Archive for December, 2018

RESIDENCE PERMITS FOR OWNERS OF REAL ESTATE IN GREECE 2018

Law 4251of 2014, also referred to as the Immigration and Social Integration Code, (as amended and hereinafter referred to as the “Law”), provides the opportunity to non- European Union nationals to obtain a permanent residence permit by investing in real estate in Greece.

THE INVESTOR’S PERMANENT RESIDENCE PERMIT

According to the provisions of the Law, a citizen of a third country (i.e. non EU- national), having entered in Greece legally through any type of entry visa or already residing in Greece legally, is entitled to apply for a residence permit which is valid for 5 years in Greece, if:

 


 

1. THE SAID PERSON HOLDS EITHER PERSONALLY OR THROUGH A CORPORATE ENTITY THE SHARES OF WHICH ARE FULLY OWNED BY HIM/ HER, IN FULL OWNERSHIP AND POS-SESSION, REAL ESTATE IN GREECE, WITH THE VALUE OF THE PROPERTY AMOUNTING TO AT LEAST €250 000.

  • The terms “value of the property” refer to the value mentioned in the sale contract (i.e. it is not a reference to the fair market value of the property).
  • The property may consist of several real estate properties the total value of which must be equal to or exceed €250 000.
  • In case of co- ownership of the property, the residence permit is granted only if the value of each percentage of ownership of each co- owner amounts to €250 000.
  • In case of co- ownership between spouses the residence permit is granted only if the property is owned jointly.

OR

2. THE SAID PERSON HAS ENTERED INTO A TIMESHARE AGREEMENT OR A LEASE FOR HOTEL

ACCOMMODATIONS OR FURNISHED TOURISTIC RESIDENCES IN A COMBINED TOURIST FA-

CILITY IN GREECE, FOR A DURATION OF AT LEAST 10 YEARS, IN AN AMOUNT NOT LESS

THAN 250 000 €.

  • The amount of the lease must be paid upfront, upon the execution of the relevant agreement.

The holder of an investor’s permanent residence permit, may be accompanied by the members of his/ her family, to which a personal residence permit may be granted upon filing a relevant application. The residence permit of the said family members expires simultaneously with the residence permit of the sponsor.

The following persons are considered to be family members for the purposes of the foregoing:

  • The spouse
  • The direct descendants of the spouses or of either one of them, who are aged under 21 years old
  • The direct ascendants of the spouses

 

DURATION OF THE INVESTOR’S PERMANENT RESIDENCE PERMIT

The residence permit is granted for 5 years and may be renewed upon relevant application for another five- year periods for as long as the property remains under the ownership and possession of the applicant or the lease agreements remains in force and provided that all the relevant conditions required by law are fulfilled.

The sale of the property during the validity period of the residence permit to another non- EU citizen provides to the new buyer the right to be granted a residence permit along with the simultaneous revocation of the residence permit of the seller.

 

PROCEDURE

Step 1:

Application for an entry visa for the Greek territory at the consulate authority of the applicant’s country of origin (where applicable).

Step 2:

Purchase of the property or entry into lease/ timeshare agreement and collection of the required supporting documentation.

Step 3:

Submission of the documents to the relevant authority and payment of the application fee amounting to € 2016.

It is worth noting that the applicant is not required to submit the documents in person, and thus the filing of the application may be effected through a power of attorney, provided that the applicant has entered the country in order to assign his representation to a lawyer, before the expiry of the relevant entry visa.

Step 4:

Receipt of a document confirming submission of the application. The said document is valid for one year and may be used as temporary permit until the issuance of the final permit. This document will allow the applicant to travel freely to and from Greece, without however granting the applicant the right to travel to any other country within the Schengen area.

Step 5:

Verification by the competent authorities of the application and documents submitted and issuance of the relevant decision/ residence permit.

