Moving anywhere in the world usually involves a lot of excitement and some apprehension as well. When it is somewhere like Greece then one usually really looks forward to the sunsets and golden beaches with a lot of outdoorsy activities. They have everything ranging from mountains to cities to beaches in one country. Being rich in history there are also a bunch of historical sites that one can visit while living here.
Standard of living is high here with low costs compared to the rest of Europe. So anyone earning above average will get to live luxuriously here in Greece. With a very low rate of crime, and great weather, living here is a lot easier and favorable.
There are more than 1.2 million migrants that are residing in Greece as of today. From embracing their local culture to trying out their food and delicacies you can explore the coast. Other than the more prominent major cities one can always explore some lowkey spots that can be your own private spots in the paradise that is Greece. The Orthodox Church is a big part of life here for the Greeks and a vast majority practice the religion.
Things To Prepare Before Moving To Greece
Find A Job Or Get Enrolled In A University
Getting a job or getting accepted into a university in Greece is the easiest and most hassle free way to move here. Depending on where you are from, this might be the only way for you to move here.
If you are coming in from any EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland then you can enter without a visa and stay here. Others will have to apply for a 3 month entry visa at a Greek consulate beforehand for employment purposes. In that time period you may want to start looking for work if you plan on staying here.
The “D” type one-entry visa is issued for dependent employment or even freelance work. You must present your application at the Greek consulate or embassy and from there on you might be called in for an interview and biometrics if your visa application is accepted.
Get Expat Health Insurance
A requirement for getting the Greek visa is also having health insurance. Your current insurance must be accepted by the Greek healthcare system or else you would have to get an international healthcare package or switch up your current insurance company.
If you have already been accepted somewhere for work then you can sign up with Greek insurance companies as well. There are a lot of options available for personal healthcare insurance here as it is a necessity. There are both public and private insurance companies.
If you plan on working as a freelancer then you can get health insurance for your visa with expat insurance. It is a temporary thing but it does the job for the time being until you secure a job or until you have decided which company to go to full-time.
Apply For Visa In Time
As is the case in most European countries, Greeks also love their long and tedious processes along with being a bureaucratic country. To avoid carrying out the whole process yourself, you can hire a immigration attorney who can help you navigate through the whole process. Depending on your current nationality and the type of visa you are looking for, your waiting time can be anywhere between one to four months.
You should visit the embassy or consulate beforehand to know of the requirements for application first. Whether you apply for work, student, or freelancer visa, it is recommended to do so at least 3 months before you plan on leaving. This is just to ensure that you get your visa well in time.
Know that if you are unemployed while applying for a visa then you will need to show that you have enough funds to support yourself which is around 4000 euros. If someone in Greece is sponsoring you then you won’t have to give details of funds. The person will have to go to the police station with you to fill out some forms with you though. If you have secured a job in Greece then you will have to show proof of income whether it is an employment contract or whatever.
Book Your Flight Well In Advance
Looking up flight tickets is all fun and an exciting step that is the part of your move. Wherever in Greece you want to apply for jobs at or where you have found a job or your university is located at, you should fly to the closest airport that is there. Athens, Thessaloniki and Rhodes are the three major cities with airports. Other than these are slo a bunch of smaller islands with small airports that might not be used commercially.
The standard these days with flights is that you can just take one bag that weighs somewhere around 23kgs along with a hand carry you take with you on flight. If you have additional luggage then you have to book it in advance. Unless the whole family is moving it is not advised to opt for air freight which is very expensive and takes more time. Just manage what you can with some additional bag or two.
Find A Place To Live In Greece
If you have an apartment already booked before landing in Greece then that would suit you best. Generally people go for a hotel or an Airbnb to stay at for a week or so. In the meantime you can start looking at a few shortlisted options that you might have found online. There are a bunch of online platforms and websites that you can use to find a place of your choice. You even have furnished options which would make your move hassle free as you won’t have to bring all your furniture and household items with you.
