GREECE COUNTRY PROFILE
Overview Located in southeast Europe, Greece is at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa and shares its borders with Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey and a number of seas, including the Mediterranean, Aegean, Ionian and Cretan. Greece is made up of mainland Greece along with many islands, of which 227 are inhabited.
Education and health Education is both free and compulsory for children aged 4-15 and is made up of Kindergarten, primary schools and Gymnasium. There are a number of international schools in Athens. Higher education includes Universities and the Technological sector (institutes) as well as non-university tertiary institutes offering vocational courses. Some 72% of Greek adults aged 25-64 have completed secondary education, slightly less than the OECD average of 74%. Life expectancy in Greece is among the highest in the world, at average 81.9 years (2018), slightly above the EU average. Greece has universal healthcare, which combines a national health service with social health insurance, and which is available to all residents/citizens. According to the WHO’s 2019 ranking of the world’s health systems, Greece came 14th out of 190 countries. Hospitals and clinics are widespread and fully equipped (as of 2014, there were 124 public hospitals and in 2018) and Greece’s latest healthcare spend was 7.8% of GDP (compared with EU average of 9.5%), however, the country maintains the highest doctor-to-population ratio of any OECD country and the highest doctor-to-patient ratio in the EU.
Transport Since the 1980s, the road and rail network has been significantly modernised and there are a number of motorways connecting the different areas of Greece. Athens boasts one of the most modern and efficient public transport systems in Europe with a motorway network and Metro system. A modern rail system connects Athens and second city Thessaloniki, while international lines connect Greek cities with the rest of Europe, the Balkans and Turkey. In addition to Athens International Airport, 14 Greek islands boast international airports making access easy, including two on the island of Crete, as well as on Corfu, Zakynthos, Rhodes, Kos, Mykonos, Santorini and Skiathos, among others. Direct flights to many destinations are frequent, especially throughout summer. Furthermore, Greece’s two airlines, Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines, offer many domestic flights from the cities to the islands, while Hydrofoils, ferryboats and catamarans also provide transportation between the islands.
Lifestyle Boasting the 11th longest coastline in the world and with 227 inhabited islands, beachside and sea activities are a central part of the Greek lifestyle; and with 80 per cent of Greece made up of mountains (Mount Olympus is the highest peak at 2,918m). With its ancient civilisation and cultural legacy, Greece boasts many monuments, museums, relics, cultural events and activities. It boasts 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It’s a vibrant country with shops open until late and much life on the street. Greece boasts 320 sunny days a year and delivers a relaxed lifestyle surrounded by friendly, hospitable people.
Climate A primarily Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers.
Population 10.72 million (2019)
Languages The vast majority of the population speak Greek, which is country’s official language. Macedonian, Albanian and Turkish spoken by various communities throughout. English is widely spoken.
Religion More than 90% of citizens identify as Eastern Orthodox, belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church.
Capital City Athens, its largest city.
GDP Per Capita US$20,324.25
Economy While Greece experienced The Greek Crisis, triggered by the 2007-2009 Recession, which left the country with a high budget deficit and high public debt to GDP ratio, the Greek economy, which is a developed and advanced high-income one, is currently bouncing back from a 10-year recession. A founding member of the UN and the 10th country to join the EU, Greece’s economy is the largest in the Balkans. Its economy mainly comprises the service sector (85%), industry (12%) and agriculture (3%). Tourism is a huge part of the Greek economy, as is merchant shipping, with tourism contributing 20.6% of GDP (2018).
Did you know…? According to data from the Bank of Greece, the Housing Index in Greece increased to 65.60 points in Q4 2019 (up from 59.00 points in Q2 2017). The Greek residential investment market is expected to continue growing and to improve in quality with demand for holiday homes on the rise.
