In July 2013, that is several years after the onset of the Greek crisis, the program “Greek Golden Visa” began to “run” in Greece, which grants a visa/residence permit in Greece, to those citizens who do not belong to EU Member States (i.e countries outside the Schengen area) and who intend to το invest at least 250,000€ (contract price), in real estate in Greece.
The visa is granted for 5 years and is renewed every five years if the investment is maintained. The program does not require the investor to live in Greece in order to maintain and renew the “investor visa”. Citizenship, though, can only be granted after seven years of stay in Greece. Regarding the terms and conditions of the Greek Nationality issues, a discussion has started with the involved ministries.
Because the program was a success, the Greek Government is thinking to extend it, to other forms of investment of more than EUR 250,000. Some of the proposals being considered are investments in the bond market of at least 250,000 euros, which is what currently applies to the real estate market. Investors safeguard the right to a permanent residence permit and citizenship as well.
By early 2017 1,500 residence permits had been granted to foreigners who invested in Real Estate in Greece. The greatest interest has been shown, by far, by the Chinese, who have so far received more than 600 residence permits; Russians come second with 348 followed by Egypt, Lebanon, Ukraine as well as English, Americans, Arabs, etc. A total of about 4,000 residence permits have been granted to family members, of those who have invested through the Golden Visa program.
Finally, since 2014, the Agency “Enterprise Greece” has implemented many initiatives/activities in and outside of Greece, in order to inform and promote this program.