1) Could you please introduce us Enterprise Greece as an Organization?
Enterprise Greece is the official agency of the Greek State, under the supervision of the Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism, to promote investment in Greece, exports from Greece, and make Greece more attractive as an international business partner. Our Agency aims to assist foreign investors and enterprises to do business in Greece, to promote Greece as
an investment destination and to assist investors in every step of the investment process. In addition, a main priority is to promote Greek products and services to the global marketplace.
Enterprise Greece also promotes the Residence Permits program for non European investors in Greece. For this purpose we participate in fairs, exhibitions and conferences abroad promoting these programs. We have also prepared brief guides in many languages that one can find by visiting our website www.enterprisegreece.gov.gr. All our services are offered complimentarily to all companies and investors. If anyone has any question in doing business in Greece, he/she can send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at Booth D27 at LPS – Shanghai.
2) Could you please tell us a few words about the Golden Visa Program in Greece?
The Greek Golden Visa Program grants permanent Residence Permits to non European investors and their families that invest 250,000 Euros or more in Greece, either in real estate assets or in other business sectors. There are no specific restrictions related to the number of days spent in Greece every year or any other requirement for long term deposits in Greek banks, etc. The residence permit is permanent and renewed every 5 years. The residence permit gives also the right to the spouse of the investor, their parents and their children to also get residence permit. Regarding real estate investors, the purchased property can be a house, apartment, condominium, land plot, a combination of assets or a ten-year timeshare agreement in case of tourism accommodation.
Until today (Nov. 2016) approximately 1,500 residence permits have been issued to non European real estate investors and more than 3,200 residence permits if one takes into account the residence permits issued to their relatives. China, holds the first place in the list with more than 600 residence permits issued to real estate investors.
Regarding the Residence Permits for investment activity in Greece, non- EU foreign investors who have an investment plan of more than 250,000 Euros can apply to obtain an entry visa and a residence permit for the purpose of investment activity in Greece. In this aspect, Greek “Golden Visa Program” grants a permanent residence permit, which should be renewed every 5 years, to the owner, his/her spouse, their parents and their children, as long as they operate the specific investment project.
Residence permits can also be granted to company executives involved in the implementation and/or the operation of the investment project. Up to 10 permits may be issued for an investment project (investors and executives), depending on the investment scale.
The investment activity may be implemented through the development of new facilities (greenfield investments) or business acquisitions, restructuring as well as expansion of current activities (brownfield investments), provided that it has a positive impact on the national economy.
3) What advice would you give to Chinese Buyers who would be potentially interested in investing in Greece for the first time?
Chinese investors are more than welcome in Greece. Our Agency organizes many business missions in China every year, promoting Greece and attracting investors. Should anyone needs to learn more about doing business in Greece or wants to explore specific investment opportunities can contact us and ask for our assistance. Our services are offered complimentarily to all investors. Additionally, in Greece there are many highly qualified, with international experience, professionals (real estate agents, lawyers, consultants, engineers, etc) who can assist any Chinese investor to acquire real estate assets. Real estate market, but also the majority of business sectors in Greece are very well organized and established, and Greek businessmen welcome foreign and especially Chinese investments. The recent deals by Chinese COSCO, which gained a public tender for the management and operation of Greece’s major port in Piraeus, Chinese State Grid which is the preferential bidder for Greece’s ADMIE (Electricity Operator), Chinese Fosun which has already invested in Greek company Folli-Follie and also plans to invest in Greece’s major Real estate project the former Athens airport regeneration, plus many many other smaller or bigger Chinese companies which invest or look for opportunities in Greece show the way for Chinese investors in Greece. We believe that the potential is very high and we are a reliable partner for all Chinese companies that want to invest in Greece.
4) Why should Chinese invest in Properties in Greece?
First of all, the Greek Golden Visa is probably the most competitive Residence Permit program in Europe today. It offers a permanent residence permit to non European investors and their families (spouse, children, both spouses’ grandparents), with the purchase of real assets that add up to 250,000 Euros or more. It also gives this right to real estate investors who have signed a ten-year timeshare agreement (lease) for the use of tourist accommodation. Additionally, the Greek Golden Visa Program offers to non European citizens free movement within all Schengen area European countries, under certain time conditions, and it can lead to long-term residence, and thus citizenship status, under specific conditions. Moreover, the owner can rent the asset immediately and get a significant rental yield, while there is no minimum stay requirement. Additionally, it provides access to the Greek education system and healthcare system, if they are insured for Greece.
And these benefits are offered in a country which offers real estate assets at very competitive prices compared to other European destinations, it offers high rental yields for quality properties in prime locations. Greece is also a favorable international vacation destination (more than 26 million tourists visited Greece in 2015), which offers almost 6,000 islands and islets to explore, 15,000 km of coastline and a solid tourism infrastructure.
The unparallel beauty of Greece, the history, the civilization, the respect to the environment, the excellent climate conditions with 300 days of sunshine and clear blue sky, the excellent quality food and the lifestyle attract the interest of visitors and investors. Greeks are an open society who welcome any foreigner treating him of she as a special guest. This attitude, called philoxenia, is deep in our DNA and is found for the small village in the islands to the center of the big cities.
||Investors’ Residence Permits (Α)
||Family Members (Β)
||Total Residence Permits (Α+Β)
Table: Progress of residence permits by year and country
5) What are the steps involved for Chinese Investors in order to buy a property in Greece and obtain the Golden Visa?
It is a very easy and lean process that includes the following steps:
Step 1: Issuing an entry Visa for Greek Territory
The interested party must submit an application for an entry visa to the Greek
consulate authority in their country of origin.
Step 2: Collecting the documentation for the issuing of the residence
Τhe following documents should be collected:
- Two copies of the application document;
- Two recent colour photos;
- Certified copy of a valid passport or travel documents recognised by Greece and with the relevant valid entry visa, where required;
- A fee paid, which amounts to €500
- The contract of purchase, and
- Insurance contracts which cover the interested party in Greece.
Step 3: Submitting the documents
Then the Applications for the residence permits must be submitted to the one-stop service of the Alien and Immigration Department at the Decentralised Authority where the property of the interested party is located. After the application has been submitted, the applicant receives a receipt confirming the submission of the application, which is valid for one year. The time required to process the application depends on the authority where it has been submitted yet it may not exceed two months after all the necessary documents have reached the competent authority.
Head of Investment Promotion