How to Get Your Residence Permit in Greece – Your Handy 2021 Guide

You will need to get a residence permit in Greece if you would like to live in this beautiful Mediterranean country for longer than 90 days. Any mention of doing bureaucratic or paperwork related stuff in Greece fills a lot of people with panic.

The reality is that most things here are pretty straightforward – including applying for Greek residency. The main thing that you need is patience. 

Different Types of Residence Permits in Greece 

Getting a residence permit in Greece
Getting a residence permit in Greece

The process for applying for residency permits and the types of permits supplied by the Greek government has recently been amended. Up until December 2020, there were two different types of residence permits in Greece.

Namely, these were the beige residence permit and the blue residence permit. You would apply for a beige permit upon arrival in Greece.

This would then be switched to the blue residence permit after five years in Greece. This was more permanent. Blue residency holders had more rights in Greece. 

As of January 2021, the beige and blue residence permits have been replaced by biometric permits. If you live in Greece and hold a blue or beige residence permit, you need to apply for a biometric permit.

The paper permits are now essentially invalid. However, you should hold on to them until you receive your biometric permits. If you are in the process of relocating to Greece and applying for your residence permit for the first time, you should apply for a biometric permit in the first instance.

Applying for Your Biometric Greek Residence Permit

Greece Residence Permits
Greece Residence Permits

New applicants and current permit holders are required to apply for a biometric permit. Existing permit holders must apply between 1/1/2021-30/6/2021.

The former “beige” residency permit has been replaced by a biometric residency permit that is valid for five years. Additionally, the blue residency permit has been replaced by a biometric residency permit that is valid for ten years.

Switching Over to a Biometric Permit

Applying for a residence permit in Greece
Applying for a residence permit in Greece

If you hold a beige residency permit, you will need to resubmit all of your paperwork again in order to obtain the five-year biometric permit. This means proving once again which residency category you fall into (hospitality route/partner of Greek spouse/self-employed/employed).

If you held a blue permanent residence certificate, you be given a ten year biometric permit. You don’t need to provide any additional paperwork or information if your permit was issued fewer than five years ago.

Conversely, if your permit was issued more than five years ago, you have to prove that you have not been absent from the country for more than 5 continuous years. This period runs from the date that you received the blue permit up until the date you applied for the biometric.

You can use rental contracts, tax returns, and flight tickets as proof of your time spent in the country. You will not need to prove minimum income or health cover.

How to Apply

How to apply for a Greek residence permit
How to apply for a Greek residence permit

The application for the Greek biometric residency permit needs to be made in person. If you live in Athens or Thessaloniki, you should visit your nearest Hellenic Police station that has an Aliens Department.

Alternatively, if you live anywhere else in Greece, visit your nearest General Regional Police Directorate that has an Aliens’ Department. If you are unsure as to where to go, you can contact your local police station and ask them to point you in the right direction.

Do note that the application fee is €16 euros. You should take the required paperwork, four passport photos, and a valid passport with you to your appointment. Afterwards, you will be required to have your fingerprints taken at the regional passport office.

Application Process for EU Citizens and Third Country Nationals

It is important to note that the process for obtaining Greek residency varies significantly for EU citizens and third-country nationals. This article will discuss the various options available for both types of applicants.

Consequently, not every section of this article will be relevant to you, depending on where you are from. Feel free to use the Table of Contents to jump to the applicable sections.

On 31st December 2020, the Brexit transition period ended. The UK has officially left the European Union.

As a result, British people wishing to obtain residency in Greece can no longer simply apply for a residence permit on arrival. Instead, they must follow the protocols and options outlined for third-country nationals.

Important Note About British Applicants and Brexit

The Brexit transition period has officially ended as of 31.12.2020. British people living in Greece and wishing to remain in the country for more than 90 days in a 180 day period ought to have applied for their residency permit before this deadline.

If you do not have your permit in hand in 2021, you may still be able to obtain one after the transition deadline. You ought to be able to demonstrate that you were residing in Greece before the Brexit deadline. This can be done by providing evidence of utility bills, rental contracts, etc.

As such, it is advisable to keep a paper trail of everything to show that you have done all that you can. For instance, emails with the police, emails with the British Embassy, etc.

