Browsing Tag

Living in Greece

Greece, Travel

Getting a Greece Resident Permit

December 13, 2020

After several years of research and a year of living in Greece, I finally have my Greece resident permit. This was especially important this year with all the travel bans in place. If I hadn’t gotten it, I might not have been able to return home for Christmas without it. As it was, I didn’t receive it until the middle of November.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Getting a Greek resident permit is not hard, but it takes patience and persistence to get it. I am going to walk you through the steps of applying for the Greek resident permit here. This is for the financially independent resident permit. Keep in mind there are several types of permits in Greece that you can apply for.

Before you enter Greece, you should apply for a visa in your home country. Read my blog post about that if you haven’t done that yet.

Do You Need an Attorney?

One of the questions I am asked frequently is if you need an attorney to apply for the Greece resident permit. It is not required but may make the process easier for you. The lawyers in Greece have direct access to the Aliens administration to make appointments and ask questions.

If you decide to get an attorney, ask around to find one who has experience with this process. Many are not familiar with applying for the financially independent resident permit.

To use an attorney, you will need to get a power of attorney. The lawyer can write it up for you in Greek. You will then take it to your local KEP office to have it notarized. The KEP is the citizen’s services department in Greece. Take your passport with you. You may also need to have several copies of the power of attorney notarized, so do a few at once. At the time of writing this, there were no fees for the notarization.

The lawyer will tell you want they want you to do next.

Gather All Your Documents

You will need many documents to apply for the resident permit. Some of these will be similar to what you needed for your visa, so bring all those documents with you to Greece.

The documents you will need are your passport and a full-color copy of all pages, your birth certificate with apostille, a rental contract for an apartment or utility bill in your name, financial records, you will also need proof of insurance and passport photos. The passport photos will need to be digital on a CD and the four physical copies.

At the time of writing you need to prove you have €2000 a month in savings, passive income or retirement income.

All these documents will need to be translated into Greek. If you are not using a lawyer, you can have these documents translated at the Translation Service. The cost is pretty affordable at the service. There is a rush option if you need it. You will need to take your passport with you to this service as well.

Make an Appointment

Each Decentralized Administration has its own process for accepting appointments. After the events of 2020, more administrations have moved to online appointment systems for renewals. However, as of writing, the initial appointment still needs to be made via email.

The Athens administration’s email is dam_a@attica.gr. My experience with contacting them via email has been good. However, you may need to wait a day or two for a response if it is a busy time of year.

If your documents are accepted, you will be given a blue certificate that acts like a temporary Greek resident permit. Be careful with this document as you may need it to travel with while your application is being processed. You will also have to turn it in when you pick up the official resident permit.

Pay the Fee

To apply for the resident permit, you will need to pay the fee. Right now, the fee is €1000, and you can pay it online. If you can’t do this online, there is a small copy shop next to the Athens administration, and they will help you for a small fee. If you are applying outside of Athens, check with the local KEP office, and they can help you find a way to pay in person.

You will also need to pay €16 for the plastic card. This can also be done on the same website as above.

After Your Appointment

Once you have gone to the appointment, you may need to submit more documents after the appointment. You will need to send the additional documents by registered mail.

The most important thing is to follow up with them frequently. You can email them at dam_a_info@attica.gr. Keep in mind this is for the Athens administration only. You can also check the status of your application online.

I needed to submit more documents after my initial appointment. My lawyer sent the documents, and they were received. However, my attorney didn’t send a copy of the power of attorney, so they weren’t accepted. The administration never told us this, and I only found out after I emailed them.

How to Pick Up Your Resident Permit

When you get the notice your resident permit is ready, you will need to make another appointment to pick it up. You will need your resident permit number to register in the system to make your appointment. The online status system will show it to you at the bottom of the notice under remarks.

You will then go to the migration website to register and make an appointment to pick up your Greece Resident Permit. Right now, only part of the website is in English, so I recommend you use a Chrome browser and install the Google Translate extension.

Once you have registered, you can make an appointment. This part of the website is in Greek only. When you translate the website to English, there will be a section called “Performances,” which is not the correct translation. Then you will click on “Appointment for Performances.” This is also not the correct translation. However, this is where you make the appointment to pick up your plastic resident permit card.

Screenshot of Migration website to make an appointment to pick up your Greece Resident Permit

When you go to your appointment, you need to take a print out of your appointment with you, your passport and your temporary resident permit (the blue paper). You will give them the temporary permit.

