BUSINESS IN GREECE

Business immigration to Greece, despite some of the economic and financial difficulties the country has been facing in recent years, is still not losing its relevance. In particular, foreigners from both developed European countries and citizens from outside the EU seek to buy a business in Greece or create a new company. By the way, the local authorities do not set special restrictions for foreign entrepreneurs willing to invest in the Greek economy.

Greece has a comfortable climate, a favorable geographical location in the south of Europe, access to four seas, beautiful architecture and many historical monuments. All this contributes to the inflow of an incredible number of tourists from different parts of the world, and in general, the income of the state from the tourism sector reaches 20% of GDP. Universities in Greece are famous for their ancient traditions and quality of education. A diploma will help you find a job in Greece and other countries of the world.

Business in Greece

The unemployment rate in Greece in 2024 is 9.6%, nevertheless about one fifth of the Greek labor force is foreigners. Migrant laborers mainly work in agriculture and other unskilled labor. Greece's main trading partners are Italy, Germany and Turkey. About 25% of Greek exports are sent to these countries.

Further, learn how to open a business in Greece in 2024 and familiarize yourself with the peculiarities of doing business on Greek territory by foreigners, including taxes, forms of ownership, company registration procedure and business visa.

How to start a business in Greece

The economic difficulties of Greece make significant adjustments in building a favorable investment climate in the country. Bureaucratic mechanism, corruption component and not always transparent legislative framework are the main problems faced by foreign businessmen. Nevertheless, experienced entrepreneurs find ways to maximize investments in some sectors of the Greek economy.

What kind of business can be opened in Greece?

First of all, pay attention to such spheres as tourism, agriculture, food industry, energy, construction, retail trade and medicine, in particular, pharmaceuticals. When looking for a region to do business in Greece, you should not focus your attention only on the capital Athens, where the level of competition is quite high. Cities such as Thessaloniki, Piraeus, Patras or Crete may offer more opportunities.

The population of Greece in 2024 is about 10.3 million people. The official language in the country is Greek, but English is also quite common in the business environment. The vast majority of the Greek labor force is employed in the service sector, in the region of 73%. Up to 15% of citizens work in the industrial sector and about 12% are employed in agriculture. The business culture of Greece does not differ much from other European countries. Following the example of entrepreneurs in Italy, much attention is paid to personal and family relations.

Business in Greece for foreigners, if there are intentions to manage the company directly on the Greek territory, involves the issuance of a long-term visa (type D), which allows you to stay in the country for more than 3 months. In the case of staying in Greece on a tourist visa, that is, with the right to stay up to 90 days and violation of the established terms, the foreigner faces fines up to 1.2 thousand euros.

A good business plan, job creation and profitable activity of the company will allow a foreign entrepreneur to obtain a residence permit in Greece for up to 5 years, after which it is possible to obtain permanent residence and later Greek citizenship. Perhaps, to accelerate these procedures and to choose the best option of business immigration to Greece will need the help of specialized experts on these issues.

Important. The purchase of real estate in Greece for more than 250 thousand euros gives an automatic right to a residence permit.

Cost and procedure of company registration in Greece

According to Doing Business, Greece ranks 79th out of 190 countries in terms of accessibility of starting and running a business. This is by no means the best indicator in the European Union and not only. In the era of rapid development of electronic services, opening a business in Greece, unfortunately, can take quite a long time and is accompanied by walking through the various offices of power.

Stages of business registration in Greece

Stages of business registration in Greece

  1. Obtaining a special form (form A-7) from the tax authorities certifying that there are no outstanding tax liabilities, which allows you to start the registration of a new company. The procedure is free of charge and is done online.

  2. Registration of the company with the Greek Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The following conditions must necessarily be met:

    • a unique name for the company is chosen;
    • a Greek bank account has been opened to which the minimum amount of the authorized capital is deposited;

    • the founding documents are prepared and notarized;

    • a certified seal is created (cost 40 euros);

    • registration of the legal address;

    • information about the owners;

    • information about the direction of the company's activity.

    The whole procedure takes up to 10 days and costs about 250 euros. In addition, the above documentation is sent to the local court, which assigns a registration number, and to the national printing house for the publication of the new company in the local newspaper.

  3. Registration of employees with the Greek Employment Organization. Carried out in a day online and free of charge.

  4. Registration with an insurance organization for the self-employed. It is done in a day and costs 111 euros.

Forms of ownership for business in Greece

Choosing the most appropriate form of ownership for a company in Greece is one of the most important steps in planning the development of business in the future. Let's take a look at the most popular types of Greek companies.

Public limited liability company (AE). Suitable for running a large business in Greece. The minimum requirements for the authorized capital are 60 thousand euros.

The liability of the owners, of which there must be at least two (natural or legal persons), is limited to contributions. The company is managed by a board of directors and the main decision-making body is the shareholders' meeting.

Private limited company (EPE). An ideal option for starting a small or medium-sized business in Greece. The authorized capital must be at least 18 thousand euros. It is usually registered for a minimum of two owners, who are responsible for the company's obligations with their contributions. Sometimes it is allowed to open an EPE for one person. Then it is fixed in the name of the company, and the authorized capital can be 5 thousand euros. Management is carried out by the general meeting.

In addition to the above two forms of ownership, foreign businessmen can engage in self-employment in Greece or open a partnership, branch and representative office of a foreign company.

Taxes in Greece

The tax system in Greece is not characterized by transparency and is not particularly attractive to foreign investors. The rates of some taxes are increasing every year. This is largely due to the requirements of international financial institutions providing loans to the Greek government.

Tax rates in Greece in 2024

Corporate income tax – 22% (29% for credit institutions).

VAT. The basic rate is 24%. Reduced rates of 13% (hotel services, products for the disabled), 6% (pharmaceutical products, theatrical performances) and 0% (domestic and international air and sea transport).

Dividends – 5% (as of January 1, 2020)

Income tax. Progressive rate from 9% to 44%.

Property tax – 3% and 3.09% (increased by 0.09% due to municipal surcharge).

Business visa to Greece

A ready-made business in Greece or the creation of a new one requires a foreign entrepreneur to periodically visit the country, or better yet, to move to the Greek territory with the purpose of permanent residence. Usually businessmen apply for a long-term or business visa to Greece, which allows them to stay in the country for up to one year and entitles them to obtain a residence permit. To do this, you need to apply with an application and a list of documents to the Greek Consulate.

Documents for business visa to Greece

  1. Correctly filled in Greek or English visa application form for Greece.

  2. A passport with two blank pages, issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least 3 months after the visa expiration date.

  3. One color passport photo taken within the last 6 months.

  4. Certificate of no criminal record.

  5. Medical insurance for the entire period of validity of the visa.

  6. Certificate from a medical institution about the absence of serious illnesses.

  7. Documentary proof of business ownership in Greece or official invitation of business partners.

  8. Visa fee receipt, if required.

Depending on the reasons for obtaining a visa, the Greek diplomatic staff may require additional information. The applicant must appear at the Greek Consulate in person, and it is also mandatory to collect the foreigner's biometric data (fingerprints and color photo), which is required for the issuance of a residence permit.

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