Residence permit Greece

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Immigrating to Greece implies applying for a permanent residence before acquiring Greece citizenship. If you are interested in immigration to Greece and want to apply for one of the visas available for foreigners, our lawyers can guide you.

Below, our local lawyers who specialize in immigration matters in Greece offer a guide on how to obtain a permanent residence permit. We can also assist those who want to come to Greece as entrepreneurs or those who want to obtain Greece passports.

Who can apply for Greece Residence Permit?

Permanent residency is available for both EU and non-EU citizens who have lived in Greece for the prescribed periods under the country’s Immigration Law. Non-EU nationals have the right to apply for permanent residence permits after 5 years of continuously living in Greece, while for EU citizens the requirements are less stringent. They can apply for permanent residence if they intend to live in Greece for more than 90 days or 3 months.Permanent residence for non-EU citizens is also available under the Golden Visa Scheme, however, this program targets wealthy individuals who want to move to Greece based on investments. The residence by investment program in Greece offers various advantages to the applicants.

Our immigration lawyers in Greece can offer expat support to non-EU citizens seeking to apply for permanent residence permits.

Types of residence permits in Greece

There are two types of residence permits which can be obtained in Greece: the temporary residence permit and the permanent residence permit. It must be noted that in order to obtain Greece Residence Permit, a temporary residence visa must first be obtained.The temporary residency visa must be obtained by non-EU citizens when first arriving in Greece. EU citizens must only register with the police department in the city they live in without being required to apply for a temporary residence permit. However, both categories of individuals must live for a minimum period of 5 years before applying for permanent residence in Greece.

The residence permit can also be acquired by:

  • the spouse of the applicant;
  • the parents of the applicant;
  • the minor children of the applicant;
  • children above the age of 18 if these can support themselves.

In other words, the applicant is entitled to bring family members when relocating to Greece. However, the applicant must prove they have sufficient financial means to support themselves and their dependents, as well as submit proof of their relationship with the dependents.

The main ways of obtaining Greece Residence Permit

There are several conditions imposed on both EU and non-EU citizens interested in obtaining Greece Residence Permit. Apart from living for 5 years in this country, these must also prove they earn sufficient money to support themselves and that they speak Greece fluently and know the national customs.  They must also have clean criminal records.There are several ways in which the Greece permanent residency can be obtained:

  1.  based on a work permit which entitles the applicant to live and work in Greece prior to applying for permanent residency;
  2.  based on a residence permit for entrepreneurs which allows foreign citizens to start their own businesses here;
  3.  based on an investment in a specific domain of interest acknowledged by the Greece government;
  4.  based on a self-employment visa which allows the foreigner to act as a sole trader in Greece.
Our Greece immigration lawyers can explain the requirements related to obtaining permanent residency by self-employment, as an entrepreneur or base on investment.

Greece permanent residence for EU citizens

It is very easy for EU citizens to apply for a permanent residence permit in Greece, as they only need their valid IDs or passports when entering the country. In their case, a simple declaration of presence with the police station of the city they live in is sufficient. This declaration must be filed within 8 days from entering Greece.EU citizens have the right to apply for permanent residence permits after living for more than 3 months in Greece. It should also be noted that it may take up to 3 months for obtaining the Greece permanent residence.

You can also read about the benefits of permanent residence in Greece in the scheme below:

Applying for a permanent residence permit for non-EU citizens in Greece

Non-EU citizens must follow specific procedures when applying for permanent residence in Greece. Those who want to immigrate to Greece must enquire with the Greece embassy or consulate in their countries and ask information on the documents needed.Non-EU citizens must first apply for a temporary residence permit which is issued for a period of 5 years, followed by the application for the Greece permanent residence permit. In other words, a non-EU citizen must live in Greece for 5 years prior to applying for permanent residence.

Our law firm can advise non-EU citizens on the requirements related to Greece immigration.

Documents required for an Greece permanent residence permit

The following documents must be filed by non-EU citizens applying for a permanent residence permit in Greece:
  • proof that the foreign citizen has lived in Greece for 5 years (the temporary residence permit);
  • the registration certificate issued by the local police force upon entering Greece;
  • proof of having a legal address in Greece (a rental contract or a recent utility bill);
  • proof of means of self-sustenance (bank statements, tax returns, payslips issued by the employer);
  • the criminal record and the application form issued by the Greece authorities.

