Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

How to get a visa and residence permit for Greece

Greek permit

Interested in living in Greece for a year, five years or forever?

Anyone with citizenship from the 28 EU member states (except Croatia), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland has the right to live and work in Greece.

Non-EU citizens — without a spouse-child relationship to a Greek/EU citizen and without possibility to acquire dual citizenship with the EU — wishing to retire in Greece or otherwise live in Greece without working can apply for a Greek residence permit based on independent income or funds from outside the country via retirement benefits or a pension, virtual job, business, savings or grants. It is not a work permit.

If this permit does not suit your situation, see “How non-EU citizens can get a visa and permit to live and work in Greece” to learn about other possible options in acquiring a residence and work permit.

Please take the time to read this article, as it is unavailable anywhere else and constantly updated since October 2007.

*Article last updated May 8, 2014.

Warning

Outdated versions of this article appear on websites run by the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greek/Russian/Cypriot/UK lawyers, property sales/rental companies and two commercial ‘expat’ guides that reused information without permission.

They refuse to abide by copyright law and remove the infringing material or give credit, though many passages were copied verbatim, including first-hand details from my readers and my life.

Be careful who you trust.

Introduction

It used to be that those retiring or residing in Greece without working within the country’s borders could enter without a special visa and simply apply for a residence permit upon arrival. This is no longer true, and any friend, forum, article, lawyer, Greek consulate/embassy or authority in Greece saying otherwise is misinformed.

It is also false that “no visa/permit is needed” and “no one will bother you.” This advice typically comes from Greek and other EU citizens who subscribe to decades-old myths or are ashamed to admit they don’t know the law, which applies to all non-EU citizens. Americans, Canadians and Australians do not enjoy special treatment. Look at ‘Comments’ and see a few who believed these lies and got in trouble.

According to the Greek state’s legal council (Nomiko Symboulio tou Kratos), applicants must go to the Greek consulate/embassy in their homeland to secure a special visa, namely a national/Schengen type ‘D’ visa that denotes intention to immigrate. This would then be presented to the local office of your municipality in Greece upon arrival to secure a residence permit based on independent means. There is no such thing as a residence/residential/residency visa or retirement visa for Greece.

The following will prepare you for collecting the correct documents and what you can expect during the process. It is not as simple as getting a visa and showing it to someone in Greece to get a permit.

Homeowners and property owners

The government discussed the ‘possibility’ of granting residence permits to non-EU citizens who purchase a home worth 250,000 euros or more in November 2012.

Laws were passed in April and published in May 2013, with the first permit issued late July and 20 total as of September 2013 to foreigners from India, Russia, Ukraine, Canada and the United States. It has been criticized as hypocritical, welcoming the rich through a back door while excluding other immigrants.

Before the new permit was created to encourage foreign investment, all non-EU homeowners had to show sufficient means to meet everyday expenses and support themselves without working if they wanted to live in Greece more than 90 days in a 180-day period. The visa and residence permit described in this article is based on that very premise.

*I am prepared to publish an article, but I’m seeking someone with first-hand experience as official government circulars never match reality.

Start the visa process outside Greece

In order for non-EU citizens to qualify for a Greek visa and residence permit* to retire or otherwise live in Greece without working for an employer in Greece, these basic requirements must be fulfilled:

– A total of 2,000 euros/month in proven, consistent income; or at least 24,000 euros in a bank account
– Medical coverage
– A passport valid for at least three months past the date of proposed stay in Greece

*If you do not plan on living or staying in Greece for more than 90 days in any 180-day period, you do not need a residence permit, as explained under ‘Entry — Visas to Greece’ in “How non-EU citizens can get a visa and permit to live and work in Greece.”

If you meet basic criteria, it’s time to gather the following:

1. Passport with at least three (3) blank pages
– Many countries offer an option to add pages for a fee if your passport is valid

2. Two (2) recent color passport photos

3. Original policy statements or a letter on company letterhead from your medical insurer verifying current and continuous coverage with repatriation and validity for Greece

4. Original bank, social security, pension and/or alimony statements, payment stubs OR a letter on official letterhead with original signatures from financial institutions that confirm you have a liquid income of at least 2,000 euros/month and/or at least 24,000 euros in the bank
– Staff usually request at least three months of statements/stubs
– If you are immigrating as a family, they normally ask an additional 20 percent for a spouse (400 euros/month) and 15 percent (300 euros/month) for each unmarried, minor child.

5. Official, printed criminal record
– U.S. citizens must obtain FBI clearance. See “How to get an FBI identification record” to download the form and learn about fingerprints, fees and waiting time
– Citizens of other countries must inquire at the Greek consulate/embassy to learn what security document is required

6. Medical clearance/certificate
– A letter or form obtained from a hospital or doctor that confirms an exam was done within weeks of the Greek consulate/embassy interview

7. Cash/checkbook for fees
– Varies by country, but price is approximately 50 euros

Now contact the Greek consulate/embassy nearest your current residence and see if you need an appointment. See “Greek Consulates/Embassies Worldwide” or look in your phone book to locate one. All candidates will be asked to appear in person.

At the Greek consulate/embassy, staff will give you a visa application to complete and sign. Your documents will be reviewed, fees will be collected, and you (and your family, if applicable) will be interviewed. The Greek consular/embassy staff will keep your passports, then call to notify you if further documents are needed and if you’ve been approved.

When/if your national/Schengen type ‘D’ visa is approved, you’ll be required to choose a definite date of departure and show proof of it (airline tickets, etc.), so they can issue the visa with the correct expiration date. Your passports will then be returned with visas applied, which you can pick up in person or have priority mailed to you for a fee.

Before departing for Greece, be sure that you look at the section “Documents needed” below and secure anything you may need. Requesting them after you’re in Greece will be costly, difficult and often extend beyond the time limit you have to apply for the residence permit.

Family members under the age of 14

Children under 14 who accompany the applicant do not typically need special visas and can apply for a residence permit in Greece based on their parents’ status. However, you will need to bring an original long-form birth certificate for each child and any marriage/divorce certificates, and get an apostille for each document. See, “How to get an apostille” if you need help.

Applying for the residence permit in Greece

You technically have up until the expiration of your visa to apply for this residence permit, but it is recommended you apply within 30 days of arrival in Greece. Why?

a) Because documents you brought to Greece may exceed the period of validity if you wait too long, then they’ll need to be requested again from abroad, which takes time and may delay your application beyond your visa’s validity.
b) Because the process takes time to work, and your visa may expire and leave you in an illegal status that can only be fixed by exiting Greece, applying for another visa in your homeland, and waiting up to 90 days for a new visa to re-enter and try again. This has cost people precious time and money; don’t let it happen to you.

There have been cases when Greece denied residence/work permits to non-EU citizens — including spouses of Greek citizens — because they waited more than 30-60 days to apply, and it was only remedied by filing claims with an ombudsman and/or intervention by a fee-based lawyer.

Where to apply

Your local “dimos” (municipal office) or nomarxeia (prefecture office) accepts applications for residence permits during certain hours, usually early in the morning starting at 7:30 a.m. There is no nationwide standard — some take appointments, some operate on a first-come, first-serve basis on specific days.

If you are uncertain of the location, the mayor’s office (dimarxeio) or city hall in your prefecture should be able to direct you to the correct location. KEP Citizen Service Centres are often not knowledgeable about non-EU issues, but  you can inquire by calling ’1500.’

In smaller towns and rural areas, the local police station will have an Allodapon or Foreigner division, where applications are processed. To find a location nearest you, look in a map book available for sale at any kiosk (periptero) or use the List of Greek Police Stations from the Greek Passport Center website, which provides the address, map, phone number and hours of operation for each location:

Documents needed

As mentioned in the Introduction, it’s not as simple as trading your type ‘D’ visa for a permit, even though you were approved. You must submit many of the same documents again. For each applicant:

1. Four (4) photocopies of the main page of the applicant’s passport and the original for verification
– The applicant’s passport must be valid for the duration in which you are applying (1 year)
– The applicant’s passport must have at least one (1) blank page in which to place the permit
– No translation is necessary if the passport has Latin letters. If not in Latin letters, it must be translated to Greek. See “Official translations to Greek” if you need assistance.
– The municipality employee can do the certification of photocopies, no need to go to the police or embassy.

2. Application, given to you at the municipality
– Original must be filled out in Greek, then photocopied once without a signature; both are signed when the municipality employee instructs as such.
– If applying as a family, it only needs to be completed once.

3. Proof of current and continuous medical insurance
– Insurance can be from back home (Tricare, private insurance), which can remain in force or eventually be cut in favor of local private insurance options
– Medicare and Medi-Cal are not acceptable for U.S. citizens since coverage terminates upon leaving U.S. territories
– Must have originals for verification and four (4) photocopies of each document

4. Proof of income
– Bank statements, letters from the source of past/current/future income, past tax statements, etc. that show at least 2,000 euros/month in support for 12 months or 24,000 euros in total liquid assets
– Additional funds if you are supporting a family (20 percent for a spouse; 15 percent for each child)
– Certified originals for verification and four (4) photocopies of each document

OR

4. Deposit of 24,000 euros income (2,000/mo) in a Greek bank account
– Additional funds if you are supporting a family (20 percent for a spouse; 15 percent for each child)
– An AFM (Greek tax number) is normally required to open a Greek bank account
– Original bank register/book/statements and four (4) photocopies of balance within 14 days of application

*I do not quote figures in other currencies because the exchange rate fluctuates daily.

5. Proof of residence in Greece
– Signed lease stamped by the eforia (Greek tax office), OR mortgage papers, OR a letter from the landlord/owner if the rental/home is not in your name that confirms you live there paying rent or not, OR a dilosi (statement of facts) certifying your legal residence address. See “How to certify a dilosi, photocopy or other document in Greece.”
– Usually another document such as a utility bill in your name (OTE, DEH, EYDAP or cell phone)
– Original and photocopies of each document

6. Clean criminal record (Optional)
– Most municipalities present you with an application, which essentially requests your type A criminal record. It must be filled out in Greek, then it’s certified by the public official
– A few municipalities ask that you get your own criminal record from the Ministry of Justice

7. Health certificate (Optional)
– Authorities will almost always want it for a first-time applicant or if some time has passed since you last submitted one
– Secured by getting a chest X-ray and a TB (madou) test at a state/public hospital in Greece. You will need two (2) passport photos and your passport. See “How to get a health certificate
– Original and three (3) photocopies

8. Original receipt of “Parabolo” (fee) of 150 euros
– Paid at either Greek tax office/eforia/DOY or mayor’s office (dimarxeio)
– Location varies according to municipality; you must ask, if they do not tell you

9. Four (4) recent color passport photos
– Some offices/sources say only three (3), but I’ve shown up with only three and been asked for four

10. “Fakelo”
– Colored folder with bands at the corners, purchased from any bookstore or school supply store
– They know what you mean if you use the word I’ve given

Any documents not in Greek must be first translated to Greek at the Translation Department or by a lawyer. Greece’s Translation Department requires that all documents/statements/certificates be originals with original signatures. Lawyers can translate e-statements from banks, Internet copies and non-originals within reason. Non-Greek documents may also be translated before arriving in Greece by approved persons, but the cost is almost always higher.

If you are a family, you must apply at the same time, though not all members need to be present and children under 14 do not need special visas.

*I make a copy of my entire file before handing it in because my papers have been inexplicably lost several times. However, this is a personal choice.

What happens next?

After your papers are verified and accepted, you will be issued a bebaiosi (certificate of receipt; blue paper with photo). It is not a permit. It acknowledges papers have been received and you have temporary permission to stay past the validity of your visa, while higher authorities examine your documents.

You must carry this bebaiosi with your passport for public and private transactions, as well as legal purposes should a policeman or other authority ask you to present it. Keep a photocopy in a safe place in case the original is lost.

The bebaiosi does not necessarily grant you the right to travel outside of Greece. You must remain within the borders until an official permit sticker has been issued and placed in your passport or until you are in possession of an official residence card. See, “I’m a non-EU citizen in Greece, may I travel whenever I wish?

There is no interview or other requirement, but it is your responsibility to go in person to follow up on its status since no one will call or otherwise contact you except in rare instances. If your application is successful, a permit will be issued in the form of a sticker placed in your passport or you will be given a card.

Residence sticker (adeia diamonis)

See “FAQ: Greek work and/or residence permits” for answers to commonly asked questions.

The official permit is good for one year.

Renewal of the Greek permit

Must be renewed at least 60 days in advance of the expiration date, and most of the same documents listed above will be necessary.

Traveling to all countries is allowed with an unexpired permit sticker/card. Traveling with only a bebaiosi (blue certificate with photo) is still only allowed to your homeland during pre-approved Easter, summer, Christmas or open periods announced by the Ministry of Citizen Protection. See “I’m a non-EU citizen in Greece, may I travel whenever I wish?

Residence permits in this category can be renewed as long as the applicant qualifies, and the maximum period of validity is one year. There are no two-year, five-year or 10-year permits for this type because verification of income must be done annually.

Other residence/work permits

If this option doesn’t quite suit your situation, I recommend reading, “How Americans/non-EU citizens can move, live and work in Greece” to familiarize yourself with the most common Greek permits.

Sources

– First-hand notes and experience of reader ‘Deli,’ who was kind enough to share his experience both below in comments and via email
– Documentation given to me by the municipality office when I held this residence permit, translated from Greek to English
– Answers given by public sector employees when interviewed
– First-hand experiences of people who hold/held this type of permit in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and wished to be anonymous
– Comments/feedback from readers who successfully used this article to get and renew a Greek permit
– Greek consulate/embassy in the United States (I agreed to not disclose which one)

About

Kat is a well-traveled American journalist and author. To learn more, see “About Me.”

  • Livingingreece.gr was created in 2007 to present meticulously researched original articles that fill a gap left by traditional media, government portals and commercial websites/forums run by people without credentials.
  • @LivinginGreece is a Twitter feed curated from recognized Greek and international news agencies to provide breaking news about Greece, plus real-time updates and insider tips mined from 15 years experience.

Please note my copyright policy and be aware that violations will be pursued.

145 Comments »

  Anne wrote @ October 13th, 2007 at 07:21

What you wrote is true. Permanent residents with independent financial means – ie: 24,000 euros in a Greek bank account! I just found this out in July while renewing my residence permit…and they are a bit stricter re: health insurance, wanting proof of payment, and proof of coverage in Greece.

You have a great website! I check it often, please keep up the good work!

Kat Reply:

A – Thanks for adding your comment. What you said it being “stricter” is true with regards to depositing the money. However in the 13 years I’ve lived in Greece, they have always asked for proof of insurance coverage, et al. I appreciate your readership!

  graffic wrote @ October 13th, 2007 at 20:45

O.M.G.!

I guess the guide of how to build your own figther plane has less steps. Why are things “here” (Greece) so complicated?

It’s supposed that the government has to serve the people, not the opposite. Nowadays you adapt to what the government wants from you. It seems that you have to ask for a favour, when in fact they take the money from your taxes and they should be grateful.

I have to try to get again the ***** IKA number hehe :)

Kat Reply:

G – You’re lucky you’re an EU citizen. I waste a lot of my life doing bureaucracy, and it’s a never-ending cycle because by the time I get my permit, it’s time to start renewing it again.

  Helada.org wrote @ October 21st, 2007 at 13:31

Very useful site! I hadn’t heard of it till a friend tipped me off today, but I’ll spread the word. The paperwork required for the economically independent residence permit is highly subjective. In my case, it took months of waiting followed by a couple of calls by a friendly politician.

Kat Reply:

B – Thank you! I’ve known about your site for quite awhile. I wrote this article according to the sources I listed above. Any deviations are covered under my “Warning and Disclaimer” page. It’s good you shared your experience. Others had less trouble or more. It’s Greece, after all. ;)

  PIC wrote @ October 23rd, 2007 at 13:47

(In Greek)

Me: Hi, Is my residence permit ready?

Them: NO. (Click)

Next month…

Me: Is my residence permit ready?

Them (rudely): You have to come in, we don’t give that info on the phone.

Next month, I used a little reverse psychology on em…

Me: (In my deepest, politest Barry-White voice) Hello, I’m from the USA and I applied for a residence permit. Not that I’m worried but how long til it’s ready?

Them: What’s your protocol number?

Me: (number)

Them: Oh, probably in 2 months.

Me: Thanks.