They will print out a decision about your permit and all the rules to renew it. You will then sign for the permit and that is it! You are officially a Greece resident.

Other Things to Know

The financially independent resident permit is initially good for two years and can be renewed. If you are denied, there is an appeals process. Please email the administration for guidance on how to do this.

The process for getting a resident permit isn’t hard, but as you can see, there are many steps involved. Even with a lawyer, I had to follow-up with the authorities many times and with my lawyer. Be persistent in following up. I recommend checking every week in the online system and every two weeks via email. It is up to you to make sure they have all the documents they have requested.

There is nothing like the feeling you get when you have that Greece Resident Permit in hand. I was so relieved to get it. If you are in the process, I hope this helps, and if you haven’t started it yet, I hope you are now better prepared to start. If you have questions, I will do my best to answer them.

Pin It

Greece, Travel

One Year Living in Greece

August 24, 2020

This week marks one year of living in Greece. The year has not gone as expected for so many reasons! I am sure many of us are feeling that way about 2020, though. This year has tested my patience, made me question my decisions, brought new opportunities and new friends.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

What happened in Naxos

The plan all along was to live on the island of Naxos. Island life is what appealed to me about Greece. Life on a Greek island is slow, and the beach is always nearby.

However, finding an apartment on an island that is slowly bringing more and more tourists every year made it hard to find an apartment. Many apartments have been converted to Airbnbs, and landlords want you leave during the summer months.

There is no central real estate listing in Greece, and on the island, they tend not to use internet listings. This meant endless asking around and looking for these bright yellow stickers that had for rent listing on them, in Greek!

After some weeks of bouncing around hotels and Airbnbs, I found a studio apartment. The rent was a great price, and the location was perfect. It was in the center of town and about a 10 minute walk to the beach. I thought all was well.

Then after about two weeks, my landlady complained about my air conditioning usage. I wasn’t quite sure why since I was paying for electricity. I found out later that it was because her and her husband’s bedroom was right above the unit, and they slept with their windows open. Long story short, I moved out. Back to a hotel I went!

Resident Permit Issues

All during this time, I was trying to get an appointment with the Alien’s (Immigration) office, which is on another island. The phone would ring, and ring and sometimes no one would answer. Then if they did answer, they didn’t speak English.

Friends who speak Greek called, and either couldn’t get someone to pick up, or they wouldn’t help them either. It was a nightmare.

Between never getting anyone on the phone at the office and my lack of long term accommodation, I decided that Athens might be a better option even if that meant not living near the beach and my friends. I returned to Athens in late October with a plan to go to Spain for about a month to think.

My one extra suitcase went into storage in Athens, and in November, I headed to a co-living space in Spain.

One Month turns into Two

Once I got to Spain, I had a great time and really didn’t want to stop traveling. After the co-living space, I spent another ten days in Valencia. Although some of that time was not supposed to be spent there, a train strike in France change my plans to take a train all the way from Valencia to Amsterdam.

Eventually, I made it to Amsterdam for Christmas. I had secured a pet sitting job in exchange for a place to stay, and Amsterdam is very expensive, so I was glad to have this option. Plus, the two kitties I watch were adorable and were 19 years old!

I spent Christmas Day wandering the Van Gogh museum and eating at Christmas markets. All the while reveling in the fact that I was traveling again and really not wanting to face up to the things I need to do back in Greece. So I went to Germany for New Years’. One of my friends from the co-living space invited me to stay with her for a while, and I got to see a small part of Germany, a new country for me.

Back to Greece

Knowing me, I could have kept running around Europe forever. My desire for a Greece resident permit brought me back to reality, and I returned to Athens in early January.

The apartment hunt began again. This time there was much more online, but good luck getting someone to write you back, and I couldn’t call since I knew almost no one in Athens to help me translate. I ended up taking the second place I saw as it was in my desired neighborhood.

Hindsight is 2020, though, and now I wish I had looked longer and found a place that was cheaper and had a balcony. This all revealed itself in March when the world changed forever again.

I contacted a lawyer right away to get the resident permit sorted, but due to his fees, I delayed so I could save up some money. That was probably a mistake, but again I had no idea what was coming.

