There are several manners in which foreign nationals, both from EU and non-EU countries can obtain residence in Greece and they have to do with the motive for staying in the country for shorter or longer periods of time. There are several categories of residence permits, as defined by the Ministry of Migration and Asylum and they can be divided into main categories such as investment, working, studying, or family reunification.
Our team of Greece immigration agents describe the most important types of residence permits in this article and are able to assist foreign nationals who are willing to apply for one.
Determining the required documents for a chosen type of permit is just as important as choosing the permit that is suitable for the purpose of stay. This means that a difference is made between the residency in Greece awarded for employment and that for investment in property compared to that in engaging in independent economic activity. Certain special categories of residence will understandably have different requirements, such as those for victims of human trafficking.
Our team of immigration lawyers in Greece can provide a complete list of the categories of residence permits and the documents that are mandatory when applying for these.
Main residence categories in Greece
Determining the category in which one can be included is the first step when applying for a residence permit in Greece. The main types are the following:
- Residence permit for employment: this permit can be divided into several other categories, depending on the type of work; there is general employment for EU and non-EU nationals as well as special-purpose work; highly specialized employment under the Blue Card category is also included here;
- Residence permit for investment in property: this is the permanent residence permit for investors in real estate in Greece; it is subject to a condition for minimum investment, detailed in this article presented by our immigration lawyer in Greece;
- Residence permit for independent activity: the Greek residence permit for independent economic activity is different from that reserved for employees and it concerns professionals who are involved in providing services such as accountancy, legal or business counseling, and others;
- Temporary residence permit: awarded to seasonal workers, members of artistic groups who will perform in the country, higher education students participating in internships, the leaders of organized tourism groups;
- Study residence permit: awarded to individuals who have been accepted by a Greek University as well as those who will perform voluntary work, or will participate in special programs; this residence permit is also awarded to those involved in research activities or vocational training;
- Family reunification residence permit: a third-country national who has been legally residing in Greece for two years can apply for a residence permit for his family members; this process is subject to certain conditions, detailed below by our Greece immigration agents.
When applying for any of the above-mentioned permits for residency in Greece, the applicant needs to note the importance of the enclosed documents. These are used as proof for the application and can include the employment contract for the employment residence or the proof of purchasing real estate for the investment residence permit in Greece. The family reunification permit for third-country nationals is subject to further examination of the relationship between the applicant and the family who will join him or her in Greece. This is why we recommend requesting the services offered by our immigration lawyer in Greece when applying for this permit. Some additional conditions include the following:
- proof of accommodation: the one applying for family reunification needs to show that there is sufficient space for all of the family members to live, according to the provisions set forth by the Ministry of Health;
- proof of income: the foreign national who submits the application also needs to show that he or she has sufficient income to provide for all of the family members;
- health insurance: this is required and it can be a work health insurance that also covers family members;
- family relationship: a competent authority may perform personal interviews to establish the existence of the family relationship.
Are you interested in applying for a residence permit in Greece as one of the ones described above? Please reach out to our team of agents specialized in Greece immigration. They will be able to answer any particular questions and guide you throughout the application process. If you are already in the country and have one of these permits, we can provide assistance for applying for Greek citizenship when the time is right.
Should a consular or diplomatic authority refuse to allow entry for an individual who has made a visa application or the granting of a Greek residence permit, this action needs to be explained. The following situations concerning third-country nationals should also be explained, in those cases in which there are reasons to believe that public safety and security are concerned:
- refusals in case of third-country nationals who are family members of a Greek national;
- cases involving third-country nationals who are family members of national of another EU Member State;
- international protection beneficiaries and their family members;
- third-country nationals employed in companies that are established in another EU state and move to Greek to perform work under a relevant contractual obligation.
Other situations may apply. Our team of immigration agents can help you during the application procedure to ensure that the submission for the Greek residence permit is approved.
Third-country nationals who enter Greece for one of the reasons described herein are asked to meet the following requirements:
- hold a valid travel document that contains at least two blank pages, was issued in the past ten years and had a validity period that extends at least three months after the last intended departure date;
- they hold a valid national visa;
- they are not a threat to public policy, national security or international relations; moreover, they are not registered in the national database of undesirable aliens;
- they pose no threat to public health.
Residence permit in Greece for investment purposes
The investment residence permit can be attractive for non-EU citizens, particularly because it allows the holder to obtain permanent residence (a five-year permit that is subject to renewal, a period during which the holder may even apply for Greek citizenship by investment, should he comply with the requirements – thus making the stay permanent).
An advantage of the investment route is that the entrepreneur who purchases property or makes another significant investment is able to submit the residence permit application through a proxy. In fact, a non-EU national is able to never previously visit Greece when making this submission. He does however need to provide proof of the investment – a step that can also take place using a proxy for purchasing the property in the investor’s name. For the Greek residence permit application, the entrepreneur who has made an investment can reach out to one of our agents who will act as a proxy under a power of attorney. An important condition is that the said power of attorney is signed before a Greek consular authority. After this is done, the non-EU investor will be required to enter the country in the following 12 months in order to submit his biometric data with the authorities.
An investment residence permit is an attractive option for non-EU nationals who have the capital for the minimum investment because it also allows their family members to obtain residence permits. Our team of immigration specialists can give you more details on the requirements for this manner of acquiring residency, however, a key issue is to be able to observe the minimum investment of 250,000 EUR. The application for this type of residence permit can be submitted even if the applicant already has a residence permit for another purpose and it does not allow a change of purpose. The applicant can already be in the country (as opposed to the previously described situation in which he does not need to enter Greece) and he can apply for the residence permit for investor irrespective of the type of visa he holds when making the application.
Residing in Greece
Obtaining residency in Greece is subject to a number of steps and conditions as briefly described above. At the same time, some types of permits (such as the one that offers residency via property investment) are subject to nationality restrictions. After being residents for a minimum number of years, many foreign nationals are interested in the process of naturalization for the purpose of obtaining Greek citizenship.
Foreign nationals who hold a Greek residence permit need to observe the requirements for its renewal. This must be done within two months before the expiry date of the permit and the applicant must provide the required documents. Individuals may lodge an overdue application within one month after expiry, however, a fine applies in this case. No applications are received past the one-month period, unless the applicant can prove a reason for special circumstances (force majeure). The application is usually made by the residence permit holder, however, it can also be lodged by other parties: the spouse, authorized attorney, ascendants and adult descendants. Once the application is made, the individual receives a certificate that attests the fact that the application has been lodged. This replaces the residence permit until the new one is issued and during this time the holder has the same rights. However, should the application for renewal be rejected, the holder automatically loses the said rights.
According to Eurostat, Greece issued 35,571 permits in 2018. Our team of Greece immigration agents presents other data relevant to the types of permits issued in the same year:
- 2,816 of the total permits were issued for employment purposes; this was 8% of the total number of permits;
- 813 were issued for education purposes;
- 17,079 permits were issued for family purposes, and these had the largest percentage in 2018, of 48%.
Contact us if you are interested in moving to Greece and need to apply for a residence permit.