How to Obtain a Residence Permit in Greece – Handy Guide by an Expat in Athens

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 

There are two different types of residence permit in Greece – beige residence and blue residence. The beige permit is the one which you should apply for upon arrival in Greece. You should switch to the blue residence permit after five years in Greece. This is more permanent. 

How to Get a Beige Residence Permit (ΒΕΒΑΙΩΣΗ ΕΓΓΡΑΦΗΣ))

The beige residence permit (Άδεια παραμονής) acts as proof that you live in Greece. You should apply for this within 90 days of arriving in the country. This is a relatively straightforward process that requires you to make an appointment at your local police station. 

The documents that you need for your beige residency permit when moving to Greece are:

  • Completed application form (you can download and print it here
  • 2 x Passport-sized photos
  • A photocopy of passport
  • Medical insurance certificates
  • Clear health check (no contagious diseases, etc)
  • 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).

Obtain a 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 property in Greece. You may also be able to relocate here if you plan on opening a business in Greece, just know that the criteria is 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. 

Change of Process in Winter 2020 

It is expected that new processes and requirements for obtaining a residence permit in Greece will come into play from late 2020. The Greek government has not yet communicated what changes will be made here. I will update this article as and when they do. 

British citizens that currently reside within Greece are urged to get all of their residence paperwork in order in preparation for Brexit. The new permits are expected to be biometric. Presently, they are just coloured cards. 

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 receipt that shows that you have applied for residency. Your permit will be ready several weeks after. 

How to Upgrade to a Blue Residence Permit (ΕΓΓΡΑΦΟ ΜΟΝΙΜΗΣ ΔΙΑΜΟΝΗΣ)

If you have been living in Greece for five years, you are eligible for the blue residence permit (πιστοποιησης μονιμης διαμονης). To do this, you will simply 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. This should not be refused, and if this happens to you, you should stress with the Greek authorities that you need a blue permit, or 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. 

Parting Words

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.

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