It is mandatory that everyone covered by a Greek insurance fund, collecting a Greek pension or intending to work in Greece have an Αριθμός Μητρώου Κοινωνικής Ασφάλισης or AMKA, as of January 1, 2010.
Most residents already have AMKAs, and everyone registered with a Greek social insurance fund should have received AMKA cards at their place of employment or residence, if the information on file was correct. Those without numbers are likely new arrivals to Greece, unemployed spouses/children of insured individuals, residents who cannot understand Greek or illegal workers.
The original July 1, 2009 deadline was changed to October 1, after hundreds of thousands of people complained that public sector employees were ill informed and unprepared to deal with the onslaught of inquires and applications at the end of May. This caused the Ministry of Labor to temporarily disconnect their phones.
*Article last updated March 13, 2013. Hat tip to ‘T,’ who suggested I write this article.
What is an AMKA, and why is it mandatory?
An AMKA, Αριθμός Μητρώου Κοινωνικής Ασφάλισης or Arithmos Mitroou Koinonikis Asfalisis translates to registered social insurance number or social security number.* I have also heard it called an SSFN or Social Security Foundation Number.
It is a singular insurance identity that will replace all numbers issued by IKA-ETAM, OAEE (formerly TEBE/TEVE), OGA, TAYTEKO, TAYTOTE, ETAA, ETAP-MME, YPETHA, OPAD, etc., thus (hopefully) streamlining transactions pertaining to insurance, pensions and unemployment benefits. For example, I now show one AMKA instead of two different numbers with IKA and OAEE (formerly TEBE), though my unique details remain on file.
The Greek government intends this to be the first step in integrating 13 social insurance funds, curbing public sector waste and reducing bureaucracy. It also hopes to inch closer to EU standards by improving transparency in the health care system, controlling improprieties in pharmaceuticals, combating tax evasion, and making it more difficult for employers to hire illegal workers and evade contributions.
*Residents should not confuse the term ‘social security number’ in Greece with SSNs in America or TINs in other countries, which also act as tax numbers. In Greece, tax numbers are still AFMs and remain separate.
Does it replace my health booklet or ensima?
No. As a general rule, you should keep anything official that was issued by the Greek state. It is helpful to write your AMKA in your health booklet.
Who needs an AMKA?
Anyone — regardless of nationality — who is employed or wishing to be employed, insured (directly or indirectly), or a pensioner. This includes:
— Everyone covered by a Greek social insurance fund
— Those covered by a Greek social insurance fund via a spouse/relative (i.e., unemployed housewife of husband with IKA, children of insured parent)
— Anyone collecting unemployment benefits from OAED in Greece
— Retirees or beneficiaries receiving pension payments from Greece
— Anyone intending to work in Greece.
You do not need an AMKA if, for example, you are retired and collecting social security payments from a country other than Greece, or are insured with a private health insurance company.
It is not true that everyone living in Greece needs an AMKA. These rumors are being circulated in forums, and this is one reason I do not recommend them.
Do I have an AMKA?
You can check if you have an AMKA by visiting www.amka.gr and entering your name and birth date into the searchable database.
*Note: This is not a foolproof way of checking. My birth date was entered incorrectly and my surname misspelled, so the database returned no results, even though I have an AMKA and received my card.
The database says I have an AMKA, but I didn’t get a card.
If your work or home address is outdated, your AMKA card went to the old address. You can change your address at a KEP Citizen Service Centre and have your card reissued and re-sent. The most important thing is you have an AMKA; write down the number and keep it handy.
* Anyone who was mistakenly issued two AMKAs can inform KEP or their insurance company as to which number they’d like to keep. Otherwise, one will be chosen by authorities.
Are IKA numbers the same as AMKAs?
No, IKA AMAs are seven digits, and AMKAs are 11 digits.
The first six digits are the day/month/year of birth, followed by five digits representing the city record and control number.