LESSON LEARNED: If you sound too much like a NEEDY immigrant and not a WHO CARES EXPAT, you get crapped on…….

  Lynn wrote @ November 9th, 2007 at 12:05

An American friend of mine has just fallen foul of his attempt to obtain this visa. He is just retired (pension of a schoolteacher) and came to Greece in June 2007 on a Tourist visa. He hoped to be able to apply for a Residence permit after his arrival here. But he was told he needed a special visa for retirees, available only abroad. After his 3 months expired he travelled on holiday to London. At Spata (Athens) airport he was told re-entry would be impossible. In London he enquired at the US Embassy for help. They advised him to return home to the States and then apply for the special visa from the Greek Consulate. This he did. He had help from Greek-speaking friends when he applied for the proper visa. However, to no avail. Almost 2 months later his visa application was refused (insufficient funds) and he is now told that no appeal is possible. What to do next? Any ideas?

Kat Reply:

There is a transparency issue in Greece, which means new laws and directives can be implemented or changed at any time without properly spreading the word to the public, public sector offices and consulates.

Firstly, he was denied re-entry to Greece because of the Schengen rule that says Americans (and other non-EU citizens part of the visa-waiver program) can only stay a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. Going to the UK or a non-Schengen country, then coming back changes nothing if he’s already stayed 90 days. Many countries do not enforce this rule, but Greece is one that does.

Secondly, with regards to “insufficient funds” being the reason for denial, an appeal is not possible if he doesn’t have at least 2,000 euros (now approximately 3,000 USD with the current exchange rate) income per month as proof of financial support. This is a strict uncompromising requirement. If he has evidence to contradict that, one might get in contact with the Greek Consulate General in Washington DC and lodge a complaint. Otherwise, I’m afraid there are no other options I’m aware of.

The U.S. Embassy is a diplomatic mission that offers services to citizens and non-citizens pertaining to the homeland, not the host country where it is a guest. Therefore, it does not intervene on issues pertaining to Greek laws and regulations, which is the reason they cannot help with Greek visas, residence/work permits for Greece or when an American citizen breaks the law.

I’m sorry I don’t have any other options to offer your friend.

  Lynn wrote @ November 14th, 2007 at 13:11

Thank you very much for your reply. I am forwarding this information to the person concerned and hope it will be helpful to him. Keep up your good work on a brilliant site.

  deli wrote @ March 19th, 2008 at 09:58

Hi, Kat. I posted an inquiry on Just Landed (Greece) addressed to you before I found your website. This site is filled with wonderful information. It answered most of my questions, so if you happen to check the forum on Just Landed, please disregard it.

To capsulize my posting on Just Landed: I just recently retired from the US military and decided to retire in Greece. I lived and was stationed in Greece for almost 4 years (Jan 2002 – Mar 2006). A week after my official retirement (Dec 6, 2007), I flew to Greece as a tourist without a Schengen visa because the Greek Embassy staffs (in DC and in LA) told me I didnt need one as an American, even after telling them my intention on retiring in Greece.

1) I went to Alpha Bank to open an account but I was told I couldnt open a bank account without AFM. Is it just Alpha Bank that requires that? You mentioned AFM is not required to open an account.

2) The Greek Embassy staff here in the US never mentioned SPECIAL ENTRY VISA, they did however mentioned TYPE D visa.

Well, after my 90 days in Greece, I flew back to the US and am going to the Greek Consulate in LA next week. Am worried that if I asked for SPECIAL ENTRY VISA that nobody would know what I was talking about. Is there a GREEK NAME or TERM for that?

On a good note, the guy who was working at the Peristeri Office in Athens was very helpful and was more than willing and happy to help an American (he said he never had an American applicant ever before, and made me cut the line and invited to his office). He even filled out the application form, but when he called the Ministry for guidance, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (?) asked about the visa from the Greek Embassy in the US. That’s when I hit a brick wall.

3). My military pension is roughly (at current euro rate) 1200 euros. Could the difference of 800 euros be covered by my bank savings, mutual funds/TSP accounts?

Thank you very much in advance, and again job well done on your site.

Kat Reply:

Hi Deli, nice to see you here and thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you found me because I unfortunately do not have time to check message boards that often. For me, it makes more sense to invest time in my own site instead of giving away information that helps another site.

1) Needing an AFM to open a bank account – The banks at which I have accounts did not ask me for an AFM or a residence permit; all they asked for is my passport. These days, most Greek banks do ask for an AFM for security reasons. I do not have an account at Alpha, so I cannot say if this is a country-wide policy or if this is specific to the branch or the person helping you. As you know, results vary a lot here.

2) Special entry visa – I’m told that the proper visa is a Greek national visa type ‘D,’ which denotes the intention to immigrate. The article has been updated accordingly.

3) 2,000 euros per/mo — I’ve heard of two situations. One is you are asked to deposit 24,000 euros up front in a Greek bank account for the whole year. The other is that you must show proof of 2,000/mo income; it doesn’t matter how that’s done — savings, pension, alimony, profits from a company abroad, etc.

Cheers! :)

  deli wrote @ March 19th, 2008 at 23:52

Euxarhsto para poly, Kat.

I am glad that I found your website and had access to the information/guidance you have on it. You have no idea how many questions I had/have that your site answered. Its a huge welcome relief amidst the uncertainties and flaws of the Greek immigration laws. ..and did you mention patience? Ela re..I lived in and survived Greece for 4 years (so what does that tell you?) :) It’s funny because in Larissa where I was stationed, the locals called me the most greekified American. Yes..i drove and cursed like one!

Anyway, again thank you very much.

deli

p.s. I read somewhere that you are leaving Greece, contemplating on leaving Greece, or you’re definitely leaving Greece. If you are, KRIMA…poly krima. On behalf of the hundreds, if not thousands, of people you’ve helped and are still helping — owe you a shot of ouzo or tsipouro (or maybe a bottle). Na prosexeis. Filakia!!! :)

  MAJOR Migos US ARMY wrote @ April 7th, 2008 at 21:59

Wow, after reading all the articles above I will start doing some research myself.

Kat Reply:

Major M – All of the research is already done above, but you are free to conduct your own should you doubt it. No problem at all. :)

  Dee wrote @ May 1st, 2008 at 21:11

Boy, I hope you can help me!!

My husband & I came to a small island in Greece last August after selling everything we had back in the states.

Before leaving, I personally visited and phoned the Greek Consulate in my area. I explained we were planing to relocate in Greece. We have proof of self support and health insurance and passports.
We intended to go to Greece to be with our grandson. we were told that we had a “good enough” reason for staying. We were under the impression once we arrived in Greece and found ourselves a place within the 90 days. We could then apply at the local police station for residency/extended stay permit.

We bought one way tickets and off we went. Going through customs when asked how long we planned to stay we stated we hoped for good. No further questions were asked and we went on our way.
Once we arrived, found an apartment and spent time with our grandson. It didn’t take long for us to decide this is where we want to stay.

As our 90 day visitation time was getting close, we went to the local police station as instructed to apply for an extended stay. We were told that the police station no longer handles that process and told us to go to the town hall. That’s when the nightmare began.

The man there was not pleasant and with our Greek speaking daughter asked why should we be allowed to stay? We need proof of being self supportive. What would happen if he was to go to America? Would they just let him stay? With no income?….

Bite my tongue, but wanted to say, Yes we would. We’d pay your rent, feed your family, school your children and provide free medical care, it’s called welfare!

However, I didn’t. We explained the situation and he changed his attitude a bit. However, then wanted to know were did we get the forms we had filled out? (from the Greek Consulate’s office in the states) He felt they were not the proper forms. He told us he would have to get the proper forms from Athens. We should return the following day to pck them up.

The following day, he was not in. Then the weekend. This went on for a couple of weeks. Then finally, he told us he was not able to get the proper forms for us. Either way, we did not have a Visa
to begin with, so we could not stay in Greece. Needless to say we were speechless.

We contacted the American Embassy in Athens only to be told it’s true, we should have gotten our Visas FIRST.

In the meantime, we were witnesses to a serious crime. Where the detectives asked if we could stay for a couple -3 months in case we were needed to testify. We naturally agreed do to the degree of the crime. Since then, we have not heard back from the authorities about the case.

I have attempted to contact more information from the American and Greek Consulates, the U.S. Citizens Traveling Abroad at the governments web site, various governmental departments at all levels. Even requested information as to why I was so misinformed at the same Greek Consulate’s office where I first inquired before leaving the U.S. And, recently mailed a letter to both Embassies in two U.S. cities ( one being Washington D.C…. I have not received a single word from any resources I’ve tried.
Including website legal advice forums!

I’m about to go insane.

Everyone on this island tell us not to worry, no one cares as long as we stay out of trouble, we’ll be fine. I am not comfortable with being an illegal alien!

I have discovered that apparently Greece is in the process of re-organizing their immigration/alien system. In the meantime it seems no one knows or even cares were we need to go or who it is we need to see.

Under the circumstances, we feel we should be allowed to be reconsidered and allowed to at least apply for a residency permit.

We fear after all this time and the strong re-bonding we’ve experienced with our grand son. What effect would all this have on him? What is he to think of the Greek government sending us away?
We also wonder what happens when we decide to return to the states to visit and /or attend weddings etc.?

What resource would you recommend? Is there any hope for us?

I would appreciate any and all possible suggestions you my lend.

With extreme appreciation,
Dee

Kat Reply:

Hi Dee – The information I’m going to give you comes from written documentation from the municipality and my own experience with the type of residence permit you are trying to get. There are exceptions (this is Greece, after all), but I like to give it straight, and then if someone enjoys leniency, so be it.

1) Non-EU citizens, regardless of nationality or family connection to a Greek/EU citizen, have always needed a residence permit to stay beyond the validity of their visa. How do I know that? That is the case in all EU countries. It’s the law. The first time I came here 11 years ago, I knew I needed a permit (I never consulted the Consulate, I went direct to authorities), but my boss didn’t give me the contract I needed to file on time, so I was fined for overstaying my visa when I left. You also will be fined when/if you leave Greece because you are beyond the 90 days.

2) What the Consulate General told you about getting a visa extension is false. A visa extension is for temporary visitors and granted under special extenuating circumstances. Further, the extension (if granted) only lasts a maximum of 6 months (extremely rare case); most extensions last only 3 months. If you told them that you’d intended to live here permanently, they should have immediately directed you to a type ‘D’ visa, which is a visa that specifically denotes the intention to immigrate, or at least told you that you needed a permit.

3) The type D visa has not always existed, but the Consulate is lying about reorganizing their immigration/alien system. The major overhaul in immigration occurred in December 2005, with only minor amendments in December 2007, so it’s more likely that they’re taking the typical 2-3 years to get up to speed. I first heard of this visa being required for this particular permit in March 2007, so it took more than a year for municipalities in Greece to be informed and it sounds like some Consulate/Embassies are still not informed.

4) It used to be that you could come here without the type D visa and apply for a residence permit based on independent means when you got here. That’s how I got mine 10 years ago. BUT, it has always been true that you need to show proof of insurance coverage, proof of income, proof of residence in Greece (lease, mortgage, etc.). Back then, they did not ask me to deposit the whole 24,000 euros into a bank account like they do now, but they asked to see a bank account of a few thousand dollars with photocopies of my passbook certified by police, along with check stubs from income I received from outside Greece. Therefore, this is not a new requirement. It has always been so.

5) In smaller towns, the police handle permits and visa extensions. In larger towns, the ‘dimos’ or town hall handles permits for Greece, and the police station handles visa extensions.

6) It is best to not rely on Greek and EU citizens for information and advice about permits and visas. Why? Although I knew a few good people who are really excellent sources, the majority dispense information based on hearsay/rumors and don’t have first-hand experience or knowledge about actually doing the paperwork and aren’t familiar with laws because they don’t pertain to them. This is also why the most popular English-language weekly is often wrong — I know this because I used to rely on them for information, and it’s been wrong for the past 10 years; something is always missing, and it’s because they’re writers are Greek and have no real first-hand experience with bureaucracy. People have a hard time saying, “I don’t know” here, so they make up an answer or say “don’t worry.” That’s never been good enough for me, and it shouldn’t be good enough for you either. I started this website in an attempt to help people avoid these things.

7) The “don’t worry” advice comes from yesteryears of non-enforcement of the law and people flouting or skirting it somehow. But it doesn’t mean laws don’t exist and don’t apply.

8 ) Unless you have an inside connection in Greece who can fix this for you (politician, connected lawyer, employee at the Foreign Ministry), there is no point contacting the Consulate or Embassy or anyone outside Greece because the damage is done and cannot be fixed because your visa is now expired, and you are in an illegal status. That’s why no one is responding to you. Well, that, and the fact no one wants to take responsibility for their incompetence; they figure it’s your problem now.

9) I’m surprised the American Embassy in Athens is now up to speed on permits and visas because they’ve been useless to me since the first day I arrived. Just last year, I heard they were turning people away and redirecting them to municipalities and Greek Embassies in the USA. Either they’ve done some research or been reading this site ;)

10) If a Greek wanted to immigrate to the USA, he also would need to show that he or someone in the USA has funds to sponsor and support him. i.e. If my Greek fiance and I wished to go to the USA, I have to go ahead of him, establish a domicile, get a stable job, sign a 10-year binding agreement to support him unconditionally (even in divorce), and only then would he be allowed to come over and get a permit. The minimum funds required by the USA is half what Greece demands, but I wanted to illustrate that the USA would not take care of him, just as GR would not take care of us. The only legal way he’d be able to get around the immigration process to the USA is to have dual citizenship with the USA, just as you having dual citizenship with Greece or another EU country would be the only way for you to get around the permit. A Greek could come over on a tourist visa and overstay, but being in an illegal resident status would not entitle him to welfare benefits.

The way I see it is you have two choices (that is, if you don’t have a politician, connected lawyer or foreign ministry employee to help you):
a) Keep staying here without a permit and stay under the radar. This is easy to do if you live on an island and won’t be engaging in anything legal (or illegal), such as getting an AFM (tax number), buying a car/home, taking part-time work, etc. However, the drawback is you will you be fined 600-1300 euros for overstaying your visa when you leave Greece IF border control decides to punish you (they may not); as long as you pay the fine, you will not be blacklisted and can come back to Greece.

b) In order to get the permit done the right way, you must leave Greece, go to the Greek Consulate/Embassy in the USA and apply for the type D visa, give them all the documents they require (listed above), re-enter Greece with the visa and apply for the permit, which must be renewed every year. You must also stay away from the Schengen zone (of which Greece is a part) for a minimum of 180 days because non-EU citizens are only allowed to stay a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period.

That’s not what you wanted to hear, but these are your only two options should you not have connections to help you. Even if the Consulate were forced to admit their mistake, I don’t see a way to force them to call authorities in Greece and have your permit issued because they’d have to call local authorities in your area, then the Perifeira, then the Foreign Ministry. That’s an awful lot of force at different levels.

  deli wrote @ May 3rd, 2008 at 00:54

Ms. Dee: I feel your pain. I experienced, first hand, the same ignorance and incompetence you went through with the Greek Embassy/Consulates staff here in the US prior to flying to Greece in December. Essentially, they all told me: “No visa needed, just fly to Greece and apply when you get there. It would be stupid of the Greek government to not approve you since you won’t be sponging off from them or stealing somebody else’s job.” So, I flew to Greece and when I applied for the permit, the first thing they asked was the Visa! My Greek friends told me the same thing your friends told you, to not worry and just stay as long as I want as long as I stay out of trouble. I don’t think so! Suffice to say, I left and flew back to the US. I’m not giving up though, I’ll let you know what happens with my meeting with the consulate staff. Good luck and take care.

  Alan wrote @ May 7th, 2008 at 23:18

Kat, just discovered your site today and have to tell you how great it is. I want to share a little on this issue; my wife and I moved here three years ago from California and have had very little trouble renewing our permit the first two times. This past September we went through the process again as before, however, here it is 8 months later and we’re bogged down in the typical Greek bureaucracy, lost paperwork, holidays, vacations, and other assorted delays. We have never in three years been asked to deposit funds in a Greek bank and our copies of U.S. bank accounts, stocks, etc. have always sufficed for previous renewals. This time our financial records are not being accepted because they come off the dreaded and mysterious internet. They must be “certified” originals AND translated. We had our bank and stock companies send us ‘originals’ but we’re being told they “don’t look like originals” and “they’re not stamped as being official”. We’ve decided we need to find a lawyer who might be able to intercede for us so we can get this finished before it’s time to renew again this coming September.

