New Regulations to ensure smooth operation of the Golden Visa RBI program

Due to the recent protection measures that were adopted by the Greek Authorities in order to limit the spread of the COVID-19, public service was suspended in the Directorates and Departments of Foreigners and the Immigration offices throughout Greece from March 12, 2020, to May 15, 2020.

This resulted in the accumulation of a large number of issued residence permits for which it is was deemed necessary to institutionalize new procedures for their collection in order to ensure the rights of third-country nationals and facilitate them in receiving their permits.

To that effect according to the recently issued Ministerial Decision (14020/2020) the following procedures will apply throughout the period that the restrictive measures remain active:

1. Any additional supporting documents for applications that have already been submitted for the granting or renewal of a residence permit may be sent to the competent authority by the interested third-country national or by its legal representative by mail (registered letter) or by a courier company.

2. Already issued residence permits, the collection of which is pending shall be served on the concerned third-country national or his legal representative by the competent Immigration Authority by courier service, with proof of service and a copy of the relevant decision.

3. In particular, issued yet pending residence permits of investors (with explicit favourable provision for real estate owners of the Golden Visa program) can be served directly to the appointed lawyer of the applicant, upon their request, in consultation with the relevant Immigration Authority, through courier service.

Furthermore, according to another recent Ministerial Decision (13850/2020) special regulations are provided to the Golden Visa applicants and their family members by ensuring an alternative possibility of issuing permanent investment permits.

More specifically, real estate investors for the Golden Visa program, as well as their family members, will be able to submit applications for the initial granting of a permanent residence permit at the Immigration Policy Directorate of the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum.

This particular regulation will apply for as long as the restrictive measures are in force, i.e. for as long as the public reception service in the Immigration Offices is suspended. This service will be responsible for reviewing all applications received during this period, even if they are pending after the restrictive measures have been lifted.