Living in Greece as a foreigner: How to obtain a visa, residency, and citizenship


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There are many compelling reasons to make the move to Greece. The weather is great, its islands are beautiful, the towns and cities are fun, and the Greek people are warm and welcoming. Greece will certainly prove to be a fun and interesting new chapter in your life. So how do you obtain a Greece visa, residency, and citizenship?

In order to move to Greece legally, there is an immigration procedure to follow carefully, and the process begins before you leave your home country.

Visa information is available at your nearest Greek Consulate or Embassy, as well as online resources, including some of the application forms. If you don’t feel confident about preparing everything yourself, there are lawyers who can help you acquire all the necessary paperwork, so that you can have a good start to living the Greek dream.

Getting a Greek visa is relatively straight-forward and can be done at your local Greek embassy or consulate in your home country. Once you decide to move further and apply for permanence residence in Greece, the process becomes more complicated. Typically, the process of gaining Greek residency and citizenship is best handled with the help of an attorney, a tax accountant and a translator.

How long can I legally stay in Greece as a visitor?

If you are from a non-EU country such as the United States or the United Kingdom and plan to visit Greece, you will be able to stay in the country for up to 90 days without needing a visa. It is important that your passport is valid for at least three months after your planned date of departure from Greece.

If you do not need a visa, you must be able to prove that you have at least €50 ($55) for each day of your stay and a return flight ticket to your home country.  Medical insurance is mandatory and it must cover your entire stay in Greece for a minimum of €30,000 ($33,000).

When do I need a Greece visa?

To decide if Greece is the right place for you, it’s a good idea to spend time looking at various locations. This can be time-consuming, especially if you want to research if there is any work available in the area as well. You may want to start with this list of recommended places to live in Greece for English speakers.

If you plan to stay in Greece for more than 90 days but not more than 365 days (one year), you will need to apply for a long-term visa. The type of visa you need is a Type D Visa.

You should apply for your visa at your nearest Greek Embassy or Greek Consulate in your home country before your departure for Greece. Visas are issued for many different categories of people, including tourists, property owners, students, and workers.

There are three main visa categories in Greece:

  1. National visas
  2. Schengen visas
  3. Visas for foreigners traveling to Greece

The type of visa you might need varies on a case by case basis. The official website to obtain the complete and correct information about visas for Greece is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece Visas webpage.

What documents should I take with me to Greece when planning a longer stay?

It is important that you prepare a portfolio containing the following important documents to take with you to Greece:

  • Your passport, along with any other identity documents, including your birth certificate, marriage certificate, and divorce papers.
  • Proof of residence in your home country: a utility bill, bank statement, or a confirmation letter from your landlord proving your residential address in your home country.
  • Any work-related paperwork, such as proof of wages, work contract, and tax statements, etc., from your home country, proving your employment if applicable (e.g. if your company is relocating you to Greece).
  • Proof of income
  • Proof of medical insurance

How do I apply for permanent residency in Greece?

As an EU member, Greece offers many foreigners from non-EU countries the opportunity to gain their permanent residency permit, known as the ‘PR card.’ There are several ways to gain Greek permanent residency.

The first step towards permanent residency is to obtain your long-term visa, which allows you to stay in Greece for up to 365 days.

When applying for a permanent residency permit, applicants must provide proof that they have sufficient funds to live in Greece and have adequate health insurance. Medical certificates may be required for certain medical conditions.

One of the most common ways to obtain residency is to secure permanent employment with a Greek company and apply for residency based on your employment.

Alternatively, you can work as a freelancer or digital nomad, but you will need to have an income of at least €3,500 ($3,800) per month. It is important to check before starting a new job that you will be able to apply for your residence permit without any restrictions.

Permanent residence can also be obtained by marriage to a Greek citizen. This is arguably the simplest and most straight forward avenue to secure Greek residency.

Documents to be submitted with your application for permanent residency vary depending on the way under which you qualify for residency. Typically, at a minimum, you will need to present the following documentation:

  1. Identity documents: passport, marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc.
  2. Proof of address in Greece
  3. Proof of a clean criminal record or police clearance letter
  4. Proof of a Greek bank account
  5. Proof of income
  6. Medical insurance

Alternatively, if you do not plan to work and would like to retire once you move to Greece, the Golden Visa is the most straightforward avenue to follow to obtain your permanent residency permit.

What is the Golden Visa?

The Golden Visa is an avenue to obtain a residence permit available for people from the United States, the United Kingdom, and other non-EU countries. Holders of the Golden Visa can legally live and work within the Schengen area, which comprises of most EU countries, including Greece.

The Golden Visa is available only in a few European countries. It is granted in exchange for a certain level of investment in real estate, a business, or government bonds. The required investment amount varies from one country to another.

Greece requires a minimum real estate investment of 250,000 euros (about $275,000) which is one of the lowest among all Golden Visa countries. As of May 1, 2023, the minimum investment limit for the Golden Visa was raised to 500,000 euros (about $550,000) in certain locations in Greece: Athens, Thessaloniki, Santorini and Mykonos.


The Greek Government recognizes several different types of investment opportunities for visa applicants, including the purchase of real estate, investment in real estate companies, and purchasing holiday accommodation. Investment in local companies, bonds, and securities that help boost the Greek economy are also recognized forms of investment.

Documents required to apply for a Greek Golden Visa:

  1. Greek tax number (AFM)
  2. Proof of address in Greece
  3. Identity documents: passport, marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc.
  4. Proof of purchase of a qualifying property
  5. Clear criminal record or police clearance letter
  6. Proof of a Greek bank account
  7. Proof of income
  8. Medical insurance

Once you have completed your investment, you can begin the procedure to obtain permanent residency. Your application must be supported by adequate documentation of your investment, such as a property contract registered at the local Land Registry or proof of other investment activity. The Golden Visa will be issued for you and your immediate family, including children under 21 years of age.

Golden Visa holders can apply for Greek citizenship after seven consecutive years of living in Greece.

How do I obtain Greek citizenship?

If you would like to apply for Greek citizenship, you must have been legally and permanently living in Greece for a minimum of seven consecutive years. When applying to become a Greek citizen, you will need to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of Greek culture and the Greek language.

Additionally, all applicants for Greek citizenship must have no criminal record, and there will be other criteria to fulfill depending on your personal circumstances.

Once you have been awarded Greek citizenship, you will be able to apply for a Greek passport. This is a proud moment, as the Greek passport is very valuable, allowing you to travel to 187 countries worldwide without needing a visa.

​​This article originally appeared on MyDolceCasa and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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