Moving to Greece – What You Should Keep in Mind Before Relocation
Are you thinking of relocating to Greece? If so, you should know that magnificent beaches and crystal-clear waters are just a few reasons Greece is so appealing.
Greece provides practically everything you could ever dream of, including stunning Cycladic architecture, breathtaking sunset locations, unique flavors, and comfortable summertime temperatures.
If you need an additional justification to move to Greece, IMovingTo is here to provide comprehensive guidance.
Living in Greece as an Expat: Climate & Language Barriers
Due to its Mediterranean climate, Greece experiences warm, dry days and moderately cool winters. There could be snow in various areas of Greece throughout the winter. However, this is generally confined to the mountainous regions of the country.
The months of late spring, summer, and early fall are considered the best as the weather is perfect, and every venue opens its doors and welcomes guests to enjoy great cuisine and scenery.
Greek is the native language of 99.9% of Greeks. Greek is the language of business unless you work for an international corporation. However, English is widely spoken all around the country, especially in tourist areas and among the younger generation.
If you reside in Greece, there are loads of options for you to study Greek. Several options are available, from beginner-level classes lasting a week or a month to intensive immersion programs with final exams, such as the Greek Certificate of Attainment.
Cost of Living
As a member of the European Union, Greece uses the Euro. While Greece’s average local salary is lower than many other European nations, the cost of living there is typically 30% less expensive. Greek expats with a local income will still be able to live comfortably as social security rates are also lower.
Greece has the lowest prices in Europe for food products, especially in Rhodes where there are no import taxes, making it a better place to live than many other European nations.
To understand how affordable living in Greece is, it is essential to quantify the cost of certain products and services.
- 1 bedroom apartment in Center: 392.33 EUR
- 1 bedroom apartment outside of Center: 326.84 EUR
- Three-course meal for 2 people in a mid-range restaurant: 40 EUR
- Monthly transport pass: 30 EUR
- Monthly fitness club pass: 35.95 EUR
- Cinema ticket: 8 EUR
Quality of Healthcare in Greece
In Greece, there are both public and private healthcare systems. The healthcare standards in this nation are very high. The Greek healthcare system is freely accessible to both Greeks and expats.
All Greek citizens and residents are provided free medical care through the ESY, or Greek Healthcare System. Additionally, regardless of whether you are an EU citizen, an expat, or unemployed, you are eligible for this healthcare system.
If you are employed in Greece, you need to obtain an AMKA (Social Security Number), and your employer is responsible for making contributions on your behalf. They are also in charge of finding a provider for you.
The majority of the employees in public health institutions speak basic English. Remember, nevertheless, that it could be challenging to find a medical staff that speaks English in a small town or a relatively small hospital.
Due to the fact that public insurance does not fully cover the expenses, many people opt for private health insurance as it offers shorter wait times than public ones.
Residence Permit Requirements
EU nationals relocating to Greece for work should submit a residence permit application upon arrival. This process is relatively easy. The procedure is a little bit more complicated for non-EU citizens. Depending on whether a person is considered an “executive” or “regular employee,” different residence permits are provided.
Applications for executive residence permits can be submitted upon arriving in Greece, and permits are often issued within 1 month of applying. The process should begin far before arriving in Greece, even before applying for an entry visa, as those for regular staff require significantly longer.
After arriving in Greece, the following documentation is required in order to apply for a residency permit at the Ministry of Interior:
- 2 forms of completed applications
- Valid passport with a copy of each page
- 3 biometric passport photos
- Health certificate filled out by a Greek hospital
- Proof of Health Insurance
- Proof of sufficient finances to fund your stay
- Employment contract (if applicable)
- Confirmation of local accommodation
- Proof of payment of the 150 EUR application fee
Entrepreneurs and investors are provided residency permits to promote investment activity. The applicants undertake to contribute at least 300,000 EUR to initiatives that will advance the Greek economy.
Moreover, the Greek government has begun granting citizens of foreign nations and their families 5-year residence permits if they purchase real estate worth at least 250,000 Euros.
Visa Types to Enter Greece
There is no entry visa requirement for citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. When entering the country, they just need to present their passport or identification card. While moving to Greece for employment, citizens of all other nations are required to apply for a three-month entrance visa at a Greek consulate. This one-entry “D” type visa is suitable for freelance or interdependent employment.
When applying for a “D” type visa, the following documentation is required:
- Completed application form
- Valid passport
- 1 biometric passport photo
- Medical certificate
- Valid Medical Insurance in Greece
- Excerpt from your country of origin or current residence’s penal register.
When submitting their application, the citizen of a third country needs to appear in person at the Greek consulate or embassy. They may also be invited for an interview. It is influential for all the documents to be presented in Greek or English. From the date of entry, the visa is valid for 3 months.
How to Find Accommodation in Greece?
