BUSINESS

New momentum likely for Golden Visas

NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU

TAGS: Property, Economy

Greek property sector experts anticipate a jump in demand from investors from Britain over the next few months. This is thanks to people interested in obtaining a Greek residence permit or even a Greek passport, so that they can move freely between the UK and the European Union after the completion of Brexit within a few months.

In this context, as officials from global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners and investment immigration specialists Astons recently told Reuters, there has been a surge in interest in Greece and Cyprus in the last few weeks, estimated at 30% for the former and 50% for the latter. The Greek Golden Visa program may have a lower threshold, at 250,000 euros of property investment, against €300,000 for the Cypriot program, but the Greek citizenship requirements include that the investor has lived in Greece for at least seven years.

This interest is a very important development, as the Golden Visa program that has been practically frozen due to the pandemic could restart with even greater momentum than in the recent past, adding another major country of origin for its investor-beneficiaries. After all, property buyers from Britain have ranked among the most active in the Greek real estate market for several years now. They will now have an extra incentive to invest in Greece.

Property market professionals point out that this incentive could become even more attractive considering Greece now has a program inviting pensioners from other European countries to transfer their tax residence to this country. The regulation that already applies provides that any pensioner from a foreign country who takes their tax domicile to Greece will pay a flat income tax of just 7% of their pension for the first 10 years of their relocation.

Besides the requirement of a double taxation avoidance agreement between Greece and the country where the pension is issued, a vital condition for eligibility is for pensioners to stay in Greece for at least 183 days per year. They should also have been a tax resident of a country other than Greece over five of the last six years.

The deadline for applications for each financial year expires on March 31 each year, but for 2020 the deadline is on Wednesday, September 30.

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