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Immigration Law

Residence Permit in Greece

A Residence Permit in Greece is a legal document that allows non-European Union citizens to live in Greece for a specified period of time. It is essential for any non-EU citizen wishing to stay in Greece for more than 90 days. The specific requirements and types of residence permits in Greece may vary depending on the individual’s circumstances and the purpose of the permit, such as work, study, joining a family member, or other long-term stays. Are you wondering, How can I get one? Read on and we will explain everything you need to know.

Let’s talk about Greek Immigration Law and residence permits.

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Why Apply for a Residence Permit in Greece

A residence permit gives you the legal right to stay in Greece for an extended period of time, whether for work, study, retirement, or investment and business purposes. Obtaining a residence permit is a legal requirement for all non-EU nationals who intend to stay in Greece for more than 90 days within a 180-day period. The permit comes with various benefits such as access to healthcare, education and the ability to travel within the Schengen area. It allows you to engage in various economic activities, including employment and business, and can eventually lead to permanent residency and citizenship. The permit can also be extended to family members, allowing them to join you in Greece

Types of Residence Permits in Greece

Greece offers several types of residence permits for citizens who wish to reside in the country for an extended period of time or move to Greece for work, study or personal reasons.

  • Digital Nomad Visa: This permit is designed for individuals who work remotely and earn their income from outside Greece. It allows them to live in Greece for up to two years. Applicants must have a monthly income of at least €3,500, with additional amounts for family members. The Digital Nomad Visa applicant must provide proof of health insurance and remote employment.
  • Financially Independent Person’s Visa (FIP): Designed for retirees or individuals with a stable income, this permit requires proof of sufficient funds (minimum of €24,000 per year, with additional amounts for family members). The FIP is valid for two years and does not allow the holder to work in Greece.
  • Greek Golden Visa: This is a program for third-country nationals who invest in Greek real estate (minimum of €250,000, increasing to €500,000 in certain areas) or other forms of investment such as government bonds or stocks. The visa is valid for five years and allows free travel within the Schengen area, but not to work within Greece or Europe.
  • Work permit: Issued to individuals who have secured employment with a licensed employer in Greece. The permit is usually valid for one year and requires proof of an employment contract. The minimum wage in Greece applies to foreign workers, and the employer may be required to pay an administrative fee for each foreign worker hired.
  • Student Residence Permit: Available to foreigners admitted to Greek universities. Students must be able to demonstrate knowledge of English or Greek (depending on the language of study) and have sufficient funds (at least 400€ per month). This permit is renewable annually and allows part-time work, but not family reunification.
  • Family Reunification: This permit allows family members (spouse, children under 21, and parents) of a person legally residing in Greece to obtain a residence permit. The applicant must provide marriage and birth certificates or other proof of relationship.
  • Long-term residence permit: After five years of legal residence in Greece, an individual may apply for this permit. It requires proof of knowledge of the Greek language and compliance with certain residence requirements (not leaving Greece for more than 10 months in total during the five years).
  • EU Blue Card: A residence permit for highly qualified employment requiring a salary of at least 1.5 times the average annual gross salary in Greece. This permit is subject to a quota system and includes additional requirements such as a university degree or proof of significant work experience in the field.

The Step-by-step Procedure for Obtaining a Residence Permit in Greece

The process of obtaining a residence permit in Greece varies slightly depending on the specific type of permit you are applying for, but there are some steps and a general procedure that you will always need to follow.

  1. Gather the necessary documents: Collect all required documents, which typically include your passport, proof of sufficient financial resources, health insurance, and other specific documents related to the type of residency permit that applies to your situation.
  2. Translate and certify documents: All documents must be translated into Greek and officially certified. This can be done by a lawyer, a certified translator, or the Translation Department of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  3. Apply for a residence permit in Greece: Once you arrive in Greece, submit your application for a residence permit to the Decentralized Administration Office or the Aliens Department of the Hellenic Police, depending on your area of residence. If you are not from a visa-free country, you may need to apply for a national visa (type D visa) at the Greek embassy or consulate in your home country before entering Greece. After submitting your application, you will receive a receipt that often allows you to stay in Greece legally while your application is being processed.
  4. Provide biometric information: As part of the application process, you will likely need to provide fingerprints and a photograph. Pay fees: Pay the required residence permit application fee.
  5. Wait for processing: The processing time may vary. During this time, your status and right to reside in Greece is usually covered by the receipt of your application.
  6. Notification and receipt of permit: Once your application has been processed and approved, you will be notified to pick up your permit.
  7. Renewal: Most residence permits are valid for one to five years and are renewable. Keep track of the expiration date and apply for renewal on time.

