Comparing Greece vs. Portugal Golden Visa: Which One Is Better?

Comparing Greece vs. Portugal Golden Visa Which One Is Better

Some European countries have introduced a “Golden Visa” scheme which gives you a visa by making a significant investment. With it, you can have freedom of movement and travel within the European Union with little to no hassle. Then, it’s also possible to obtain citizenship with it as well.

Two of the most popular programs are in Greece and Portugal. This article will clarify significant differences to help you decide which one is more suitable for you.

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Key Takeaways

  • Greece and Portugal Golden Visa programs are a popular option among those who want to travel freely within the EU.
  • Both programs are very similar in terms of investment requirements €500,000 and passport ranking.
  • If you want to invest in a property, Greece is going to be your option.
  • Both programs allow you to obtain citizenship. It takes 5 years for Portugal and 7 years for Greece.
  • Greece raised the minimum investment in property to €500,000 in 2023. It is likely to rise again in some more sought-after areas.
  • Portugal has more investment options than Greece.
Minimum Investment€250,000 €250,000
Visa-free Countries191 countries190 countries
Add Family MembersYesYes
Residency RequirementsNone 183 days a year for citizenship7 days a year 183 days a year for citizenship
Application RequirementsModerately strictModerately strict
Application Process3-4 months6-8 months
Dual CitizenshipYesYes
Worldwide Income TaxNoNo
Political StabilityYesYes


While both Greece and Portugal are in Southern Europe, they are on opposite ends of the continent. Greece is in the Southeast, while Portugal is in the Southwest. Portugal also has several islands extending further west, such as the Azores.

One key difference is that Greece is surrounded by countries that are not in the European Union. It’s also closer to Asia.

Portugal, on the other hand, shares a border with Spain. It’s also easier to fly to the UK, France, and the USA from there.

Passport Index

Both countries are ranked relatively high in the passport rating.

Portugal is ranked 4th, tied with other countries, while Greece is ranked 5th.

The difference is very trivial. For example, Portugal has visa-free entry to a couple of African countries such as Namibia while Greece passport holders need to get a visa upon arrival.

Other than that, it’s the same for virtually everywhere else.

Investment Requirement

The investment requirement between Greece and Portugal is very similar, which requires an investment amount of at least €500,000.

While there are other options that require a lower amount of investment, they aren’t popular since they can be tricky to do so.

The most noticeable difference is that you cannot invest in a property to get the Golden Visa program from Portugal anymore. The government made this change in 2023 due to constant issues with the cost of housing.

The most common options are:

  • €500,000 capital fund investment in companies incorporated under Portuguese law.
  • €500,000 investment in the research activities of private or public entities.
  • €250,000 support for artistic production, or in recovering or maintaining natural heritage or business investment.
  • €500,000 investment in a Portuguese company and the creation of 5 jobs.

Opening a company and creating ten or eight jobs in a low-density area.

Most people opt for a capital fund investment since it is the most straightforward.

The most popular one for Greece is for property. It was raised to €500,000 in 2023 because, similarly to Portugal, there have been many complaints about the cost of housing for Greeks.

In some places such as Santorini or Mykonos, they are likely to raise it to €800,000.

Other types of investments include:

Intangible assets and shares. Some examples are the purchase or acquisition of shares, stakes in the Greek government, and corporate bonds. The threshold for this is at €400,000.

General investment: You can have a minimum agreement for a hotel or furnished tourist residence. The threshold for this is currently €250,000 (but it is likely to go up), and you need to hold it for ten years.


So, if you want to invest in property, Greece is the better choice.

However, the investment threshold is increasing constantly, as it is for many of the investment thresholds for all the golden visa programs in Europe.

Residency Requirement

The residency requirement for Greece is slightly better than for Portugal.

There’s no residency requirement to keep your residency permit active at all. However, for Portugal, you need to stay within the country at least 7 days a year.

Please note that if you plan to get citizenship, both countries require you to stay within the country for at least half a year every year.

Ability to Include Family Members

  • Portugal: You can include your spouse or partner, dependent children, and dependent siblings in the program.
  • Greece: Legal spouses (Unfortunately, partnerships do not count; however, Greece has granted marriage equality to all. So, LGBT spouses are eligible for this visa.

Dependent children and parents can also be added to the program.

Application Process

The Greek golden visa is processed much faster than in Portugal. The processing time is three to four months, while the Portuguese one can take over a year.

It also varies depending on which city you plan to live in. The office in Lisbon takes the longest, allegedly.

The first part of the Greek golden visa needs to be submitted to an embassy. You will get a visa D, which is a long-term Greek visa. After you receive your visa D or the temporary residence card, you can go to Greece to give your biometrics to the authorities; after this is approved, you are given the official residence permit.

You can submit the first part of the Portuguese visa online. It can take up to 9 months to approve.

