Israelis seek safety in Greece with a golden visa

athens airport israelis

A significant increase in requests for Golden Visas from Israeli citizens is recorded in the competent services of the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum. The horrific terrorist attacks by Hamas on October 7 that sparked the war are leading many Israelis to seek safe haven in Greece.

According to the official data of the competent ministry, in the first ten months of 2023, Israelis submitted 168 new Golden Visa applications, twice as many as in 2022 and five times as many as in 2021.

Only in October, when the multiple terrorist attacks of Hamas in the territory of Israel, did the rate of requests double (32 compared to 15 in September), while in the same period, requests from Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon show a corresponding increase.

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The relevant interest was also confirmed by the competent Minister of Immigration and Asylum, Dimitris Kairides, who spoke of an influx of Israelis in Athens and the Dodecanese and a large increase in Golden Visa applications.

As officials of the ministry point out, in the coming weeks, the explosion of interest from Israel is expected to be more pronounced since, as they explain, a necessary condition for submitting a request for a "golden" residence permit is to find and buy a property.

It should be noted that over the last four years, Greece - particularly Attica - has been a stable pole of investment interest from citizens of Middle Eastern countries, while Israelis are at the top of the list of foreign real estate buyers.

According to official figures, 161 Israelis are already Golden Visa holders (157 valid and four under renewal). As of 2020, it was just 45. New applications for 2023 amount to 168 compared to 89 in 2022 and up 80% in 2021.

At the same time, from June to October 2023, there were 351 applications from citizens of Israel (104), Egypt (73), Jordan (11), Lebanon (139) and Syria (24). According to figures from the Bank of Greece, last year, real estate purchases by Israelis totalled 88 million euros.

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On the rise

At the same time, total Golden Visa applications in the first ten months of 2023 reached 6,916, compared to 4,363 in 2022 (a 37% increase), 2,000 in 2021 and 1,570 in 2020.

The Chinese hold the lead with 4,347 applications, twice as many as last year, while applications from Turkish citizens also show a 50% increase. Applications from Iran (260 vs. 160), India (49 vs. 28), and Taiwan (23 vs. 5) show a significant increase compared to 2022, while applications from Great Britain (171 vs. 223) show a decrease, likely due to the softening of the effects of Brexit.

Accordingly, the community of foreign citizens from 100 countries who hold a Greek "golden" residence permit is also growing. By October 2023, Golden Visa holders reached 12,213 (11,229 valid and 984 under renewal).

Last year, there were 11,798, in 2021, 10,753 and in 2020, 9,036 holders were recorded. Communities with three-digit numbers of citizens show ten nationalities.

In contrast, citizens from the UK, India, USA, Canada, Lebanon, Hong Kong, Serbia, North Macedonia and Kazakhstan see the largest percentage increase from 2020-2023.

READ MORE: How Turkish media commented on Erdoğan’s statement in Berlin about the Holocaust.

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