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How to Acquire a Residence Permit in Greece and to become a Greek citizen

Greece is a country that quite rarely leaves its visitors indifferent. The abundance of natural beauty, rich cultural and historical heritage, local hospitality, and the most important – climate, attract not only tourists, but also those who has plans to stay by the sea for a longer time. Besides, there is a category of businessmen who consider Greece to be an entirely favourable location for their business. In any case, obtaining residence documents will provide the legitimate grounds for staying in the country. Let us outline the essential preconditions for acquisition of a residence permit in Greece:

  • Purchasing Property in Greece for 250.000 Euros and Obtaining a 5-year Residence Permit

The money can be invested in one or more objects worth at least 250.000 euros. It may be a parcel bought with a view to constructing a dwelling house or a long-term (at least ten years) tenancy based on an agreement of the same cost.

While submitting supporting documents for a residence permit, a foreign national has to accomplish the above transaction in full and as a result to possess all the registration documents confirming the ownership. The particular benefit of investing in Greek property is the ability to acquire a 5-year residence permit for a spouse of the property owner and for their children under the age of 21, as well as for the parents of both spouses.

For extension of a residence document of this category there is no obligation for its holder to reside in Greece continuously or to show their knowledge of Greek language. The exceptional disadvantage of this residence permit is the inability to conduct a business in Greece.

 

  • Financially Independent Persons and Purchasing Property in Greece for Less than 250.000 Euros

In this case a residence permit is issued on grounds of an annual income of the property owner which must be stable and not less than 2.000 euros per month. Additionally, the expenses of a spouse should be taken into account calculating 20% of the above amount and 15% – considering each minor child. Any income which may be referred to as legal can be acknowledged including the pension or rental income. Please note that the necessity of purchasing property in Greece, even though for less than 250.000 Euros, is not explicitly stated in the law. However, it can be an important factor in obtaining the residence permit of this particular category.

This residence document is issued without a work permit, but also without the obligation to permanently reside in the country. The validity period for this resident permit is two years which can be every time extended for the next three years. Along with the principal applicant his or her spouse and their minor children can also apply for a residence permit.

 

  • Starting a Business in Greece

To establish a brunch or a subsidiary of a foreign company in Greece the future manager should first begin with receiving a national visa. The certain set of the registration documents which also declare the future business activities should be prepared for submission to the Consulate of Greece at the applicant’s place of residence. Upon arrival to Greece the documents for a residence permit are getting registered with the migration service of the regional Decentralized Administration. The relevant residence document is issued for two years. It is further extended every three years, provided that a foreign national still carries out the management of the above company. The family members of the company’s manager (spouse – minors) can also obtain a residence permit.

 

  • Investing Amounts Exceeding 250.000 Euros in the Economy of Greece

To obtain a residence permit of this type a foreign national has to submit their application and all supporting documents to the Greek Consulate that serves the region of their residence. On the following stage the Consulate transfers the above documents to the Greek Ministry of Development and Competitiveness for consideration. The most important factors that influence decision making in this event are: the subject of investment activities, the investment amount, the forecasted effect of the potential five-year investment project and the total number of vacancies that will be created when implementing this project. Following consideration of the application the positive decision is sent to the Consulate for visa issue. On arrival to Greece a foreign national applies to the authorised authority of the Ministry of Migration Policy and by the decision of the minister acquires a 5-year residence permit, which is extended on condition that the investment activity is progressing and all the fees, taxes and the insurance premiums are being accurately paid.

Depending on the size of the investment and its type, it is possible to obtain a residence permit for up to ten people (third-country nationals) along with the applicant – for those who takes part in the investment project and who are considered to be necessary for its implementation. For instance, with an investment amount between 300.001 and 1.000.000 euros along with the applicant a residence permit is granted to one more project participant, and when an investment amount exceeds 40.000.000 euros ten foreign investment managers are allowed to carry their duties in Greece.

The family members of the above foreign nationals may also acquire residence documents issued for the relevant period.

The holders of the above residence documents have all rights and freedoms that are provided to a Greek national. The exception will include the electoral rights, some state benefits and pension payment prerequisites.

 

  • Higher and Professional Technical Education in Greece

The education in Greece is a quite popular option for many students from all over the World. The reason is the high level of training, the availability of education itself and that the applicants are not particularly required to prove their knowledge of the Greek language at the time of the acceptance to a higher education institute in Greece. These factors play the major role for Greece to have an absolute competitive advantage as apposed to the education process in other EU countries.

