The long-awaited changes on Migration and Social Inclusion Greek Code with regards to the granting of the co-called “golden visas” to third-country nationals have been recently entered into force by virtue of the article 42 of Law 4605/2019 on ‘’Commercial Confidentiality/Public Works/Investments/Protection of First Residence etc.’’, reforming article 16 of Migration and Social Inclusion Code (Law 4251/2014). The provisions of article 42 of Law 4605/2019 are aiming to improve and complement the current regime for granting residence permits to third-country nationals investing in Greece (Golden Visa), taking into consideration the needs of the Greek market, the continuing interest of foreign investors and the relevant international practice.
The amendments on Migration and Social Inclusion Code entered into force have as follows:
Moreover, paragraph C is added to the provisions of Article 16 of the aforementioned Law 4251/2014, which broadens the scope of the applicable regime adding intangible investments within the investment activities as well, for which an entrance and residence permit may be granted to third-country nationals.
In particular, it is stipulated that the entrance and residence of a third-country national in Greece is now permitted, in case said national has made an investment in one of the following categories:
a capital injection of a minimum amount of four hundred thousand euros (400.000,00€), regarding at least one company, which has a registered seat or establishment in Greece, with the exception of Investment Fund Companies and of Real Estate Investment Companies, when said capital injection regards the acquisition of shares during a share capital increase or the acquisition of bonds during the issuing of a bond loan, which are introduced for negotiation in regulated markets or mutli-party negotiation mechanisms, which operate in Greece.
a capital injection of a minimum amount of four hundred thousand euros (400.000,00€), to a Real Estate Investment Societe Anonyme of article 21 of Law N. 2778/1999, which intends to invest exclusively in Greece, for the acquisition of shares during the capital share increase thereof.
a purchase of Greek Government Bonds, of a minimum acquisition value of four hundred thousand euros (400.000,00€), and of a minimum remainder three (3) year term, at the time of purchase, through a financial institution located in Greece, which shall constitute the trustee/depository thereof.
a term deposit of a minimum amount of four-hundred thousand euros (400.000,00€), at a local financial institution, of a minimum term of one (1) year, with a standing order of renewal.
a purchase of shares of a minimum acquisition value of four-hundred thousand Euros (400.000,00€), in a mutual fund which has been established in Greece or another country and is intended to invest exclusively in shares, corporate bonds or Greek Government Bonds, which are introduced for negotiation or are negotiated in regulated markets or multi-party negotiating mechanisms which operate in Greece, if: aa) the level of the assets of the mutual fund is of a minimum amount of three million euros (3.000.000,00€) and bb) the mutual fund and the administrator are authorized by the supervising authority of the capital market of the country of its registered seat, and in case of non EU countries, such supervising authority is required to be a member of the International Organization of Security Commissions (IOSCO) and that it has entered into a bilateral Information Exchange Agreement with the Hellenic Capital Market Commission.
In all the aforementioned cases of investment under a-f, by a legal entity, the entrance and residence in Greece of third-country nationals is permitted, as follows:
For an investment of an amount at least equal to that provided in each one of the aforementioned cases, which is made by a local (Greek) legal entity, the entrance and residence permit in Greece of a third-country national is permitted, if said legal entity is wholly-owned by the third-country national;
For an investment made by a foreign legal entity, depending on the amount of the investment, the entrance and residence in Greek of up to three (3) third-country nationals is permitted, who are shareholders or executives of such a foreign legal entity.
The investor/third-country national, who, under his capacity as such in all the aforementioned cases, has acquired a valid national visa, shall be granted with a residence permit of a five (5) year term, by virtue of a relevant decision of the Minister of Immigration Policy. Such a residence permit can be subsequently renewed for a five (5) year term each time, provided that the relevant investment has been ‘’held’’ (maintained) and all the legal prerequisites for the provision of the residence permit have been fulfilled. This means that the investor has to first obtain and present a recent certificate of the ‘’holding’’ (maintenance) of his investment of the competent authority (e.g. a bank institution), as well as the rest of the necessary documentation, as this is provided in Article 136 par.1 of Law 4251/2014, as amended and in force today.
It is provided that the Foreign Investment Department of the Ministry of Finance and Development is competent for certifying the execution and maintenance of the investment, in order the competent Authorities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Migration Policy, Finance and Development to grant the national visa and the residence permit respectively.
Lastly it should be noted that on the residence permit of investors/third-country nationals of all the aforementioned cases, the note ‘’Residence permit for an investment on titles or bank deposit’’ is inscripted and on the relevant field ‘’Observations’’, each specific investment case is written.
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