The Golden Visa program has this year been on a course of moderate recovery compared to 2020, according to the latest data compiled by the Migration Ministry.
The figures on the program offering five-year residence permits to non-European Union nationals who spend at least 250,000 euros on property in Greece showed that 151 Golden Visas were issued last month, taking the sum over the year’s first 11 months to 989. Throughout 2020 938 such permits had been issued, which means that, depending on the course of December, the total figure for this year will come close to or exceed 1,000.
Nevertheless, market experts tell Kathimerini that buying interest is much higher than that reflected in permit numbers. Achilleas Risvas, head of the Risvas & Partners law firm, which is an active member of the Geneva-based Investment Migration Council, says “purchases made by third-country investors this year are far higher than the permits issued. We have a great number of investors who have completed the process of buying a property, but have not yet managed to advance their residence permit applications, due to the months of delays at a number of land registry or cadastral offices.”
That is a problem that is seriously hampering Golden Visas, as besides the signing of the contract, investors must also have the title deeds in their hands, which requires the transfer of the contract at the competent land registry or cadastral office. However, the ongoing process of transforming the land registries into cadastral offices and the transition phase several offices are in means delays can stretch to six months, leading to the concession of the several Golden Visas in 2022 when they should have been issued from this year.
Based on the latest statistics, since the program started in 2014, 9,473 such permits have been issued to individual investors, and a total of 28,411 including their family members. The lion’s share have gone to the Chinese, who account for 67% or 6,367 permits. A distant second is Turkish nationals with 605, followed by Russians and Lebanese.