South Africans who are seeking a pathway to relocate to live in Europe but who don’t necessarily want to be restricted as to where and when they must move to permanently reside abroad, will find that Greece’s Golden Visa offers a solution that opens doors to the continent.

Greece, a land that is loved for its pristine beauty with her beautiful islands and breath-taking blue flag beaches is enough to make anyone want to jump on a plane and head to paradise.

The country also has incredible historical buildings, including the 5th-century B.C. Acropolis Citadel and the Parthenon Temple. And while Greek remains the official language of this ancient civilisation, many other languages such as English, German, French and Italian are spoken by the younger generations.

Many businesses are still producing, selling, and earning profits in the country, despite the torrid financial situation the country has weathered in recent years.  The economy is now projected to grow by 4.1% in 2021.

Major investments by foreign companies, such as Microsoft and Amazon are in the pipeline and credit ratings agency, Moody’s, upgraded Greece’s rating in November 2020. There is a new sense of national confidence after 10 years of painful EU-imposed austerity and reforms.

Greece’s effort to enhance economic growth prompted the government to introduce a new residence programme called the Greece Golden Visa. This visa programme has been named the most popular residence-by-investment program for three consecutive years (2018, 2019 and 2020) having surpassed the US E.B.5 in terms of its approved applications.

Potential applicants can choose from several investment options available to non-EU-nationals, which grant applicants the ‘’golden ticket’’ into the EU and visa-free access to Schengen.  A major benefit of the Golden Visa is that investors are not required to  immediately relocate to Greece upon making an investment which makes it the ideal opportunity for South Africans who simply want to keep their options open regarding future relocation.

Some of the key advantages of Greek residency are:

  • Visa-free travel within the 26 EU Schengen countries.
  • Offers Visa on arrival for 186 countries.
  • No requirement to reside in Greece.
  • Residence permits can be acquired within 30–60 days.
  • Unlimited expiry date of residence permit.
  • Opportunity to rent out the investment property.
  • Residence applicable to the whole family (married spouse, children under 21 years old, and parents of the main applicant and spouse).
  • Leads to Citizenship after 7-years of residence.
  • Ability to hold shares and receive income from the dividends of a company registered in Greece.
  • Free access to public health and education facilities
  • Great Investment opportunities (prices dropped more than 50% since 2010);
  • The most affordable program in Europe.

What are the criteria to obtain the Greek Golden Visa?

  1. You must be over 18 years of age;
  2. You must have a clear criminal record; *No need to submit official non-criminal record.
  3. You must make an investment under the following options:
  • Purchase a real estate property worth at least €250,000.
  • Sign a lease agreement with a hotel or tourist establishment for at least 10 years.
  • Make a capital investment of at least €400,000 in a company registered in Greece.
  • Make a €400,000 investment in Greek government bonds.
  • Make a €400,000 investment in bonds or shares of real estate investment companies.
  • Make a €400,000 deposit in a Greek bank for at least 1 year.
  • Make an €800,000 investment in corporate or government bonds.
  1. Real Estate documents:
  • A contract of purchase which attests to the fact that there are no conditions or exemptions in the purchase, states the total price of the purchase, and the method of payment (it must be in full, via credit held in an institution operating in Greece or via a credit transfer.
  • Proof of transfer of the contract by the accountable land registry
  • Certificate issued by the land registry proving there has been no impediment related to the purchase.
  1. Renting hotel or tourism establishment:
  • Timeshare contract for a minimum period of five years
  • Proof of transfer registration issued by the competent Land Registry.
  • A certificate issued by the National Tourism Organisation (EOT)
  • been informed of the conclusion of the timeshare contract.
  1. Investing in a company:
  • Documents with details of the company receiving the investment, whether it is established or to be established (must include name, type of legal entity, and shareholders)
  • A document detailing the investment project.
  • The location of the investment project
  • The budget and financing structure for the investment
  • A timeline detailing the implementation of the investment.
  • Predictions for the results on the first five years of investment (feasibility study and cash flow forecast)
  • A document detailing the number of jobs that will be created by the investment.

It takes up to 60 days to process a Golden Visa application, so it’s advisable to seek professional assistance to ensure that all the correct documents have been collated and submitted to ensure that the application process is expedited.

For further information or assistance with obtaining a Greece Golden Visa or regarding any other immigration enquiry, please contact our expatriate solution specialist, Zainab Bouziane on or on +27 11 467 0810.