Golden Visa: Golden Chance to Retire in Greece

retire in greece

If enjoying the olive groves and Mediterranean climate seems like a paradise, then choosing to retire in Greece through the Golden Visa program is the right move for you. With an abundance of sunshine, culture, and welcoming residents of Greece, the country makes for an ideal haven for retired foreign nationals. The Greece Golden Visa program makes it financially beneficial to make the most of retired life.

Immigration Explorer covers the lifestyle and advantages awaiting foreign nationals who choose to retire in Greece through this attractive Residency by Investment Program.

Retire in Greece with Three Boosts to Quality of Life

Selecting a retirement destination is more than simply choosing the most gorgeous beachside locale. It is important for foreign retired nationals to also improve their standard of living and gain valuable access to resources such as healthcare and maximized budgeting potentials.

When opting to retire in Greece, foreign nationals don’t have to worry about the lengths their savings and pensions will go. They can even find ways to earn additional income on rental properties purchased as an investment route for the Greece Golden Visa program. Find out what makes living in the country ideal for more than 10,000 foreign investors already residing in this European country.

Healthcare in Greece

Although Greece has no universal healthcare program for foreign residents through the Golden Visa program, many quality and affordable private health insurance plans are available that cover a range of medical conditions and concerns. If a foreign national decides to stay in the country full-time, they will need to purchase private healthcare insurance.

In terms of healthcare comparison, Greece ranked 14th in the world with a population of 10 million and a relatively good average for doctor-to-patient ratio. Also, there are a variety of medical institutions to choose from and many private institutions offer services in English. 

Moreover, Greek residents enjoy the benefits of being able to easily travel to other parts of the EU, providing a greater network of healthcare-related resources and specialized care.

Culture and Language

Infused with a blend of ancient civilizations and developed, modern lifestyle, Greece and the Greek islands offer a never-ending list of cultures to explore. The country has influenced much of the world’s fine arts, philosophy, and politics through the centuries, emerging as the cultural and business hub many foreigners know it as today.

Eighteen UNESCO World Heritage sites and an expense of diverse natural terrain make the adventure of choosing to retire in Greece exciting and memorable. The local cuisine and the sunny annual weather make the country an easy as well as a healthy retirement destination.

While the majority of residents speak Greek, there are many foreign nationals and multilingual residents that live in Greece. English and French can be found throughout the country, especially in areas frequently visited by tourists. Having some basic understanding of the Greek language does make living in the country more comfortable and manageable.

Strong Passport

The Greece Golden Visa program allows foreign residents and their families to travel visa-free to the entire Schengen area and many international flights connect Greece with other major global destinations. Whether for vacation or simply visiting relatives, Greece provides a strategic and beneficial location for retired nationals who want to stay connected with the rest of the globe.

Although Greece does not have a Citizenship by Investment Program, there are routes to citizenship for retired foreign nationals in the Golden Visa Residency program that retire in Greece and stay within the country for a duration of 7 years. Citizenship is transferable to descendants and rewards citizens with access to the 8th most powerful passport worldwide.

The Greece Golden Visa Program for Retirement

In order to retire in Greece through the Golden Visa program, an applicant must make a real estate investment amounting to ~293,000 USD (250,000€). There are many options for property investment around parts of the country and the Greek islands, depending on your lifestyle preference and budget. 

Unlike other programs, investors may select either residential properties, timeshare investments, or commercial land and/or property. 

Another interesting benefit of the program is the ability for foreign investors to use real estate property from donation or family concession to meet the requirements of the program if the amount meets the financial investment minimums and is in the applicant’s name.

Additional Options to Invest

For foreign nationals hoping to retire in Greece without a real estate investment, investment in Greek securities and companies at a minimum of ~468,000 USD (400,000€) qualifies an applicant for the Golden Visa program. A joint contract with other foreign nationals or a legal entity in which the applicant is the sole owner can also lead to approval of Greece residency through the program.

Retired foreign nationals with larger budgets may choose to invest more than ~585,000 USD (500,000€) and take advantage of a special flat tax rate of ~117,000 USD (100,000€) on all foreign-sourced income for 15 years.

Who Can Apply

The Golden Visa program is one of the most family-extensive programs among European countries. The main application includes the applicant’s family as well as in-laws. This includes non-EU foreign nationals over the age of 18, the spouse, unmarried dependents under the age of 21, and parents of both spouses. Visiting or living in the country is not required for residency approval.

Duration of Program

Through the real estate investment option, retired foreign nationals are granted a five-year residence permit. The residency can be renewed every five years as long as the real estate investment is maintained. One of the perks of the Greece Golden Visa program is the ability to live outside the country without losing residency status.

In about 90 days, a foreign national can retire in Greece and begin enjoying the lifestyle benefits of this unique Mediterranean destination.

What to Know about Taxes on Pensions and Real Estate

While Greece has a progressive income tax regime ranging from 9 to 44%, a new government initiative drafted by the Greek government aims to attract foreign nationals to retire in Greece by rolling out measures to tax retired foreigners at a flat rate of 7%. The plan, if implemented, would be effective for the first 10 years that a retired national stays in Greece and would apply to all sources of income.

For non-EU nationals who purchase real estate property in Greece for the Golden Visa program and EU nationals relocating with the hopes of using real estate as an excellent additional source of income, rental income tax applies. Rental income is subject to taxation at rates between 15 and 45%. As Greece is a popular destination for visitors and new residents, the estimated ROI on rental properties is 3 to 7% yearly.

Further considerations for those who choose to retire in Greece and purchase property are both the property tax (0-2%) and local real estate duty (TAP; 0.025-0.035%).

The Takeaway

Foreign nationals who retire in Greece not only have ample options to improve their quality of life but also have access to investment opportunities that help them get the most out of their retirement funds. Those who don’t plan to live full-time in the country can use the real estate property to further their financial goals and expand their network of travel, tax, and healthcare resources.

Immigration Explorer can help you compare the Greece Golden Visa program to other international destinations so that you can decide if your best move is to retire in Greece. Consult with our team of international experts and get connected to the lifestyle that you want most. We can assist you in determining the best location for healthcare concerns, money-saving opportunities, and travel needs.

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