“Both conveyancing and immigration law services in Greece require not only qualified but also specialized legal Support”
Alexander Varnavas, Parner & Dionysia Kokkinou, Notary Public at Varnavas LF
- Varnavas Law Firm 1978 has recently been awarded the “Investment Immigration Law Firm of the Year 2017 for Greece”. Could you tell us more about that?
AV: we are a multi-awarded law firm with 40 years of experience and expertise in real estate & immigration law. since our law firm was engaged in the development and the implementation of the greek golden visa law (4146/2013) as the legal counsel of the greek government, we have established a special desk dedicated to the residency-by-investment services. our firm has been recently recognised by the london-based “intl corp magazine awards 2017” as a result of our excellent customer testimonials and the referrals of our satisfied international clientele.
- Is your Law Firm an active part of the International Legal Community?
DK: The above Special Desk regarding the Golden Visa Law is run personally by the two of us. We are proud to be the first two practitioners from Greece who have successfully passed the due diligence process and have been admitted as members of the Investment Migration Council (IMC), the Geneva-based worldwide association of professionals dealing with residency and citizenship by investment.
Our firm acts as an independent service provider, but we also provide with local support other international firms or immigration agencies who offer the Greek Residency-by-Investment program to their clients. We are also an active member of the International Bar Association (IBA), the Urban Land Institute (ULI), as well as the exclusive member of REAL Network (Real Estate Attorneys at Law) for Greece.
- What makes your services stand out from other competitors?
AV: We know our job very well and do not take it lightly. Both conveyancing and immigration law services in Greece require not only qualified but also specialized legal support. Moreover, we have successfully developed One-Stop-Shop solutions, which allow the entire process to be concluded without the investor’s long-term presence in Greece.
Last but not least, we are one of the very few firms who are licensed by the Greek Government to use the State Seal of the Hellenic Republic, through our in-house Notary Public, so we are duly authorized and certified to conclude official property contracts without any third party contribution.
- The so-called Greek Golden Visa requires a minimum investment of 250,000 Euros in real estate assets, which is the lowest investment level among all “Schengen-free” Residency solutions in Europe. Are there any traps or hidden downsides for the potential investors?
DK: Not only is there no trap or secret fine print for the investors, but instead the Greek Program is by far the most flexible and privileged Residency-by-Investment scheme in Europe, without further demands and obligations.
The investment may consist of more than one property, residential or commercial, and there are no restrictions regarding the location, age or the lease of the property.
There is no minimum stay requirement for applicants to retain or renew their residence permits. The holders of the Golden Visa may apply for Greek Citizenship and a European Passport after seven (7) years of lawful residency.
- From which countries do the majority of your clients originate? Why should the High Net Worth families trust you for their legal matters?
AV: Our client base includes High Net Worth Individuals from China, Russia, UAE, Ukraine, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Azerbaijan. Our team consists of attorneys, notaries and financial advisors, who work closely with our clients in order to provide a highly personal and bespoke service focused on their cross border needs. We ensure that any personal matters are treated with professionalism, responsibility and confidentiality, something that the HNWI world expects and demands.