One of the cheapest investment immigration programs in Europe, the Greek golden visa program is witnessing a steady recovery after the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, this recovery in investor interest is not evident if when comparing the number of golden visa permits issued in 2021 as with the previous year.
Greece issued just 938 golden visas in 2020, with 989 permits issued in the first 11 months of 2021. This meant Greece likely ended up issuing around 1,000-1,050 permits for the year.
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This low number seems odd considering Portugal’s decision to restrict the purchase of residential properties in Lisbon and Porto by golden visa investors, as well as the opening up of international travel and the general improvement in investor sentiment in 2021.
Is the disappointing increase proof that investors are looking beyond the Greek golden visa program? A closer look at the numbers shows a mismatch between the number of wealthy foreigners who have purchased properties in Greece and the number of golden visa permits issued.
To qualify for the golden visa permit, an investor must not only purchase property in Greece but also transfer the title to the competent land registry or cadastral office. This is where the issue lies.
Greece is in the process of transforming land registries into cadastral offices and this has led to a significant increase in the time required to complete land purchase formalities. Currently, investors are facing delays as long as six months, which means those who purchased land in 2021 are likely to receive their permit in 2022.
About the Greek Golden Visa Program
A relatively late entrant to investment immigration, the Greek golden visa program is very popular because real estate is an eligible asset class and minimum investment requirement is just €250,000.
Compared to this, Portugal has a minimum requirement of €500,000 for real estate investors and buying a home in Porto or Lisbon will no longer help investors qualify for the golden visa.
Even the urban rehabilitation option where investors can buy properties that were constructed at least 20 years ago in Portugal has a minimum requirement of €350,000. Spain also has a €500,000 requirement for property investors seeking a golden visa.
Since 2014, Greece has issued around 9,500 golden permits to investors along with around 28,500 permits to dependent family members. Chinese investors account for close to 70 percent of all visas issued, followed by Turkish investors.
Way Ahead for the Greek Golden Visa
The administrative delays may have come at a bad time for Greece as normality returns after the COVID-19 pandemic. As countries assess the economic impact of the pandemic and as Europe deals with geopolitical tensions, investors may not have the patience to wait too long for permanent residence in a safe and stable location.
This may mean Greece may lose out to other EU countries like Spain and Portugal despite having a significantly lower minimum investment requirement for its permanent residence by investment program.General Information: Contact us to receive more information about this article.
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