Acquisition of Visa and Residence Permit in Greece by Financially Independent Persons
According to the new Immigration and Social Integration, the Greek government gives the favourable option to third-country nationals to issue a residence permit in Greece on the basis that they are financially independent persons.
This is one of the several types of resident permits that the Greek Law provides, and can be acquired on many other grounds such as resident permits for work, independent financial activity, administrators and board members employed at Greek branches of foreign companies, students, etc.
Once the non-EU citizen acquires a residence permit in Greece, then he is allowed to live in Greece, exit and re-enter Greece without a visa and travel to all Schengen countries without further documentation other than his passport and his Greek residence permit.
Issuance of a residence permit to financially independent persons
According to the Article 21A of the abovementioned Code:
“1. By virtue of a decision of the General Secretariat of the Prefecture, a residence permit shall be issued to third-country nationals provided that the interested persons have sufficient funds, in the form of consistent annual income, in order to cover living expenses.
The initial duration of the residence permit is for 2 years and can be renewed for further 3 years terms.
The specific residence permit does not grant the right to work in Greece.
The above third-country nationals may be accompanied by their family members, to whom an individual residence permit shall be issued, which shall expire together with the resident permit of the persons who support them. The requirement of sufficient funds must be met either by each family member or by all family members.”
Moreover, Article 4 of the Joint Ministerial Decision under number 441/2006 provides the following:
“In case of third country nationals, who have obtained a special visa as financially independent persons, the level of sufficient funds is determined at €2.000 per month. In case this person is accompanied by the members of his family, the abovementioned amount is increased 20% for a spouse and 15% for each child. The level of the funds is evidenced by pension abroad, bank account statements or evidence that they have sufficient legally originated funds, to cover their living expenses without having to work as employees or exercise independent financial activity.”
Furthermore Article 22 of the Ministerial Decision 349/2005 provides the following:
“In order for a financially independent person to obtain a national visa for the purpose of living in Greece, the following documents should be submitted:
a. Evidence that he has the necessary consistent annual income to cover the living expenses, without having to work as an employee or exercise independent financial activity in Greece and
b. Certificate that he has applied to a medical insurer for full coverage of medical care and any medical expenses that might be occurred during his staying in Greece.
Such special visa may be obtained by the family members of the abovementioned person, provided that the living expenses and medical expenses, will not burden the national social welfare system. The family link is proven by a recent certificate of family condition.”
On the basis of the above, the special requirements of the Law, for issuance of a residence permit on the grounds that someone is a financially independent person are the following:
- A special visa from the Greek consulate/embassy in the country of origin
- Evidence of sufficient funds, i.e. €2.000 Euros/month (additional funds, 20% for a spouse, 15% for each child)
Proceedings and Documentation in the country of origin - Getting a special visa
Before any proceedings in the Greek territory, it is necessary to obtain a special visa from the Greek embassy/consulate in the country of origin. The applicant should appear in person before the embassy/consulate staff and be interviewed briefly by the staff in relation to the purpose of his application. Moreover, the following documents should be submitted
a. Passport which will be valid for at least three months after the expiration of the visa.
b. Certificate of the criminal record of the applicant by the competent authorities of the country of origin.
c. Medical certificate by a recognized public or private institution, proving that the applicant doesn’t suffer from a disease capable of being dangerous to the public health according to the international standards of the World Health Organization.
d. Evidence, such as bank, social security, pension statements proving that you have the necessary annual income of 2.000 Euros/month (additional funds, 20% for a spouse, 15% for each child).
e. Certificate that the applicant have applied to a medical insurer for full coverage of his medical care and expenses during his staying in Greece.
Moreover, the applicant should not be listed as a persona non-grata and there should be no reasons to be considered as threaten to public health, public order, national security and international relations.
Proceedings and documentation in the Greek Territory - Applying for the permit
Although the third-country nationals may apply for a residence permit until the expiration of their special visa, it is recommended that they apply as soon as possible after their arrival in Greece. Furthermore, the following documents should be submitted.
Documentation for 1st issuance (1 year)
- Application form in two (2) copies.
- Three (3) recent colored photographs.
- True copy of valid passport or equivalent travel document recognized by Greece, together with valid visa.
- Health Certificate issued by a Greek state hospital, certifying that the third-country national does not suffer from any disease which according to the international standards and the World Health Organization (WHO) could pose a risk to the public health.
- Fee in the form of duplicate receipt type B from the department that is competent to receive the application.
- Certificate that the applicant have applied to a medical insurer for full coverage of his medical care and expenses
- Evidence that the third - country national has sufficient funds, at the level of consistent annual income.
In case of third-country nationals who have received the special visa as financially independent persons and applying for a residence permit, the height of sufficient resources is determined at the minimum of two thousand Euros (€2000) per month.
In case the third-country national is accompanied by family, this amount is increased 20% for the spouse and 15% for every child.
The height of funds is evidenced by pension abroad, bank account statements or evidence that they are capable with their own financial means of legal origin, to cover their living expenses without having to work as employee or exercise independent financial activity.
Procedure after the submission of necessary documentation
After the submission of the necessary documentation, the competent Greek authorities provide the third-country nationals with a certificate of receipt (blue paper with photo) proving that that they have submitted all necessary documents for initial issuance or renewal of resident permit.
Upon the receipt of the above certificate, the third – party national is permitted to stay in Greece until the authorities reach a final decision on his application for the resident permit. Moreover, he/she is allowed to travel to his homeland and return more than once.