 

ADVANTAGES

  • Possibility to stay in Greece continuously for the entire duration of the residence permit and to have access to public health and education, in the same terms and conditions as Greek citizens.
  • Possibility to travel freely within the Schengen area, without a visa, provided that the stay in the said countries does not exceed 90 days per six-month period, with a right to multiple entries, without it being required to enter the Schengen area through Greece.
  • Possibility to lease the real estate property or properties acquired in Greece and receive rent.
  • Possibility to renew the residence permit as many times as the applicant wishes (so long as the conditions required by the Law remain fulfilled) for 5-year periods.
  • Absences from Greece do not impede the possibility for renewal of the residence permit.
  • Possibility to enter into the regimes for long-term residency or acquire the citizenship provided that the specific conditions required by law for accessing those regimes are fulfilled in addition.

 

December 2018

*This document does not amount to professional legal advice as it is only intended for information purposes.

View PDF (EN)

View PDF (CHINESE)

RESIDENCE PERMITS FOR INVESTORS, ENTREPRNEURS AND FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT PERSONS

1. INVESTMENT IN IMMOVABLE PROPERTY : THE “INVESTOR’S PERMANENT RESIDENCE PERMIT”

WHO CAN APPLY?

1- A person holding either personally or through a corporate entity the shares of which are fully owned by him/ her, in full ownership and possession, real estate in Greece, with the value of the property amounting to at least €250 000.

OR

2- A person having entered into a timeshare agreement or a lease for hotel accommodations or furnished touristic residences in a combined tourist facility in Greece, for a duration of at least 10 years, in an amount not less than €250 000.

The holder of an” investor’s permanent residence permit”, may be accompanied by the members of his/ her family, to which a personal residence permit may be granted upon filing a relevant application and which expires simultaneously with the residence permit of the sponsor.

The following persons are considered to be family members for the purposes of the foregoing:

  • The spouse
  • The direct descendants of the spouses or of either one of them, who are aged under 21 years old
  • The direct ascendants of the spouses

Duration of the residence permit:

The residence permit is granted for 5 years and may be renewed upon relevant application for further five- year periods for as long as the property remains under the ownership and possession of the applicant or the lease agreements remains in force and provided that all the relevant conditions required by law are fulfilled.

The sale of the property during the validity period of the residence permit to another non- EU citizen provides to the new buyer the right to be granted a residence permit along with the simultaneous revocation of the residence permit of the seller.

Access to labour market: this type of residence permit does not provide access to labour market

 


 

2. FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT PERSONS

Who can apply?

Non- EU citizens having adequate resources at a level of steady annual income for the coverage of their living expenses may apply for a 2- year residence permit.

Such persons may be accompanied by members of their families to whom a personal residence permit is granted.

Sufficient Income:

The condition for sufficient income must exist for each member of the family. The minimum income is 2000 euros/ month and in case the person is accompanied by his family, this amount is increased by 20% for the spouse and 15% for each child.

The amount of the income may be proved by pension abroad, bank account or other proof that the person has its own sufficient income, of legal origin, to cover its expenses without being employed or exercise an independent economic activity in Greece.

Persons entitled to receive a pension from a Greek Institution of Principal Insurance may renew their residence permit, independently of the amount of the pension.

Duration of the residence permit:

The residence permit for financially independent persons is issued for 2 years and may be renewed.

Access to labour market: this type of residence permit does not allow access to the labour market.

 


 

3. SPECIAL PURPOSE RESIDENCE PERMIT FOR MEMBERS OF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS, SHARE- HOLDERS, MANAGERS, LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES AND SENIOR MANAGING OFFICERS OF GREEK COMPANIES AS WELL AS SUBSIDIARIES AND BRANCHES OF FOREIGN COMPANIES

Who can apply?

  • members of boards of directors,
  • shareholders,
  • managers,
  • legal representatives and
  • senior executives

of Greek corporate entities as well as subsidiaries and branches of foreign companies.

The aforementioned persons may be accompanied by the members of their family, to whom a permit for family reunification may be granted.

Conditions:

  • The company/ branch/ subsidiary is legally exercising a business activity in Greece.
  • Τhe Greek company/ business employs at least 25 persons.

