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.
- 1 Different Types of Residence Permits in Greece
- 2 Applying for Your Biometric Greek Residence Permit
- 3 Application Process for EU Citizens and Third Country Nationals
- 4 How to Get a 5 Year Residence Permit in Greece (ΒΕΒΑΙΩΣΗ ΕΓΓΡΑΦΗΣ)
- 5 What to Expect at Your Appointment
- 6 How to Upgrade to a Ten-Year Residence Permit (ΕΓΓΡΑΦΟ ΜΟΝΙΜΗΣ ΔΙΑΜΟΝΗΣ)
- 7 British Citizens Relocating to Greece After Brexit
- 8 Parting Words
Different Types of Residence Permits 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As of January 2021, the beige and blue residence permits have been replaced by biometric permits.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
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The former “beige” residency permit has been replaced by a biometric residency permit that is valid for five years. Additionally, the blue residency permit has been replaced by a biometric residency permit that is valid for ten years.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
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
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)
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.
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.
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: [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
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)
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
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.
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.
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