GREECE RESIDENCY BY INVESTMENT PROGRAMME
- Minimum outlay €250,000
- Processing time 2 months to residency / 7 years to citizenship
- Residency or travel requirements 1 day in Greece every 5 years
- Freedom of movement 184 countries
- Investment Options 10
Overview Applicants can gain citizenship via a residency route offered by its residency by investment programme. It is known as a residency by investment programme, rather than a citizenship by investment programme due to the fact that applicants must maintain a residency permit and investment for seven years before being granted citizenship. Launched in 2013, the Golden Visa Program, which is currently suspended due to Covid-19 and is set to be re-launched post-Covid, allows non-Europeans to gain permanent residency via a renewable permit by investing in property. The residency permit needs to be renewed every five years.
Pros Visa-free travel to 184 countries and the ability to live, work and study in the EU. Investors can rent out the investment property. There is no requirement to reside in Greece during the residence period. Residence is applicable to the entire family, including married spouse, children under 21 and parents of applicant and spouse. Affordable minimum investment of €250,000. Properties are currently under-valued due to the national debt crisis so it is a good time to invest; as well as offering a quick and reliable ROI, they will likely increase in price and demand. Residency is permanent and can be renewed indefinitely even if citizenship not claimed. Investment can be sold once citizenship is claimed. Residency permit takes only a few months to process. In addition to the property investment option, there are plenty of other investment options to choose from. Investment properties are wide-ranging, from apartments, villas and detached houses, to entire buildings, shops, offices, hotels and plots of land. Greece offers a high quality of life and high standard of living and the economy is bouncing back from a 10-year recession. Cost of living in Greece is among the lowest in Europe.
Cons Those desiring Greek citizenship will have to wait seven years, so it is quite a long journey to citizenship, however, during this period, only investment (and not residency in Greece) is required. Applicants will need to maintain investment in Greece for seven years.
USP The lowest required amount for investment in obtaining citizenship of a European country.
Ease of processing Via the Golden Visa Program, applicants can obtain residency within two months and will be provided with a permanent resident permit which is indefinitely renewable but must be renewed every five years. Once the permit is granted, applicants can live with their families in Greece, but do not need to, and can travel without restrictions throughout Europe. Permanent resident holders can then apply for citizenship after seven years, after which their investment can be sold, if wished.
Freedom of movement As a European country, citizens of Greece can live, work and study in the 27 member states of the European Union. The Greek passport packs a powerful punch, ranking 8th worldwide and with visa-free access to 184 countries.
Investment options 10
GREECE RBI INVESTMENTS
Option 1 An investment of €250,000 (plus taxes) in real estate property.
Option 2 A 10-year lease agreement for hotel accommodation or furnished tourist residences in tourist accommodation complexes or a 10-year time-sharing agreement for hotel accommodation.
Option 3 A capital contribution with a minimum value of €400,000 to a company that has its registered office or establishment in Greece for the acquisition of shares in a share capital increase or bonds that are admitted for trading on regulated markets or multilateral trading mechanisms that operate in Greece.
Option 4 A capital contribution with a minimum value of €400,000 to a real estate investment company that will invest exclusively in Greece, for the acquisition of shares in a share capital increase.
Option 5 A capital contribution with a minimum value of €400,000 to a closed-end investment company for the acquisition of shares or to a closed-end mutual fund for the purchase of shares provided the investments are in companies with HQ or establishments in Greece.
Option 6 Purchase of Greek government bonds worth €400,000 minimum and residual maturity of at least three years at the time of purchase, via a credit institution established in Greece.
Option 7 Purchase of shares, corporate bonds and/or Greek government bonds worth €800,000 minimum. They must be admitted for traded or traded on regulated markets.
Option 8 Purchase of units to the value of €400,000 of a mutual fund incorporated in Greece or another country that intends to invest in shares, corporate bonds and/or Greek government bonds.
Option 9 Purchase of units or shares to the value of €400,000 of an alternative investment fund established in Greece or another country of the EU, which intends to exclusively invest in immovable property in Greece.
Option 10 Deposit of minimum €400,000 to a domestic credit institution for at least one year with a standing order for renewal.
GREECE RBI RANKINGS
Passport Ranking (Henley Passport Index Q4 2020) 8 / 109
Ease of doing business Ranking (Doing Business 2019, The World Bank) 79 / 190
Economic Freedom (2020 Index of Economic Freedom) 100 / 186