Thanks for a great site. I wish all my fellow American friends good luck with their problems.

  Deli wrote @ May 9th, 2008 at 04:28

Hi, all.
As I promised on my last post, I would like to share what happened at the Greek Consulate yesterday (May 7) on my first attempt to get a special entry visa. The lady who helped me was very nice and helpful. I told her what my intentions were and what I went through, and she did acknowledge the fact that greeks would rather give bogus info than saying “Sorry, I don’t know the answer or don’t have the information you needed”. How true!!!

Anyway, she asked 7 things from me.
1) My US passport,
2) 2 passport photos,
3) Bank Statements showing I would have at least 2000 euros a month,
4) Statement for continuous medical/health coverage,
5) Filled out Schengen Visa Application for Type D visa,
6) FBI Clearance, and
7) $US 56.00 processing fee.
I gave her more than what she actually asked. I also showed her my statements from my TSP and Fidelity accounts, and Statmenet of Service and Income from the Department of the Navy, translated to greek by the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Athens. However, I wasn’t able to file my application because most of my documents were dated 2007. I have to get a new statement from TRICARE for my medical coverage even if the 2007 statement clearly stated I have “continuous medical coverage as a retired US military member effective 1 December 2007′, and a 2008 FBI clearance. I thought, well..it’s OK. I figured she asking me 2008 clearances and statements were valid. So, I mailed all the necessary requests and fingerprint card to FBI and TRICARE today, which would normally take at least 4 weeks for the results/response (which means, my plan on flying back to Greece as early as June 6 is temporarily shelved). The only thing was that she didn’t really buy and consider my TSP and mutual funds statements. Although I have enough savings in my bank account plus my retirement pay to cover the minimum 2000 euros a month requirement, she insinuated that it would be better if I withdrew some of my TSP and convert some of my mutual funds/stock balances, and deposit them in my bank accounts and present them the next time I saw her. I thought and rationalized, maybe they require a more easily accessible cash on hand. She signed my application noting that she already interviewed me and told me to come back and see her with the new 2008 FBI clearance and TRICARE statements. The whole interview took no more than an hour, and though I wasn’t able to put my request in, at least there’s some kind of progress here as opposed to the kind of treatment and information I got in 2006/2007 from the Greek Embassy in DC and consulates in Los Angeles and San Francisco. I am hoping I would get the same results and treatment when I return in a month and the lady consulate staff would still be working there.

To Alan: I had the same experience with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Translation Services) in February 2008. I brought some documents for translation and they didn’t accept my internet account statements because they were not the originals or didn’t seem to look like original copies. I’m just wondering, where did you guys renew your first and second permits?

To Kat: You are in my prayers. I read your email today. I have nothing but high mega praises for you, not only for the work you’ve done and doing on this site and the hundreds of people you’ve helped and are still helping, but also for what you’ve been and going through as an American living and surviving in Greece. Thank you very very much.

  Shraddha wrote @ July 31st, 2008 at 17:25

Hi,
Me and my husband are working as software engg in greece since august last year on a 90 days work permit which was issued from India.Then we applied for residence permit.
We have a valid work/residence permit which is valid from 15/11/2007 to 4/09/2008 .
We have applied for the renewal but no one is sure when we will get the permit renewed.
We wanted to go on a vacation in september outside greece.,but our visa expires on 4th Sept and we just have the blue papers.
In the article above i read that we can go on blue papers as we had a residence permit .
But,none of the people in the company are responding right.
Whom shall i consult taking my papers? We need to make bookings but are unable as we dont know the exact status then.
Can someone please help me know whether its valid to travel for us?

Note from Kat: Please see “Summer travel period for non-EU citizens” (no longer applicable). Have a nice trip!

  jyotsna wrote @ March 4th, 2009 at 11:43

Hi,

Please help me. I am living in India and I have been cheated by my husband now living in Greece. We got married in 2006 in India, and after 15 days he left and kept telling me he will bring me over, but when he came home after one year he took money from my father for my visa. That stuck in our mind. We spoke to some people and learned that he is married to a girl in Greece and when I talk with him he is abusive and ask me for a divorce. I want to tell you he went illegally to Greece, and I want justice. What should I do and where should I file a complaint against him?

Kat Reply:

The fact is, it is legally impossible for him to secure your visa or bring you to Greece after one year because he (a non-EU citizen) must legally hold a permit for 2 years, file taxes and prove an income of more than 10,000 euros to bring you over. You could have found this information on my website or by calling the Greek Consulate/Embassy in India, and known very quickly he was lying and never given him money in 2007.

The only way to “get him in trouble” is to come here and file a report with Greek police. However, they have more pressing issues and will likely do nothing. Getting justice and getting revenge are very different things, and it’s often better to get out of a bad situation, start over and move on by investing time, money and good energy into good things and good people.

  jessica wrote @ March 26th, 2009 at 11:52

Hopefully things have changed with the Embassies but from 2000 thru 2004 the Greek Embassy persons in Chicago with whom I spoke several times (over the years), insisted that there was no way to get a permanent visa in Greece for an American. When I quoted to her first that we qualified due to our “income” and private health insurance for residency as retirees, she told me that no, it wasn’t possible without a HUGE sum of money in the bank (almost 10 times what you say)

We had purchased a house in 1997 and spent a lot of money renovating it. (yes we kept all the “pink slips” AND hired an accountant)

We lived the first six-seven years here by “leaving” for an overnight visit to non-EU countries every three months – you used to be able to “fudge” around the rules that way. When we’d re-enter Greece we’d have another 3 month tourist visa. (that all changed after 9/11…. well actually it took three more years for Greece to finally tighten up) Meanwhile, the embassy in Chicago continually advised me to speak to the authorities in Corfu (who of course immediately referred me to the US! The US Embassy in Athens was “helpful” but useless.)

We had a lawyer from when we bought the house and he helped us secure a visa – but only for a year and for $500. each. Still it was an important year as it tided my husband over to finally become an EU citizen. As you say, laws change, but though there were EU regulations that existed, it took a long time to implement in Greece.

Finally our second line of inquiry paid off and my husbands Irish dual citizenship and passport came through so -yay! he was legal! However in spite of a marriage of 40 years- I was NOT legal. Again the frustrating conversations with the Greek Embassy. But now I was married to an EU citizen and as the spouse had legal “rights”.

So, I submitted ALL the forms demanded and still was continually “rejected” because of a paper missing or an apostille needed or a name “error”… [my birth certificate had a hyphen between my first and middle name, my marriage license and passport did not- therefore I was obviously not the same person, and needed to swear a change of name or AKA...] and all over a period of 3 years, every six months.

Finally I too qualified for Irish dual nationality. I applied and three months later I had my Irish nationality. Two months after that I had my Irish passport. We now both have residency permits that took a week to get. No problem. We even went to the head of the line, as EU citizens are given preference. Not fair at all, but welcome after the ten year battle!

Kat Reply:

There are a few inconsistencies I’d like to clear up for anyone reading your comment.
- First, there is no such thing as a permanent visa from anywhere for anyone. A visa is for entering a country, staying temporarily for up to 90 days and exiting.
- Second, personnel at Greek Consulates and Embassies are notoriously unhelpful and uninformed about laws and practices. Not all, but many. But the income requirement and deposit were never lawfully that high.
- Third, crossings to non-EU, non-Schengen countries and overnight stays to fudge another 90 days ended in 1999 when Greece entered Schengen. Schengen states that only a maximum of 90 days stay is lawful in any 180-day period in the entire Schengen zone. Anyone who thinks they renewed their visa after 1999 is fooling themselves or got away with it because of ignorance on the part of public sector/border control. But technically, nothing was accomplished.
- Fourth, in many articles I say that the EU has laws that Greece refuses or is slow to implement. This has been true for as long as GR has been in the EU.
- Fifth, there is no such thing as a one-year visa. A one-year permit, yes. And it costs 150 euro each. The lawyer took advantage of you.
- Sixth, the non-EU spouse of an EU citizen has rights on par with an EU resident only in theory in Greece. In practice, non-EU spouses of EU/Greek citizens hold a lower standing than non-EU spouses of EU citizens living in countries other than Greece.
- Last, non-Greek EU citizens technically do not need residence permits. As of 2008, they are required to get resident certificates that require very few papers and never need to be renewed. So yes, they are easy to get.

I appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to share your experience.

  Jurgen wrote @ July 2nd, 2009 at 16:31

Hello Kat

Excellent website – it’s taken me some time to find reliable and useful information – your site definitely has it all. I am an EU citizen and have a South African spouse. (Married in SA; we are both male.) I am trying to take my spouse to a EU country that somehow makes it possible for us to retire – I have a question about the funding.

2,ooo Euro a month – proof of that. As this permit is only valid for ONE year, do I have to show funds for a number of years (it’s invested) totally more than 24,000 Euro?

Secondly, when applying for a Schengen visa for him for a visit to find accommodation, there are questions that do not need to be completed by spouses of EU nationals – does this also NOT apply to him, as Greece does not accept this marriage?

Thanks again for this great website – life saver! Regards Jurgen

Kat Reply:

Hi Jurgen. Greece does not recognize same-sex marriages, which is against an EU directive, but things won’t change until the EC drops the hammer and forces Greece to change the law. Also by law, spouses of EU citizens are supposed to enjoy additional privileges (such as not applying for visas) but Greece does not recognize or implement this EU directive either, even for man-woman unions.

Therefore, you’re fine to live in Greece as an EU citizen, but your spouse will need to apply for this permit. As I state in the article, you’ll be asked to deposit 24,000 euros cash into a bank account OR you’ll have to show liquid/cash income through statements/letters of 2,000 euros per month. I can’t tell you in advance which you’ll be asked to do because Greek authorities interpret and apply the law differently. And yes, you’ll be asked to do this every year since the permit is only good for one year.

If/when the law changes, all articles will be updated to reflect that.

Thank you for leaving your questions and compliments. Hope to see you again. :)

  Christopher wrote @ July 4th, 2009 at 10:16

I have a question that I haven’t been able to quite pin down off the various sites I’ve read (yours, Greek embassy sites, etc.). If you buy property in Greece, but are not able to live in Greece upon independent means, are you able still able to obtain a residence permit? It seems that if you own property in a country, theoretically you should be allowed to live AND work there. But I could see this not being the case, hence why I ask the question.

Kat Reply:

That’s a good question. In many countries, non-EU citizens who purchase property are entitled to a permit but it varies widely as to whether it’s only a residence permit or a residence/work permit combo. In Greece, purchasing property alone does not qualify a non-EU citizen for any permit. The reasoning is: Banks require non-EU citizens to have an existing permit AND cash in the bank or a steady job/income to qualify for a mortgage, buy a home and maintain it. So the reverse — first buying a home and then needing a job and permit — is illogical.

  Kristin wrote @ September 1st, 2009 at 19:22

Hi Kat,

I have a question that I can’t quite figure out:

My (Greek) fiancee and I are moving to Greece from the US in a couple of months. Since Greece doesn’t do fiancee visas, I am applying for a Type D Schengen visa/ permit residency permit based on independent means. I’ve gathered all of the necessary documents: FBI check, proof of income, letter of invitation, health check, etc.

My question is: when I fill out the Schengen visa application and it asks for the dates of my stay in Greece, do I need to show an itinerary of 90 days or less? I know the actual Schengen visa is only good for 90 days (and that it is your responsibility to go apply for the necessary permits right away after arriving in Greece), but since the Type D Schengen visa shows intent to settle, can I go ahead and and give an itinerary of more than 90 days?

Sorry if you’ve covered this elsewhere — I just really don’t want to mess up my application and the folks on the phone at the Consulate are less than helpful.

Thanks so much for any advice, and I wanted to let you know that your website has been amazingly helpful to me as we’ve planned our move!

Kat Reply:

Hi Kristin, there’s an article pertaining to this subject, but it’s password protected due to plagiarism.

Making the assumption you are American (since you never specified nationality), you actually have two options depending on when you decide to marry your Greek fiance.
1) The above option with a ‘D’ visa, based on financial means: If you have no immediate plans to marry; or
2) Coming over on your visa-free Schengen for 90 days, marrying shortly thereafter and applying for a permit within 30 days of your arrival with much less bureaucracy: There are cases where people marry anytime before their visa expires, but the law says that non-EU citizens must apply for a permit within 30 days of arrival; Greek authorities have the right to refuse issuing the permit if he/she doesn’t (even if it’s a spouse of a Greek citizen), and then the ombudsman needs to be called in to file an appeal.

If option 2 doesn’t apply to you, the answer to your question is:
Since you intend to stay in Greece upon being granted the D visa, they’re mainly interested in an itinerary of when you are departing, where you will stay (if you know), why you are there, when you’re returning (i.e., when your permit expires after a year).

Someone will review the application and interview you, during which you may be asked questions pertaining to the answers you gave or to supplement any info they feel is inadequate. Some people wait to have the visa approved before booking the plane ticket, and the Embassy/Consulate understands that. If this is the case, you can give them a solid departure date after the visa is approved and they’ll fill it in before issuing it.

See you over here!

  Lisa wrote @ November 6th, 2009 at 05:32

Kat – kudos to you on this fantastic baby of yours – really extremely informative and helpful, after searching the ocean of useless, outdated sites, this is a real jewel to come across!

I have a question in regards to the “retirement or independent living” permit – the one where you show you have sufficient funds to live independently for a year. So, my question is, granted you receive this permit, is there any way to apply for work permit while residing on this permit? From what I understand, you can also extend it for another year without leaving greece, correct? Can you also attend university or other educational courses while on it?

To give a bit of my background, I’m a non EU citizen, actually a citizen of Kazakhstan, living in New York for the past 11 year of my life, and now looking for ways to move to Greece, after visiting it numerous times and finally coming to terms that this is a place I want to give a shot at trying this fall. I understand the difficulties, but granted that I don’t have a husband to marry lined up, or considering the economic situation and beurocracy a chance to find an employer who would sponsor me, I’m looking for alternative ways how to make it happen..

Your advise is very much appreciated, and many thanks ahead for any info you could share.

Kat Reply:

It’s late, and I have limited time, so my answers will be quick and painless. You had three questions not one.
- No, as it says above in the first paragraph, it is not a work permit and you cannot work legally with it. If you find an employer, you must exit the country and re-enter on a Schengen ‘D’ visa that denotes intent to immigrate, based on employment. It is a long process alluded to in, “How non-EU citizens can get a permit to live and work in Greece.”
- You can extend it as long as you continue to meet the requirements, and Greek authorities allow it.
- No, you cannot attend university or take courses with this permit. That would require you enter Greece with a student visa, and apply for a permit based on a course of study.

  shaz wrote @ January 8th, 2010 at 15:13

i am married to a greek citizen for 15 yrs i would like my south african parents to come and live here with us so i can look after them.how to we go about this. my husband and our 3 kids live in greece

Kat Reply:

Your parents would be coming here as non-EU citizens, so your marriage to a Greek citizen only entitles you to bring them here as long as you are married to him, they are completely dependent on you (i.e., they cannot work and don’t have sufficient pensions to support themselves), and you/your husband can show sufficient income to support them.

If they have sufficient income to support themselves, they must qualify for the visa and residence permit described above in the article.

A non-EU citizen (you) legally residing in Greece is permitted to bring a non-EU spouse and minor children into Greece after two years. It does not include parents, and there are no sponsorship programs.

Because they were fined 1200 euros each for overstaying their visas on holiday, this will count against them. It is very important to educate oneself before being a guest in another country. Having a Greek citizen as a son-in-law does not give them special privileges or excuse them from following the law.

  lalalaloulu wrote @ January 13th, 2010 at 05:10

Hello… I wanted to thank you for such an informative and well written site that you have available. There is an article that I would like to read which is password protected – obtaining a WORKING PERMIT-RESIDENCY through a non-eu person of Greek origin. Would you kindly advise what the password may be. Also..I am will be attending the canadian greek embassy to begin the paperwork for a work permit to work in greece…i noticed in one of your articles re registering parents marriage in the local municipality. If they were not married in greece, would they still need to register the marriage in greece.. I look forward to hearing from you…you are a brilliant lady!

  gowmukhi wrote @ March 13th, 2010 at 04:13

Hi Kat,
I have a question.

