EuropeIntel & Data

Flying Start to the Year for Greek Golden Visa as Pricing Decision Looms

The Greek golden visa has had a sprightly start to the year, logging 686 applications received in January. This represents a 5% increase from January last year and a 10% decline from December.

The elevated demand for the program that began in late 2022 persists, and now that prices are reportedly set to rise again in many golden visa hotspots, there is little reason to expect a trend change in the short term.

Last month, Prime Minister Kyriakos told Parliament that prices for the real estate option would "soon" rise to as much as EUR 800,000 in certain areas, while they could remain at lower thresholds in areas where investment pressure is lower. More than a month since the initial announcement, however, the government has yet to confirm the details of the new rules.

Greek golden visa specialist lawyer Alexander Varnavas indicates the three-zone approach to the real estate option is being reconsidered and that these may instead become two. Together with other Greek law firms, Varnavas has submitted a three-zone proposal for thresholds of EUR 800,000 in Athens, Thessaloniki, Mykonos, and Santorini, EUR 500,000 in the Northern and Southern suburbs of Athens, and EUR 300,000 for the rest of the country.

"We are expecting an announcement before the end of the month," he tells IMI. "The most likely scenario is now a EUR 400,000 threshold for most of Greece, and EUR 800,000 in places like Athens, Thessaloniki, and the more popular islands, at least according to how I interpret the Prime Minister's public statements."

Greek immigration bureaus, however, have only been partly able to rise to the challenge of sustained higher application volumes: While average monthly processing volume has roughly doubled since 2022, application volume has more than tripled.

This has driven a corresponding expansion of the application backlog. A year ago, it numbered about 10,000. Today, nearly 30,000 investors and family members await either their initial golden visa or their renewals.

Practically all of that backlog growth has accrued to the Athens metropolitan area. In January, the number of pending applications diminished or plateaued at the immigration bureaus of every centralized authority except that of Attica, where it grew by 5.4%. All told, 90.2% of pending applications await adjudication in the capital region.

In January alone, 152 Chinese, 47 Turkish, 22 Lebanese, and 18 British applicants gained approvals.

Chinese nationals remain, by far, the program's largest participant group and also its fastest-growing one in absolute terms. Among the currently valid golden visas, six in ten belong to Chinese investors. Turks occupy a distant second place with 1,135 valid permits, followed by Lebanese at 742, Russians at 725, Iranians at 536, and Egyptians at 486.

The program continues to operate with an extremely low rejection rate. Among the 15,195 applications processed since 2018, only 140 (0.92%) have met with rejections.

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Christian Henrik Nesheim AdministratorKeymaster

Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine - online or offline - for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.

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