Your Guide to the Greece Golden Visa: Its Appeal, Requirements, & More

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If you’re an investor looking to move to a Mediterranean country with incredible culture, food, and beaches, the Greece Golden Visa might be the perfect solution for you. While the visa was launched just over ten years ago, it’s exploded in popularity in recent years.

Below, we’ll go over everything you need to know about Greece’s Golden Visa: why it’s so hot right now, what the requirements are, how it might affect your tax obligations, and more. 

What is the Greece Golden Visa?

Golden visas — that is, visas offered to individuals who make a sizable investment in a particular country — have been around since 1984, when the small island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis launched their program. In recent years, however, more and more countries have been offering them as governments around the world see the benefits other countries are reaping by attracting immigrants who bring with them tax revenue, jobs, and economic opportunities.

The reason why applicants are interested in these visas varies. Some are attracted for financial reasons, like tax incentives or a lower cost of living, while others seek a higher quality of life in the form of more robust social programs, improved work-life balance, better walkability, nicer weather, safer communities, or other factors. And, of course, some simply want the adventure that comes with living and traveling abroad.

What’s more, Golden Visas typically offer a relatively straightforward way to live in a country on a long-term basis and perhaps even obtain permanent residence or citizenship. As long as you have the funds to invest and meet basic requirements — for example, being in relatively good health and not having a prior criminal record — you can secure a visa.

Compare that to other immigration pathways that require you to find an employer or family member with citizenship or permanent residence to sponsor you, and the Golden Visa is usually much less involved.

Rising interest in the Greece Golden visa in 2023

As we hinted at earlier, interest in Greece’s Golden Visa has been on the rise in recent years. In fact, Greek officials received over twice as many applications in 2022 as they did in 2021. Why? For one, there’s just more awareness of Golden Visas in general. Additionally, certain countries that previously offered these visas — such as the UK and Ireland — have been closing their own programs. 

Even though the minimum investment for real estate has recently increased in some areas, Greece’s Golden Visa still requires a lower financial investment compared to many other countries.

Additional benefits of Greece’s Golden Visa include:

  • The right to live and work in Greece for five years
  • The ability to bring immediate family members with you
  • A direct path to acquire permanent residence permits
  • Visa-free travel to anywhere in Europe
  • No requirement to visit Greece for a certain number of days per year in order to maintain a visa
  • Access to Greece’s healthcare and education systems
  • Non-tax residents are taxed only on Greek-sourced income
  • Tax residents may opt into an alternate lump sum tax of €100,000 (~$109,943) per year for 15 years

Requirements for the Greece Golden Visa

In order to be eligible for the Greek Golden Visa program, you must:

Be a non-EU citizen

Greece’s Golden Visa program is not available to anyone who already has EU citizenship.

Golden visa applicants must be at least 18 years old and submit a certificate signed by a medical professional confirming that they don’t have any contagious diseases or conditions that could pose a public health or safety risk.

Have Private Insurance

You must purchase a private insurance policy for yourself and any dependents you might have that covers at least 80% of medical bills related to:

  • Disability: Up to €15,000 (~$16,472)
  • Accidental death: Up to €15,000 (~$16,472)
  • Accidents: Up to €1,500 (~$1,647)
  • Illnesses: Up to €1,500 (~$1,647)
  • Inpatient stays: Up to €10,000 (~$10,981)

Often, these policies can be purchased for around €200 to €400 (~$220 to $439) per year.

Your Guide to the Greece Golden Visa: Making a Qualified Investment

Make a Qualifying Investment

At the heart of Greece’s Golden Visa is a significant investment in the country. There are several different investment options:

  • An investment in real estate (residential or commercial) of at least €250,000 (~$274,723) for most properties in Greece
    • Note: As of August 2023, 36 different municipalities in Greater Athens, Thessaloniki, and the islands of Mykonos and Santorini require a minimum real estate purchase of at least €500,000 (~$549,568)
  • An investment of €250,000 (~$274,723) in timeshare or furnished tourist residences with a 10-year lease agreement
  • A deposit of €400,000 (~$439,524) into a Greek bank account
  • An investment in shares and bonds:
    • €400,000 (~$439,524):
      • Purchase of shares and bonds on the Greek stock market
      • Purchase of Greek government bonds
      • Capital contribution to a private equity firm, venture capital fund, or real estate investment company investing solely in Greece
      • Investment into a Greek mutual fund or alternative investment fund
    • €800,000 (~$879,032):
      • Investment into a combination of shares and bonds on the Greek stock market and Greek government bonds

Make sure to review all of these investment options with a cross-border financial planner to decide which option is best for you, and consult a US expat tax professional to ensure that your investments won’t incur punitive tax treatment. Investments in foreign mutual funds, for example, are almost always taxed much more harshly than investments in US mutual funds.

