Feb 5, 2024

Ultimate Guide to Residency Permits in Greece in 2024

Getting your paperwork organized is an important step in your decision to move to Greece. Applying for a residency permit is something you need to start organizing within a couple of months of your arrival if you wish to stay in the country for more than 90 consecutive days.

The first step in obtaining a residence permit in Greece is to identify the type of residence permit you need. The application process varies depending on your nationality, the purpose of your stay, and other factors.

Obtaining Residency in Greece

There are two types of residency permits: temporary and permanent. The temporary residency permit expires after 5 years (which has to be renewed if you want to extend your stay), while the permanent one is valid for 10 years. Alternatively, you can also apply for Greek citizenship after 7 years in the country (for this, you must show some Greek language skills and knowledge of its history and culture).

For EU citizens

If you are an EU citizen, and you want to apply for a temporary Greek residency permit, you need to meet certain requirements.

One way in which you can obtain residency as an EU national is if you have a Greek partner or close family member (you don’t have to be married). They can accompany you to your appointments and will have to sign a few documents. Note: there is less paperwork if you choose this option.

If you don’t have anyone to sign paperwork for you, you can get a residency permit by showing your earnings from an external source or if you are being employed by a Greek company, or with an offer letter.

Alternatively, you can also remain in Greece for longer than 3 months if you demonstrate that you are studying or in vocational training. If you are unemployed and haven’t found work, you can show that you have sufficient funds and health insurance.

For non-EU citizens

If your citizenship is non-EU i.e. the United States or United Kingdom, you will need to apply for a separate Greek visa.

However, if you have a family member that is a EU citizen, you can submit an application for residency within 3 months of arrival. This application is submitted to the immigration authority of your place of residence with a fee of €16 for printing an e-residence permit.

Unless you are of Greek origin, married to a Greek citizen, or intend on being a full-time student, you will fall into these residency permit categories:

  • Investor Permit or the “Golden Visa”
  • Digital Nomad Permit
  • Financially Independent Permit or FIP (More about this in the 'Additional Visa Programs' section below)

Short-term visas

If you’re planning to stay for only one year, then you must apply for a “D” Type Visa at the nearest Greek consulate or embassy in your home country. The application should be filled out online, and you can book an appointment with your nearest Greek consulate or embassy in order to submit your application in person. This visa can be extended by filing for a residence permit if you plan on staying longer than one year.

Required documents for a temporary residency permit (ΒΕΒΑΙΟΣΗ ΕΓΓΡΑΗΙΣ)

  • 2 x Passport-sized printed photos
  • A photocopy of the passport
  • Medical insurance certificates
  • Clear health check (in some instances)
  • Proof of address in Greece and rental contract
  • Proof of employment OR proof of sufficient funds if unemployed/self-employed i.e. a minimum of €4000

Every document listed above must be submitted in Greek. Official documents need to be translated by a Lawyer, a certified Translator, or the Greek Foreign Ministry’s Department of Translation.

You might get asked for an AFM number, which is a nine-digit Greek tax number. However, it is recommended to apply for this soon after arriving in the country, as it is needed to secure rental contracts, open a bank account and installing a landline/wifi in your home.

If you are self-employed or work as a freelancer, bring additional documents like official contracts, pay slips and legal documents to demonstrate the existence of your business or where you generate your earnings.

Where to submit residency applications

To apply for the Greek residency permit, you need to find the nearest Hellenic Police station with an Aliens Department and call to book an appointment. The application fee is €16.

The Foreign Office will speak to you and review your forms, discussing your purpose of you being in Greece, and take copies of your passport and other documents.

You will be handed a blue receipt that shows that you have applied for residency. If all of your documents are approved, your permit will be ready after a few weeks, which you can pick up from the Police station.

The Citizen’s Service Office (or KEP) website can provide more information on how to get a Greek residence permit but must be translated since it is only displayed in the Greek language (you can use a Google chrome extension for this.)

How to upgrade to a ten-year residence permit (ΕΓΓΡΑΦΟ ΜΟΝΙΜΗΣ ΔΙΑΜΟΝΙΣ)

After you have been living in Greece for five years, you are eligible to apply for the ten-year residence permit. To apply, you will need to make another appointment with the local police authorities to swap out your permit.

Additional visa programs

For third-country nationals, there are additional ways to obtain residency, such as applying for a Golden Visa or a Financially Independent Person’s Visa (FIP).