How to Get a 5 Year Residence Permit in Greece (ΒΕΒΑΙΩΣΗ ΕΓΓΡΑΦΗΣ)

Kanoni, Kerkyra
Kanoni, Kerkyra

The five-year biometric residence permit ) acts as proof that you live in Greece. EU citizens should apply for this within 90 days of arriving in the country. This replaces the former beige residence permit (ΒΕΒΑΙΩΣΗ ΕΓΓΡΑΦΗΣ).

This is a relatively straightforward process that requires you to make an appointment at your local police station. It is advisable to start this process as soon as possible once arriving in Greece.

This helps you to avoid any previously unforeseen delays. The procedure for processing permits and the specific forms required to be completed varies in different regions of Greece.

If you have any concerns or queries, sometimes the easiest thing to do is to make a phone call or show up in person at the police station. Unfortunately, emails often go unanswered or get lost.

How to Get Your Five-Year Residence Permit in Greece

The documents that you need for your five-year residency permit when moving to Greece are:

  • Completed application form

  • 2 x Passport-sized photos

  • A photocopy of passport

  • Medical insurance certificates

  • Clear health check demonstrating no contagious diseases, etc. (You can download a template for a medical certificate via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website here)

  • Proof of address in Greece (rental contract)

  • Utility bill with your name printed on it

  • Proof of employment (a signed contract is sufficient) OR proof of sufficient funds in a Greek bank account if unemployed/self-employed (4000 euros).

Every document detailed 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.  

How to Get a Greek Residence Permit Via the Hospitality Route 

If you are an EEA resident, and you are moving to Greece to be with a partner or family member, you can also opt to go down the “hospitality route”. You do not have to be living with the person in order to go down this route. In this case, the Greek citizen essentially “vouches” for you while you are in the country. 

To get a residence permit via the hospitality route, your Greek partner/relative needs to go to the police appointment with you and fill out a form. They can provide their proof of address information, etc if your name is not on any bills. 

Process for Non-EEA Citizens 

It can be difficult for non-EEA citizens to move to Greece. You may be eligible to relocate if you are married to a Greek citizen or if you are of Greek descent. However, you will need to organise the appropriate visas before travelling to Greece. 

There are options for travelling to Greece under a golden visa program. This means investing a minimum of €250,000 into purchasing a property in Greece. A new, additional option that has been recently introduced and which may be preferable is the financially independent person’s permit.

You may also be able to relocate here if you plan on opening a business in Greece. However, just know that the criteria are strict and you typically need to show at least €300,000 worth of funds.

You will need to check the specifics of the route that you want to take. Some golden visa programs may not include the right to work in Greece. 

KEP

The Citizen’s Service Office (KEP) can provide additional information on how to get a Greek residence permit. However, their site is displayed in the Greek language only. You can visit their website here.

Additional Assistance

You may wish to contact the Hellenic Police if you have additional questions or uncertainties about your application. British applicants can contact the AIRE Centre if they have difficulty completing paperwork.

Hellenic Police Contact Information

  • Hotline: 0030 213 15 20 132 / 213 15 20 427, available Monday to Friday from 7 am to 3 pm

  • Email: ad_omg[email protected]

Aire Centre Contact Information

  • Hotline: 0030 698 85 91 229, available Monday and Wednesday from 10 am to 12 pm

  • Email: [email protected] (please contact The AIRE Centre by email if the hotline is busy)

What to Expect at Your Appointment

Paleokastritsa, Corfu
Paleokastritsa, Corfu

Appointments at your local police station are fairly straightforward. The Office that you speak to will simply review your forms, briefly discuss what you are doing in Greece, and take copies of your passport and other supporting documents.

You will be handed a blue receipt (βεβαίωση / veveosi) that shows that you have applied for residency. Your permit will be ready several weeks after.

Some stations work faster than others. Many people who apply for residency at small island police stations may find that they receive their permits in a matter of days, not weeks.

There is no time limit regarding how long you can stay in Greece once you have received this receipt. You are also free to travel internationally from Greece, or return to your home country during this period as you desire.  

How to Upgrade to a Ten-Year Residence Permit (ΕΓΓΡΑΦΟ ΜΟΝΙΜΗΣ ΔΙΑΜΟΝΗΣ)

Corfu Old Town, Kerkyra
Corfu Old Town, Kerkyra

If you have been living in Greece for five years, you are eligible for the ten-year biometric residence permit. This replaces the former blue residence permit (πιστοποιησης μονιμης διαμονης). To apply for this, you will simply need to make another appointment with the local police authorities and swap out your permit. 