We are planning to move to Greece and expecting to get residence permit based on independent means. We are a young couple with a lot of savings. We have a online business which keeps us giving royalties on monthly basis. So we can show a lot of money in our bank than stated 24000 Euros +20% extra for spouse. But we will not be able to show any document which states that we have a continuous source of income from abroad.

So my question is, is showing money in the bank sufficient?
Or must we also prove that we have a continuous source of income from abroad?

Follow-up: Thank you for your reply.
It scares me a bit but I am hoping that the people in San Francisco consulate can help me more on this. I would hate to fly back to SF because the person processing my papers decides that he need more documents to accept my application.

Kat Reply:

As it says in the article under ‘Documents Needed” #4, they may ask for proof of deposit (savings of at least 24,000 euros) or proof of income (past, present, future ongoing), or all of the above. There’s no way for me to know what will apply in your case. Only the person(s) processing your papers make that determination.

Follow-up: My article is the most complete information based on official documentation, plus real-life experiences of people who secured the same visa and the permit in Greece.

Did you read the article? There’s no way you’d be forced to fly back to SF because the application starts and is approved/rejected while still in your own country. The people above who had to fly home never applied for anything, never had the special ‘D’ visa issued before entering Greece, or any of the information I provided.

Therefore, I am arming you with everything you need to know in case someone tries to mislead you or doesn’t know what they’re doing.

  Gowmukhi wrote @ March 25th, 2010 at 01:20

Hi Kat, We were approved for our ‘D’ visa today, thanks to you and your website for providing accurate information for free. If only I could find a donate button on your website I would definitely click it :-)

We will land in Greece next month and I hope to use your website more often than before.

Kat Reply:

Instead of making a monetary donation, I would appreciate if you could give back to the site by contributing your experience and comments. It helps me keep things current and relevant, plus it gives me an idea of what people need and want.

  Gowmukhi wrote @ May 26th, 2010 at 11:54

We finally applied for resident permit today.

It was bit hard to get all the documents in place. Got first hand experience with Greek bureaucracy, red tape and delays due unprofessionalism. For example they would only give us an appointment after 2 week for health-checkup. Getting insurance was proved painful. They said they will give us the insurance papers in 1 week and even after 3 weeks they didn’t.

However the municipality guy was really nice. The 30 day limit mentioned in this post is actually not a law. One can apply as long as visa is valid which is normally 90 days. They also did not ask us for clean criminal record and residence proof.

Also showing enough money in bank was enough. No need to show continuous source of income.

Kat Reply:

As it says in the post: a) money in the bank; OR b) continuous source of income.

There is a 30-day requirement to apply, and it is highly recommended people start as soon as possible because of bureaucratic delays. I know two non-EU spouses of Greek citizens who believed or were told they could apply as long as their 90-day visa was valid, and both were denied permits for not starting their applications within 30 days. One took her case to a Greek newspaper, then to the ombudsman to appeal and won. The other remains here without a permit and must now exit Greece to start the 180-day clock again, re-enter with a new visa and apply again for the permit.

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Everyone should remember that implementation of the law in Greece ranges greatly depending on location, person and mood.

  rosie wrote @ May 29th, 2010 at 08:55

Your website is very good, and I’m thrilled with the information you offer.

I am planning on moving to one of the Greek islands for a couple of years or more- at the end of the year. I am australian, have sufficient funds and want to get my macedonian citizenship as well. I just wanted to know if that, and wanting to go to macedonia whilst i am in greece to visit relatives, would have any impact. Would appreciate your thoughts?

Rosie

Kat Reply:

As long as you follow the instructions above and qualify, you should be able to get a residence permit.

Regarding your trip to visit relatives, there may be an issue. As explained in the article above under “What happens next,” candidates waiting up to a year for the official permit sticker must stay within borders or are legally granted travel privileges to their homeland only; I know people who traveled to places outside their homeland but they risked possible denial of re-entry to Greece by doing so.

Therefore, your ability to travel freely while living in Greece will depend on when you receive your official permit sticker (there’s no way to predict when, as they are currently backlogged), or if you are willing to risk possible denial of re-entry to Greece by going anyway.

All best.

  John wrote @ May 31st, 2010 at 22:35

I’m going to Greece on a tourist visa in a few weeks. I’m from Ecuador and have been invited by a friend over there. Since my first visit to Greece 20 years ago, It has always been a dream for me to live in Greece for a while (maybe stay?) but, knowing how difficult it is to get a work permit, I have filed that dream away. Anyway, surfing the net, I found your wonderful blog…WOW, it’s amazing the quantity and quality of information and knowledge that you share, thank you so much!

Reading page after page I have found this post about getting a residence permit based on independent means. I had no idea about this possibility! I have a question: If I go with my tourist visa (30 days), would I be able to apply for this residence permit? I have savings for over 30000 euros and have some influential friends over there that might help me speed up the process (they already did in my last visit helping me to get a visa extension). Thanks for your help on this!

Kat Reply:

Hello and welcome.

As it says in the post, you must qualify and apply at the Greek Embassy/Consulate nearest your home for the special type ‘D’ visa that denotes intention to immigrate. You cannot just come to Greece with your tourist visa and apply for a residence permit. Since you start the process in your homeland, I don’t see why or how connections in Greece would help you. You either qualify, or you don’t.

Please read the article and follow the instructions. Others followed them and were successful.

All best, and thank you stopping by! Hopefully, we’ll see you over here.

  Baburaja wrote @ June 17th, 2010 at 18:36

i am Nepali. it is possible to get residence permit or business visa in greece? if possible pls let me know? thanks. i am businessman.

Kat Reply:

– If you wish to get a residence permit for Greece without working here, read the article above, see if you qualify and follow the instructions if you do.
– If you are looking to open/start a business in Greece, see “How to start a business in Greece.”
– If you want to come to Greece and work as an employee, see “How non-EU citizens can get a permit to live/work in Greece.”

These articles are available on every page and accessible with one click. Beyond that, please consult the Greek embassy/consulate nearest you.

  Al wrote @ August 3rd, 2010 at 19:22

We must compliment you for providing the most accurate non-governmental information site we have seen. A job well done.

We have to say that our move to Greece as “persons of independent means” was without any difficulties, and our five annual renewals have been equally effortless. The San Francisco Greek Consulate provided us with a printed set of instructions, to include the proper form for requesting the Type D Visa. Upon our arrival in Greece, the woman at the Dimos that handled the permit paperwork was great. The only problem we have had has been with the US Department of Defense providing proof of health insurance in a timely fashion for renewals. A couple of years ago, they took 5 months to provide a simple letter of coverage, and that letter stated that we were “eligible for TRICARE”, but never said what TRICARE is. Since then, we use a certificate from the US Military Retirees Association of Greece for proof of health insurance. If you are retired military living in Greece, the Association (http://www.usmrag.org/) is well worth the annual dues.

Our experience with other US citizens attempting to establish residence in Greece is that they either get their info from friends or ask the wrong questions of their local Greek Consulate. Of course, the right answer to the wrong question is usually the wrong answer to the right question!!! We simply told the official at the Consulate that we were retired US military and wished to live full time in Greece. She asked a few clarifying questions, and then sent us the information necessary to get the job done.

Again, thanks for all the spot-on info, Kat.

Kat Reply:

I founded this website because asking friends (even lawyers) did me no good, and I was stonewalled too often with rumors, misinformation or unhelpful staff.

The irony is this article was created after several people received incorrect information or blank stares at Greek consulates and embassies (I won’t say which ones), including a few of your comrades who did ask the right questions. And, at the time I originally published the article, there existed no governmental or non-governmental websites offering information on many subjects I’ve covered. They followed later, and some still have incomplete or no information available. I’ll still take your compliment, though.

USMRAG is indeed a solid organization, with lots of helpful/important services available to members. Been privileged to meet a few of you.

Thank you so much for stopping by, sharing your experience and leaving a comment. :) Hope to hear from you again.

  Jeanne wrote @ September 11th, 2010 at 22:39

Thank you so much for this wonderful website that you created. I am certain that many people owe you a great debt for the clear information you provide here, and especially for all the work you have done with no monetary recompense. Though money is not the only satisfaction of a job well done!

I have a few questions about this residence permit. A little background :

I’m an (female) American citizen in a long-distance relationship with a Greek man living in Athens. We find ourselves in the difficult spot of needing to spend more time living together in the same place in order to find out if we are truly meant to go the distance (or not) before getting married. I have a job with an American company that allows me to work from abroad, along with insurance through my work specifically for travel. It is easier for me to move to Greece than for him to come to the USA, as he directs his family’s business.

We are thrilled that there could be an alternative for us with this permit, rather having to get married for purely ‘residence’ and not romantic reasons. (Though we both know just getting married would be far easier than obtaining this residency permit.)

I’m planning to start the process for the type D visa/independent means residency permit in Spring 2011. I have a few clarifying questions :

1. For ‘proof of income’:
a) for the visa/permit, is it enough to show my original pay stubs & W-2′s, or do I also need to show my bank statements? I have a feeling that I know your answer to this question (that it varies by consulate/dimos office), but I would like to make certain. Probably it is best to have everything, isn’t it?

b) Having €24000 in a bank account; is it OK for the money to be in an American bank and not a Greek one for the visa?

c) What about later upon arrival in Greece and applying for the permit, does the money need to be transferred to a Greek bank account in my name, or is it ok to stay in my American bank?

(I assume that if I can already show a monthly income of €2000 with my pay stubs/W-2s/bank statements, then I don’t need to worry about having the €24000 in the Greek or American bank, at least for the visa type D.)

2. For ‘proof of residence in Greece’ (permit):
a) I am planning to live with my boyfriend in his family’s home, therefore I will not have any documents (lease, utility bills, etc.) with my name on them. What can I do instead?

b) Do my boyfriend and his parents need to make a dilosi on my behalf? I will have a mobile phone in my name, but it looks like that is not enough for the permit to prove residency.

3. For travel outside of Greece:
- it is very clear what you have written except for one point where I am confused.

It says above under ‘What Happens Next?’ that “You must remain within the borders until an official permit sticker has been issued and placed in your passport or you are in possession of an official residence card.” But then in ‘Renewal of the Greek Permit’ it says that “Once you have held a residence permit for one year, the government allows travel outside Greece.”

a) Which is correct for a first-time permit holder with the official permit sticker in my passport?
b) Am I still not allowed to travel in and out of Greece until I renew my permit after the first year of legal residence?
c) Or am I allowed to travel in and out of Greece as a first-time permit holder, as long as I have the official permit sticker in my passport
d) or within the specific times for bebaiosi holders to one’s home country?

My job requires somewhat frequent travel, especially within the EU zone and sometimes outside the EU. If I cannot travel for the first year of residency in Greece, then I may be putting my job in jeopardy. I understand that I’ll be limited with travel until I have the official permit sticker in my passport.

Thank you so much for taking all the time to read my long comment and to answer my detailed questions. I know that there may not be specific answers, but I appreciate any additional information that you could give.

Many many thanks again for your wonderful resource! My Greek boyfriend and his friends (even with non-EU girlfriends/wives) have been, suffice it to say, less than helpful, saying exactly what you and others write here – “don’t worry, you’re an American, no one will bother you” – and especially annoying, they doubt that an American could have better information than their own government employees/offices!

Kat Reply:

All of your questions are answered with the article above, so what I believe you seek is affirmation not clarification.

1. a) The article says three months of statements, payment stubs or a letter.
b) The article says, “bank account.” It does not say American because this article applies to all non-EU citizens, not just Americans. It does not say Greek.
c) As the article says, you show them bank statements from the account containing the 24,000 OR you can deposit the money in a Greek bank account.

Some people have continuous income, some people find it easier to deposit the whole amount and be done with it. That’s why there are choices.

2. a) The article says, “OR a dilosi.” If you look at the comment by ‘gowmukhi,’ he says they didn’t ask him for proof of residence.
b) Follow the link for “How to certify a dilosi in Greece” and find the answer. Article also says cell phone bill is acceptable, so I’m not sure what you mean.

3. a) Both. As the article says, you can travel freely once you receive the Greek residence permit sticker/card. By the time one year has passed at renewal, it is assumed you have the permit sticker/card. I’ll rewrite that section now.
b, c, d): As the article says, a first-time permit holder can only leave Greece and travel freely to all countries when he/she received the permit sticker/card. Beyond that, travel with a bebaiosi is restricted to times specified by the government to only your homeland. Follow the link, “I’m a non-EU citizen, may I travel whenever I wish?”, and it’s explained in detail. I cannot predict how the law will change or what rights will be granted to non-EU citizens next year.

Getting married would not grant you any more privileges in leaving and re-entering Greece while your permit is being processed as the non-EU spouse as a Greek citizen. A bebaiosi is a bebaiosi. You’re still restricted as I detail in #3.

Americans, Canadians and Australians in Greece do not have special status or privileges in breaking the law; and the “don’t worry” attitude and inability for some to admit “I don’t know” has resulted in many living in an illegal status or in ignorance.

My website was started before governmental/official websites were created for citizens. I don’t know everything, but I’ve held nearly all the permits I discuss and gathered unique, first-hand experience from dozens of others on subjects no one else covers. Besides providing insight from many people’s point of view, it helps me detect when I’ve been plagiarized.

I’m also grateful to readers who give back by sharing their experience and making me aware of new developments and corrections because what happens in real life is never what the “official” Greek gov’t info says. That means livingingreece.gr stays as relevant and current as possible for everyone’s benefit.

  Clancy wrote @ September 13th, 2010 at 19:22

I’d like to follow-up in reference to your July 4, 2009 comments to Christopher. I appear to be in one of the illogical situations you describe. I own an island house in Greece outright with no mortgage or any other debt. All taxes are paid each year. I usually keep about 4-7000 euros in my Greek bank account but have the necessary funds outside of Greece. I have no interest in working in Greece, but I would like to stay for up to a year at my home. Do I have to apply for a Type D visa with all the requirements you have explained above? Thanks again for this website. I know it must take a lot of work to maintain.

Kat Reply:

Looking at your IP address gave me no hint as to what citizenship you hold, so unfortunately I’ll need to give you a longer, general answer instead of something specific. When I used the word “illogical” in the comment you referenced, I was speaking of someone who wished to work in Greece; that doesn’t apply to you.

If you’re an EU citizen, you don’t need a ‘D’ visa or the permit listed above to live in Greece, and whether you plan to work here is irrelevant. You’d need to get a different permit for EU citizens, which has far easier bureaucracy.

If you’re a non-EU citizen without dual citizenship with an EU country, you need qualify and secure a ‘D’ visa then a residence permit to live in Greece for more than 90 days in any 180-day period. Follow everything above. Matters not if you own property in Greece, doesn’t matter where the funds are located as long as it’s 24,000 a year.

All best.

  Joey wrote @ November 11th, 2010 at 03:20

Hi there

Is it possible to apply for a “Type D” visa from within Greece, or from another country in Europe? Or can it only be done from your home country? I am not an EU citizen, but am planning to stay/settle in Greece long-term.

I travel a lot and am not always in my home country long enough to begin the visa process. Do you know how long this visa application process usually takes?

Also, I see you need a password to get access to the “How to get an AFM”. Can you assist with that?

Thank you again for your great site. It is really valuable and helpful!

Regards

Kat Reply:

The section called “Start the visa process outside Greece” answers your first question. A visa granted by Greece/Schengen allows you to legally enter Greece/Schengen, so you cannot apply for it if you’re already in Greece or the Schengen zone. It is assumed that you do it from your home country because the criminal record must come from there and they keep your passport when you submit the visa application, though I suppose you could apply for it in another location outside Schengen.

How long does it take? Depends. On what? How fast you gather the required documents and if they’re correct, how well you follow instructions, how many applications are being processed at the location you apply, how fast the staff work, if you pass the interview. You can also read other people’s experiences above.

Password. Read, “Comments, Questions and Contacting Me.”

All best.

  serrano wrote @ March 21st, 2011 at 12:36

hello sir/maam, can you help me to make permit it’s very difficult without papers here..thank you god bless

Kat Reply:

In order to apply for a Greek residence permit, you must gather all the documents above, pay the fee, pass a background check and go to the office and submit everything yourself. I am not a lawyer or an agent. All I do is give you the information to help yourself.

If you are here illegally, I regret to inform you that it will be difficult to get any permit except under very special circumstances.

