By Christos ILIOPOULOS*
Many foreign nationals wish to stay for a prolonged period of time in Greece for various reasons. The nationals of European Union (EU) member states have the right to reside in Greece indefinitely with no or minimal bureaucratic requirements. Nationals of non – EU countries are basically divided in two categories. Those of non – EU countries who have the automatic right to reside in Greece for a period of maximum 90 days within a period of six months of their arrival in Greece, either continuously or in intervals. And the nationals of those non – EU countries who cannot come to Greece, unless they have first been issued a specific visa from the Consulate of Greece in the country of their residence.
Those non – EU nationals who wish to stay longer than 90 days in Greece, and those who have arrived in Greece with a visa type D, have the option to apply for and get a residence permit in Greece as financially independent persons, provided they satisfy the legal conditions. To be able to file such an application in Greece, you need first to apply at the Consulate of Greece in your country for a specific visa (usually type D). You will be interviewed by the Consulate personnel and will be asked to provide written proof that you have a stable monthly income of at least 2,000 Euros (in the equivalent currency) or savings in your bank account of at least 24,000 Euros, amounts which represent a stable yearly income necessary to support personal and family expenditure per year, without having to work in Greece. Such written proof of monthly income or possession of sufficient financial means, could be pension schemes in your country or bank statements, which prove your bank balance or both and in some cases, also other legal documents showing property ownership or business activity, which provides the minimum required financial means to be allowed to stay in Greece without working in the country. You will also have to obtain medical insurance for your stay in Greece with minimum requirements.
Once you obtain your specific visa from the Consulate of Greece, which will have a maximum duration of one year, you can come to Greece and apply for your residence permit as a financially independent person (FIP). You do not have to buy property in Greece worth a minimum of 250,000 Euros (and in some cases 500,000 Euros), as in the case of the so called “Golden Visa”. The government levy for filing your application is 1,016 Euros and another 150 Euros for the applicant’s spouse. You must have your valid passport with the visa stamp for stay in Greece and passport type photographs. Plus, you must either own or lease property in Greece and to prove it you must have copies of the deeds of ownership or the rental agreement filed with the Greek tax authority. Which means that you must also have or obtain a Greek tax number. This will not make you have to file income taxes in Greece, if you do not earn income in Greece.
The applicant must be able to provide evidence of the stable monthly income of minimum 2,000 Euros or bank balance of minimum 24,000 Euros. If the applicant is accompanied by members of his/her family, the above requirements are increased by 20% for the spouse and by 15% for each dependent child. Once the application is filed on line, the system issues a written proof of filing, which serves essentially as a temporary residence permit, allowing the applicant (and its family, if applicable) to stay in Greece more than 90 days and essentially until the time the basic residence permit is issued in several months’ time. During the temporary residence permit period, the applicant can stay in Greece and travel back and forth only to his/her country of nationality.
*Christos ILIOPOULOS, attorney at the Supreme Court of Greece , LL.M. www.greekadvocate.eu, e-mail: [email protected]