Restrictions for certain applicants for Greece Residence Permit

There are also categories of persons who cannot apply for permanent residence permits in Greece. These are usually students who come to Greece based on student visas which permit a limited duration of stay. In the same category enter those who come for scientific purposes or for vocational training to Greece. Also, asylum seekers who in the process of obtaining recognition as refugees cannot apply for permanent residence until their status are clarified.Those who enter Greece for humanitarian reasons seeking temporary protection cannot apply for Greece Residence Permit.

Those who have valid temporary residence permits and have not met the 5-year living requirement are also restricted for applying for permanent residency until the last requisite is fulfilled.

The benefits of obtaining Greece Residence Permit

Obtaining the status of a permanent resident of Greece can bring many benefits for a foreign citizen. Among these, we mention the possibility of entering and exiting Greece without being required to apply for other visas. Also, foreign citizens can travel freely to other EU countries and can even work in such countries without being required to apply for a work permit. One is also entitled to state benefits, such as maternity or disability benefits.
the other 5 advantages which can be obtained alongside permanent residence in Italy are:
  1. the holders of permanent residence permits have similar rights to those of Italian citizens;
  2. foreign citizens applying for European long-term residence permits will be automatically granted permanent residency;
  3. Italy is one of the few European countries where permanent residence can be obtained after 5 years;
  4. the right to travel freely to all EU and Schengen area countries is another advantage of a permanent residence permit;
  5. access to a market in which a foreigner can work or even start his/her own business.

The last and perhaps the most important advantage is the possibility of obtaining Greece citizenship. In the case of EU citizens, the minimum period of stay is 4 years, while for non-EU citizens the minimum period of stay is 10 years based on the permanent resident status.

Assistance in obtaining Greece Residence Permit

Provided that you meet the requirements imposed by the law, you can rely on our immigration lawyers in Greece for assistance in preparing the documentation for applying for a permanent residence permit. We can help during the entire application procedure, no matter if you have worked or if you are an entrepreneur interested in obtaining an Greece permanent residence permit.Our lawyers will also explain the rights and obligations attached to becoming a permanent resident with the purpose of further applying for Greece citizenship.

Residence permits in Greece for corporate situations

Foreign investors who want to open a company in Greece can obtain a residence permit in specific situations. Foreigners may set up an Greece limited liability company following the legal procedures. At the same time, they may register a branch office or a representative office of a foreign company.

In these particular situations, the legal framework stipulates that a representative of the foreign company may apply for an intra-company transfer residence permit.

Investors may also obtain a startup residence permit, which was established under the local legislation for the registration of startup companies that provide innovative products or services. In this case, the minimum investment is established at EUR 50,000.

Persons who want to enter the Greece workforce can apply for a European Blue Card, issued for employees with a high level of skills in a designated field of activity. The applicant should provide evidence on a university graduation certificate.

The Start-Up Visa for permanent residence in Greece

One of the main programs dedicated to non-EU citizens is the Start-Up Visa program which was launched in 2012. Under this scheme, non-EU citizens can set up companies in Greece and relocate here, therefore, they will be able to both live and work here. The main requirement for qualifying for this program is to invest 50,000 euros, however, the amount can be higher. Another requirement that does not have to do with money is for the company to operate in innovation. Among these, investments in research and development (R&D) activities are encouraged in Greece.

The Start-Up Visa can be obtained by filing a business plan with the Evaluation Committee or by accessing it through a business incubator.

The following documents must be filed with the Committee in order to obtain a Start-Up Visa which leads to permanent residence in Greece:

  • an application form;
  • the no impediment certificate;
  • a cover letter providing for the funds to invest in the project.

A great benefit of the Start-Up Visa Scheme is that the application can be filed directly in English. If the applicant desires, he or she can also file in Greece.

With the help of our lawyers, immigration in Greece can become simpler, as all the requirements will be explained in detail.

The Greece self-employment visa for foreign citizens

Entrepreneurs have another way of relocating to Greece and that is by obtaining a self-employment visa. This type of residence permit is not difficult to obtain, however, in terms of requirements, one of the most important refers to securing contracts that allow for sufficient means of supporting oneself. Employment contracts can also be considered for this visa which can lead to Greece Residence Permit.

If you are interested in obtaining permanent residence through a self-employment visa in Greece, our lawyers can fill you in with all the details.

The Golden Visa Scheme in Greece

Non-EU citizens benefit from various means through which they can obtain permanent residency and even Greece citizenship if they want to. As a matter of fact, Greece is one of the friendliest countries in Europe when it comes to the facilities offered to third-country individuals moving here. Its immigration policies include various integration programs supported by the government.

