Greece Tightens Golden Visa Requirements to Address Housing Affordability

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Changes take effect March 31st, 2024

Foreign investors in Greece seeking a five-year residence permit through the Golden Visa program will face new investment requirements starting March 31st, 2024. The minimum investment threshold will now range from €250,000 to €800,000, depending on location and property type.

Previously, a €250,000 investment in any Greek property qualified for the Golden Visa. This influx of investment, particularly in popular tourist destinations, contributed to rising real estate prices. The new tiered system aims to address housing affordability concerns for Greek residents, especially young couples.

Investment Options Under the New System

  • €800,000 minimum: Applies to properties in Attica (including Athens), Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Santorini, and islands with over 3,100 residents. The property must be a single unit of at least 120 square meters. Joint ownership is permitted.
  • €400,000 minimum: Applies to properties in all other regions of Greece. The same minimum size requirement of 120 square meters for a single unit, with joint ownership allowed.
  • €250,000 minimum: This option applies to two specific scenarios:
    • Converting a building into residential units. The conversion must be completed before applying for the Golden Visa.
    • Purchasing a historically registered building. This aims to encourage investment in restoring these structures.

Golden Visa Renewal and Usage

Golden Visas remain renewable for five-year terms, but with some conditions:

  • Investors must retain ownership of the property.
  • For historically registered buildings, restoration must be completed before visa renewal.
  • Selling the property revokes the original owner's residence permit, making the new buyer eligible for one.

Property owners can rent out their units, but short-term rentals are prohibited. Additionally, using renovated residences for business purposes is not allowed. Violations of these terms result in a €50,000 fine and the potential revocation of the residence permit.

Golden Visa's Continued Popularity

Despite the increased investment requirements, Greece's Golden Visa program remains attractive. It was the world's most popular program in 2023, with record application numbers. This trend is likely to continue, with thousands of applications currently pending.

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