred under your name, we will submit on your behalf the Golden Visa application, so that the temporary residence permit is issued. This temporary permit can be used to travel to Greece, without having to wait for the Permanent Residence Permit to be issued. This process can take up to two weeks.
In order to acquire the Golden Visa, a clear criminal record and medical insurance is required. Therefore, the last step of the process requires the investor and his/her family members to visit Greece and submit biometrical data in an appointment with the competent authorities. This only lasts a couple of days, while twenty days later the Golden Visa is expected to be issued.
The rest is up to you! You can keep your newly purchased property as your permanent or temporary residence, or you can choose to rent it. Either way, our After Sales services are here to assist and support your plans.
Please note that 7 years after the Permanent Residence Permit is issued, you are eligible for Greek Citizenship.
Yes, you can become a Greek citizen by making an investment in Greece and obtaining the Golden Visa. However, unlike residency, you cannot apply for Greek citizenship without actually living there and paying taxes. You must live in Greece for at least seven years before being eligible to apply for citizenship.
In addition, you must also be able to prove you have ties to the country and knowledge of the Greek language and culture, at least on a basic level.
You have to apply for a Greek Golden Visa at the Alien and Immigration Department at the Decentralized Authority in Greece. Before that, you must apply for an entry visa at one of the Greek Embassies or Consulates abroad.
An outline of the Golden Visa application process is:
- Apply for a Greek national visa at an Embassy or Consulate.
- Enter Greece and finalize your investment. It is your choice whether you decide to hire professional legal help through this step.
- Collect the required documents for the Greek Golden Visa.
- Submit the documents at the local Alien and Immigration Department.
- Wait for the visa to be processed. You will usually hear back about a decision within 3 months.
If the decision is positive, you have to travel back to Greece and submit your biometric information.
You will receive a Golden Visa residence permit, which will be valid for five years.
Since the law was updated at the end of 2020, the only time you have to travel to Greece is once the application has been approved (to do you and your family’s biometrics). You may need to go there to open up a non-resident bank account, although as already mentioned, there are alternatives to this.
The documents required for the application for a residence permit should be submitted in Greek, except for the documents issued by foreign authorities which need to be certified before being translated. Two types of certifications are accepted: a) The Apostille stamp for countries that participate in the Hague Convention. b) Certification by the Consular. It is possible to have the foreign public documents translated in Greece via the Translation Service of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs or a Certified Lawyer.
According to the law, family members of third country citizens entering the country include: a. Spouses, b. The direct descendants of the spouses, who are under the age of 21 (children), c. The direct descendants of the investor or his/her spouse (parents and parents-in-law). Unmarried partners are not considered to be family members.
No. Unfortunately, the Golden Visa doesn’t grant any access to employment (including freelancing), except when it comes to acting as a shareholder, CEO or other board member. So, you would have to set up your own business in the country to rely on income.
Greece is a member of the EU Schengen Zone so the holders of the Greek Golden Visa enjoy the privilege of free movement within the Schengen Zone, without any requirement for further visa applications. The stay in those countries cannot exceed 90 days in each 180-day period.
As previously mentioned, the Golden Visa doesn’t grant access to employment within Greece, unless you are receiving a board member or CEO salary. However, there is a flat 7% tax rate for the first 10 years on all foreign income. All foreign income from real estate investments, pensions, and other foreign sourced income will be taxed at this 7% rate. In the case that you are not tax resident in Greece (so, if you are only in Greece for less than 183 days per 12-month period), you will not be liable for tax on your worldwide income.
Yes, there are gift and inheritance taxes based on degree of kinship. The rates are 10% for spouses, parents and children, 20% for other relatives, and 40% for everyone else.