Getting Greek Residency via the Financially Independent Person Visa program

Greece FIP Visa Program Applications

Looking to obtain residency in sunny Greece, but don’t want to throw $250K at a Golden Visa property? With the country’s residency program for Financially Independent Persons (FIP), you’re officially in luck. Let’s take a look at what’s required, and why this option makes a lot of sense…

Getting Greek residency – without a Golden Visa investment

Greece is as diverse and visually stunning a country as you can get. It offers an exhilarating mix of sun-drenched islands, mountains and vibrant cities, and is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world.

The country’s capital, Athens, rivals Rome as a city that left the largest impact on Western civilization. However, chances are you may not choose historical Athens as your home — around 40% of the country’s population lives in and around the city, and it is quite dusty and chaotic.

Greece’s main allure lies in its 1,200+ islands. Most of them are tiny and uninhabited, but others, such as Crete and Rhodes, are large, with substantial populations. These islands have all the necessary amenities you could want, including busy international airports.

Here, life is relaxed, enjoyable and inexpensive – Greece scores a “3/7, Inexpensive” on the Sovereign Man Cost Of Living Index. It won’t cost much to rent anywhere in the country, including in Athens. And life gets even cheaper if you move to one of the country’s islands.

While Greece’s Golden Visa program – priced at just €250,000 (~$263,152) for the real estate option – offers you a super flexible “Plan B” type residency, not everyone needs that degree of flexibility – especially if your plan is to settle there for six months per year or longer. (You don’t have to spend any time on the ground with this Golden Visa program.)

Besides, a €250k property investment – and soon €500K –  in Greece may not be appealing even to people who can afford it. (And we don’t trust the country’s banking system as far as we can throw it. More on this topic below…)

Enter the country’s Financially Independent Person (FIP) Visa 

Commonly referred to as the Greek FIP,  Greece’s program for retirees (and other people with sufficient financial means) is quite similar to the D7 Visa in Portugal and the Non-Lucrative Residency in Spain.

To qualify for this visa, you will need to rent (or buy) any dwelling in Greece and fulfill the following financial requirements:

  • Primary applicant: Show a minimum income of €2,000 (~$2,400) per month. 
  • Spouse: Increase the above amount by 20% or €400 (~$480) per month.
  • Per child: Add another 15% or €300 (~$360) per month.

This income must come from recurrent and stable sources

Pension or Social security payments work great here; as do rental income, insurance annuities, or interest earnings from fixed deposits.

Your salary and business income, however, will generally NOT qualify.

Our service provider on the ground tells us that if your income is not stable, or if the amount falls short of the required €2,000+ per month, then it’s sometimes possible to complement it by showing significant savings.

However, chances are you will not be able to fully replace your income with savings (as is possible in Spain). Talk to your nearest Greek consulate about their exact requirements.

If this is allowed, however, a single applicant would need to show at least €48,000 (€2,000 *24) in savings. That’s about $50,552.

The total increases if you also bring your spouse and kids. For a married couple, the amount is €57,600 (~$60,663). For a family of four, you’ll need to have at least €86,400 (~$90,994) in savings.

You can apply for this visa at the Greek consulate in your home country (or in a country where you are a legal resident).

PLEASE NOTE: This type of residency does not allow you to seek employment opportunities in the country. You will have to either “eat” through your savings, or just work on your remote job or business, which is officially allowed in Greece. 

A word of caution regarding Greece’s banking system…

If you will be applying on the basis of savings, you will need to deposit the money in a Greek bank. Thus, the €48,000 (or more if you apply with a family) will have to sit in a Greek bank account for the duration of your stay there.

That’s suboptimal, as we are not big fans of the Greek banking system. 

Since the financial crisis of 2008/2009, Greece has reached unsustainable levels of government debt. It has appealed to Brussels for several bailouts. It defaulted on its payments to the IMF. And at one stage it even imposed capital controls and limited cash withdrawals to €60/$63 per day…

Greece may be a great place to live, but it’s not a great place to keep your money. So, only consider bringing your savings into the country if you can still sleep well when the next financial crisis ravages the country.

On the bright side, the sum you will have to bring should be lower than the Europe-wide insurance deposit protection of €100,000 (~$105,318), so in case of the bank’s bankruptcy, over time, you should be able to claim your money back – though it might take quite a while…

Another FIP requirement worth mentioning is the need for private health insurance in the country. Prices vary depending on which plan you choose, and your personal conditions, but eligible policies are very inexpensive and start at around €250 (~$263) per person per year.

And to be able to renew your FIP visa, you will need to spend at least six months on the ground each year. After renewal, each subsequently issued residency permit will be good for three years…

Can this residency lead to naturalization?

After holding your FIP residency for seven years, you become eligible for Greek permanent residency and/or naturalization. But if you decide to naturalize, keep in mind that there will be a rather complicated exam to take about Greek history, customs, and politics. 

And of course, the local authorities will conduct this exam in the Greek language. As a plus, however, Greece allows dual citizenship with no restrictions.

The bottomline

If you’re looking to enjoy a sun-drenched lifestyle in Southern Europe without the need to work locally, the Greek FIP program could be an excellent option – just don’t keep more of your savings than you need to in-country. And if you’re a remote worker earning sufficient passive income from abroad, the program might be worth considering as well.

Yours in freedom,

Team Sovereign Man

PS: Investigating a Plan B overseas? Discover all your best residency and citizenship options — with step-by-step guidance on how to apply — by joining Sovereign Confidential today.


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