Returning to one of the best ways of obtaining Greece permanent residency, we cannot skip the Golden Visa Program which requires:

  • a minimum of 500,000 euros to be invested in a start-up business;
  • 1 million euros if the investment is made under the form of a philanthropic donation;
  • real estate investment is also accepted, as long as the value of the property is 300,000 to 500,000 euros;
  • a minimum annual income of 100,000 euros of the applicant is also required.

This program targets high net worth individuals who want to immigrate to Greece and one of its greatest benefits is that it offers the possibility of owning real estate in this wonderful country.

There are many ways a non-EU citizen can use to obtain Greece Residence Permit and with the help of our lawyers they can find the one suiting them best.

The elective residence visa in Greece

Foreign citizens who want to retire and live permanently in Greece can apply for an elective visa. This type of residence permit is one of the simplest ways of immigrating to Greece. Among the requirements to fulfill in order to obtain an elective residence visa is to have health insurance worth 30,000 euros.

Foreign citizens who want to retire to Greece must comply with a few additional requirements, among which having a steady income of 31,000 euros per year. If a couple wants to move together to Greece, the minimum income is set at 38,000 euros per year.

Renewal of the Greece residence permit

Depending on the type of residence permit, foreign citizens are required to renew their permits on a regular basis. Foreign citizens living in Greece are required to apply for renewal as it follows:

  • 90 days before expiry, if the residence permit has a two-year validity period,
  • 60 days before expiry, if the residence permit has a one-year validity period,
  • 30 days before expiry in other cases.

The validity period of temporary residence permits depends on the purpose of the Greece visa. Foreign citizens working in Greece based on a temporary work permit are required to apply for renewal depending on the sector they work in. The Greece employment permit may have a six to nine months validity period, while student visas may have a one-year validity period.

The Greece permanent residence permit is granted under certain conditions and it depends on the nationality of the applicant. It is also good to know that even if EU citizens do not need to apply for a temporary residence visa, they can obtain Greece Residence Permit.

Below, we invite you to read about 5 of the most important advantages of obtaining a residence permit in Greece. You can rely on our immigration lawyers in Greece for specialized support in applying for all the visas available in this country.

What are the greatest advantages of obtaining permanent residence in Greece?

There are many benefits associated with obtaining an Greece residence permit, however, permanent residence is the first step to Greece citizenship which makes one of the most important perks when relocating to Greece as a foreigner. However, we decided to present you with other 5 more benefits of Greece permanent residency.The other 5 advantages which can be obtained alongside permanent residence in Greece are:

  1. the holders of permanent residence permits have similar rights to those of Greece citizens;
  2. foreign citizens applying for European long-term residence permits will be automatically granted permanent residency;
  3. Greece is one of the few European countries where permanent residence can be obtained after 5 years;
  4. the right to travel freely to all EU and Schengen area countries is another advantage of a permanent residence permit;
  5. access to a market in which a foreigner can work or even start his/her own business.

Obtaining a permanent residence permit in Greece is not difficult. Additionally, the procedure of applying for this type of residence permit is quite simple. Our immigration lawyers can explain the requirements related to immigrating to Greece.Here are the 5 advantages of obtaining permanent residence in Greece:

  1. Extended rights given by Greece permanent residence

Those who obtain permanent residence in Greece will usually have similar rights to Greece citizens, except for voting rights. This is also because Greece has very flexible immigration policies and many programs that help foreign citizens integrate with the local population. A permanent residence permit will also increase the holder’s feeling of belonging in Greece, especially in the case of non-EU citizens coming from afar and needing support in integrating.If you plan to immigrate to Greece and need information about the requirements related to various types of visas, our local lawyers can help you.

  1. The EC long-term residence permit one of the best ways of immigrating to Greece

As an EU-member state, Greece integrated many EU policies in its national legislation and among these those related to immigration. This way, those applying for a long-term residence permit will be automatically granted permanent residence after 5 years of continuous living in Greece.Our immigration lawyers in Greece can explain the requirements for obtaining permanent residence permits.

  1. Permanent residence in Greece can be obtained in 5 years

Indeed, this is one of the 5 most important advantages when seeking to obtain residency in Greece. In comparison, other countries offer permanent residence permits after longer periods of time or impose stricter immigration conditions.If you need assistance in immigration to Greece, we can help you with dedicated expat support services.