  Ron wrote @ June 6th, 2011 at 10:20

Kali mera Kat, I sold my property in Crete last year(90,000eu), which is still in a crete bank. My spouse and I are now ready to move permanently to Crete or Corfu.We have booked a week holiday, leaving on 10th june/11 with the possible intention of not returning to the UK. A car is a necessity. My spouse has been told there is work available for her, and I have a reasonable chance of work. Can we just arrive, then apply for residency, which we apparently need to purchase a car or do we need to gather documents before departure? My spouse had a resident permit in Corfu, but expired last year. We have taken out health insurance, but this is a 60 day one and we must return to the UK then turn round and go back to Crete/Corfu. Can we take out health insurance when there, without having to return to the UK? Is there any info you can give us to make our move as smooth as possible? I would be extremely grateful for any info you can pass on to us. Yours faithfully. Ron.

Kat Reply:

Before I can answer, please write back and let me know:

a) Are you an EU/UK citizen?
b) Is your wife an EU/UK or non-EU citizen?
c) What kind of Greek permit did she hold previously? i.e., Was she married to you at the time? Was it a work permit, student permit, EU-wide permit?
d) Is the job she was offered a salaried position? Seasonal?
e) Is either of you collecting pensions?

All of these things make a difference, and I can’t make an educated guess based solely on the information you gave.

  Sarah wrote @ October 21st, 2011 at 18:26

Hi! I am a US citizen, retired, with significant pension, insurance, liquid bank aocounts, a Greece bank account, more than enough to satisfy the financial requirement to get a visa for Greece . I am in the process of applying for a long term stay visa for Greece to retire, at least part of the year with my boyfriend, who is US born and has dual citizenship in the US and in Greece and who has invited me to stay with him. I am seprerated (physically, not legally) from my husband and have been for some time. My first question is:

1. Given my indenpent financial status and having all the correct paper work in order, do I need a letter of invitation and will my marital status prevent me for getting a long term stay visa?

2, Should I get a letter from my friend stating that he has invited me and I have a place to live? If so, how do your suggest that we word our relationship. I also have the option of buying into his house.

3. It appears that there is a new Harmonized Schengen visa form. I am unclear what form I need to bring to the Greek Embassy at my interview. I would certainly prefer to fill it out online.

Your site has been very helpful. Thank you so much.

Kat Reply:

1. In the section “Start the visa process outside Greece,” the requirements say nothing about a letter of invitation. The entire article is based on first-hand experience of several people who completed the process successfully and gave me the information privately. Therefore, why would you need one?

2. Again, why? The requirements don’t say so. In getting the visa, most people coming to Greece do not know where they’re going to live or stay.

3. Online applications are very advanced concepts in Greece. You should not compare what the USA offers and expect the same from Greece, and it does not matter what you prefer. They will give you an application at the embassy/consulate.

You seem overly paranoid about your marital status, current relationship and what people will think, which is the reason I suspect you’re asking these questions, imagining requirements that aren’t there and wanting to see the application in advance. If you act this way in front of authorities, you will only raise suspicion. If you’re married but separated, fine. If you’re staying with a friend in Greece, fine. None of it is cause to deny a visa.

If you’re approved for a visa and come to apply for a residence permit, authorities will ask for proof of residence as I say in the “Documents needed” section, number 5. At most they’ll ask your friend to sign a statement that you’re staying at that address. Nothing more. Anything else is irrelevant, as the permit is based on you being financially independent.

Good luck.

  Sarah wrote @ November 17th, 2011 at 23:48

I had no problem obtaining a one year multiple entry visa from the Greek Consulate. As I will be applying for a residency permit and apparently everything excluding my US passport needs to translated, I will have that done when I go to Greece. My question, do private documents, ie insurance letters, bank statements, medical certificate need to be notarized in the US before I leave, in order to be eligible for official translation? I am not sure I understand the difference between private versus public documents under the Hague convention treaty. Thank you so much for your help.

Kat Reply:

I hate repeating myself, but you are again imagining requirements that aren’t there.

1. The only time an apostille is mentioned is for family members under the age of 14, so I fail to see how the Hague Convention applies to any documents you’re collecting.
2. A notary is not an apostille; an apostille is not a notary.
3. I do not mention notarizing anything in the article.
4. The process detailed above breaks down each document and what is needed for each, then says “Any documents not in Greek must be first translated to Greek at the Translation Department or by a lawyer. The Translation Department requires that all documents/statements/certificates be originals with original signatures. Lawyers in Greece can translate e-statements from banks, Internet copies and non-originals within reason.”

I do not see how I can be more clear.

Of course you had no problem. My readers and I made the entire process transparent and it’s described above, step by step in detail, based on people’s real-life experience.

  Aka wrote @ November 25th, 2011 at 11:21

Hi… I am an indian girl planning to get married to my greek boyfriend. we are just recent graduates from a university in UK, hence, we dont have a steady income of 2000 euros per month.
I wanted to ask you –
1- is this rule of showing this minimum income applied for spouse of greek nationals as well?
2- if i apply for a residence permit within 30 days of my arrival in greece, but the documents that i am submitting are already 3 month old, as i was preparing for it since a long time, will it be a valid doc?

i would really be glad to recelive a clear answer from someone atleast…
regards
Aka

Kat Reply:

In the first sentence of this article, it says that this visa and permit are for people without a spouse-child relationship to a Greek/EU citizen. Being as you intend to marry a Greek citizen, that means you should have clicked the link I referenced to “How non-EU citizens can get a permit to move, live and work in Greece,” and read the sections that apply to your situation.

Answer to your first question is already covered in the linked article; answer to the second question is irrelevant because the permit described in the above article doesn’t apply to you, but in general there are restrictions on the age of certain documents and not on others. It’s not always clearly black and white in Greece, as in the UK, and you should get used to that if you plan to live here.

  Vigan wrote @ December 4th, 2011 at 19:07

Hi. I am not EU citizen, and i have a Greek residence permit. I was pretty sick this week, so i went to a Greek hospital. Despite having a bit of emergency, nobody really paid attention on getting you in. Anyway before leaving the hospital (which i had to stay for like 3 days), they charged me with a fee of 400 euros. It is a public hospital. Can anybody help me if any kind of Greek government health institution insure you, or you have really to pay that silly fee.

i highly except advices

Kat Reply:

A Greek residence permit does not entitle you to free hospital care. If you have IKA, OGA or some other insurance — and you should have insurance coverage, as it’s a condition of your residence permit — you can submit the 400-euro bill to them. Your thoughts on the fee are irrelevant; the fact is you received emergency care for three days, and that costs money. Good luck.

  anon wrote @ February 19th, 2012 at 02:06

I am USA citizen. If I fail my criminal background check will my National / Schengen “D” visa application automatically be denied?

Kat Reply:

‘Automatically’ may not be the right word, but countries worldwide — including the USA — typically refuse to grant immigration visas and residence permits to persons with a criminal background.

  Jeffrey wrote @ February 29th, 2012 at 04:16

Hello, I was wondering if that “Parent-Child” relationship applies to the elderly as well.

I am an EU citizen (Italy) but my mother is not and I want her to come live in Greece. In most European countries you can apply for family reunification, like in the UK I could apply for her to come live with me because there is no one else to take care of her in her country of origin.

I would like to know if such a policy exists in Greece. Can I “adopt” my own mother to come live here, or can I otherwise sponsor her for a visa? She is self sufficient financially but I wouldn’t want to have to make her go through a visa renewal every year at her age.

http://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/policies/immigration/immigration_family_en.htm

Link from Twitter on March 5

http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/residence/worker-pensioner/non-eu-family-members/spouses-children-parents_en.htm

Kat Reply:

I suggested the article above when you contacted me on Twitter because you said your mother is self-sufficient. Therefore, this permit applies.

Greece, and all EU member states, have permits for dependents (minor, elderly) and spouses of EU/EEA citizens, but note the word ‘dependent.’ That means they have little or no income. It also means the EU citizen must submit financial records and proof of funds to establish he/she has sufficient work/income to support those dependents. I know no one who has successfully applied for and acquired this permit, so I have no further details and gov’t circulars do not disclose what documents are required.

Family reunification pertains to a non-EU citizen living in an EU member state for a certain period (usually 2 years) and earning enough money to bring his/her non-EU family members to be reunified. That doesn’t apply to you because you said you’re an EU citizen. Therefore, the first EU website link you gave is irrelevant, as is quoting family reunification in the UK.

The second article you quoted from the EU website does apply, but I already told you why your mother does not qualify. None of us likes bureaucracy, but a non-EU citizen’s life is full of it. It’s not really about what we (non-EU citizens) want.

Each member state has different permits with different requirements, which is allowed as long as a minimum meet EU directives and none of them violate EU directives. This is why permits across the EU aren’t identical, and it is pointless to quote what another country does.

You are free to inquire at the local municipality to verify my answer. I welcome corrections and contributions.

  Suzanne wrote @ April 8th, 2012 at 00:43
  jean wrote @ April 9th, 2012 at 20:37

help…where do i go to find out if my application has already been lodged by my greek husband…i have been married for 14 years..thankyou!

Kat Reply:

This article pertains to people who are NOT married to Greek/EU citizens. Therefore, I don’t understand what your question concerns.

Application for what? A visa, a first-time or renewal permit, citizenship? Husbands can assist, but they’re not responsible for their wives’ papers, nor can they sign applications for them.

You also didn’t provide enough info for me to help you. Are you a non-EU or EU citizen? Did you just move to Greece? How long have you been here?

  Peter wrote @ April 25th, 2012 at 09:16

Thanks Kat.
We want to give back to your site as much as we can. It has helped us immensely and would like to express our gratitude by sharing our experience. Coming from US, living in Greece is a daily challenge. Two days ago when we went to renew our resident permit, we were asked to come the next because they were our of the Blue Paper (βεβαίωση), when we turned next day, the cashier was out of the papers on which they print the receipts and asked us to come next day. We are going to see what is in store for us today.
Your site has helped us to accept and prepare for such annoyances.

Kat Reply:

Did you get the bebaiosi in the end? When you renewed, did they essentially ask for all the same things again? Just wondering if something has changed.

There are readers who use my website for years and never give back, so what you’re doing is unique and I want to recognize your generosity. It’s a pleasure to help people like you because you help me to help others.

  adams wrote @ May 1st, 2012 at 12:03

Your comments/questions were moved to “How non-EU citizens get a residence/work permit for Greece.”

  Natasha B. wrote @ May 1st, 2012 at 20:55

Many thanks for such a great website! My questions are about rights within EU for Greece based independent means person. Is this endless 1 year re-applying type of residency, or it gives a right for a permanent residency at last.
1. If it leads to a permanent residency – how soon can one apply.
2. What is the status towards EU countries? Can one on this type of one year residence permit for independent means person in Greece freely travel to other EU countries without additional visas. For example, I live in Greece for 2 years as an independent means person, – can I go to Germany or France without applying for visa?
3. will this ever lead to Greek passport?

Kat Reply:

All of the questions you asked have already been answered, but I’ll repeat them as a courtesy.

1. No.
2. a) Status towards EU countries? I don’t know what that means. It’s not EU-wide, if that’s what you’re asking; b) Depends on nationality of that person, if they have the bebaiosi or actual permit, depends on why they’re traveling and for how long. It’s not a yes or no answer.
3. A Greek passport depends on acquiring Greek citizenship, not having this permit.

I acquired expertise over a decade of first-hand experience, doing complicated translations and gathering information from hundreds of people. If you’re hoping to enhance your business website to attract clients, there’s no way you can learn what I know by reading a few articles and it’s ill-advised to dispense advice on visas, permits and citizenship.

  Mike wrote @ May 17th, 2012 at 12:50

Your question was moved to “Residence/work permits for non-EU citizens in Greece.”

  choudhary wrote @ May 18th, 2012 at 09:51

Your question was moved to “Residence permits for non-EU citizens in Greece.”

  Heather wrote @ May 30th, 2012 at 18:25

I am wondering if anyone can help… my husband and I went to the Greek consulate in Chicago to apply for the Schengen D Visa. We also had all the paperwork necessary for the Volunteer Visa just in case. We wish to move to Greece to volunteer, and have all the money and paperwork necessary.

We have had a terrible time. First they wanted W-2′s, but we just got on payroll with the organization sending us, so we didnt have them but we have a signed notorized notarized letter from our employers saying we have the money required. They decided that was OK, then they told us we had to have civil liability insurance from Greece… we went ahead and got that. Then they told us that they didnt have sufficient understanding of why we were going to Greece, even though they have a letter from our director and have talked to him on the phone multiple times. They denied our Visa saying they didnt have enough clarity on why we were trying to go to Greece, and that we have to get a Greek lawyer to appeal.

My husband is African American and they were very rude to him… it feels like they are just making up rules. They would not give us back the letter from Greece from our director, or the letter from our organization, and would not meet with us to explain why we were denied. Do you have any suggestions as to how to go forward?

Kat Reply:

Everything you were asked to provide in the way of documentation is typical — look at the requirements above, if you don’t believe me — so they’re not making up rules. By Greek standards, I’d also say they were lenient in that you normally need to show a longer history with the employer sending you (a W-2) and evidence of actual funds, not just letters.

Because the letters were part of your application, authorities are not required to return them. This is customary of official institutions around the world, as they need to keep them on file.

The law says that Greek authorities are not obliged to give a reason for rejection unless the applicant is of Greek origin. But in my opinion, they did give you a reason — quoting from your comment, “they denied our visa saying they didn’t have enough clarity on why we were trying to go to Greece.”

They also told you how you could go forward — have a Greek lawyer file an appeal. I have nothing to add because authorities have the final say on these matters.

Greeks say that staff at Greek embassies/consulates worldwide are rude to them also, so it’s not just your husband. That attitude is an extension of reality in Greece, in that maltreatment is normal and anyone who is yellow, brown or black may face racism, whether it’s people pointing and making comments to outright discrimination or more aggressive behavior.

  Rose wrote @ July 1st, 2012 at 15:35

Kalimera Kat..i am a Filipina and luckily meet my greek boyfriend in Saudi Arabia…but unfortunately my contract is soon to be finish so i have to go back to my home contry which is Philippines…my question is..if my bf will apply for a invitation visa for me…would i also required to show a medical insurance which should be at least 30,000 euro?
It will be a great knowledge if i can have a direct information from you

Best Regards
Rose

Kat Reply:

You’re writing me from Saudi Arabia, and my website and the permit article above are about laws in Greece.

If you’re asking me about permits, contracts and visas pertaining to Saudi Arabia, unfortunately I have no idea since I’ve never lived or worked there; you need to contact the local authority that issued your residency papers. The nationality of your boyfriend is not relevant to your work status.

If you’re hoping to move to Greece based on your boyfriend being Greek, this means nothing. You must have a compelling reason to be here, show proof of your own money (described above) or be the wife of a Greek citizen to qualify for a permit. A boyfriend cannot sponsor a visa for a girlfriend.

  Ashu Dhingra wrote @ August 17th, 2012 at 14:10

Your question was moved to “Long-term EU-wide residency/work permits for Greece.”

  mike wrote @ January 27th, 2013 at 05:34

Hi,
I am a US citizen, 53 years young. I have been retired for nine years and earn over $7,500.00 a month take home, via my pension. (That’s AFTER taxes). I have full medical coverage that covers me abroad. No criminal record, I’m retired law enforcement. I own a “paid up” house on Skopelos, in the village of Glossa. I’d love to obtain a visa allowing me to stay in Greece more that 90 days but don’t know if I want to go through all the hassle. Any advice on how to ease the process?

Kat Reply:

Americans are granted a sticker-free Schengen visa to be in the Schengen zone for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period, without application or fees. Visas are for entering the country, staying temporarily and leaving. Anything longer than 90 days denotes intention to become a resident or worker, which is why you must apply for the D visa above and then submit papers for a residence permit.

Greece does not have residence permits for homeowners, though it has been discussed.

Non-Americans go through significantly more “hassle” to stay in the United States for more than 90 days.

You can inquire at the Greek consulate/embassy nearest your current residence to verify what I’ve said. But I assure you that the article above is the first and most comprehensive of its kind in easing the process with maximum transparency, which is why lawyers and government entities have copied it without my permission. The only other option is to stay for 90 days, leave for 90 days, repeat.

All best.