How much does it cost to get a residence permit in Greece?

The cost of obtaining a residence permit in Greece varies depending on the type of permit. The main direct costs of obtaining a residence permit are the payment of an application fee and a small fee for printing the e-residence permit. However, there may be other costs, such as legal fees for document translation and processing, health insurance, and possibly other administrative fees. For a non-EU citizen, the residence permit application usually includes a fee of €16 for the electronic card issuance – regardless of the type of permit. The application fee varies depending on the type of permit. For example, the Greek Digital Nomad Visa and FIP have an application fee of €1,000, while the application fee for the main applicant of a Greek Golden Visa is €2,000 and an additional €150 for each adult family member included in the application. A residence permit for employees and students requires a work contract with a legal employer in Greece or proof of admission to a Greek university and financial resources of at least €400 per month. In this case, the main costs are related to various administrative and legal fees.

How to Obtain a Residence Permit in Greece

There are several ways to obtain a residence permit in Greece, depending on your situation. In all cases, it is highly recommended to seek legal assistance to ensure compliance with all requirements and procedures. Each case may have specific nuances that require expert attention, and failure to comply with legal requirements may affect or delay the issuance of your residence permit.

Investing in real estate

For non-EU nationals seeking residency through real estate investment, a popular route is to apply for a Golden Visa for Greece. The minimum investment is usually €250,000 or, after May 2023, €500,000 in certain areas such as Athens, Thessaloniki, Mykonos and Santorini. In order to apply for a Greek Golden Visa, a purchase and sale agreement, proof of transfer of title and a certificate from the Greek Land Registry are required. You can apply for the Golden Visa at the nearest Greek Consulate or Embassy, or through our law firm or any other licensed attorney in Greece.

Deposit Holders

A special residence permit is also available to individuals who can make a substantial financial deposit of at least €400,000 in a Greek bank. This permit is generally valid for five years and is renewable, and the deposited amount must be maintained in the bank for the duration of the residence permit. Once in possession of the bank statements and certificates confirming the deposit and its terms, it is possible to submit the application to the nearest Greek Embassy or Consulate, or through a legal representative in Greece, such as our law firm.

For Financially Independent Persons

The Residence Permit for Financially Independent Persons (FIP) is intended for individuals who have a stable and regular income sufficient to cover their living expenses without employment in Greece. In order to apply for an FIP residence permit, individuals must prove through bank statements, income statements and any other relevant financial documents that they have a stable income of at least €24,000 per year, increased by 20% for a spouse and 15% for each child.

For Work (Business Immigration)

Work residence permits are issued to individuals who are employed in Greece or who wish to establish a business in Greece. The permit is usually issued for one year and is renewable as long as the employment or business conditions are met. The main steps to apply are to secure a job with a Greek employer or to register a business in Greece, provided you have a viable business plan and sufficient capital. Documents required for the application process include an employment contract, business registration documents, proof of financial resources, and other relevant documentation.

Family Reunification

Family reunification in Greece allows family members of a legal resident (typically the spouse, minor children and dependent adult children) to obtain a residence permit to live in Greece. Family members receive the same type of residence permit as the sponsor, which is renewable as long as the conditions are met. The sponsor must have a valid residence permit and sufficient resources to support the family members. To start the family reunification process, the sponsor must apply to the local Aliens and Immigration Department of the Decentralized Administration in Greece. Proof of family relationship (marriage certificate, birth certificate), sponsor’s residence permit, proof of adequate accommodation and sufficient financial resources are required. In addition, both the sponsor and family members may be required to provide biometric data and attend an interview. The processing time varies, but usually takes several months.

