Many a visitor has returned from traveling in Greece with fond remembrances of a wonderful vacation and sincere wishes to revisit this sunlight filled land. But for Greek-Americans and other Hellenes of the diaspora, the beckoning ties are much stronger. They often dream of owning a tiny country or village house in the vicinity of their ancestral origins. Others long to develop businesses in Greece. Translating these dreams into reality, however, can be very complex, since ownership may be tied to citizenship and the ability to demonstrate Greek lineage. Questions abound for those seeking to purchase property. Nevertheless, there is help for would-be owners in the form of informal, English-language guides produced by governmental agencies. One of these is "The Procedure for the Acquisition of Real or Contractual Rights with Respect to Immovable Property in Specified Areas and Borders," printed in 1999 by the Hellenic Center for Investment (ELKE) in Athens. With only a few minor modifications, we reproduce the text of this booklet below for interested readers. But readers should treat the text only as a guide in these matters. Persons considering the purchase of any property in Greece are strongly urged to engage appropriate legal assistance both in the United States and in Greece and to contact the nearest Greek Consulate before taking any concrete actions.

In short, the law breaks down into two basic procedures, one for EU-nationals (and Greek citizens), the other for non-EU nationals. Accordingly, the applications and necessary documentation vary. Non-EU nationals (US citizens) should especially consult section B under the heading "Procedure."

With patience, persistence and good legal advice, home-buying dreams of Greek-Americans can materialize, resulting in closer ties to ancestral lands and fine educational opportunities for youngsters.
The following Greek legislation collectively governs the acquisition of property:
  • Law 1892/1990 Chapter B’, Articles 24-32
  • Legislative Decree 22/24.6.1927.
  • Compulsory Law 376/1936 "Regarding the safely measure of fortified positions," Ministerial Decision of the Ministers of National Economy and Defense F. 100/59982/199
  • Interpretative Circular 9566/12.3.1991.
According to Article 25 of Law 1892/1990:
"Any legal transaction, in favor of natural or legal entities with regard to the acquisition of real or contractual rights with respect to immovable property in specified areas and borders, as well as the transfer of company shares or change of shareholders in any company owning property in the specified areas or borders, is restricted."

The transfer of shares of companies, which are members of the Greek Stock Market, parental agreements, leasing contracts of over six years duration, legal acts for the determination of property boundaries, distribution of jointly owned property and the transfer of jointly owned property between joint owners are exempt from the above restrictions."

  1. Natural or legal entities who are of Greek nationality, individuals of Greek ethnic origin, Cypriots included, or those who are of EU nationality (Article 26 Section 1 N. 1892/1990) are required to submit the following documentation to the appointed committee of the local prefecture where the property is situated:
  • Natural entities
  • An application (including a brief Curriculum Vitae of the interested party) stating the purpose for the request and a brief description of the property.
  • Residence Permit or other documentation clearly indicating the applicant's intention to provide services or secure employment. [The residence permit issued to EU nationals intending to live in and provide services in Greece according to Presidential Decree 525/1983 (Government Gazette 203A) while the residence permit is issued to EU nationals intending to secure employment according to Presidential Decree 499/1987 (Government Gazette 238A)]
  • Identification papers, valid passport or other documents proving nationality.
  • Legal entities
  • An application should include the purpose for the request along with a brief description of the property.
  • In the case of a general or a limited partnership, a copy of the Partners' Identification papers is required.
  • Articles of Association of the company and proof of registration in the commercial registrar are required.
  • A list is required with the full names and present addresses of the board members, their company titles, and copies of their identification papers.
  • Documents are required proving legal representation of the company (through the minutes of the board or Power of Attorney).
  • Financial Statements of the previous years are required.
  • A certificate of not having filed for bankruptcy is required.
  • Also required is a declaration proving the structure of the share capital, or the partners of a private company, or the shares of a limited company.
Natural or Legal entities of non EU nationality (Article 26, Paragraph 2 Law 1892/1990) are required to submit all the relevant documents to the General Headquarters of the Ministry of Defense/Division B/Security Department/Counter Intelligence/Papagos Camp, Holargos. Tel. No. 00 30 1 65 52 205):
  • Natural entities
  • An application that should include a brief Curriculum Vitae of the interested person, state the purpose of the request and give a brief description of the property.
  • Submit a passport or ID copy, residence permit (if applicable).
  • Include 4 photocopies of the topographic plan of the property.
  • Include 4 photocopies of an outline of the area (map) where the position of the property is marked.
  • Legal entities
  • An application under the company's name that should include a brief Curriculum Vitae of the applicant, the purpose of the request and a brief description of the property.
  • Include copies of the Articles of Association of the company.
  • List the full names of the members of the Board of Directors, their position in the company, as well as personal data and identification information (Home address, age, place of birth, etc.).
  • Submit documentation of the Legal representation of the company (Minutes of the Board or Power of Attorney regarding the representation of the company).
  • 4 photocopies of the topographic plan of the property.
  • 4 photocopies of an outline of the area (map) where the position of the property is marked.
The time required to complete the relevant procedure, in the event that the application is submitted to General Headquarters of the Ministry of Defense, is estimated to take three to four months from the day of receipt of the application. The applicant or the authorized lawyer will be notified of the decision.
In the case of natural or legal entities with Greek citizenship, those that are of Greek origin, Cypriots included, or those that have an EU nationality, the approval is issued by the Prefecture Committee where the property is located. The members of the committee are the District General Secretary, President and one representative each of the Ministries of National Defense, Foreign Affairs, National Economy, Public Order and Agriculture.
The committee also examines, in the case of EU country nationals, the following prerequisites:
  • The EU citizens must be established professionally in Greece for self-employed [self-employment](article 52, EEC treaty) or to render services (article 59 EEC Treaty) or to be employed (depended activity) (article 48, EEC Treaty and the relevant regulations).
  • The purpose of the acquisition of a property should only be for the purchase or leasing of a property (shop, office, land, etc.), used for the exercise of a profession and a general financial activity or/and the acquisition of a main residence that is necessary for the practice of an employed or self-employed professional activity.
Legal entities, of Greek or EU nationality, also have the right to acquire real or contractual rightsin properties located on the borderland.