  Despo wrote @ January 27th, 2013 at 22:10

Comment 1:
I have read every possible article you have written and thanks to you, I have learned a lot. Your information is amazing. I am submitting this under this article since there is a comment/question which is somewhat similar to my circumstance. I am an American citizen of Greek descent but have not applied for Greek citizenship.( I wasn’t planning on it this year). My husband is an American citizen but not of Greek descent. We are retired and have made plans to spend 6-7 months in Greece this year. We have a home there. We have gathered all the necessary documents to take to the embassy here to obtain a visa so we can then apply for a one year resident permit upon our arrival in Greece. I have 2 questions which are troubling me now.
1. we are booking roundtrip tickets – will they give me a hard time for the permit because I am of Greek descent but not a citizen yet;
2. If we decide to stay less time (lets say 4-5 Months)before the actual permits arrive does the new law about having the “blue Paper” (bebaiosi) pertain to us in being able to leave and return to the US without penalty apply to us. Sorry in advance for my confusion in understanding all of this.

Comment 2:
Sorry to bother you again..I have reread evrything and I think I know the answer to my #2 question but a new question arises in our being able to do other European travel to and from the US during our visit back home and aslo would we be able to return to Greece after doing that before our visa and bebaiosi expire. My apologies again.

Comment 3:
Thank you so much for your understanding. I too understand how busy you must be with everything going on in addition to having been away. I look forward to your response when you have the time.

Comment 4:
Dear Kat,
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my concerns. When my husband and I retired ( several years ago ) we thought that when the time came we could just pick up and go any where in the world wherever we pleased for as long as we wanted. How naive . Again I will say, thank goodness for your kindness in providing people like me such valuable information. I guess we will continue on our course for this year – getting our visa and then applying for our resident permit. In the meanwhile we have alot of decisions to make . Our other hope also is that the island where our home and family is will be equipped to help us . Thank you again.

Comment 5:
Dear Kat,
Again I would like to thank you and let you know that your well wishes are much appreciated. I most certainly will let you know of what we encounter but I at this point I am confident that it will not deviate from the information you have provided to people like us. I have had expose to the way things are handled in Greece during my many brief stays and quite honestly, it’s scary. Anyway, I do not want to take up more of your time therefore I say for now –Take care and be well :) ))

Kat Reply:

I moved your comments and questions because you are not a Greek citizen and haven’t started the process towards dual citizenship. Therefore, in the eyes of Greek law, you are an American citizen. I know women of Greek descent who opt to not claim citizenship and hold residence permits via marriage to a Greek/EU citizen, and authorities are fine with it though they may ask out of curiosity why you won’t apply/haven’t applied. It’s a personal choice, but life would be significantly easier if you did to minimize discrimination and bureaucracy.

There are two main issues to consider before applying for a permit.
1. A sticker-free Schengen visa is granted to American citizens, entitling you to stay and travel in Greece and the entire Schengen zone for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period, without fees or applications. Please read the answer directly above in response to a similar question posed hours before yours.

That means you can potentially stay and travel freely in Greece and 26 other countries in Schengen for 6 months a year without restriction, cost or bureaucracy, as long as you don’t exceed 90 days in any 180-day period. See “Schengen countries” if you don’t know what they are.

I say in the article above that no permit is necessary if you intend to stay in Greece/Schengen for 90 days or less under ‘Start the visa process outside Greece.’

2. As explained in “Non-EU citizens in Greece with a bebaiosi can travel home through 2013,” the bebaiosi is a receipt that acknowledges papers were accepted for possible issuance of a residence permit and only entitles the holder to travel to countries where he/she has citizenship and passport. It is not a visa or temporary permit; it grants no privileges. Travel to other countries would require a visa.

Based on these two pieces of information, it’s highly advisable to understand your priorities in advance, then make travel plans and stick to them.

Most Greeks have no idea about non-EU bureaucracy, and information on official websites never matches reality, which is why I created this website. For these reasons, I learned to rely on myself.

Should you encounter any differences in the process above, please come back and tell me so I can keep information fresh for everyone.

It’s easy for me to assist polite, grateful people who first make an effort to help themselves. I always have time for those willing to give back, so the pleasure is mine. Wishing you all the best.

  Despo wrote @ February 16th, 2013 at 15:57

Comment 1:
Good morning Kat,
Warning –This might be long winded so I am apologizing up front. :).. I just wanted to let you know how the first leg of our adventure went. We went to the Greek Consulate yesterday to apply for our visa so we could then apply for our resident permit in Greece based on independent means. First of all, I would like to say again that the information you provide is right on target for people like us. Thank you again. As I stated earlier before my husband and I were clueless and because of you we were fairly prepared.
1. Passports
2. Photocopies of passports
3. Color Photos ( she only asked for one )
4. FBI clearance ( we went through an approved FBI channeler since an apostille was not needed. They had an office near us where we could get the report within hours. She was a little perplexed at first but I had printed out the FBI website with the list of approved channelers which she did look over and then had no problem with what we provided)
5. Medical clearance from the doctor.. ( she also handed us a form -Medical Certificate for Visa – to bring back to the doctor to fill out. We have no clue where to find this form. I had checked their website and it was not there so Iam not sure where to get this ahead of time )
6. 3 months of our checking account statements showing direct deposit of our pensions and social security.
7. Signed statements from the banks on their letter head showing our deposits.
8. Copies of our 1099R for our pensions and copies of our social security awards.
9. Medical Insurance with repatriation..That was the biggest deal..If it didn’t show repatriation she would not have accepted it.

She told us our visa is approved however before she could issue it we need to provide her with a few other items which we did not have with us.. We could fax them to her and that everything would be ready in 2 weeks..

1. medical certificate that she gave us
2. copies of our tax returns for the past 2 years since we have no W-2′s ( we are retired )
3. travel reservations..verbal dates were not sufficient..she needs document showing we have the reservations
4. copy of my “gonikis paroxis”. for our home. (She asked us up front where we would be living. We explained that we have a home. She needed documentation of it. It was inherited since my parents are now deceased. She was okay with that but wants the copy of the document. No problem since I do have it)
5. marriage certificate
She also took a copy of my birth certificate which was already translated.
I suspect that the marriage certificate and birth certificate came about because of my Greek name. She didn’t say why but she did make it a point to say I might have problems in Greece because of it. She wouldn’t clarify but was fairly confident. I just hope it has nothing to do with my getting a permit. If it is property related I can deal with that..

I will bother you with one more question however which I did ask her and she could not answer. I know everything needs to be translated but I was wondering if that could be done here rather than wait till we are in Greece? I have someone here that I use for official translations and certification from the embassy/ and or apostilles. I have had no problem with what he has done for me so far ..( death certficates, marriage cert, birth cert, etc)

Well, that is everything from our first leg..All in all it went smoothly. Again, I am sorry if this took up alot of your time but I did want to reinforce how valueable your information is and also to let you know of the few minor hiccups we encountered. It could have been to our specific situation but no big deals.

Comment 2:
Dear Kat,
Gracious as always..Thank you for taking the time to read my novel and especially to answer it. I do apologize again for not re-reading the info on translations..I did see it but it must have gone from my memory with all our preparations. If I can manage internet access once we are in Greece ( it is not easy where we will be ) then I will let you know how it went. I promise – no novels next time..Again for now -stay well and kathe eftixia…:)

Kat Reply:

Answer 1:
Hello again.

I want to say a few things up front:
– My website and the article above are written for citizens all over the world, not just Americans, so information must be universal (i.e., 1099, FBI, W-2, SSA, SSN are called something else in other countries).
– Most people interested in this permit are non-Greek, non-EU citizens. Most people of Greek origin opt for Greek citizenship because it completely exempts them and their family members from doing any of the bureaucracy above, which I mentioned previously.
– Many forms are unavailable in advance and/or online.
– Most people do not have already have a house in Greece, especially one they inherited from their parents.
Keeping this in mind, variations you experienced were specific to your situation.

I suspect the marriage certificate and birth certificate have something to do with your oikogeneiaki merida. In a way, it’s good they were collected because it ensures your records match when applying for a residence permit once here.

You’re not forbidden from getting a permit just because you’re of Greek origin as many Greek women I know have done this. But as I said previously, you may be questioned about why you don’t have or haven’t applied for citizenship; it doesn’t mean you’ll be denied. Her claim that you’ll have a ‘problem’ without elaborating why is unnecessarily alarmist, especially since her knowledge is limited. I say, ‘Cross that bridge when you come to it.’ Greece is a results-may-vary country.

Official translations to Greek” is a link I offer in the article above, and it does say that translations and certifications can be done abroad for some documents. However, if Greek authorities reject them for any reason — there’s no way to know in advance what will happen — you will be required to do them again in Athens. So taking that chance is up to you.

Btw, keeping a folder of documents authorities may request is smart. I’ve done bureaucracy this way for 14 years, and it has saved time and trips back/forth.

I appreciate that you came back and took the time to share your experience, and I hope to hear how your journey continues. It helps me monitor how the process has changed (or not), and I’ll use any relevant details to enrich the post for future readers. Thank you apo tin kardia mou. All best.

Answer 2:
You’re welcome. I have a lot of patience for people who make an effort to read the information, and even more for the rare person (like you) who gives back to the website in exchange for the assistance they receive. Novels are always welcome.

I understand it’s a lot of information to take in, so don’t apologize for anything. Readying to live in another country is a huge task, as well.

Be sure to confirm with Internet providers about access for your home before signing a contract. We had a situation with OTE saying yes, and in the end we got no service and no refund.

Wishing you all the best on your journey! :)

  Peter wrote @ March 15th, 2013 at 19:36

Hi Kat,

I have a question, not sure if you have come across such situation, though.

Our annual resident permit is due for renewal now (we are in financial independent category). This is our third year in Greece and we have had our first year approval and second year renewal done successfully. But we haven’t received an approval for the this year’s renewal, yet. We are still on bebosi and the employee in foreigner’s office has no idea when it will arrive.

My question is about what shall we do about our next year’s renewal paperwork. Shall we wait until this year’s approval arrives? Or just submit the paperwork even if we don’t have this year’s approval and get new Bebosi, to be on safer side.

I know the answer should come from the employee in the foreigners office, but she is as confused and unsure as we are as she havent dealt with this kind of permit yet in our small town.

If you have come across similar situation and know what would be the best way, It will really help. Thanks.

Kat Reply:

This situation has come up nearly every year in my life.

As it says in “FAQ: Greek work and/or residence permits,” you renew with your bebaiosi. The bebaiosi is good for one year, so you should not wait for issuance of the permit or you’ll be left with no valid permit and no valid bebiosi, which would mean everything is expired and you are then in an illegal status.

  Dvinsk wrote @ June 1st, 2013 at 21:42

Sorry for bothering you. Thank you very much for your excellent site. I’m sure it helps so many people to find a right solution. As I can see during long time (around 6 years) the Greece residence permit policy works stable. May I ask you some questions? I’m 65 y.o., married, non-EU citizen have more then sufficient bank account in in Greece. May I and my spouse apply for residence permit this year? Does this program still valid in Greece?

Thanks a lot for your kind attention to my request and your detailed information.
Best regards
Dvinsk

Kat Reply:

My articles are updated on a regular basis, as indicated by *Last updated ___ in the first section. If this permit was no longer available, there would be a note saying just that or the article would be removed from public view.

If you want to apply, follow the instructions. Whether or not you are granted the visa and permit is the decision of the Greek government.

  Despo wrote @ June 4th, 2013 at 20:08

Comment 1:
Hello Kat,
Remember me?..the novel lady.:))) ..First of all I’d like to say welcome back ..Hope your hiatis was enjoyable..We’ve been in Greece now for 2 months and finally got internet set up a few weeks ago..( it is through OTE by the way which apparently works well here and was no problem to set up) ..I’ve been checking in with your site every day and want to say thank you for the time you take in keeping things updated..I’ll try to make this brief but I did want to let you know that we finally got our bebaiosi a couple of weeks ago and it wasn’t without headaches..By the way, the bebaiosi we got looks like a certificate with faint blue tint around the edges and has an issue date and an expiration date ( one year) ..We came prepared with 20 pounds of paperwork “just in case” and ended up needing pretty much what you have listed..
The key points for us was I did decided to have everything translated back in NY and stamped by the Greek Consulate..It was expensive but accepted here..(Letter from bank manager showing our monthly direct deposit of pensions, letter from company issuing medical insurance..My marriage and birth certificate with apostille) ..We had our medical test papers also but they did insist we have a medical certificate from a Greek Hospital..Fortunately we were able to get that easily here on our island…The took the job away from the lady that handles the applications here on the island so we had to take a day trip to Samos..We had called ahead of time to make an appointment and to verify that we had what we needed….They took the translated letter from the bank manager along with 3 months printouts of our checking account showing the direct deposit..they were not translated but okay..they took the health certificate that was issued from the local hospital..they did not ask for proof of where we live only the address and phone number…they wanted proof that we were married..thank goodness I have the marriage certificate translated with the apostille..they asked my husband to sign a dilosi to state we were still married and not divorced..the tax fee of 150 euro each and of course the translated proof of medical coverage…and the photos of course and that’s it…The medical insurance gave us the most headache..Although it had complete medical coverage it was issued by a travel insurance company which they did not want to accept at first..They insisted it was travel insurance even though it wasn’t ..They finally accepted it because I had printouts of the requirements stating medical coverage in general and not excluding certain types..They gave us the bebaiosi and said that the permit itself would be granted after they confirmed with the insurance company about the medical coverage..My husband and I said okay ..we got the bebaiosi and said thank you…

Again I say thank you to you..Without the information you provide we would have had a lot of problems…You are very gracious in giving up valuable time to help people.

I have become a devoted follower of your site and will continue to be so…be well and enjoy the summer..:)))

Comment 2:
Thank you Kat..you are a very considerate person. I do understand that you are very busy..I guess I was hoping you had taken some time off for yourself…I just want to mention quickly that I forgot to tell you that the office in Samos said once they confirmed the medical insurance they would call us to go back for an interview before the final permit was issued. I didn’t ask questions..Just said okay again…Hope you can take vacation soon..

Kat Reply:

*Intended to write a longer response and much sooner, but more pressing (and less important) issues got in the way.

Hello, I do remember you. My hiatus was due to work, not vacation. I’ll again be under deadline for the next two weeks (or months). Thank you so much for coming back and taking the time to report your experience. So few people give back to the website, and I’m especially grateful for nice people like you.

By now, you should have had the interview and received the permit sticker.

Hope to see or hear from you again soon. Wishing you all the best.

  Katrina wrote @ June 13th, 2013 at 19:43

Comment/Question 1:
My parents are going to Greece from July to November more than 90 days. They were born in Greece and are US citizens. They have a layover in Germany both ways. What is exactly needed to stay in Greece for vacation just to visit family past 90 days. The Greek Embassy here says they need to go get a tautotita(national ID card) and they will be ok, but I heard that Germany is very strict. So I called the German consulate here in Chicago and they said they do no need to have a visa or an id card they just need a permit of stay. If this is what they only need could they obtain this in Greece because the embassy here is clueless. We are getting different answers from everyone. I want to get my parents the answers they need so the can have a trouble free vacation. Hopefully you could help:)

Comment 2:
They are Greek citizens. They do have tautotites but they are old my mom’s has her maiden name( they go married in 1973). They do not have greek passports just US. Thanks!

Comment 3:
Thank you very much for taking time and replying. I will pass on the info to my parents. I would like to also apologize for sending my answers to your questions twice. The first time I sent it I hit the submit button and then when I checked to see if you had replied the next day I did not see my reply to you. So I sent a second one. I did not realize it goes under the same box with my first question to you. Sorry! Thanks again I hope you have a great summer!

Kat Reply:

Answer 1:
I can definitely help and give you a simple answer, but I need to know the following:
a) Are your parents Greek citizens? I assume they are, but it’s dangerous to assume.
b) Do they have Greek passports?
c) Do they have Greek national IDs/taftotites?

You may be getting different answers due to giving different info to each party, or perhaps authorities are clueless/confused. To me it’s extremely straightforward, but I need to know answers to the questions above.

Answer 2:
Please wait for a response, as I run this website in my unpaid spare time and have full-time commitments. Leaving multiple, duplicate entries is unnecessary.

As Greek citizens, your parents have the right to travel, transit through and stay in Greece and all other EU member states without restriction. However, only if they can prove they are Greek citizens and never use their U.S. passports while in the EU. They don’t need visas or residence permits since the 90-day rule applies to non-EU citizens.