  1. Free travel rights

Holders of permanent residence permits in Greece have the right to travel and even move to other EU countries. However, they can obtain work permits in other EU countries and commute for work.
Greece is a very appealing country to move to, so if you need guidance on the regulations you need to comply with, our immigration lawyers can assist you.
  1. Access to an important labor and business market

Greece is one of the most prolific economies in Europe, so it can be a right fit for both those who want to work or have their own businesses here.It is good to know that all applications for residence visas in Greece must be filed with the National Police.

It is also good to know that a mandatory requirement for obtaining a residence permit in Greece is to have health insurance which implies the following:

  • the annual coverage amount for a single person is established at 5.349 euros;
  • for a family made of 2 persons, the insurance policy must cover annual health-related problems of 8.024 euros;
  • for a family made of 3 persons, the insurance policy must cover problems worth 10.699 euros;
  • for 4-member families, the minimum amount of the health insurance policy is 13.374 euros.

What are the main 5 tips on how to move to Greece?

If you want to move to Greece but are not acquainted on the ways you can do that, here are 5 tips on how to relocate and obtain an Greece residence permit:

  1. you can move to Greece as a simple foreign citizen by applying for a job with an Greece company;
  2. you can also move to Greece as a businessman and start a company or register as a sole trader;
  3. another way for businessmen to move to Greece is by enrolling with one of the special investment programs created by the government;
  4. another way of moving to Greece is to retire here, however, there are a few conditions related to immigrating to Greece this way;
  5. if you are married to an Greece citizen and live abroad, you can move to Greece without any restrictions.

Our Greece immigration lawyers advise you to consider your options and take into account that you will need to learn Greece if you plan on applying for citizenship after obtaining residence here.

Moving to Greece by obtaining a job

If you want to move to Greece and a job opportunity is your option, then you should know that you will need to apply for a job first and then wait for the Greece company to obtain the necessary paperwork and send you the employment contract before coming to Greece. Also, the Greece employer will apply for the residence permit on your behalf of Greece, following which you will also need to complete a few steps with the Greece embassy or consulate in your country.

Once you move to Greece, you will be granted a residence permit for a limited period of time. You can obtain more information on how to immigrate to Greece through employment from our lawyers.

How to move to Greece as a businessperson

One of the most advantageous ways of moving to Greece is as a businessman. You will first need to apply for a short-stay visa following which you can apply for an entrepreneur visa. Once the visa is obtained, you will need to buy an Greece company or register as a sole trader.

If you decide to move to Greece as an entrepreneur, you will also be allowed to obtain employment within the company you purchase.

For detailed information on how to move to Greece and obtain residence as a businessman, we kindly invite you to ask our Greece lawyers who specialize in immigration about the entrepreneur visa.

Moving to Greece through an investment program

The Greece government has enabled two programs under which investors from non-EU countries can relocate to Greece. These are the StartUp Visa and the Residency by Investment Scheme. Each program has its own requirements, and if you want to move to Greece through one of the two programs you are advised to consider the conditions imposed under both of them.

For example, the StartUp Visa program implies opening a business in the research and development field and have an annual turnover of less than 5 million euros.

If you want to move to Greece under the Residency by Investment Scheme, the investment conditions start at 500,000 euros.

Our immigration lawyers in Greece can offer more information on these programs.

Move to Greece by retirement and obtain residency

If you want to retire to Greece and obtain residence, you will have every chance of succeeding by applying for an elective residence visa. The main condition for obtaining such a visa is to have a minimum annual income of 31,000 euros. Health insurance which covers expenses in the amount of 30,000 euros per year is also necessary.

Moving to Greece as a spouse of an Greece citizen

If you are married to an Greece citizen and are living abroad, you can move to Greece with your spouse and apply for a residence permit. You will need to file evidence of your marriage with the Greece citizen together with other documents in order to immigrate to Greece this way.

Application Form for Residence Permit in Greece

What is the best way of moving to Greece and obtain residence?

If you want to move to Greece and obtain residence, here is a brief comparison between the ways in which you can achieve that based on the time, complexity of the procedure and the possibility of obtaining residency:

Moving to GreeceTimeframeComplexityResidency
By employmentA few monthsRelatively lowYes
As a businessmanA few monthsRelatively lowYes
By investmentUp to one yearComplexYes
By retirementA few monthsRelatively lowYes
By marriageA few weeksRelatively lowYes

For full information on how to obtain a permanent residence permit or immigration to Greece, please contact us. All our Greece immigration services are personalized so that you have the best chances of relocating here.

B.L Rakhla

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