Obtaining visas for Greece

Anyone considering a move to Greece should note that there is a difference between a visa and a permit. A visa allows entry into the country for a specific purpose, such as travel or study, and a permit allows an expat to live and work in the country.

Non-EU citizens will most likely need a visa for Greece, while citizens from EU and Schengen countries, as well as certain others like the US and Canada, can stay as tourists for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. 

In Greece, work permits and residence permits are not separate documents. Expats from outside of the EU who have been granted permission to enter the country on a work visa must then apply for a permit which enables them to live and work in Greece.

While EU nationals can enter Greece with nothing more than a passport, there are certain other countries whose citizens are visa exempt for up to 90 days.

Most non-EU nationals will need to apply for a Schengen visa before travelling to Greece. This also entitles the holder to travel to other European countries that are part of the agreement. Schengen visas are granted for periods of between 90 days and six months, depending on the itinerary presented at the time of application.

These are granted to foreign nationals who intend to visit Greece for business-related activities. Applicants are required to provide proof of the intended activities through either an official invitation from a Greek company or by presenting proof of registration at a trade fair or conference.
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Those who purchase property in Greece to the value of 250,000 EUR or more are entitled to a Greece Golden Visa. This grants permanent residency for the expat and eligible family members. Once a foreigner has permanent residence in Greece they are able to work, start a business, retire or study in the country. The visa can be renewed every five years as long as the visa holder still owns the property in question.
Non-EU citizens who are moving to Greece to work will need a work visa known in Greece as either a type D visa or national visa. This is a long process which requires an official offer of employment from a Greek business.

Any business wishing to employ a non-EU citizen must submit documentation to the Office of Manpower (OAED) to prove that the position could not be filled adequately by either a Greek national or EU citizen. Only once this has been approved can a company make a formal job offer. 
After arriving in Greece, non-EU expats will need to apply for a residence and work permit which enables them to live in Greece and do a specific job for a particular employer. The application must be made within a month of arrival, but it is a lengthy process so it's recommended that expats apply as soon after arrival as possible.

Before applying, applicants will have to obtain a Greek tax number (AFM) and social security number (AMKA).

Expats from the EU who want to stay in Greece for more than three months only need to apply for a certificate of registration at their local foreign bureau. This requires a valid passport, proof of residence and proof of sufficient income or maintenance funds.

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