The high-successful “Golden Visa” program in Greece that grants residence permits to third country foreign nationals who purchase property or make investments ranging from 250,000 to 500,000 euros – depending on the area – posted a new record last year, with more than 10,200 applications received by the migration policy ministry.

The total figure for property purchases and investments linked with the “Golden Visa” program, in fact, reached roughly one billion euros, as 4,231 such residence visas were issued and granted. Approximately 8,800 applications are pending, valued at roughly two billion euros.

Based on the figures, Greece’s “Golden Visa” program is one of the most popular, if not the most popular such scheme in the world.

As in previous years and since the program’s inception, Chinese nationals are the “number one” national group of property purchasers/investors, at 68.4%. Citizens of Turkey follow far behind in second place, 9.9%, while Lebanese citizens are third, 3.1%.

The total number of “Golden Visas” issued since 2014 totals 12,126, with 60.9% allocated to Chinese nationals. Another noteworthy figure is the 86.1% increase, yoy, in residence permits granted to Israelis.

A minimum 500,000-euro investment is required for “Golden Visa” purchases in central, north and south Athens, the northern city of Thessaloniki, jet-setting Mykonos and iconic Santorini.

Elsewhere, the minimum investment is 250,000 euros, resulting in surging demand for properties in the port city of Piraeus (adjacent to Athens), the Peloponnese province, and other well-known holiday destinations, such as the large islands of Rhodes, Crete and the Halkidiki prefecture east of Thessaloniki.