Lockdown in Greece

Blaring emergency notices came out from my American and Greek phones one evening announcing that we would be going into lockdown starting March 23 at 6 AM due to COVID-19. We had already had one emergency alert a week before telling us to be cautious, and much was closed already.

I had been dating someone, so he quickly came over to bring me food and give me a hug. He was one of the few people I knew in Athens, so I felt overwhelmed with the thought of being alone for an unknown amount of time. Not only that, but now my resident permit was going to be delayed because the office was closed.

There were many days of thinking I had made the wrong decision to be here and whether or not I should return to the US. Ultimately I decided to stay. The guy I was seeing broke it off in the middle of all this, leaving me even more alone. I took many walks around my neighborhood to cope.

Freedom!

In late May, Greece lifted our strict restrictions on going out, and while there wasn’t much open, I could go for further walks. In June, restaurants could let people sit outside, and I started to make friends.

It took to a few more months to get all the offices opening and working in Greece and much of their processes online. Just last Friday, I learned I have an appointment for my resident permit interview. Ironically, one day after my visa expires!

What I have Learned

One of the biggest things is to learn to have more patience or at least to tell myself to be patient. With the delays of the resident permit, I have learned that I just need to let things work themselves out since they are beyond my control anyway. This is still hard for me.

Greece operates on its own timeline, and I knew that, but now I know it usually works out in the end.

Good things can come from bad experiences. During lockdown, I started doing weekly vlogs on my very small YouTube channel. These were a big hit, and while my channel is still very small, it has grown into something I really enjoy. I am teaching myself about filming, editing and YouTube.

Some flowers along all my walks

Despite what you might think, I have always been an introvert. Coming out of lockdown turned me into a person who wanted to go out all the time. I am just starting to return to my introvert ways, which might be good since cases of COVID-19 are increasing here daily.

Being away from my family has been hard, but we talk a lot which we always have. My mom has learned to text better, and even send photos to me!

In one way, I am grateful to the virus. My best friend had been terminally ill for several years when I left. I had hoped that when I left, she had a few more years left. However, I was wrong, and she passed away in July.

This was my biggest fear of going away and that I wouldn’t be there to say goodbye. COVID-19 made it impossible to go home, and ultimately her family decided to only have immediate family at the funeral, and to broadcast it live on Facebook. So I was able to attend all the way from Greece. It wasn’t the same, but I was grateful for this small comfort. Her family also allowed me to write her obituary as my final gift to her.

The last year of living in Greece was nothing like I expected and I think that is the biggest lesson of all. Expect the unexpected, and when the unexpected comes, go with the flow.

What is Happening to the Blog

A few people have asked me about the blog since I haven’t written anything in so long. With travel being suspended in most of the world, it didn’t seem right to keep writing about travel, and then I stopped traveling.

For now, I will only be traveling in Greece and plan on sharing those experiences here again soon. The blog is not going away, but there will be fewer posts than in a normal year. My traffic had tanked, and while I thought this was the year I was going to make a profit on the blog, I hope that I can rollover the small successes from this year into 2021! I hope you will join me over on my YouTube channel as well.

Wishing you all health and happiness. Stay safe

Travel

Life in Greece at This Time

March 22, 2020
Sailing the Greek Islands

Update August 26, 2020. We came out of full lockdown on May 4 but many things were closed. Most everything is open except for indoor movie theaters and masks are mandatory inside.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Update November 2021. We went back into lockdown.

No one wants to read another article about the horrible c-word, I know! However, many of my readers only read my content here and not on social media. This includes many of my friends. So in an effort to make sure you know I am all okay, I thought this would be a much simpler option.

Greece Precautions

Greece is not in total lockdown yet. The government has been proactive in trying to stay ahead of this virus. Three weeks ago, Carnival was canceled as I was on a ferry to Naxos to celebrate it. Then last week, they asked us, in an emergency alert, to stay home as much as possible.

Two weeks ago, I had been out at a crowded bar thinking this was almost over. China had it under control and many other Asian countries did as well. By that weekend, everything had changed. Bars, restaurants, clubs and many other social establishments had been ordered to close.

When it got serious in Italy, I knew Greece was also going to get serious too. This week has brought more and more measures. All shops except for grocery stores, pharmacies, bakeries and banks are closed. You can get food to go or coffee and delivery though. Although, I think some food places have opted to close altogether.