Here is a list of additional visas available and their requirements:

Greek Digital Nomad visa

If you’re a digital nomad and your earnings come from abroad, you can apply for a residence permit for up to two years for the cost of €1000, and provide the following documentation:

  • Copy of valid passport or travel document recognized
  • National entry “D” visa
  • Proof of private health insurance
  • A sworn declaration, stating your intention to reside in Greece and work remotely for a non-Greek employer
  • An employment contract or contracts showing employment is outside of Greece
  • Proof of income to cover the cost of living (€3.500 a month, add 20% for the spouse or partner, and an additional 15% for each child).
  • Tenancy agreement or purchase contract in Greece

Financially Independent Person’s Visa (FIP)

The FIP visas are valid for two years, and cost €1000 as a deposit fee upon the application with an additional €16 for the issuance of the electronic card itself. These are for third-country nationals, ideally retirees, who have the financial means to cover their expenses during their residency. These permit holders can travel freely to all Schengen countries during this time, but are required to reside a minimum of 6 months per year in Greece.

Also note that prior to applying for an FIP residence permit, you will need the “D” Visa to show along with the other validating documents, which you can apply at any Greek Consular Authorities or Visa Application Center in your home country. If you’re looking to go down this road, you will need:

  • Visa Type “D” (as mentioned above)
  • Copy of valid passport or travel document
  • Four recent colored photographs under the technical specifications set forth for the passport photographs
  • An initial visa obtained from a Greek embassy in your country
  • An insurance policy with full medical, pharmaceutical and hospital care coverage during the residence in Greece
  • A real estate lease contract in Greece or ownership titles
  • Proof of sufficient funds corresponding to a stable annual income to cover living expenses i.e. retirement pension, bank account statements, title deeds, lease contracts or any other legal evidence. (Note: The minimum income is €2000 per month, which is increased by 20% if you have a spouse and 15% for each child.)

The refusal rate is usually quite high, as a salary is sometimes not considered a secure income, only a pension. Note that a two-year fund for yourself or the whole family (if you have one) must be deposited in advance to a Greek bank. These permit holders are not allowed to work or have any investment activity in Greece.

For family members, they will need:

  • A certificate issued by an insurance carrier concerning the coverage of hospitalization and medical and pharmaceutical care expenses.
  • A recent family status certificate or any other official documents issued by the foreign authorities proving the family relationship.
  • A true copy of the residence permit of the sponsor or a copy of the application for a residence permit, when submitted simultaneously.

“Golden” or Investor Visa

This is for third-country nationals wanting to obtain a visa by purchasing property over the value of €250,000. However, the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has recently announced, as of the 1st of May 2023, an increase in the minimum investment for the Greek Golden Visa program from €250,000 to €500,000. This new legislation applies to properties and real estate investments in the municipalities of Athens, Thessaloniki, Mykonos, and Santorini.

Investors who have already paid a 10% deposit on a property before July 31st 2023, will be able to complete the transaction and still apply under the old €250,000 scheme. If you’re interested in going down this path, you can now apply for the scheme completely remotely. Additionally, you can sign a Power of Attorney without visiting Greece, provided it is certified or authorized by a Greek Consulate.

Investors with a threshold of €500,000 will only be able to invest in one property, while those in areas with a threshold of €250,000 will still have the option to invest in multiple properties.

Benefits of the Greek Golden Visa Program:

  • Valid for five years, allowing you to live in Greece
  • Grants free travel across the Schengen region without a visa
  • Can include your spouse and children under 21, meaning all family members can receive and enjoy the benefits of a Golden Visa card

The “Golden” visas cost €500, which is paid and obtained through the “e-Paravolo” platform and and an additional €16 for the issuance of the card. You will also need to show these documents for the application:

  • Two copies of the application document
  • Four recent color passport-type photos
  • Copy of valid passport recognized by Greece
  • Proof of private health insurance i.e. Insurance contracts that are signed outside of Greece, provided that they explicitly mention that they cover the interested party for the duration of their stay in Greece; or insurance contracts signed in Greece
  • Motion from the Ministry of Development and Investments regarding the type and amount of the investment.

Marriage or from your heritage

The last obvious way to obtain residency is to prove that one of your family members is from Greek descent, or from a spouse that is of Greek heritage. However if you are of Greek descent yourself who has moved back to Greece after living abroad, you must complete your military service if you are a man in order to acquire Greek citizenship papers.

Staying Informed with Immigration Policies

As you can see there are many ways to obtain residency in Greece. Always ensure that you obtain the correct documents to do so, and keep checking on the Citizen’s Service Office or KEP page to keep updated on the latest immigration policies on obtaining residency in Greece.

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