The Greek passport was ranked sixth in Henley & Partners’ 2018 Freedom of Movement Passports by Depositphotos.
The main requirement to live in Greece
Greek citizenship can be obtained by birth: for example, if one of the child’s parents is a Greek citizen, or if the child was born in Greece to foreign parents who have lived in Greece for at least five years and entered a Greek school. A child who has completed six grades in a Greek school or graduated in Greece has the same opportunity. Foreigners with Greek roots can apply for a Greek passport.
But how can a citizen of another country obtain Greek citizenship?
Greece does not have a special program for issuing passports for investment, as, for example, in Malta or Cyprus, any foreign citizen has the chance to obtain Greek citizenship by naturalization, that is, based on an application. Such an applicant must:
- be over 18 years old;
- have no criminal record;
- not be deported from Greece in the past;
- legally reside in Greece for at least seven years (in some cases, the period is reduced to three years).
The conditions for obtaining Greek citizenship are spelled out in Law No. 3284 of 2004.
One of the main requirements for those who want to obtain a Greek passport is legal residence in Greece for seven years. To do this, you must have a Greek residence permit. One of the easiest ways to get it is to take part in the Greek Golden Visa program.
Advantages of Golden Visa in Greece
- The period of validity of this residence permit is five years, after which the status can be extended or documents for permanent residence can be applied (this opportunity appeared in 2015), and after another 2 years – for Greek citizenship. At the same time, if you do not need to know the Greek language to apply for permanent residence, then in order to obtain a passport, your knowledge must be demonstrated.
- Unlike other types of residence permits in Greece, there is no residency requirement for holders of a “golden visa”: neither minimum nor maximum terms are specified. Moreover, having real estate in Greece, you can not even live there, but simply rent it out.
- “Golden Visa” is issued in the shortest possible time. Consideration of applications takes no more than one month.
- In addition to the main applicant, his spouse and minor children (under 21 years of age) can apply for a residence permit without additional payments. The inclusion of other relatives in the application, for example, the parents of the property owner or his spouse, does not increase the threshold for entering the program. The amount of 250,000 euros will be enough for everyone.
- Having a residence permit in Greece, you can live and move freely throughout Europe and apply for facilitated visas to other countries, as well as receive European medical care and education.
- Greece is one of the cheapest countries in Europe with a high standard of living and a low crime rate.
- The program for issuing a residence permit in Greece for investment in real estate is one of the most convenient and inexpensive in the EU. Other market participants either set a higher financial threshold for entry or impose less favorable terms. For example, a similar Latvian scheme requires subsidies to the state 5% of the purchase price of real estate.
Documents and expenses
The package of documents for applying for citizenship in Greece includes:
- declaration of the desire to obtain Greek citizenship (submitted at the place of residence in Greece in the presence of two Greek citizens);
- application for admission to citizenship;
- a copy of a residence permit in Greece (for EU citizens – a certificate of registration or permanent residence issued by the Greek Immigration Office);
- copy of the passport;
- birth certificate (if the applicant was not born in Greece – notarized and translated into Greek with an apostille);
- tax returns for the past few years;
- insurance policy number;
- other documents confirming the applicant’s connection with Greece and Greek citizens.
The collected documents must be submitted to the Civil Status Office of the decentralized administration at the place of residence in Greece. Application processing can take from one to four years.
When applying for citizenship in Greece, you must pay a fee of 700 euros. If the documents have to be resubmitted, the amount will be reduced to 200 euros.
You can get a residence permit in Greece by purchasing one or more properties worth 250,000 euros or more. This type of residence permit is called a “Golden Visa”.