This is Greece, and sometimes frustrating things happen. You should note that there have been instances in the past where the Greek police have refused to change people’s permit types and said that doing so was not necessary.

Your request to change to a blue residency permit should not be refused. If this happens to you, you should stress with the Greek authorities that you need a blue permit. Failing that, you should contact your country’s embassy in Greece.

Blue permit holders have more rights to remain in Greece. As such, it is advisable that you switch your beige permit for this as soon as you are able to do so. Those who have lived in Greece for five years or more yet did not register themselves correctly can apply directly for a blue permit. 

British Citizens Relocating to Greece After Brexit

Parga, Epirus
Parga, Epirus

British expats living in Greece make a huge contribution to the Hellenic community and economy. Fortunately, the Greek government recognise this.

They have already proposed some new manners in which British people can apply for residency after the Brexit deadline of 31st December 2020. The options available to British citizens hoping to obtain a Greek residency permit in 2021 and beyond are outlined below.

  • Financially independent person’s permit

  • Greek Golden Visa

  • Spousal visa

British applicants should keep in mind that as a consequence of Brexit, they are no longer free to simply enter Greece and apply for a residency permit on arrival. Instead, you will need to obtain a Type D entry visa before departure from the UK.

You can obtain a Type D entry visa from the Greek embassy in London. Contact them via telephone or email to establish if you need to go in for an appointment.

The financially independent person’s permit route is relatively straightforward. However, if you are hoping to obtain Greek residency via the spousal route, or apply for the Golden Visa scheme, it is advisable to consult with an Immigration Lawyer.

Financially Independent Person’s Permit

From 1st January 2021, British citizens can apply for a financially independent person’s permit. Applicants are required to have an income of at least €2,000 per month to support themselves without employment in Greece. This amount must be deposited into a Greek bank account.

This permit would suit remote workers or self-employed international business owners. If you intend to add children or your spouse to your permit application, you must show proof of additional income. This is calculated at 20% for your spouse, and 15% for children.

The fee for applying for this permit is €1,000. It needs to be renewed every two years.

Greek Golden Visa

The Greece golden visa program was introduced in 2013. It is a means of obtaining Greek residency by investment.

A minimum investment of €250,000 in Greek real estate is required. This visa is renewable every five years.

Spousal Permit

If you are married or in a civil union with a Greek or registered European citizen, you will be able to obtain a Greek residency permit through them.

Parting Words

Residence permit in Greece
Residence permit in Greece

The process of applying for a residence permit in Greece is more straightforward than it may seem. Of course, there are several other things that you need to do when you move here too.

Don’t forget to apply for your AFM tax number, and your AMKA number if applicable. I have written this comprehensive guide on moving to Greece which aims to address all aspects of relocating here. 

Have any further questions about this process? I have lived in Greece for three years now and I’m happy to help out if you have any issues.

Feel free to drop me a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Geia sou! Melissa xo 


Melissa Douglas

Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer and Blogger based in Athens, Greece. She writes for numerous high profile travel publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, Matador Network, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post.

18 thoughts on “How to Get Your Residence Permit in Greece – Your Handy 2021 Guide”

  1. Hello Melissa, I’m traveling to Greece in March to try to find my grandfather’s proof of birth in Krokees area. He immigrated to the US around 1907. I have a little over 3 weeks scheduled in Greece and hope to visit other sites while there. If you have suggestions for what i might do before i arrive to begin the process that would be great. I think the town archives might have birth records or the local greek orthodox church. My maiden name is Marianos (Nicholas Merianos i think in krokees) and my grandmother was Teresa Harakas but i’m not sure which village she was born. She and my grandfather listed Sparta on many documents as their place of origen. I speak almost no Greek! I hope i can eventually prove I’m Greek descent and apply for a greek passport.

    Reply
  2. Hi I found your information very useful. I am in perhaps a different position than most as I don’t want to ‘move’ to Greece but would like to stay for more than 90 days (As myself and my wife have now retired). I usually drive from the UK to Greece so I need to be able to use my permit on entering and leaving France. Would the beige permit allow me to do this?

