ATHENS – While Greeks in the Diaspora have to wait two years or more if they want citizenship and lengthy delays for residency permits, rich foreigners with no connection to the country are lining up to get theirs – for a minimum investment of 250,000 euros ($244,300) that will be doubled.
The Golden Visa scheme, as it is called, has proved so popular that’s the third most sought after in the European Union, along with those from Latvia and also Portugal, where there has been some drop in interest.
The program gives five-year residency to investors and their families and the valuable European Union passport although the minimum to be eligible is being raised to 500,000 euros ($488,750.)
That was being done, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, because investors were snapping up Greek properties, particularly in Athens, and driving Greeks out of their own neighborhoods and raising rents.
The attractiveness of the Greek Golden Visas was for the third quarter of 2022 that ends in November, said property brokers Tranio, reported GTP Headlines, saying demand for them soared 290 percent.
The program is not without critics, however, including the EU, which said it can be susceptible to money laundering and a way for criminals to hide their income and be rewarded with passports.