Greece Financially Independent Person (FIP) Residency Visa 2021Andre Bothma2021-08-03T08:45:55+00:00
Greece Financially Independent Person Visa (FIP) 2021
Looking to retire in Greece, or settle in this sun-drenched country as a Financially Independent Person? For those with the means to support and accommodate themselves and their dependents without the need for economic activity or in-country investment, the Greek Financially Independent Person Visa offers a simple path to obtain Greek residency – without the need to make a Golden Visa investment.
Commonly referred to as the Greek FIP Visa Program, this relatively unknown retirement-oriented visa program is an excellent choice for individuals seeking to spend 6 months or more per year in Greece.
Find out more about Greece’s FIP Visa program below, or contact us now for more information.
The FIP Visa program seeks to attract non-EU nationals of independent financial means to obtain Greek residency – without the need for a Golden Visa investment.
The Greek immigration authorities may also consider, at their sole discretion, applications from non-retirees who are able to meet the program’s financial eligibility requirements. In the main, applicants are expected to be able to support themselves and any eligible dependents without the need to get a job or invest in Greece. You are, however, allowed to work remotely for an overseas employer or service offshore clients from within Greece.
In terms of eligible sources of income, passive income sources such as rental income, fixed-rate interest earnings and pension payments above €2,000 can typically serve as the basis for a Greek FIP Visa application for a single applicant.
The exact financial requirements for the Greek FIP Program are covered in more detail below.
EXCELLENT AFFORDABILITY: Unlike the Greek Golden Visa and other EU Golden Visa programs, the Greece FIP Visa does not require a significant property investment (€250,000+, excluding fees). In fact, you’re not required to purchase a property in Greece at all. Moreover, with professional service fees for the program priced from only €2,500, it is an exceedingly budget-friendly EU residency option, even if the requirements are higher than that of Portugal’s D7 Visa.
Compared with the Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa, it is a highly compelling option, and the tax implications of become a Greek tax resident are far less significant that becoming a tax resident of Spain.
VISA-FREE EU TRAVEL: As an FIP visa holder and Greek resident, you’ll get to enjoy visa-free access to the other EU member countries for up to 90 days at a time.
SIMPLE PROCESS: Working with a seasoned service provider, obtaining the Greek FIP Visa and residency is a fast and hassle-free process.
NO MINIMUM STAY REQUIREMENTS: While regulations pertaining to minimum in-country stays were updated on 12 May 2020, making it mandatory to spend 183 days or longer in Greece in order to keep your residency renewable, no minimum stay requirements are currently being enforced (unlike in Portugal, Italy and Spain).
FAMILY ELIGIBILITY: The FIP Residency Visa Program also allows you to bring your spouse and dependent minor children to Greece, subject to slightly higher financial self-sufficiency requirements.
NO AGE LIMITATION: Applicants of any age over 18 are able to apply for the FIP program – there is no maximum cut-off age.
NO LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY REQUIREMENT: You don’t need to be proficient in Greek in order to apply for Greek residency via the FIP Visa Program.
NO POINTS-BASED ACADEMIC QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENT: No special skill or academic qualification is required to qualify for FIP residency in Greece – as long as you are able to meet the program’s financial requirements.
LOW COST OF LIVING: Greece’s cost of living is one of the lowest in Europe, comparing favourably with the likes of Portugal and Spain – and its property market still offers great value, relatively speaking.
As is the case with the Portuguese D7, the Spanish Non-Lucrative and the Italian Elective Residence Visas, the core target market for this visa program is wealthy non-EU retirees.
Yet the program can also be a good residency option for non-pensioners, including digital nomads, online affiliate marketers, remote workers and entrepreneurs capable of meeting the programs’ financial requirements.
While the program is open to most non-EEA nationals, it is especially popular among Iranians, Russians, Albanians, North Americans, Ukrainians, Syrians, South Africans and Turkish nationals.
According to a report by the Greek Migration Office, over 1,400 residencies were approved annually by as early as 2019.
Minimum financial requirements to obtain the FIP Visa
In order to qualify for the Financially Independent Person (FIP) Visa, you’ll need to demonstrate that you won’t become a burden onto the Greek state during your stay in the country. There are two ways of qualifying for a FIP residency visa:
Apply on the basis of non-salaried, passively sourced income (i.e. not salary based).
Apply on the basis of savings.
Applying on the basis of stable, recurring, non-salaried income
In order to qualify for this 2-year visa as a single applicant, you’ll be required to prove that you consistently earn a minimum of €2,000 per month. Salary and business income is not considered as eligible under the program. Instead, you’ll have to prove that you earn stable, recurring income such as pension, long-term rental income, dividends, royalties or fixed-rate savings earnings of €2,000 or more per month.
In order to apply as a married couple, you’ll need to show eligible earnings of €2,000 for the primary applicant, plus an addition 20% (€400) per month for the spouse. For every additional dependent child, you’ll need to show an additional 15% (€300) in income per month.
To apply as a family of 4 (married couple and two dependent minor children), you’ll therefore need to show a stable recurring income of at least €3,000 per month – and ideally substantially more.
Applying on the basis of savings
If you don’t have the eligible earnings to meet the above requirement, don’t despair; you can also apply on the basis of savings. Given that your FIP Visa will be issued for a period of 2 years (24 months), you’ll need to prove that you have sufficient savings to accommodate and support yourself, along with any dependents, in Greece for this length of time.
So if you’re applying as a single applicant in 2021, you’ll need to have €48,000 in accessible savings.
If you’re applying as a married couple, this amount goes up to €57,600. And if you apply as a family of four (married couple with two dependent minor children), you’ll need to have at least €86,400 in savings.
A key point to note is that, in order to qualify, you’ll have to transfer your savings to a Greek national bank. And the funds have to remain in this account for the duration of your stay.
(In contrast, you don’t need to move your savings to Portugal to obtain the D7 Visa, nor do you have to do so in order to obtain Spain’s Non-Lucrative Visa.)
This is not ideal, given the country’s performance since the 2008/2009 financial crisis. Greece’s sovereign debt levels are unsustainable, they’ve defaulted on international loans, and even went as far as introducing capital controls and limiting daily cash withdrawals to less than €60 per day.
So in essence, while the country is a spectacular place to live, with some of the lowest living costs in Europe, it’s not a great place to keep your money. By opting to apply on the basis of eligible income rather than savings, however, you can reduce your exposure to the country’s sovereign debt and banking risks.