You can also get a short term apartment. The first apartment that you stay at does not have to be the permanent place for you. If it does not suit you or you face any issues then you can easily find another place that suits your requirements and falls into budget. You can look for neighborhoods that you like
Get An Appointment To Register
When you land in Greece, one of the first things you should get done is to register your address here. You are to report to the nearest government office where they will get to know that there is a new resident in the neighborhood.
The process is very short and will take you a couple of minutes. After completing the required documentation, you will receive a piece of paper which you will need to show when opening a bank account or when switching internet providers etc. you can get an online appointment which will save you the hassle of waiting in line.
Look Into Which Bank You Want To Use
Before moving, you should look into what banks are offering their services in Greece. If you are looking for work or have found work here then this will be necessary. Most banks will want to take a look at your registration certificate that you would have beforehand ideally. It would also be good if you keep your residence permit with you as well.
Start Learning The Basics Of Greek
It is not necessary that you are able to speak Greek to move to Greece. You can live and work here as it is, but it is just for your own convenience that we would recommend you learn Greek. There are a lot of benefits of understanding and speaking Greek.
It is definitely tough to learn a new language and starting from scratch does feel like a lot of pressure. To stay in this beautiful country you might find it helpful to go through the trouble of learning the language. Just dont put a lot of pressure on yourself to speak Greek fluently in a few months or even years. It takes a lot of time to do so.
11 Things To Do In Your First Two Weeks, After Moving To Greece
What you would want is to immediately enjoy the beauty of Greece and what is has to offer, but you may have to complete the following things in order to get started.
Registration With The Greek Authorities
Applying for the AFM (Arithmo Forologiko Mitro) number should be on top of your priority list which is your tax number. You can’t open a bank account without this. The process is relatively quick, all you need to do is gather your personal documents and get an appointment at a tax office.
If you’re an EU citizen, then there are two types of residencies permits that you can get, the temporary residence permit or the permanent residency permit.
Firstly, you have to apply for the temporary residency permit also known by the locals as ‘the beige permit’.
Change Your Temporary Residency Permit To A Permanent Residency Permit
The beige permit is applicable for the first 5 years after which you are eligible to apply for the permanent residency permit. Getting this would be comparatively easier as it doesn’t require bringing the documents again, all you need is an appointment with the authorities and you should be good to go.
Sign Up For Health Insurance
When obtaining a Greek visa, private health insurance may already be a prerequisite, it is affordable and quite a few reputable insurance companies are setup there such as Allianz and AXA.
Your insurance plan can be monthly or yearly depending on what you choose and including the factors of age, lifestyle and health. Usually, a healthy middle-aged man pays about 50 euros a month.
You may need to consider getting an insurance as healthcare in Greece is among the most expensive in Europe with a basic consultation going up to 50 euros.
Solve Banking Matters
You will need to open up a bank account if you’re hired by an employer as your salary will be transferred there. You should still open it even if you’re self-employed. You also need it as it will be asked about when you’re applying for residency permits.
To open an account, you need to get your passport and AFM and head over to a bank in person such as the Alpha Bank or the Eurobank. You may find some documents vary from bank to bank that you need to bring with yourself. Do go through the print they give you before opening an account as it may contain pointless fees on small transactions even.
Get Settled At Your New Greek Home
Finding An Internet Provider
You need internet set-up in your residency after you move in. The main provider is Forthnet and Wind. Fiber networks are set-up in some parts of Greece and you may find some areas to have weaker signals. The plans have similar prices to other European countries like Forthnet starts at a 25 euro monthly plan with an initial starting cost which is for the installment and router.
Do keep in mind that the set-up process might be slow taking up-to 4 months to get you going. So, you may need a data plan in the meantime.
Finding An Electricity Provider
If you have your own residency or are renting a property, you have to go to the local electricity office to get you sorted. Your passport and tax number along with a few other documents need to be with you when you visit the DEH office.