In Greece, many expats prefer to rent an apartment rather than buy a property. Greek legislation stipulates that a rental agreement needs to be in force for a minimum of 3 years. Greece’s rental costs vary. However, Athens frequently has the highest rates. Typically, 2 months’ rent should be paid in advance, and 1 month’s notice should be given before leaving.
With the exception of certain ‘border areas,’ expats are usually allowed to purchase property everywhere in Greece, and the government even actively encourages it. Non-EU residents need to obtain a special permit from the Ministry of Interior in order to purchase real estate in Greece. For EU citizens, the procedure is more straightforward, and the approval is granted by a special committee.
You are required to hire a lawyer to assist you in purchasing real estate in Greece if the price exceeds EUR 104,700. Typically, this service costs 1-1.5% of the property’s value.
For finding a property to buy or rent, the following websites are quite helpful:
- Home Greek Home
- A Property in Greece
Best Destinations for Expats in Greece
Athens is rich in history and culture, from the ancient ruins to its wonderful museums. Whether strolling through the little lanes of Plaka or admiring the magnificent Temple of Olympian Zeus, you’ll never run out of things to see and do.
Athens’s high quality of life is characterized by the fantastic cuisine and affordable cost of living. Aside from its historical significance, the city has a substantial business district home to a wide variety of well-known brands.
Thessaloniki, the capital of Central Macedonia, is the second-largest city in Greece. It is a youthful, vibrant, and lovely city that encourages you to slow down your pace and delight in the expansive sea view. It is a region with outstanding cuisine and profound history.
The largest Greek island has a mild climate, gorgeous beaches, great dining, and wine choices, hundreds of ancient ruins, magnificent scenery, miles of hiking trails, and a vibrant nightlife.
Even if you’re not searching for a usual sunny vacation, Crete proves it’s worth residing with its colorful old town and attractive coastal towns and villages like Agia Galini and Agios Nikolaos.
Living in Corfu provides access to some of the most stunning beaches in the Mediterranean, charming villages, a rich culinary culture, gorgeous architecture rooted in its colonial past, and vibrant art and music traditions.
Despite being one of the most famous islands in Greece, Corfu is still a highly affordable place to reside.
Practical Tips You Should Know Before Moving to Greece
- Since public insurance cannot fully provide high-level medical services, it is advisable to obtain private healthcare insurance to ensure equitable access to quality health services if you are considering living in Greece.
- Before relocating to Greece, you should be aware that payments are almost always made in euros. While hotels and international brands accept credit cards, most local businesses, including bars, cafes, taxis, kiosks, street vendors, and other kinds of shops, only accept cash.
- Greece, one of the world’s residential countries, has a high standard of living, a high class of life, a high-income financial system, and flavored cuisine.
- Greece experiences warm, dry days and mild, chilly winters, common in the Mediterranean region. Throughout the winter, snowstorms can occur in some locations of Greece, but they are mainly confined to the mainland’s hilly areas.
- Greek is the primary language spoken by 99% of residents in Greece. After Greek, French and English are the most commonly used foreign languages.
Pros & Cons of Moving to Greece
Great style of life
Greece is a great country that values history, family, and a love for the presence of nature. Its cuisine is a food lover’s paradise with its array of mouth-watering pastries, traditional cheese, and fresh fish delicacies.
In this region of Europe, the weather is consistently spectacular, with cooling coastal breezes in the summer, sunny days in the winter, and almost ideal weather in the spring and fall.
You’re guaranteed plenty of sunshine and 4 distinct seasons, whether your ideal Greek property is a lakefront cabin in the Highlands, a rooftop apartment on the outskirts of Thessaloniki, or a low-maintenance seaside flat on Mykonos.
Everything from food to transportation to real estate is incredibly reasonable in Greece. Using public transportation, avoiding tourist areas, shopping at local markets, and dining where the locals prefer will help you save money no matter where you are in Greece. A foreigner on a tight budget can get by in Greece with only $2,000 per month.
Greece is an easy place to embrace a healthy lifestyle, as the Greeks are among the kindest, most helpful, and genuinely caring people you will ever meet.
The more time you spend with locals, the more affordable things appear to get as you master the wonderful Greek skill of making the most of your money while living comfortably.
You may suffer if you intend to live in Greece but don’t yet have a job. Despite their efforts, many expats cannot find work in Greece that suits their skill set. The fact that speaking Greek is often a necessary ability makes this situation worse.
The percentage of people who speak English decreases significantly if you don’t plan to live in one of the major cities, like Athens. It is highly advisable to learn some Greek before moving here.
One of the biggest drawbacks of living in Greece is its bureaucracy, which will put your patience to the test while living in this country. The documentation process frequently delays, even when it comes to simple requests, and many procedures are disorganized.
As you can see, Greece is one of the greatest countries to relocate to if you prefer an outstanding Mediterranean climate, a slower pace of life, and a location that offers good value for money.
So, take advantage of international relocation services at IMovingTo, and we will make sure to streamline your moving process without any hesitation!