Greece vs Portugal Golden Visa – which is better? 

If you’ve been looking into Greece’s Golden Visa, you’ve likely already heard of Portugal’s Golden Visa. Portugal’s Golden Visa has historically been more popular than Greece’s, thanks to its early launch, favorable tax incentives, and quicker path to citizenship. Portugal has also been seen by many as a more desirable country to live in than Greece due to its slightly lower crime rates, more stable government, and more affordable cost of living.

Recently, however, there have been major changes to Portugal’s Golden Visa, including the elimination of previously qualifying investment options through real estate purchases and capital transfers. The Portuguese government also recently decided to get rid of a favorable tax system for non-habitual residents starting in 2024.

Whether Portugal or Greece offers the better Golden Visa is subjective, but we’ve included a table to help you compare the two side by side.

Golden Visa: Greece vs. Portugal

Application cost
(excluding legal fees and cost of acquiring/translating/officiating documents)
Application fee of €2,000 (plus €150 per dependent)
Residence card printing fee of €16 per person
Processing fee of €533 (plus €84 per dependent)
Approval fee of €5,325
Income tax ratesResidents: Up to 48% on global income
Non-residents: Up to 48% of Portuguese-sourced income
Residents: Up to 48% of global income
Non-residents: Up to 48% of Portuguese-sourced income
Residence requirementsNone7 days per year in Portugal
Duration of initial visa5 years2 years
Ability to work?YesYes
Ability to bring dependents?Yes: spouse/partner, children under 21, parentsYes: spouse/partner, children under 18, dependent parents, single children under 26 enrolled full-time as students

Greece vs Portugal: Golden Visa Paths to Citizenship

Time to permanent residence5 years5 years
Time to citizenship7 years5 years
Global passport ranking7th, offering visa-free access to 187 countries5th, offering visa-free access to 189 countries

Obtaining a Golden Visa does not absolve holders of US tax obligations

Living outside of the US doesn’t automatically eliminate your US tax obligations. It may not seem very fair, but all US citizens and permanent residents are subject to federal taxes, even if they live in another country.

While any American who meets the minimum reporting thresholds must file a federal tax return, however, they may not necessarily owe anything in US taxes thanks to tax breaks like the Foreign Tax Credit (FTC) and Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE). As an expat, you may also have to file additional forms, such as the Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) or Form 8938.

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  1. Record Application Volume Sees Greek Golden Visa Authorities Struggling to Keep Up With Demand
  2. 9 Benefits of Greece Golden Visa
  3. Greek Golden Visa FAQs
  4. Greece Provides Significant Tax Breaks for Foreign Investors
  5. Greece Golden Visa Program
  6. Residence Permit Insurance in Greece
  7. Greece Golden Visa Program Guide
  8. Greece Golden Visa Program minimum investment limit raised from August 1
  9. Is Portugal’s Golden Visa Scheme Worth It?
  10. Portugal to Apply New Golden Visa Changes Soon, Following President’s Approval
  11. The end of an era: Portuguese Non-Habitual Residents regime to end
  12. Greece Golden Visa Costs
  13. Portugal Golden Visa: The Ultimate Guide to Portugal’s Golden Visa 2023
  14. Personal Income Tax Rates
  15. Portugal – Individual – Taxes on personal income
  16. Portugal Golden Visa 2023: New Rules and Complete Guide
  17. Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2023
  18. Greece passport ranking
  19. Portugal passport ranking

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  • Can I set up an Airbnb on the Greece Golden Visa?

    Yes! Golden visa applicants are not required to live in the properties they have invested in, and may purchase their property for personal or business purposes, so there are no restrictions on setting up Airbnbs.