Dual Greek-American citizens use their U.S. passports to cross U.S. borders and their Greek national IDs or Greek passports for EU/Greek borders as stated in section ‘Which passport should I use?’ in “American and Greek dual citizenship.”

The issue I see with your parents is their outdated Greek IDs. As stated in section ‘Expiration date’ of ‘Greek national ID card or tautotita,’ Greek IDs are lawfully only valid for 15 years from issue date and must be in English as of 2009 to meet Schengen rules. There are EU border authorities that begrudgingly accept “old” forms of ID, but many people have been turned away and/or asked instead for a biometric Greek passport.

I’d normally recommend they get Greek passports. Unfortunately, you contacted me too late as July isn’t enough time to apply for and issue them, assuming your mother’s oikogeneiaki merida reflects her current marriage status and name.

What I suggest is they use their U.S. passports to exit the U.S., and try using their Greek national IDs in Germany and Greece. If it doesn’t work, then they’ll have no choice but to show the U.S. passports. Once in Greece, they MUST apply for Greek passports or Greek IDs, then exit Greece and Germany with them, and show the U.S. passports again when re-entering the U.S.

Step-by-step instructions I wrote out from real-life experience can be found in links above.

Answer 3:
For some reason, it was posted three times. But no worries. I manually combine everything on the same thread so you and everyone can find the evolution of a conversation in one place. All best.

  Dean wrote @ June 24th, 2013 at 23:52

2000 euro (2620 US) is it really that high? Seem a little much when rentals and food is so low? I have social security, but not that much. As a history major in school I have wanted to live Greece, I guess that is out of the question. Any other ways? Thank you Dean

Kat Reply:

Considering a last-minute flight and/or emergency health care not covered by insurance can cost much more than that, it’s not unreasonable. Btw, food is not as cheap as you think.

Unless you qualify for dual citizenship with the EU through an ancestor, there are no other ways. You can visit and stay 90 days in any 180-day period without application or bureaucracy, which Americans are allowed with sticker-free Schengen visas, explained in the section ‘Start the visa process outside Greece.’

  elena wrote @ July 4th, 2013 at 15:27

Hi,

I’m a ukranian national currently residing in Dubai, U.A.E. Am interested in taking up residence in Greece based on the residence without working option and I have a few questions:

1) i can show the 24.000 EUR plus that is needed and all the other requirements mentioned. As it is a residence without working how does it work with taxes? will I have to pay income tax every month on the 2.000 EUR that i bring in for covering my living expenses? Or is everying I bring in tax exempt because that I’m not allowed to work in Greece with this permit? And can I bring in more than 2.000 EUR per month.
2) can I work outside of Greece e.g. as a consultant for a Dubai company for people in Dubai? will this “virtual job” create a tax liability in Greece?
3) how does it work with cars, have read several stories about the car registration tax, is it possible to use a foreign registered car during the residence without working permit (as a student would be able to), or do I have to buy/rent one locally?

many thanks for your help in advance,

Elena

Kat Reply:

Answering your tax questions requires a lot more info than you provided, plus an accountant/lawyer adept on complex tax laws of Greece, Dubai and Ukraine and how they harmonize or contradict each other. Therefore, you need to consult someone with this expertise.

I do not own a car and have never imported one — which is why there is no article on the subject — though I hear it is a costly and bureaucratic process. Additionally, you will be required to get a Greek driver’s license if you plan to live in Greece full time.

Good luck.

  Peter wrote @ August 19th, 2013 at 20:55

1:
Hi Kat,
I have question related to our resident permit for financially independent persons.
We are still waiting for our renewal permit sticker to arrive for the duration of May 2012- May 2013. Today were told to give additional documents. They are asking for our bank statements for the duration May-2011 to May-2012. It is bit strange for them to ask for such statements when we had already submitted the proof our bank balance at the time of the submitting the papers. The justification I was given was that I need to also demonstrate that the money of the previous year was actually spent in Greece. I tried to read the law again 3385/05 & 4415/06 and it seems that there is no obligation prove that the money was actually spent.
Although I can prove that more than average 2000 Euros were spent per month, I am not comfortable to share all the transaction logs.

What do you think?
I am thinking to fight it out or even take help of a lawyer to explain them the law. Given that we had already renewed our permit once with same set of papers that we submitted for 2012-2013.

2:
Hi Kat, thanks for replying.
Fortunately my neighbor happens to be a lawyer and she talked to the lady in office explaining that nowhere is it written that we must spend the money and it she have conceded to the fact. However she is still demanding the statements for a new reason, saying that we may be working in the country, which do not. My lawyer will be now talking to the manager of the foreigner’s office and will let you know how it goes.

Kat Reply:

1:
Hello, and nice to hear from you again. Even though I’m still working 9-9, I wanted to take a break and respond because you’ve been a longtime reader and I’m grateful that you continue to give back.

This is the first I’ve heard, plus I also do not see any legal documentation saying the 2000/mo must be spent in Greece. Not only that, they’ve waited more than a year to request it and never requested in previous years (and the law hasn’t changed). I find it arbitrary and somewhat tinged with discrimination.

The Greek Ombudsman resolves these sort of disputes for free, though the office is in Athens. If you can afford a lawyer and are willing to spend time on it, I would pursue and take that route.

Sorry this is happening to you, and please let me know how it turns out.

2:
For you, any time. Looking forward to a positive result.

  Maher wrote @ September 6th, 2013 at 15:28

Dear, I am a Syrian national who works for an international company for a long time. I do like to have a permanent residency permit in Greece for me and my direct family and I am prepared to buy a property there too. If i buy a property in Greece at Eur. 250,000 would i and my family get permanent residencies in Greece? if yes,how long this wil ltake? Could you please advice if there is a lwayer who could follow up on the case from A-Z?

Many thanks and I look forward to your reply

Maher

Kat Reply:

Permanent residency is not granted with the purchase of a home, and it does not allow the purchaser or his family members to work in Greece.

  Anton wrote @ September 22nd, 2013 at 22:09

Your website is a hidden gem in the e-world of greece. Congrats, and thanks so much for your philanthropy! My question is: under this type of visa for financially independent people will I be able to get after 5 years (during which I will obviously be renewing it annually) proper permanent residency? and if SO, will I be eligible to work? thanks in advance.

Kat Reply:

No, and no.

Permanent residency is granted under certain circumstances to residents living in Greece for 10 years. Normally non-EU spouses and minors of EU citizens and foreigners working here, making social insurance contributions and paying taxes.

When the ministry approves visas and permits based on one category, they cannot be converted to another. So if you’re granted a visa/permit as a financially independent person (as above), it cannot be swapped for one of a worker because eligibility and requirements are completely different. This is already explained in “What’s the difference between a visa and permit?

  Caitlin wrote @ September 23rd, 2013 at 10:31

Hi there.

Firstly, your site is exceptional and I’m very grateful that you’ve put together all this detailed information. So, just a very big thank you.

My boyfriend and myself (both Australian) are planning a 5 1/2 month trip to Europe. For the last two months of our trip we would like to reside (not work) in Greece. We are planning to visit other Schengen states (and non-Schengen) on our trip, so we are aware that we are going to have to apply for a long-stay (national) visa and a residency permit to legally reside in Greece.

However, due to the intended short stay in Greece in conjunction with us visiting other Schengen states, I’m confused about the requirement of having 2000 euros/month or 24,000 euros for a year. If we intended to stay for only two months, and provide evidence for a return ticket to Australia within that time frame, would we only have to prove funds of 4,000 euros per person?

Thanks,

Caitlin

Kat Reply:

I can only answer your question based on info you gave, which I don’t feel is sufficient. Looking at the same question but different info you posted in a travel forum, it seems that you’re confusing two different visas.

Australians, as you know, can visit the Schengen area as tourists for 90 days maximum in any 180-day period. Because you’ll be beyond the 90 days by the time you arrive in Greece, you’re seeking to reside or stay long term, which is a different category requiring a different visa. If you apply for and are issued the D visa, it has nothing to do with the 90 days Schengen visa you used as a tourist.

Therefore, applying for the residence permit within 30 days of arriving in Greece refers to the D visa and resident permit, not the Schengen visa. To qualify, each applicant is obliged to show proof of 2,000/month unless they’re a minor (under 21) family member. If you’re not keen on doing this, the other option is to overstay in Greece with the Schengen visa and pay a fine.

Since you’ll only be in Greece for two months, it may be possible to enter/stay/exit on the D visa without ever applying for the residence permit because it takes much longer than that for the sticker to be issued. I say ‘may be’ because I cannot predict how the consulate will interpret your case or how long your D visa will be valid, if approved.

It’s a lot of bureaucracy for a 60-day stay.

  vivienne wrote @ September 25th, 2013 at 17:45

Hi,

Thanks for all the info. I am a US citizen and I wanted to know if I applied for the Visa D for Greece but did not fly directly from the US to Greece will that pose a problem for me to apply for the residence permit. I read in your page that they usually want you to apply within 30 days of arrival. My plan is to go to Spain and stay for about a month before I head over to Greece. Immigration will see only my entry stamp into Spain and none into Greece. Secondly, do I tell the consulate worker this when I am applying for the Visa D or do they not want you to do that? I just wasn’t sure if I needed to fly directly into Greece from the US or not.

The other question which I don’t know if you have covered is, how long does it usually take to receive the official permit sticker after I have applied for it? I know you said they want you to stay within borders while they are processing the application. Are we talking, a few days, weeks, or months?

Thanks!

Kat Reply:

A U.S. citizen has visa-free passage to the Schengen area for 90 days in any 180-day period, which is the visa you’ll be using to visit Spain as a tourist. If you apply and are approved for a D visa by Greece, this is a completely separate category (resident, not tourist) and reason for entry to Greece and your visa will need to be stamped. Arriving in Greece from Spain, you can ask for a stamp at a booth or special window at the airport. Anyone can.

You are obliged to disclose your plans to the consulate when applying. Is there a reason to hide anything? I don’t speak on behalf of the consulate, so I can’t say what they want.

Information on how long it takes to issue the residence sticker is covered in section ‘What happens next?’ with relevant links to other articles. You could also look above you to see answers to the same question, and commentators who talk about how long it took to receive theirs.

  Joseph wrote @ October 24th, 2013 at 03:02

1:
hello. it looks like previous attempt went through. my appreciation in finding your site on my 17th return trip to greece is echoing all the others comments on that matter. my searching through your site answers most except one stressing me. i fall into the catagory type D visa -non eu on independant independent means and reapply yearly. my question is ; hospital tests clarification for my particular visa specs. is it a tb test and chest exray and the normal tests or is it the whole health interrogation ie; hep tests hiv tests drug use tests.? i am a clean living adult male but such mandatory scrutiny is overwhelmingly stressful to get my head around. i thought only sex workers copped that type of testing. i have really tried researching but the type of tests appear to differentiate based on visa app types ie; work or independant independent means. i work 6 day dawn to past dusk shifts in a busy fruit market and only check computer on thursdays. your site has become my bible. i hope you can help.

2:
apologies. i have been looking through your site still weekly. however through the wrong paths for a reply. i have just found your reply today and also notice your reply was prompt and helpful. i am not much of a navigator. champion website. thank god your’e out there.

Kat Reply:

The tests do not depend on visa app types. An applicant is either asked to submit to tests or not, based on WHO guidelines denoting which countries (and citizens) are most likely to present a risk of infectious diseases. The tests required for a health certificate are standard: TB (madou), chest x-ray and blood. What they do with the blood, I don’t know. But if you have nothing to hide, why worry?

[...] info regarding applying for a residence permit to stay in Greece legally. For details, visit Living in Greece. Posted on November 7, 2013 by [...]

  Darrell wrote @ November 15th, 2013 at 22:02

Kat,

The information you continue to update on your website is amazingly useful! Thanks again.

I see you intend to publish a story on residence permits for third-country citizens (non-EU citizens) and their family members, who buy property in Greece, the value of which exceeds €250,000. We started down that path, but decided not purchase property at this time.

We were in Greece through September and heard stories from family and acquaintances claiming hoards of rich Chinese rushing into Greece to buy property so they could be exempt from 1 child policies. Your To Vima article about 30 permits so far and details of the process seem to show the rich Chinese stories are totally fanciful. (Based on) the best details of the process I can find online (linked removed), it appears that the applicant still needs to obtain a type D Visa in advance and the process is not as automatic as some claim or fear.

We are averaging 2 visits per year to Greece and I always have to be mindful of the 90 days per 180 day period limitations in the Schengen zone. To this day, people in Greece we know do not believe there could be any sort of limitation on how long visitors can be in Greece. They see illegal immigrants everywhere in Greece and can’t conceive why Greece would want to fine visitors who overstay. I explain that since we typically enter and leave the EU through Frankfort, it would be the Germans who catch and fine us. These folks in Greece have no problem believing the Germans would penalize us.

We started looking for a small apartment near our niece in Elliniko so we could have our place to stay without being a burden on family. The real estate agents and developers immediately started telling us we would receive immediate residence permits, but we need to act fast because the Chinese are coming as soon as they start advertising the property. We seriously considered a flat for which the owner wanted 190K Euros and everyone assured us it was a bargain that would be gone soon. We left in September and now in November the owner contacted our niece to see if we were still interested. We decided not to buy in Greece, but perhaps we will rent something in the future.

My niece sent us an explanation of total costs when purchasing in Greece.
Buying a new house in Greece, you have two different ways of taxation on the purchase price:
VAT 23% when you are buying a house from a professional constructor, or
9% tax when you are buying from an owner.

Either tax is calculated on the price of the contract. There is a preset price per square meter for every region already setup that is the bottom you can use on a contract, and based on that, they calculate the tax. If the market price is higher than the price on the contract, the tax is calculated on this higher price. If you decide to use the preset price for the contract in order to have lower tax, then you would need to give the rest of the money in cash, sort of under the table.

As crazy as it may sound this is the way buying and selling property is done in Greece. Everyone does the contracts on the preset price and not on the market price, but it depends whether or not one cares to have proof where he/she has spent money. Some people decide to have the contracts done on the market price and not the preset lower prices.

Our Example: the apartment in Elliniko has a preset price at 150k but its selling price is 190k you can decide whether or not you want to have the contracts done on the 150k or the 190k
The particular apartment is owned by the owner of the land and not the professional constructor so its tax is 9%. If the contracts are done on the preset prices the tax would be 13,500

So if one buys a house from a constructor he has to pay 23% VAT but the constructor lowers the selling price taking into consideration the VAT the buyer has to pay. So basically there is not much difference, an owner usually won’t lower the price but you pay less VAT and the constructor lowers the price but you pay more VAT. The fact is that you pay…

Another cost would be that of the lawyer & the notary .Their payment is a percentage of the cost of the house (the price on the contract) It is 1% for the first 45k and 0,5 % for the rest of the money. So in this case (if the contracts are done on the preset price of the apartment the 150k) their payment would be: a little less than 2000 Euros for both of them.

The last cost involved is that of the real estate agent and it is fixed at 2% of the selling price (not the preset) in our case it is: 3800 Euros
This is so unfair because they are also charging from the other side (the owner) exactly the same amount……all real estate agents charge the same percentage and all lawyers and notaries do the same.

So in total the figure is 209,300 Euros (considering the preset market price of 150k)
13,500 taxes
2000 lawyers & notary
3,800 agents
190,000 house

Kat Reply:

Hello, and nice to see you again.

I always source from first-hand details because government circulars leave out important requirements, and online information is often unreliable. My apologies in removing the link you gave and editing those sentences slightly. There’s no way to verify their information as they don’t quote sources, plus that website has plagiarized me at least three times. Real estate agents and developers claiming to have expertise on applying for residence permits have also copied from me. One, when confronted, said she got it from a lawyer and that lawyer got it from me.

The affluent from Asia can easily afford to pay a surcharge to get around the one-child law. Most of the property-for-permit purchases are occurring in Portugal and Spain, where property is cheaper, and they don’t have three simultaneous property taxes as Greece currently does.

Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to share your story and everything you found. It could help others make more sound decisions.

Wishing you all the best.

  Andrea wrote @ November 29th, 2013 at 23:06

1:
Hi!! my husband and I are really thankful about all info you provide with your site. Since 1 year we are working to move there with this permit, finally we have a lot a money saved , but we are having problems with our embassy (here in Mexico) because they dont have information about this.

First they told me they do not have a resident permit to my situation, so I showed the Article 36 from the legislation where they talk about this permit.