The system of the higher education in Greece highlights the five main scientific directions:

– Humanities, Legal and Social Sciences

– Exact and Technical Sciences

– Life and Medical Sciences

– Education Sciences

– Economical and Computer Sciences

The enrollee may apply for twenty faculties at a time in one scientific direction. Being enrolled at one of the chosen schools foreign students spend their first year in Greece learning Greek at the training centres of the universities of Athens or Thessaloniki. For that purpose they are granted the relevant one-year residence permit. The second year students go directly into studies. On the basis of the certificate of enrollment to a certain faculty the next residence permit is being issued for one more year. It is extended on condition that the final annual examination is successfully passed. And so on, in accordance to the academic programme till the successful completion of studies.

Each and every foreign student in Greece enjoys the following privileges:

– medical care and free meals for the period of studies

– right to work on the part-time basis in the duration of studies

– reduced transport fares

– archaeological sites and museums admission exemptions

– traineeship opportunities in other EU countries

– right to travel across the Schengen Area without visa

 

  • Residence Permit in Greece for Family Members of a Greek citizen

This type of residence permit is granted to foreign nationals who are the relatives of a Greek citizen. It is issued as an independent residence document for every family member. First of all such a residence permit is issued for the spouse and their children, if any, including the adopted ones. The law also provides for the issuance of residence documents for parents or children (irrespective of age) who are the dependents of a Greek citizen. This residence permit is granted for five years and makes its holder eligible for work or for business activities. In the same way a residence permit can be granted to family members of any EU country national residing in Greece.

 

  • Cohabitation Agreement between Heterosexuals or Homosexuals

The Greek immigration law provides for granting a residence permit for a third-country national who is in a civil partnership (heterosexual or homosexual) with a Greek citizen or with an EU country national. This residence permit is issued on the basis of a cohabitation agreement, which is signed by the couple in the presence of a Greek notary and is recorded with the relevant register office. The main prerequisite for the partners when concluding the aforementioned agreement is not to be married to a third person (or not to be a party of another similar to this agreement). The foreigner must also hold a visa or a residence permit in Greece. When applying for a residence permit, along with the two above documents (the notarial act and its register office record) it is important to submit an extensive supporting documentation. Thus, a foreign partner of a Greek or European citizen can reside in Greece legally if they meet certain conditions and until the decision on the termination of the cohabitation agreement or on the marriage of the partners is taken.

It is important to note that all the supporting documents should be submitted to the authorised service of the Ministry of Migration Policy of Greece in Athens before the foreign national’s entry visa or residence permit expires. The initial residence permit is issued for one year with an option to be extended every two years.

 

BECOMING A GREEK CITIZEN

Pursuant to existing legislation, foreign nationals extendedly residing in Greece may take certain actions aiming to change their legal status, namely to acquire Greek citizenship.

 

Advantages of Greek Citizenship Acquisition:

Permissibility of dual citizenship.

Right to reside in any of the EU countries on the grounds of the Greek ID card or the Greek passport.

Right to work or to start a business in any of the EU member states.

Wide opportunities regarding Greek educational institutions choice. Educational benefits for EU citizens.

Right to purchase the primary property in Greece without paying tax.

Visa-free access to 166 countries of the world.

European benefits and exemptions.

Participation in the political life of Greece and the European Union through the right to vote.

 

Disadvantages of the Greek Citizenship Acquisition Procedure:

Extended period of acquisition.

Special requirements for the explicit knowledge of Greek language and for the basic education in Greek history and geography, as well as in the political life of the country.

Deficiency of an option to promptly acquire citizenship by the investment programme as it is provided by law in other countries.

 

How to Become a Greek Citizen:

Step 1. Obtaining the residence permit under the provisions of the Greek immigration legislation.

Step 2. Having obtained a long-term residence status (long-term residence permit, second generation residence permit, ten-year residence permit etc.) a foreign national may apply for Greek citizenship. When submitting the supporting documents the state fee of 700 euros is to be paid.

 

Additional information:

a) Family members of Greek citizens are in a priority position regarding the period of legal residence in Greece: the spouses of Greek nationals, for instance, are allowed to apply for citizenship only three years after the marriage or the birth of a child.

b) The requirements for the Greek language attestation and for the certain amount of annual income apply also to investors who purchased Greek property of at least 250.000 euros.

c) Upon submission of the application and supporting documents the interview date is set with the Naturalisation Committee where a foreign national shall prove their knowledge of Greek language and their awareness of the state’s historical, cultural and political matters.

d) The secondary or higher education in Greece is the most simple and practically automatic way to acquire Greek citizenship. The compliance with the required period of education and the state fee of 100 euros is an undeniable guarantee to become a Greek citizen.


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