EuropeIntel & Data

Greek Golden Visa Has Backlog Worth €1.5 Billion as Applications Surge Ahead of Price-Hike

Buoyed by the long-heralded doubling of the minimum real estate investment requirements in 36 densely populated municipalities, set to take effect on August 1st this year, the Greek golden visa has seen application volumes reach all-time highs since the government first announced the reform in September last year.

As of May 1st this year, pending golden visa applications number 15,847, distributed as follows:

  • 5,114 initial applications pertaining to main applicants
  • 8,125 initial applications pertaining to dependents
  • 888 renewal applications pertaining to main applicants
  • 1,720 renewal applications pertaining to dependents

In the six months to May 2023, Greece received an average of 786 applications a month, more than triple the average monthly volume of the preceding six months. While processing capacity has also expanded, it has been unable to keep pace with the sharp increase in applications, resulting in a backlog that has grown for eight consecutive months.

Indeed, the government has yet to process more than 700 files it received in the period before 2022:

Presuming an average Greek golden visa investment of EUR 300,000, the 5,114 unprocessed principal applicant applications alone are worth more than EUR 1.5 billion.

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Attica, Greece's capital region, is home to about 4 in 10 Greeks, but to 8 in 10 of the nearly 16,000 unprocessed golden visa applications. The second-biggest backlog, far behind Attica, is Crete, where 838 applications are pending.

The program looks destined for a record year: By the end of the first third of 2023, Greece had already received 2,618 applications - i.e., some 60% of last year's total - indicating 2023 will see application volume reach well beyond all previous records. Approval volume, however, is less likely to break records: By May 1st, Greece had approved 1,090 applications, which is not on track to beat the 2019 approval record of 3,963.

Some 62% of those now holding initial Greek golden visas are Chinese, followed distantly by Turks (7%), Lebanese (5%), Russians (4%), and Egyptians (3%).

Among those holding already-renewed permits, however, the Chinese (late-comers to the Greek golden visa customer pool) are underrepresented at only 35%, followed by Russians (19%), Turks (11%), Egyptians (7%), and Lebanese (4%).

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