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Civil Partnerships for Same-Sex Golden Visa Investors
How civil partnerships benefit same-sex Golden Visa investors. Explore legal options, rights, and opportunities for LGBT individuals in investor visa programs
In 2015, the Greek government introduced civil partnerships for same-sex couples, which was a significant stride towards advancing LGBT rights in the country. These partnerships, which are also referred to as “cohabitation agreements” or “civil solidarity pacts,” created a legal framework that facilitated same-sex couples to register their relationships and access specific legal rights and protections. While these partnerships did not provide the complete range of rights and benefits bestowed upon married couples, they offered legal recognition, acknowledged the existence of same-sex relationships, and granted inheritance, property, and healthcare decision-making rights. The introduction of civil partnerships marked a positive change in the recognition and protection of same-sex couples in Greece, paving the way for further advancements in LGBT rights.
In June 2023, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Prime Minister of Greece, announced that Greece would legalize same-sex marriage. It stated that Greek society has matured and is ready for this change. a draft bill that would legalize same-sex marriage is expected to be introduced to Parliament in the coming months. The proposed bill aims to define marriage as a union between two individuals of the same or different sex, providing all the rights and obligations of marriage to married partners, regardless of their sexual orientation.
It’s important to note that while same-sex couples can legally marry in other EU countries, the USA, and Canada, the Greek Immigration Authority does not currently recognize these unions. Therefore, if you’re a same-sex couple looking to submit an application as a Golden Visa investor in Greece, you’ll need to provide a Greek Cohabitation Agreement as proof of your partnership
How does it work?
In order to proceed with the signing of a cohabitation agreement, it is required that both parties be present before a Greek Notary Public, preferably located in Athens.
Holders of non-Greek IDs will need to present to the Notary their passports with the relevant entry visa attached, if applicable, or their residence permit. For the registration of the marriage to be complete, a Greek address is necessary. This can be either their new Golden Visa investment or renting a property. It is at the discretion of the registry office to request birth certificates from both individuals. It should be noted that if one person is the primary investor, the other cannot join the Golden Visa program until the cohabitation agreement is in place. For those wishing to co-own properties, it is advisable to establish a cohabitation agreement prior to property purchases
Understanding the Main Provisions of Law No. 3719/2008 as amended by the provisions of Law No. 4356/2015 on Civil Unions
Conclusion of a civil union
A notarized agreement, referred to as a “civil union,” for two adults who intend to live together as a couple, will be established through a notarized document in the presence of both individuals. This agreement becomes legally effective once a copy of the notarized document is submitted to the civil registrar responsible for the couple’s place of residence and is duly recorded in a designated civil register
Both parties must possess complete legal capacity to enter into a civil union.
A civil union is prohibited under the following circumstances:
a) if either of the individuals is already married or a party to an existing civil union
b) between individuals with blood relationships extending indefinitely in a direct or collateral lineup to the fourth degree or connected by marriage in a direct or collateral line indefinitely, and
c) between an adopter and an adoptee.
Any breach of the regulations outlined in this section will result in the civil union being declared null and void
Nullity of the Civil Union
The individuals involved and anyone with a valid family or financial stake have the right to raise a reason before the court for the annulment of the civil union based on the previous section. Furthermore, in cases where the civil union violates public order, the prosecutor has the authority to initiate the annulment process on their own initiative
The civil union will not alter the surnames of the individuals involved. However, each party may, with the mutual consent of the other, choose to use the other person’s surname or incorporate it into their own for social purposes
As per the relevant provisions for marriage, signing the civil union does not change the financial independence of the contracting parties. That is, even after the signing of the cohabitation agreement, the financial assets of the two spouses remain separate and each partner manages their own according to their will. That is, unless the parties, based on the principles of equality and solidarity, wish to regulate their assets differently when concluding the cohabitation agreement.
As with married couples, in case of dissolution of the civil union, the Greek law provides that, if the assets of one spouse have increased after the cohabitation agreement was concluded, the other partner who contributed in any way to this increase, has the right to demand through the court process and specific conditions, a return of the part of the increase of which comes from his/her own contribution. The parties cannot waive their claim to participation in the increased acquisitions prior to the birth of said right.
This legislation is applicable to civil unions contracted within Greece or in front of a Greek consular authority. For all other situations, the applicable law will be determined in accordance with the rules of international private law
Regarding the inheritance rights of the involved parties, the regulations from the Civil Code concerning married spouses will be applied by analogy. While composing the agreement, each party has the option to voluntarily renounce their entitlement to a legally reserved portion (i.e. to the obligatory share of the fortune of the deceased provided by Greek law to the spouse)
Termination of the cohabitation agreement
The civil union can be terminated:
a) by mutual agreement of the parties through a notarial document
b) by a unilateral notarial declaration of just one party, provided that an invitation for consensual termination has previously been served by a bailiff to the other party and provided that three (3) months have passed since the bailiff’s service and
c) if marriage is concluded between the parties (at the moment, not applicable in Greece for same-sex couples)
The dissolution of the civil union is valid from the date of filing of a copy of the notarial document which contains the agreement or the unilateral declaration at the registry office where the initial cohabitation agreement was registered
For alimony maintenance obligation after the termination of the civil union, the provisions for alimony maintenance obligation after divorce apply accordingly, unless the parties waive the relevant right when the agreement is drawn up.
In general lines, obtaining a cohabitation agreement in Greece for a Greek Residency by investment is a streamlined procedure, and our expert team will ensure that it aligns with your investment objectives. Please get in touch with us for additional information regarding a Greek cohabitation agreement designed for your Golden Visa objectives.