Study

Non-EU students who have been admitted to a Greek university or educational institution and have sufficient financial means (at least €400 per month) may apply for a student residence permit. The first step is to obtain a national type D visa from the Greek consulate or embassy in your home country, which must be converted into a residence permit upon arrival in Greece. The documents required to apply for a student visa are usually the admission letter from the educational institution, proof of financial means, health insurance and accommodation details.

Asylum Seekers

Persons seeking international protection in Greece because of persecution or serious harm in their home country may apply for asylum. Upon arrival in Greece, these persons must notify the police or the reception center of their intention to seek asylum and provide basic information about their identity, country of origin, and reasons for seeking asylum. This is followed by an interview and fingerprinting. After these initial steps, a detailed asylum application must be submitted, usually to a designated Asylum Service Office, including all identification documents and any evidence supporting the asylum claim. The application is assessed on the basis of the information and evidence provided. During the application process, applicants have certain rights, such as access to health care and, in some cases, to the labor market. If they are granted asylum, they will receive a residence permit allowing them to live and work in Greece.

Advantages of Having a Residence Permit in Greece

The main benefit of a residence permit in Greece is, of course, the legal right to live in Greece for the duration of the permit. Greece is known for its high quality of life, with a pleasant climate, rich cultural history, beautiful scenery and a relaxed lifestyle. Living in Greece can be a desirable experience for those seeking a balance between work and leisure, and obtaining a residence permit is crucial for anyone wishing to stay in Greece for longer than the typical 90-day limit for tourists. Permit holders also typically gain access to the Greek public health care system and educational institutions. And, depending on the type of permit, they may also be allowed to work in Greece. In addition, Greece offers certain tax benefits to foreign residents, especially retirees and high-net-worth individuals under special programs. A Greek residence permit also allows for visa-free travel within the Schengen area for short stays, making it easier to travel throughout much of Europe for business, travel or personal reasons. And speaking of business and business opportunities, Greece’s strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa makes it an attractive destination for business and investment. The country offers opportunities in various sectors such as tourism, energy, agriculture and technology, and obtaining a residency permit is the first step in establishing a business in the country.

The Next Steps: Citizenship and Passport

Holding a residence permit can be a step towards obtaining long-term residency in Greece and even obtaining Greek citizenship and EU citizenship, subject to certain conditions. After legally residing in Greece for five years, a person can apply for a long-term residence permit and become eligible for citizenship after living in Greece continuously for seven years. Of course, there are other important requirements, as applicants for citizenship must demonstrate that they are integrated into Greek society, have a command of the Greek language and knowledge of Greek history and culture, have a stable income, and a clean criminal record is essential. If the application is successful, the naturalization process culminates in the granting of Greek citizenship. Once you have acquired Greek citizenship, you are eligible to apply for a Greek passport, which involves a separate application process, usually at a police station or passport office.

How We Can Help You Obtain Your Greek Residence Permit

Immigration laws and regulations can be complex and vary depending on the type of residence permit you are applying for. Leptokaridou Law Firm’s expertise in Greek immigration law can provide clarity and guidance tailored to your specific situation. We are able to assist you in preparing and reviewing all the necessary documentation, but can also act as your representative in dealings with the Greek immigration authorities. We can submit applications on your behalf, respond to inquiries from immigration officials, and follow up on the status of your application. If there are any legal issues or complications in your application process, as expert immigration lawyers we will provide advice and solutions.

* The information on this site is provided for the sole purpose of illustrating the subject matter. It in no way constitutes legal advice nor a substitute for individual legal advice provided by counsel. Each case is unique, presents unique circumstances, and should be evaluated in detail by an attorney who will verify its specific circumstances.

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Contact us today, especially if you are not in Greece or are unfamiliar with the local language and the Greek legal system – we will save you considerable time and effort by managing the legal and bureaucratic aspects of the residence permit process!

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