For those who already have both IKA and AMKA numbers, they are listed separately in the upper left side of your quarterly ensima printouts.
What documents are required to apply?
a) Police-issued Greek ID card (tautotita) or military ID.
Minors under 13 years of age without a Greek ID should present a pistopoiitikou oikogeneiakis katastasis (certification of family status, issued from the οικογενειακή μερίδα/oikogeneiaki merida, which can be requested through KEP).
a) National ID (if from an EU country) or passport from any country; and
b) a pistopoiitikou oikogeneiakis katastasis (certification of family status, issued from the οικογενειακή μερίδα/oikogeneiaki merida, which can be requested through KEP) or a similar certificate verifying family relationship translated into Greek, if from a country other than Greece (see, “Translations of documents in Greece“). A family relationship must be established for unemployed/subsidized spouses/children/parents who are indirectly insured through a family member.
Non-Greek minors born in Greece need a lixiarchiki praxi gennisis (birth certificate from the lixiarcheio).
Same as Non-Greek citizens, except they will also check that you have:
a) a residence permit sticker/card to legally be in Greece.
*Some applicants will be asked for additional documents, such as proof of AFM and mother’s/father’s name, which is found on the original document issuing the AFM (bebaiosi apodosi AFM).
How much does it cost?
Can I change my status or contact details?
Any KEP Citizen Service Centre in Greece can assist you in updating your information.
Where do I get an AMKA?
Apply in person for an AMKA at:
1) IKA offices
- “IKA offices in Greece” (in English)
2) OAEE (formerly TEBE/TEVE) offices
- “OAEE offices in Greece” (in Greek)
3) OGA, TAYTEKO, TAYTOTE, YPETHA, ETAA, ETAP-MME, OPAD offices
4) KEP (Citizen Service Centres)
- “KEP locations in Greece” (in English) or call ‘1500’
No applications by phone or via the Web. If applicants cannot appear in person, a dilosi (statement of facts) assigning permission to a representative (relative/friend/laywer) must be signed and stamped, then presented with the documents listed above. See, “How to certify a dilosi in Greece.”
I prefer KEP because they keep longer hours, with some locations open on Saturday. All KEP offices are supposed to be open on Saturday, but I found that locations in rural or suburban areas with low foot traffic are sometimes closed.
Under certain circumstances, people residing outside Greece may be able to apply for an AMKA without appearing in person, but this must be discussed with the relevant authorities and is decided on a case by case basis.
Questions and More Information
Website: www.amka.gr (in Greek)
AMKA Hotline: 11131 (Toll-free within Greece)
If you are a Greek, EU or non-EU citizen abroad in need of an AMKA, Greek consulates/embassies are also supposed to have KEP services to assist you as of 2007. However, I cannot confirm this since I live in Greece and never access these services. It’s best to contact the location nearest you. See “Greek Consulates and Embassies Worldwide” if you cannot find one in the phone book or online.
Because the AMKA card is laminated directly on the sheet of paper, the perforations do not work and could easily rip your card. I recommend using scissors. Just my two lepta.
*Image from AMKA.gr website
“«Ασφαλιστική ταυτότητα» για όλους από τον Ιούλιο” – Kathimerini
“Μετ’ εμποδίων η εξυπηρέτηση για τον ΑΜΚΑ” – Kathimerini
“O ΔHΚΤΗΣ” – Kathimerini
“20 ερωτήσεις – απαντήσεις για τον ΑΜΚΑ” – Ta Nea
“Φαρμακεία on line μήπως και μαζέψουν τις δαπάνες” – Eleftherotypia
“Ολοκληρώθηκε η εκστρατεία ενημέρωσης για το ΑΜΚΑ” – Eleftherotypia
“Απαραίτητος από την Πέμπτη ο ΑΜΚA” – Ta Nea
“Απαραίτητος από σήμερα ο ΑΜΚΑ” — Eleftherotypia
“About AMKA (Hellenic Social Security Number)” — ekklisiastikos.com