Once approved, you go to Portugal to finalize the process, which sometimes takes up to 6 months or even longer. However, you can be in Portugal while waiting for the final process.

Regardless of which visa you intend to apply for, hiring a professional specializing in these visas is a good idea. Applications can often be delayed or denied due to mistakes the applicant makes that can be prevented.

If you will sacrifice time and money, pay a bit extra to ensure your application is submitted successfully.

Application Requirements

Both programs have similar application requirements:

  • a clean criminal record background checks
  • proof of investments
  • proof of health insurance.

However, Portugal wants everything officially translated into Portuguese.

Time Frame for Citizenship

  • Portugal: 5 years
  • Greece: 7 years

Portugal has the advantage if you are looking for a faster way to obtain an EU passport.

Dual Citizenship Rules

Both countries allow dual citizenship. It primarily depends on your own country of origin.

The US, Canada, and Australia allow dual citizenship. Singapore and many countries in Asia do not. Check with your home country to see the rules on dual citizenship.

If you become a citizen of either place and move, you aren’t stuck paying double taxes for Greek or Portuguese citizenship.

Tax Benefits

Portugal has a better tax benefit than Greece since there are special tax benefits during the first 10 years. And the personal tax income rate is also lower than in Greece.

If you stay in Portugal for less than 183 days while holding the golden visa, you do not need to pay tax on income generated outside Portugal.

On the other hand, if you stay for more than 183 days in Portugal, you can apply for a tax regime called Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) to be exempted from foreign income tax for ten years, provided that it has already been taxed in the country of origin.

For ten years, all income obtained in Portugal is taxed at a special one-off rate of 25%, which is lower than most tax residents in Portugal pay. Although, the taxes can vary depending on what you plan to do in Portugal.

Greek taxes are higher than Portuguese. If you earn income in Greece, taxes range between 9% and 45%. Income starting at 35,000 a year is already taxed at 45%. There are also various luxury taxes.

Greece also has an inheritance tax. The rate is between 1% and 40%, depending on the amount and degree of kinship. For spouses and children, though, it doesn’t exceed 10%.

Political Stability

The political situation in both Greece and Portugal is very stable.

Although Portugal generally has fewer issues with other countries than Greece, Greece constantly has issues with some of its neighbors, such as Turkey and Northern Macedonia.

Not to the point of war, but there are always some diplomatic feuds.

Greece has more internal unrest. There are growing extremist movements on both the left and the right. There are often demonstrations in Athens, but they don’t present a threat to anyone. Also, most internal issues don’t affect someone applying for one of these visas as much.

Both countries are still ranked much higher than the US in terms of safety. Most crimes are petty theft.

Both countries are full EU member states and NATO members.

The only real thing to worry about is if these programs get canceled. However, they won’t cancel your residency once you are in the program. Also, if you get citizenship, it’s nearly impossible to lose.

Living Environment

Both Greece and Portugal have comparable standards of living and suffer from similar problems. Both countries, especially Greece, have issues with overtourism.

Both countries have a Mediterranean climate. Although Portugal touches the Atlantic Ocean, it is grouped with the Mediterranean countries and has the same climate.

However, it has a more coastal breeze, making summers more bearable than in Greece.

Greece has more diversity in landscapes but doesn’t have the Coastal Ocean breeze that Portugal has. Portugal also has better public transportation.

Greece has more issues with sanitation and infrastructure as a whole. Portugal has a better-adjusted cost of things. Greece can be very expensive for the adjusted salaries. Both countries have issues with housing costs and rents.

Portugal is often ranked in the top 10 when it comes to the safest travel destinations.

Both countries have excellent healthcare and education systems. With either program, you can use the healthcare system in the respective countries. Both countries have great education systems. Bigger cities have more educational options, such as international schools. However, local public schools are often great for young children as they learn languages faster.

Portugal does have the advantage when it comes to learning the local language for native English speakers. It’s relatively one of the more accessible Latin languages and has the same alphabet, unlike Greek.


Both places are great for travelers and offer a lot of things. If you are more interested in Balkan countries, Greece is the place for that. If you are more interested in Western Europe and Northern Africa, Portugal is the place for that.

Which Program Should I Get?

While both are relatively equal in many ways, the Portuguese program offers better value, more stability, and a faster citizenship track.

However, Greece might be the better choice if you are just looking for property and EU citizenship is less of a priority.

These golden visa programs have been under massive scrutiny, however. The EU has strongly discouraged them for various reasons. Many citizens of both countries blame the influx of wealthy foreigners for their inability to afford things.

So, keep an eye on how the situation changes for both countries.

If you need professional input on which program you should get, please fill out this form.

Find out more:

Heidi originally from New Orleans, has lived in the European Union for nearly 13 years. She works as an analyst, and writer and also has a side business that relocates people to Slovenia and Croatia.

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