Exception:

  • The requirement to employ at least 25 persons does not apply in case of members of boards of directors, shareholders, managers, legal representatives and senior executives of subsidiaries and branches of foreign companies legally exercising a business activity in Greece.

Duration of the residence permit:

This type of residence permit is issued for 2 years or for a period equal to the expected duration of the applicant’s stay in Greece and is renewed every three years.

Access to labour market: the exercise of a specific profession is allowed.

 


 

ABSENCES FROM GREECE

In relation to persons having obtained a residence permit through investment in immovable property or persons who are financially independent, the law provides that periods of absence from Greece do not impede the renewal of the permit.

For all other residence permits mentioned hereinabove, the general provisions of the law apply, which provide that the validity of the residence permit, is not affected by temporary absences which do not exceed six months per year or longer absences in case of military service, or other serious reasons, such as pregnancy, motherhood, serious illness, studies or professional training in another member state or third country.

 


 

OUR SERVICES

Our Firm provides legal advice and assistance in matters concerning the application by foreigners for residence permits.

December 2018

 

*This document does not amount to professional legal advice as it is only intended for information purposes.

 

View PDF

Deputy Ministry of Shipping – Cyprus

In recent years, efforts have been made to upgrade and further develop the maritime industry of Cyprus.

When the Deputy Ministry of Shipping begun its operation, 168 companies were registered under the Cyprus tonnage tax system while today it has risen up to 191 companies in total.

The Deputy Minister of Shipping, Ms. Natasa Pilides stated that attempts are being made to simplify the procedures and modernize legislation so as to make Cyprus more competitive as a Register and as a maritime cluster. She also highlighted that attempts are being made to digitalize and modernize the Cyprus systems in order to make the Cyprus Registry even more attractive.

The budget of the Deputy Ministry for the year 2019 is 9.8 million euro compared to 8.1 million euros for the year 2018, i.e. an increase of 1.7 million euros. This is due to the large increase in the budget expenditure growth which is mainly because of the commercial shipping promotion and development activities.

The Deputy Ministry’s revenue for the year 2018 is estimated around 12 million euro while the indirect incomes of the maritime industry is estimated at 800 million euros which amounts to 7% of the GDP of the island. According to Ms. Pilidou, there are currently around 1100 seagoing ships and 600-700 small vessels under the Cypriot flag.

Based on these facts it is evident that the maritime industry of Cyprus is gradually evolving. The shipping fleet of Cyprus is the 10th largest worldwide and has 25% of the whole EU fleet. By continuously updating its services and striving for perfection in the field of shipping it will not be a surprise if Cyprus conquers the top in the near future.

Legal Update: Amendments to the Greek Tax Legislation

On 28/11/2018, the Greek Parliament voted important amendments to the Greek tax legislation such as the reduction of the property tax for the year 2019 for certain owners of real estate in Greece as well as a gradual decrease of the Greek corporate income tax.

More specifically, with a view to encourage investments and improve competitiveness of businesses, article 58 of the Greek Income Tax Code is amended so as to gradually decrease the tax rate applicable to profits from business activity of corporate entities from 29% (corporate income tax rate applicable today) to 25% for income earned as of the financial year 2022 and the following years.

As such, the Greek corporate income tax rate shall be reduced by 1% per year, applicable as of the income of the financial year 2019. Thus the income of the financial year 2019 shall be subject to a rate of 28%. Accordingly, for 2020 the tax rate shall be 27% and for 2021 the tax rate shall be 26%.

The Parliament, aiming to provide relief to the tax payers who are owners of low value real estate in Greece, further voted a decrease of the Greek property tax (ENFIA) for the year 2019.

According to the amendment introduced, specifically for the year 2019, when the total value of the real estate property held by a natural person which is subject to property tax, is up to the amount of 60 000 euros, the corresponding property tax shall be reduced by 30%. When the total value of the said real estate exceeds the amount of 60 000 euros, for the excess thereof, the amount of reduction of the tax (30%) shall be reduced by 0.7 euros per 1000 euros of the real estate and may not exceed 100 euros.