The term, "legal entities of Greek nationality," mentioned in article 26 paragraph 1 of Law 1892/90, is defined as those legal entities that are established according to Greek Law and have established headquarters in Greece, whether they are profit or non-profit companies, unions, organizations etc.

The Legal entities of "EU nationality" should be profitable entities. Article 58 paragraph 2 EEC Treaty is clear that the right of free establishment and free provision of services is not granted to any legal entity but to "civil or commercial companies, including associations and other legal entities in the public or private sector, and does not include those companies that do not aim to speculation."

Therefore, legal entities equivalent to the Greek unions or institutions, that, according to their country of origin, are non-profit organizations, or if they are not engaged in any financial activities, are exempt. The above mentioned companies should have the following pre-requisites:
  • Be established according to an EU country member law.
  • Have their established headquarters in the EU.
  • Have their management or their main establishments within the EU.
  • Have a constant and real activity related to the economy of the member country where they are established.
In the case of EU companies the right of establishment can be exercised by either establishing a subsidiary company (namely, a company established according to Greek Law that will be the owner of the property), or through a branch office or agency, and in this case, the Mother Company will be the owner of the property. It is also possible to accomplish this through the buy-out of an existing Greek company, whether it has its headquarters in the borderland or in another part of Greece, which is the owner of property located in the borderland.

It should be mentioned that the acquisition of property for EU companies in the borderland is permitted only if this is need for their professional establishment or the provision of services.

In the case of natural or legal entities with non EU nationality, the Legislative Decree 22/24.6.1927 is applied, and the issuance of the approval is up to the full and complete discretion of the authorities who follow a policy based, according to article 27 of the law 1892/90, on the kind of Legal transaction, namely, whether it concerns a leasing or purchase of property, etc., and on the financial value or the place and the value of the property. When the natural or legal entity intends to use the property for the realization of an investment, usually the approval is granted. When the purchase involves a big piece of land on an island or in a "sensitive" area, then many parameters are estimated [examined], such as the nationality of the applicant, the use of the property, whether there will be annoyance or obstacles in properties of military units, etc. The application for the issue of the said approval is often accompanied by an application for Greek citizenship.

Law 1892/1990 Chapter B' articles 24-32
Natural or Legal entities with Greek nationality, those that are of Greek origin, Cypriots included, or those that have an EU country nationality.


Pogoniou & Konitsa
of Ioannina Prefect

Almopia & Edessa
of Pella Prefect

Sindikis of Serres Prefect

Nevrokopi of Drama Prefect

Thira and the islets which belong to the authority of this
Legislative Decree 22/24.6.1927
Natural or Legal Entities having the nationality of a non-EU Country.


Corfu and the surrounding islets.