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Amendments effected with Law 4605/2019 (in force as of July 1st 2019)
Since the coming into force of the Golden Visa program in Greece, a significant number of overseas investors and their families (over 20,000 with family members included) have opted for the option of investing in Greece in return for the granting of a residence permit. This in turn provides them with - among others - permanent residence and access to EU & Schengen countries.
The Greek Government, in an effort to expand the spectrum of investors taking advantage of the said program introduced a new law that allows for opportunities for investments in Greece which are linked with the right for a residence permit. The Greek government implemented changes to the Golden Visa program, one of the most competitive and attractive programs globally, with a law expanding the forms of investments required for eligibility. The revised bill aims to improve and complement the current residence permit scheme (Golden Visa) for third-country nationals investing in Greece and the Invest in Greece, Residency by investment program.
In particular, pursuant to Article 42 of Law 4605/2019 (published on the government Gazette on 1 April 2019) which amends Law 4251/2014, some important additional options to the existing legal framework for granting a residence permit through investments in Greece have been introduced. According to the introductory notes of Law 4605/2019, its purpose is the improvement of the current legislative framework on residence permits by taking into consideration the needs of the Greek economy, the interest shown by foreign investors in Greece and the relevant international and EU practice.
Current legislation provided that if a non-EU legal entity begins an investment in Greece which is expected to have a positive outcome on national development and the economy, up to ten (10) third country citizens are eligible to be granted a residence permit for the implementation and operation of the specific investment plan. Pursuant to Law 4605/2019 in addition these individuals, up to three (3) additional non-EU citizens with the capacity of a shareholder or executive may apply and be granted a residence permit in Greece provided that the investment is made through a legal entity.
New categories of investment
However, the most important element of the new Law 4605/2019 is the introduction of new categories of investment which provide the right to non-EU citizens investing in Greece (the “Investors”) to be eligible for a Greek residence permit (the “Residence Permit for Investors”). The new categories of investments are the following:
In the case of a Greek legal entity proceeding to any investment under 1-8 above, and its shareholder is a non-EU citizen, such person may lawfully request his/her entry and residence in Greece, provided that such shareholder holds the total (100%) of the company’s shares. In case, that the investment is performed by a non-EU legal entity, the entry and residence in Greece of up to 3 non-EU citizens who are shareholders or executives of the said entity is permitted, depending on the amount of the investment.
In addition to the two aforementioned cases for entry and residence permit eligibility, it would still be possible to grant entry and residence permits to up to ten third country nationals depending on the total amount of investment, employed for the implementation and operation of the investment plan.
The competent authority for the issuance and renewal of the residence permits granted to non-EU citizens, is the Department of Immigration Policy of the respective Ministry. The initial duration of the residence permit granted for the aforementioned investments is five years and it can be renewed for another five years provided that the holding of the investment is certified and the remaining conditions for the granting of such residence permit continue to be applicable. The Residence Permits for Investors do not establish any right to work. The Investor acquiring a residence permit may be accompanied by his family members who are granted individual residence permits of equal duration with the Investor’s residence permit. Unmarried children, spouse and spouses’ parents can be granted a residence permit along with the Investor.
The above provisions in relation to the new options for granting residence permits to foreign investors in Greece entered into force on the 1st of July 2019.
For information about the application process contact Valmas Associates in the relevant section of our website.
Ioannis Valmas is a Greek Lawyer, trial Attorney and Managing Partner at Valmas Associates.