We are grapihc designer and first I asked if we could continue from our residence in greece working with our mexican clients, first they said yes, after they said not, but that is ok. After they told me we need saved €2400/month (right u say) plus one property in greece value at least €3000 (do u heard that before)

We are a little worried, do u know some about the property as requirement??

any advice and comment are really welcome

2:
Thank u for the note! but is worst I have a big problem, they told me that visa is just for pensioners… I dont know what to do :(

Kat Reply:

A lot of Greek embassy staff are not knowledgeable, or they have the knowledge but simply don’t want to help people due to laziness, discrimination/racism or no reason at all. Same in Greece, except on a bigger scale.

To me it’s obvious they are uninformed and don’t want to assist you — first they say they don’t know the rules, then they say you can’t work with your clients and need a property (which are rules they claimed not to know). See what I mean?

First, there is nothing in the law that requires you to have a property of any value. The article is based on people’s actual first-hand experience, and the new immigration law is expected in 2014, so there haven’t been any changes yet.

Second, the permit is for financially independent persons. It does not say only pensioners or retired persons. In fact, I know several people (including me some years ago and a few commentators above) who held/hold this permit and are not pensioners.
a) Non-EU citizens with their own business registered in another country and working virtually. This is allowed, as long as no money originates here and no taxable transactions take place in Greece.
b) Non-EU citizens who work for an employer outside Greece and working virtually. This is also allowed, as long as this person does not work for a Greek employer or collect any money here.
c) Non-EU citizens living here to fulfill a dream, taking care of parents or otherwise living here on funds from outside the country.
d) Non-EU citizens in a relationship with but not working and not married to an EU/Greek citizen.

My educated guess is you’re being subject to discrimination. That is, Greek authorities make up false requirements to discourage or stonewall you from applying and hope you will give up. In comments all over this website, readers most often report being mistreated or refused help at Greek embassies when they or their spouses/friends/relatives were non-white. Nationality and citizenship are irrelevant, as Americans and Canadians say the same. In the interest of disclosure, this mirrors the discrimination/racism in Greece except worse because it will happen everywhere and every day. I’m not trying to scare you, but you need to consider what you’re willing to tolerate or how to solve problems on your own in a foreign country in a foreign language.

What can you do? That’s a tough one. If you were in Greece, you could enlist the ombudsman or take a Greek friend with you (it sounds ridiculous, but it helps). But because it pertains to your local Greek embassy and you may not be able to go around this person, all I can recommend is persistence. You already showed them Article 36.

If they refuse to help you, and there’s no way around, the only thing I can recommend is to live in Greece for 90 days in any 180-day period on a Schengen visa, exit for 90 days and then come back for 90 days. In this case, no residence permit or evidence of funds (or any fake rules they invent) would apply.

  Bianca wrote @ December 12th, 2013 at 06:20

Thank you for all of your insight and articles. I just wanted to let you know my experience today at the Greek Consulate. I am a US citizen and I fulfill all the requirements to apply for the Visa D. I had all of my paper work with me; account summaries, bank statements showing a combine monthly average of about $6000. My medical insurance coverage letter, FBI clearance, passport, doctor’s letter, photos, and when I walked up to the lady at the counter to hand in my documents, she looked at me like I was crazy. She said that I am asking to apply for the National Visa and it is not that simple. She barely looked at my documents and asked me who told me about these requirements and if I had an immigration attorney. I said no but I have seen these requirements on the US travel.gov website along with it being listed in other areas (here). She asked me under which article was I applying for…? And what was the purpose. I told her my boyfriend is Greek and lives in Athens and I would like to move there to be with him and I own a business here and am financially independent to support myself in Greece. She said no, I’m sorry I can not process your application, you must go to Greece and obtain an immigration lawyer and have him write a letter based on the immigrations laws, under which specific article you qualify to immigrate under. She said my financial means were not enough to qualify. I mean, I said, you don’t think I have enough money in my account to support myself in Greece? To the response I got was, no, you need a lot more to qualify for that article of the immigration law.

I left without a clue of what to do, except for obtaining an immigration lawyer? But, she advised me to go to Greece to find one. So, I’m not sure what happened here but this did not work out well for me.

Kat Reply:

It didn’t work for you because you made two “mistakes.”

Being well informed is empowering, but the Greek embassy/consulate staff can sometimes view this as arrogant. They want to feel they control the process and, therefore, they tell you what to do, how to qualify and what papers to submit. She’s right in saying it’s not that simple — it’s not. She, and others like her, determine whether to help you or block you from applying, regardless of what the law says and if you meet all requirements.

Mentioning your Greek boyfriend automatically conjures images of marriage and moving to Greece permanently, which is why she mentioned immigration and a lawyer. When applying for a residence visa and permit based on financial independence, there’s no point bringing up a boyfriend or anything/anyone else because this is a completely different category of residence/work permit and confuses the situation. Some Greek women also believe that all Greek men belong to them and foreign women should not be allowed to “steal their men.” I know this sounds ridiculous, but it’s a cultural reality; I’ve been accused many times over the last decade. (Btw, even if you were marrying a Greek, you would not need to hire an immigration lawyer; she only said this to present more obstacles and discourage you. Some staff go a step further and recommend a friend/relative who is a lawyer and take a cut).

It’s also possible that discrimination is a factor. Read the 5th paragraph of my response to Andrea just above you.

The article is based on first-hand experience from my life and others who successfully applied and got a D visa and residence permit, following this exact process without a lawyer. That’s how I know it works.

  wael wrote @ January 9th, 2014 at 23:18

hi im a lebanese student in CIU living in north cyprus, i would like to ask about taking visa to greece and my purpose is only to travel back to lebanon when i want since the traveling from larnaca greece is cheap, and i would to go to visit my family when i want also because traveling from larnaca to lebanon takes maximum 45 min, however traveling from here takes at least 5 or 6 hours since the airplance have to go to turkey first then to the country where you going.

because i am a student please i would like to save money and save time.

hope you can inform me if i can apply for visa or not and how because i dont know if there is a greek embassy here in north cyprus

thank you

Kat Reply:

Please contact the Greek embassy in Nicosia. Here’s a link to their website with information on visas, which I found through a simple Google search.

I am a private citizen running this website in my unpaid free time. I do not work for the Greek government, but my taxes pay for them to help you.

  maria wrote @ January 23rd, 2014 at 23:25

Your question was moved to, “FAQ: Greek work and/or residence permits.”

  Achim wrote @ February 10th, 2014 at 12:34

Ich lebe in Deutschland und habe in Griechenland geheiratet, jetzt brauche ich eine Kopie meiner Heiratsurkunde aus Griechenland. Weiß jemand wo ich die online oder schriftlich beantragen kann?

Kat Reply:

You request it from the oikogeneiaki merida (file of family papers), which is located at the mayor’s office in the city where the Greek citizen has his papers. This is usually in the place he was born or where his father was born.

You cannot request it online or via email, as these are advanced concepts in Greece. Many offices still use fax machines.

  thanos dc wrote @ March 8th, 2014 at 01:58

I am a student in Greece from Asia and i have applied for trp and I want to ask how much time does it takes to get temporary resident permit and can Itravel outside europe like central america

Kat Reply:

There’s no such thing as a temporary residence permit, so I cannot answer your question. There are visas, blue certificates (bebaiosis), permit stickers/cards.

You can also see ‘FAQ: Greek work and/or residence permits.’

  joseph wrote @ March 13th, 2014 at 00:17

1:
hello again from australia. In a few months I return to greece for the normal 90 day stay based in athens. I have downsized my home here in sydney and bought a smaller one for instant good rental potential for after easter 2015. All in keeping with the plan to move more permanently. It has also freed up the funding for the liquid asset requirement thankfully. I noticed you recommended to another reader/contributor taking along a greek friend to these offices for red tape headaches. I have a typical greek friend I live with being my closest friend and it is his place in greece I have stayed in over the past 17 trips and plan on staying in again should my application be deemed successful. I was thinking to take him along with me to these offices on this trip as a homework exercise to ask a few requirement questions. Would you recommend this ? I really want to make this work. My respect and love of greek culture and the country compels me constantly. I’ve even kept my 16 thimonterions [sic.] I recieve when i return to Mount Athos yearly. Maybe as some sort of paperwork proof that I respect the Orthodox way of life despite being born non greek and a 1 passport only aussie Catholic. I don’t know ; maybe little things like that can count in the process decisions ! I remember the morning I found your website. It was before dawn on an athens rooftop. I ran around our rooftop like a headless chook and was just overwhelmed by the breakthrough as I watched the sun hit the acropoli and parthenon yet again. But I knew today was different. Thanks heaps from an aussie.

2:
Hello again. Leaving in a couple of weeks back to Greece. Will do homework for next year type D visa whilst there. So right what yourself and some readers say. Besides little incidents where you know you weren’t hassled due to an Aussie passport ; it is advisable to really get it right if you want to stay there for long periods. When years ago thinking I had moved there permanently I found out I wasn’t legal I was devastated. I continued staying there for another year. It totally changed my lifestyle. It was back when they were cleaning up before the 2004 games. Throughout the city of Athens I walked the rat maze; side streets and alleys to avoid random checks. 3 occasions I was stopped. figure: brown hair. Albanian ?. It’s no way to relax and enjoy life or simply just live in general. If I gain any knowledge I can contribute I will be sure to give back to your cool site.

Kat Reply:

It only matters that you meet legal requirements and can jump through bureaucratic hoops. Affinity, friendships and desire have no influence on whether you’re approved for a residence permit. I recommend that readers take a Greek friend if they aren’t able to speak Greek and don’t know how things work. It’s your decision.

  Manoj wrote @ March 19th, 2014 at 12:45

Your question was transferred to, “How non-EU citizens can get a permit to live and work in Greece.” This same article is mentioned above in the fourth paragraph.

  Maninder wrote @ March 20th, 2014 at 19:18
  jo aura wrote @ April 2nd, 2014 at 16:14

Your comment/question was moved to, “Countries that require a visa for Greece” and answered there, as it had no relevance to the article above.

  Peter wrote @ April 22nd, 2014 at 14:02

Hello Kat
How I wish I had found your amazing website before now.
I’m an Aussie (non Greek) with many Greek friends. I have just found out the hard way that listening to my well meaning Greek friends has landed me in a bit of a problem. I was told that I needn’t worry about the “Rules” and that I could stay in Greece for as long as I wanted because Greece has a “Special’ relationship with Australia.

Sooo…I stayed on a Greek island for 11 months and two weeks which included a side trip to Dublin Ireland for 10 days. The trip to Dublin was last November. When I returned to Athens the lady at immigration control spent just on two minutes looking through my passport and then wished me a good day a waved me through. I thought Wow! Maybe we Aussies do get special treatment in Greece.

Unfortunately that wonderful moment was short lived because when I went to go through Immigration Control in Athens on my way home to Australia in April 2014 the young smiling officer “said we have a problem” i asked what sort of a problem and he said “You have stayed in Greece beyond 90 days!’ And he was only counting the days from November 12th 2013 when I had returned from Dublin. I of course acted totally confused. Even though deep down I realised that my goose was cooked. He took me to see his Supervisor and the Supervisor had me wait for about half an hour before he dealt with me. He then said that i had to pay a 1,200 Euro fine for overstaying. I offered my credit card which he said he couldn’t accept and that I needed to pay the fine in cash. All very polite and friendly I might add. I explained that my ATM card had a $1000 a day limit for withdrawal and I didn’t see how I could pay then and there. He said ” no problem I’ll put a stamp in your Passport which will state that when you next return to Greece you will pay the cash 1,200 Euros before you can re enter Greece. This he did. A big blue stamp in Greek with the 1200 euros hand written over the top of the stamp. He further said that if I stayed away for 4 years it would drop out of the system. he also gave me a paper invoice in Greek stating the fine.Well as I want and need to return to Greece that money will be paid when I go back.

I have since been trying to make sense of the Schengen Visa Rules and that is how I came upon your website.

My next steps are to visit the Greek Consul in my hometown (who by the way is a close friend of one of my close friends) I will be trying to get a Long Stay D Visa for 1 year. i just hope the big blue 1200 Euro Stamp in my passport won’t prejudice my application.

I’m a retiree, have pension income way above the 2000 euros required for the visa. I’m a cleanskin (no criminal record), Very healthy and can back that up with Medico letter. My biggest problem is finding the Private Health Cover that is a pre-requisite. I have cover in Australia through something called the Gold Card issued to Veterans but it will only cover me overseas for my accepted conditions. So I will need to find other cover. I am having difficulties with this. Especially as I understand Medical Evacuation should be part of the cover. if you happen to know of a good company I could enquire to I’d be most grateful.

I’ve rambled on here however my point of writing to you was to let others know that what you say on this website is true and that if another reader takes time to read my experience maybe it will help them not fall afoul of the laws.

Thank you for reading and thank you for the excellent service you are providing those of us wanting to live for a while in such a beautiful country.

Kat Reply:

Hi Peter,

All my articles are based on official documentation (which rarely reflects reality) AND first-hand experience from my life and/or at least three friends/readers AND feedback from generous readers such as yourself. This is how I know it’s accurate; it’s also how I know when the Greek gov’t, lawyers, competing online sources and forums plagiarize me.

When you passed through border checks in November, it’s likely that the inspector couldn’t determine where and when you last entered or exited. But because the November trip had been recorded, it was easy to flag you in April.

I’d be interested to hear whether the unpaid fine has impact on the decision to issue your visa. Using connections may help you there, but it won’t help you once in Greece. Take that into consideration when deciding to go that route.

Many prefer private insurance companies in their home countries, purely because they can understand the language and better communicate with providers when/if a critical question or situation arises. If you can find one in Australia, this might be a better option.

I do not make a habit of making public recommendations because readers tend to take them as endorsements or promotions. However, because you were so kind to share your experience and give back to the website (few do), I’m happy to email you info on private insurance in Greece. However, be aware that policies, providers and correspondence may be in Greek. If you’re interested, please leave another comment to let me know if I may contact you.

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to say hello. All best.

  isaias wrote @ May 23rd, 2014 at 16:25

hello to all

i already sent a question but until know no answers…

Kat Reply:

Your question was answered on May 14, and it sounds to me like you read it.

The problem is that you continue leaving the same comment/question on different posts all over this website and change the story slightly each time. Go to “FAQ: Greek work/residence permits.”

  Dennis wrote @ June 11th, 2014 at 12:58
  lucas wrote @ July 7th, 2014 at 16:20

Your question was transferred to, “How non-EU citizens can get a permit to live and work in Greece.”

  syeda wrote @ July 13th, 2014 at 21:56

Your comment/question was moved to, “How non-EU citizens can get a permit to move, live and work in Greece.”

It is the same link mentioned in the fourth paragraph of the article above, on the front page, and in the comment above yours.

  Hannibal/Maher wrote @ July 23rd, 2014 at 09:41

1:
Good morning,

i got student visa (national Visa) type D from saudi arabia, does this via give me freedom to travel throw through all EU countries or its it’s only for Greece ?

2:
Good evening,

I have same issue of national (long term visa) in Greece, does that means I cant use this kind of visa to travel from Greece to other EU countries knowing that I have Syrian passport with valid national visa for Greece with period of 4 months

thanks .

Kat Reply:

1:
In general, a national D visa is only good for the country for which it was issued. The word ‘national’ relates to one nation or one country. To travel, you need a Schengen visa or a full residence permit sticker/card with no restrictions.

2:
Seriously? You’re the same person using different names. You’re NOT a different person with the same issue.

My answer is the same. A national D type visa for Greece is only good for one nation: Greece. It cannot be used to live, travel or visit anywhere else. The EU is a member union of many nations; it is not one nation.

You must secure a visa to each country you wish to visit by fulfilling requirements, applying for a visa and paying any related fees at the appropriate embassy.

If there are special circumstances surrounding issuance of your visa or information you did not disclose, feel free to verify my answer at any Greek municipal office or the embassy/consular service that issued your visa. I cannot give information specific to your situation because you provided almost none.

Not all D type visas are the same — there’s no way I (or anyone) can know who you are (nationality, passport), which visa you have, why it was issued (reason for being in Greece/Schengen), from where (who issued it and in what country) with what restrictions (entries, limitations, validity, etc.) and if a residence permit application is involved. This post is about Greek residence permits and visas for financially independent applicants, not students.

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