Portugal’s Loss is Greece’s Golden Visa Gain

Residential property investment will no longer get you a long-term residency permit in that country.

Portugal’s loss, however, is Greece’s gain. Greece continues to offer a renewable 5-year golden visa for approved real estate investments of as little as €250,000. And it is proving increasingly popular.

As many attendees told me at our recent Ultimate Go-Overseas Bootcamp in Denver, however, it can be difficult to know where to begin.

I recently spoke to Georgia Tselliou of InGreece Consultancy about the specialized services available to people thinking of pursuing a Greek golden visa.

“Whether your starting point is a visa or real estate, those things need to be coordinated when you apply for a golden visa,” she told me. “Our company provides a comprehensive service that helps people find the qualifying property, apply for the visa, and then helps them optimize their Greek tax situation.”

Georgia explained that Greece is seeing an increase in Americans and Canadians looking to buy Greek property and a golden visa. That’s helping to push up prices for property in Corfu and Paxos, their target market. That, in turn, is making real estate a potentially lucrative investment as well as a pathway to Greek residency.

“If somebody comes to us and says they’re looking for a property that will qualify for a golden visa, we can connect them with estate agencies who can find the best solution for them. And since there’s plenty of vacant land, we also have links to builders who can create a new home for the applicant. And one of the most popular investments we’re seeing is the rehabilitation of older properties, especially inland.”

I asked Georgia whether she was seeing any uptick in Greek golden visa applications as a result of the closure of Portugal’s program.

“Not yet. But prices in places like Corfu are still low compared to other parts of Greece like Athens or the more popular Aegean islands. So, we’ve been seeing a big uptick in interest from people from all over the world.”

Greece’s immigration processes are said to be the most transparent in Europe. The country has a well-designed web portal that allows people to see exactly what is needed. But that doesn’t mean you should try to go it alone.

“It’s important to have someone on the ground to help move the process along,” said Georgia. “Local knowledge can help with all sorts of issues, like translation, or knowing the right type of document to meet a specific due diligence requirement,” she told me. “This is especially true when you’re pursuing a property investment and a golden visa at the same time. We can coordinate the two processes to ensure that everything goes smoothly the first time.”

Of course, the golden visa is only one way to gain Greek residency. The country also launched a digital nomad visa at the end of 2021. It’s available to non-European Union citizens who bring in at least €3,500 monthly after tax from non-Greek sources. It’s valid for one year, and renewable. There is also a two-year permit which is also renewable. Digital nomads are not subject to Greek income tax.

There's also a residency permit for financially independent people, which requires a minimum monthly income of €2,000 per month. It's valid for two years and is renewable.

“The process in both cases is deceptively simple,” said Georgia. “But it can be a bit tricky because you must apply from outside Greece. You have to provide things like proof of accommodation and Schengen-approved health insurance, which many applicants don’t know how to get from abroad. And it’s important to understand the physical presence requirements, because if you don’t spend at least six months of the year in Greece, you might not be able to renew the permit.”

Once you're in Greece, of course, you also have travel rights throughout the European Union. InGreece can also help with things like acquiring EU residence and health cards which smooths the way.

As I said, Georgia and her colleagues at InGreece are seeing a big uptick in interest in all of these residency programs. If Greece is on your agenda, you can contact them as follows:

You Can Still Get A Portugal Golden Visa… For Now

Portugal Ends Golden Visa Program: What It Means For You

Seven Places to Retire in Portugal for Under $30,000 per Year