    Reply
    • My husband and I are considering “visiting” Greece for about a year. I noticed you question on this site. Were you able to find an answer? Many thanks – Maureen

      Reply
    • Hi my husband and I are in a similar position to you and your wife. I was wondering if you found a way round the 90 days. The permits either Beige or Blue appear to be if you want to reside in Greece. Any help you have found would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks

      Reply
  3. HI Melissa,
    Your information has been invaluable. Thank you! My partner (Eu citizen) and I (Australian) have been looking everywhere for some detailed information for this process. We are now almost ready to proceed. One thing we have not got any good answers for though, is what is the Minimum length of the rental lease in greece that an EU citizen needs to provide to Police to complete registration? We are arriving in Greece shortly and need to make the application ASAP before my visa expires. Thanks again, Phill

    Reply
  4. hello we have had a beige permit for over 5 years and own aproperty in crete — we recently applied for blue which we collected yesterday with an expiry date of 31/12/20 !!! informed by policeman he doesn’t know what will happen after this date as we obviously will be no longer eu citizens etc !!! bit concerning as we thought getting the blue residence was permanent and would facilitate the transfer to biometric !!!!any advice would be welcome !!!!

    Reply
  5. Hello and thank you for your blog, very useful information.
    Do we need a utility bill for the beige permit registration process?
    How long does it take to get the beige permit once all documents have been submitted?

    Reply
  6. Hi
    We got our Biege permit 2 weeks ago, we were told come back in 10 days it will be ready.
    Our daughter did her application 2 days ago and the police told her that as from 31st january 2021 she would have to change it again & had 6 months to to do it.
    So what will happen after brexit, “who nows” ?
    Does anyone now anything ???

    Reply
    • After Brexit, the current paper residency permits are to be replaced with biometric ones. As of yet, the process remains as outlined in this guide. Everyone in Greece is waiting for information from the Greek Government as to what steps they will need to take going forward if they hold a permit, and how the process will change for new applicants from 2021.

      Reply
  7. The aliens department in Patras had no idea about blue biometric permits when my wife went there recently. They reluctantly gave her a beige one, although couldn’t understand why she’d want one. They didn’t even ask for evidence of health insurance or sufficient funds in the bank. I’ll maybe give it a couple of months before trying to exchange our beige for blue – hopefully by then they may be more clued up!

    Reply
    • Hi James, ugh I am sorry to hear it! I feel like this year is going to be absolute chaos. I initially applied for my beige permit in Athens. However, have since moved to Skopelos and need to reapply for the biometric here. I’ve been putting it off because I don’t feel like dealing with it right now (!!) The police here don’t speak English and my Greek is okay, not perfect.. I think I’ll give it a few months also, waiting to see how fellow expats in Skopelos find the process before I go through it..

      Reply
  8. Hello. We are retired couple who have a house we bought 12 years ago in Corfu. We have a Bank account, tax number, accountant and are paying regular electricity and water bills. We have never had a residence permit so please could you advise us on which route we need to take to obtain one. Many thanks

    Reply
  9. Hi Melissa, I have been reading a lot of your blog and it makes very interesting reading: thank you! We are a British couple in our early 60s and have purchased a building plot in the Mani. We have a beige residency card; a Greek bank account and a Greek tax number. We have a building license and are planning to start our build this spring. The overall cost will be in excess of E250,000. We are trying to find out best way to stay in Greece for longer than 90 days in every 180. Please can you advise whether you think Golden Visa or replacement residency permit is best? We want the option to be in Greece for longer than 90 days but not necessarily more than 183 days in a single year, so really we want maximum flexibility! Look forward to hearing from you. With many thanks, Jenny

    Reply
  10. Hi Melissa….. we live in England although I can apply for an Irish passport so still a citizen of the EU. I would like to buy a small property in Crete although be flexible in staying over 3 months but probably less than 6. My question is after applying for a biometric I’d card would I qualify for residency after 5 years or would we have to live in Crete full time. We have enough income to be self sufficient and will purchase medical insurance although I have been quoted €110 per year for what is required for my stays and biometric card.
    Thank you John and Karly

    Reply
  11. Hi Melissa , your information is very helpful. I have a beige residency permit and a tax number . I had to get these to buy a car in Lefkada . My boat is kept there in a boatyard and this is the address I used and the only address I have . Will this be OK to transfer to a biometric card ?
    Thank you

    Reply
  12. Hi Melissa

    I have my blue residency permit (hooray!) I’m not sure whether this entitles me to work from
    greece however? I split my time between a greece and the Uk and work for a Uk registered company. With my residency permit can I work here without problems and without paying taxes? (I pay them through UK payroll)

    Thanks

    Reply

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