Portugal and Greece are the most popular golden visa schemes in Europe. These two schemes have helped raise billions of euros in foreign investments, most of these invested in real estate sector.

It is very important to understand the important difference between the two programs. This is also a frequent question asked by many clients who come to us.

Portugal is a very unique program and has some distinct advantages when it comes to citizenship. The first important difference you should know is Portugal will give you citizenship after 5 years without living. (must spend atleast 2 weeks annually).  All other countries including Greece, require you to physically move and live in the country for continuous or uninterrupted periods. This is a very important difference. Greece has civic test and language test for citizenship which is quite difficult takes 7-10 years. So if you looking for long shot at EU citizenship, go with Portugal. If citizenship is not important, you are happy with just permanent residency, go with Greece.

The second important difference you must be aware is Portugal does not offer instant permanent residency. You will only get temporary residence permit valid for one or two years with possible extensions. The EU permanent residence card is issued after 5 years. With Greece, you get permanent residence card valid for 5 years from day one.

Thirdly, to decide which program to pick, think about which country is close to you from where you live. Greece is far away if you are from America, UK, Canada or Brazil. Portugal is close proximity geographically, this way you dont have to fly far.  Greece is closer to you if you come from middle east or asia.

Here are some of the important differences between the two golden visa programs..

Golden visa Portugal  Greece
Launched Oct 2012 2014
Real Estate 280,000€ 250,000€
Processing times 4-8 months 4-7 months
Property taxes Property taxes include 6% IMT and 0.8% stamp duty Approximately 6.4% (16,000€) for transfer tax, legal fees, land registry and notaries. VAT exempted
Permanent residency  after 5 years immediate
EU citizenship after 5 years (no living required) after 7 years (must live)
Residency conditions 7-14 days per year none
Residence permit type temporary permanent
Residence permit validity 1-2 years (with extensions) 5 years (renewed)
Bank deposit option 1,000,000 € (5 years) 400,000 € (one year)
Government bonds 1,000,000 € (5 years) 400,000 € (3 years)
Govt application fee 5,324€ 2,000€
Global House Prices 2020  (effect of covid from 2019) 8.3% 6.9%
Taxes if you live for 183 days  living for 183 days or more
Inheritance tax 0% 20%
Wealth tax 0.7% for property above 600K euro and 1% for 1M euro property  0%
Gift tax 10% 10%, 20% and 40% depending on kinship
Citizenship test No Yes
Non Habitual Tax Regime NHR status issued for 10 years a flat rate of 20% if the income is derived from high value activities Non-Dom Regime In The Greek Tax Bill 4646/2019  flat fixed tax 100,000€
Bitcoin / Cryptocurrency Tax free Taxed both as capital gain (15%) and personal income tax (22% to 45%)
Military service Not required Compulsory

Note: Global property prices Q2 2020 shows the affect of Covid-19 on property market published by Knight frank. This shows housing prices in Portugal and Greece have largely resisted Covid.

It is also important to take inheritance tax into consideration, because when you die the property inherited by family member will be subjected to tax. Portugal levies no inheritance tax a better program than Greece.