Setting Up Water Supply
You need to visit the local water board office with your meter number and ID and you’ll be charged a little fee for this. Usually, a resident would pay this bill about three times a year and it would be around 20 euros.
You will be notified about this in your lease. Usually, this ranges from 40 to 60 euros a month.
This would include repairs, cleaning etc. and you will be notified about this from your landlord or property agent.
Determine Your Means Of Transport
You have now explored some your surroundings and now need a means of transport to travel across the place. You need to decide whether you prefer public transport, personal car or a bicycle.
There are bike lanes in most parts of Greece so you can choose that option but know that it will be tiring and dependent on the weather.
You can go for public transportation methods which include some train tracks which don’t cover most of the areas but the buses inside the city are extremely helpful as they have stops almost everywhere on the islands. You can get tickets or passes at the stations which are extremely useful and will save you a lot of time.
You always have the option to get your own vehicle. Keep in mind that if you’re not an EU resident, you’ll need a residency permit in order to purchase the vehicle. On the bright side, Greece is considered to be one of the cheapest countries for driving a car as the total monthly costs of ownership on average are about 500 euros.
Get To Know Your Neighbors And Neighborhood
When you move in, you might want to make a couple of friends around the area or at least get to know the people around you. If you’re really brave then ring their doorbell and have a quick chat with them as they would recommend you all the good things about the place.
Just designate a day where you go out in the morning and just explore, go visit different shops, restaurants, coffee shops, parks and supermarkets. Find your favorite pizzeria, bakery or shops where you would always know that you’ll get the best of the best.
Greece has many beautiful places to offer, go visit their scenic tavernas, picturesque beaches and explore what the islands have to give.
Take A Greek Language Course
Although most people in Greece have a good grasp of English in the major cities, a handful of Greek phrases would certainly help you in your stay. Basic phrases such as hello, good morning/evening and more would certainly help you in communicating with the locals. If you’re in a remote or less occupied island, then communication gap will certainly become a problem.
A lot of schools and online services offer complete courses which certainly help in learning the language quicker. You can even hire tutors that offer one-on-one lessons to help you learn Greek effectively. The locals would appreciate you speaking their language and you will find your life becoming much easier when you can talk to them in their own language.
Get To Know The Greeks
People in Greece are mostly friendly and easy to talk to due to the country being a major tourist attraction. You’ll find them very easy talk to once you get the hang of their lifestyle and the things they like. You may find them being on the back foot at the start but that’s just how they are. You need to warm up to them and indulge in their lifestyle to find a way past their exterior and voila, you have found yourself some Greek friends.
Head over to the beaches or coffee shops to find locals hanging out and have a little conversation with them, or visit your neighbors and ask them about their experience and difficulties and you’ll surely connect with them.
Enjoy The Benefits Of Living In Greece
Well, you have reached this far so why not take a look at the benefits that Greece has to offer you while you enjoy their country.
- You get a yearly 20 paid annual leaves which can be boosted up-to 26 for long term employees.
- 12 yearly holidays for national activities.
- You can visit Italy, Tukey, Cyprus and other countries in a short amount of time for a relaxing getaway.
- You are allowed to drink in public
- You are allowed a month total of leaves if you’re sick and you’ll be paid 50% of your salary.
- Enjoy one of the best cuisines in the world and historical infrastructure in Greece as they are mainly a tourist country.
- The Mediterranean weather will put a smile on your face, the ocean breeze, perfect weather throughout spring and autumn and if you like sunshine then some places like Crete, Rhodes and Kythira would be perfect for you.
You now know what to expect from Greece and the facilities it has to offer so the question is that when do you start planning to move there? It may seem hectic and very tough at first but the amenities it has to offer are countless and certainly make your stay worthwhile. Settling in a country like Greece will ensure a high quality of life that you can take advantage of.