Friday, they announced that ferries to the islands will only carry island residents and cargo. Many islands do not have a hospital and some only have small clinics so they are trying to limit the possible transition from the mainland. Anyone getting the virus there would be in greater danger due to a lack of medical resources or would have to be sent to Athens or Thessaloniki.

Every day brings a new challenge for me. Fortunately, I already work at home so that isn’t a big deal. I do have asthma, although it isn’t severe, I am being extra careful. I don’t go out every day. I have washed my hands a million times and on Friday, I wash my groceries off before putting them away. I also don’t have a washing machine so I will be hand washing many things in my future as I am not really wanting to risk the laundromat right now. These are all small things though and I will figure it out.

Expat Decisions

The biggest issue for me was when there were rumors on the media of the airport closing. This meant if there was an emergency at home I wouldn’t be able to fly home to my family.  My parents are in their 70s and relatively healthy but still a concern. My nieces also live with them and if my parents were ill then they would be alone.

I am sure friends and family would help but I couldn’t ask them to step in for a long period of time. Plus, I would need to be there to make decisions for my parents. All of this is theoretical obviously, but it is the thing that keeps me up at night and me yelling at my parents to stay home.

On Thursday, the US State Department asked Americans not to travel and to return home. This made me pause a bit because they said we might be stuck abroad for a long period of time.  However, this has been my plan for a while. I was not planning on returning to the US until December for Christmas. But it is scary when you realize you may not have the option because the borders are closed.

The situation the world is in right now is almost unprecedented. Only World War II seems to be similar and most of the people that lived through that are now gone leaving us without their knowledge of how to survive this. I just keep remembering that we at least have the internet and television now. We can do this. Life may never be the same and maybe that is a good thing.

Be safe everyone! Stay home!

Travel

Applying for A Greek National Visa

September 9, 2019
Applying a Greek National Visa

Since my first trip to Greece, I dreamed of moving there. But like many European countries, it is hard for a person from the United States to move to Greece. At the time, I was still working in Qatar and had no idea how I could move to Greece without a job or speaking Greek. I started to do research and realized that Greece has a National Visa. This is informally known as a long-stay visa in Greece and many other European countries.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Each country has its own rules about issuing a long-stay visa or national visa. It was not clear on the Greece website what the requirements were and I couldn’t find any articles about it. The rules changed even after I inquired the first time, so I hope this article will help someone else with the Greece National Visa process. Please keep in mind that I am from the US and the rules might be different in another country.

The Process

For the Greece National Visa, you must apply in your home country before you enter Greece. In the United States, you must apply for the visa at your designated consulate or embassy location, click here for the list. Once you find your consulate, call them to ask what the required documents are. The list on the website is not current at the time of writing this post. Next, begin to gather all the documents you need. Only once you are confident you have all the documents you need, call back to the consulate to make the appointment.

Keep in mind, many of the consulates are small and the visa department may only be one person as is the case in the Houston consulate. When I called at the end of May, I was only able to get an appointment at the end of July! During this call, I was told I needed one more document.

At the appointment, you will present all your documents and most likely have a short interview. At the Houston consulate, I was emailed when my visa was approved. If you live close by, you may be able to pick up your passport from the consulate with the visa. Otherwise, you will need to provide a pre-paid envelope to the consulate. I recommend getting one with insurance in case your passport is lost and you will need to replace it. It will also provide tracking.

The Documents

This is the list of documents I was told I needed. Keep in mind this is list can change and may be different for each consulate.

  • Passport with at least six months of validity past the end date of your visa
  • Birth certificate – official copy from the past six months
  • Apostille of the birth certificate – this needs to be done in the state the birth certificate was issued
  • Proof of income of at least $2000 to $2200 a month
  • Health insurance valid in Greece
  • FBI Background check or your country’s equivalent
  • Health certificate from your doctor – have it printed on letterhead if they don’t have stamp
  • Visa Application with a passport photo
  • Visa fee which was about $200

Other Things to Know

Please note, that this is not necessarily a valid option for digital nomads or people looking for a job in Greece. I applied as a financially independent person as you cannot be working in Greece. I have plenty of savings to cover the required amount of income for the visa.

Once you are in Greece, you have to apply for a residence permit that also has its own requirements. Please read my whole blog post on the Greece Resident Permit application process.

Please let me know what questions you have about applying for a Greece National Visa and I will try to help.

Pin It

Apply for a Greek National Visa - photo of Santorini