Applying for Greek residency was a lot more straightforward than we feared it would be. It’s free to do and really doesn’t take much time, so we decided it was worth getting it done for peace of mind with Brexit looming fast.
For anyone else hoping to apply, we’ve written an account of our experience and provided a checklist of what we needed before we applied. Please note that this is purely from our own experience, and not official guidance! We found the gov.uk website useful for providing us with more information, though please read on also as some of their information proved wrong in our experience! The procedure may also be different for people applying from countries other than England.
I’ve included a simple checklist below of the things you’ll need to take with you and gone into more detail after, explaining the things we learnt and some top tips for anyone else applying!
Checklist For Greek Residency
Photocopy of passport
4 passport sized photos
Copy of your bank statements
Proof of address
Applying For Greek Residency
You need to apply for Greek residence at a Greek police station. If you have a choice then I would say that the most obvious police stations to choose from are the ones that are most likely to be dealing frequently with Greek residency requests. If you pick a remote Greek island that tourists and expats rarely visit then they are less likely to be familiar with the procedures involved.
We applied for ours on the island of Leros and it was very straightforward. They were obviously very used to doing it and the process took about an hour, including time for us to go and get some extra passport sized photos done.
Before we went to the police station to apply for Greek residency we printed off some important documents listed in the checklist above. I’ve provided some extra useful details about these below!
Make sure you take your actual passport and not just a copy. They need to scan it for computer based records and use it for proof of ID.
Photocopy of passport for the application
I’m sure most police stations would print out the scanned copy of your passport, but try to make their lives easier by bringing a photocopy for them. We felt that doing everything we could to make the process go quickly would work in our favour!
Four passport sized photos
If you’re getting these done in Greece then tell the photo shop what they’re for, as the photos don’t need to be so specific and are cheaper than actual passport photos!
Note: It says two passport photos on the .gov site but we were asked for 4 and had to go and make more copies, so be aware this might happen to you!
Copy of your bank statement
There are varying reports of how much you need in your bank account to qualify. We found anywhere between £4000 and £25,000. I had just over £5000 and this seemed to be fine! I believe it also helps if you have evidence of an income, so go armed with as much information as you can to make it easier for them to accept!
Make sure your print out has your name somewhere on it so they can see it’s yours.
If you have money split across different accounts, or in shares or crypto, then bring evidence of this too. They might not want it but it’s better to have it ready to show.
Proof of address in Greece
This is a tricky one for anyone living aboard a sailboat. We heard that most places will accept a marina contract as your proof of address. As we didn’t have our winter contract through yet we just told them where we were staying and they never asked for any evidence. They were happy with just the name of a town! Try to take some sort of paperwork evidencing an address in Greece, even if it’s just a marina contract.
After you’ve provided them with these documents you need to fill out a short form giving some very basic details like your fathers and mothers name. It honestly took about 3 minutes to fill in!
They’ll take your documents and send them off to be approved. The Greek residency card takes up to a month to come, so you’ll need to hang around the area for a little while or re-visit. In Leros they call you when your card arrives and you just have to go and pick it up!
Things To Note When Applying For Greek Residency
Some police offices require you to book an appointment in advance so make sure you find this out if you’re on a time constraint.
You need to get Greek residency in Greece if you want to stay for more than 3 months but if you are legally a resident in Greece before the transition period ends on 31 December 2020 you will be able to stay.
Apparently the rules on residency registration will remain the same until 31 December 2020. If you get Greek residency before 31 December 2020, your residence documents will be considered as temporary national residence permits.
Under the Withdrawal Agreement it seems you’ll need to obtain a new residence document that confirms your old one! The Greek authorities haven’t stated as yet how to go about doing this. Hopefully it will be as pain free as obtaining it in the first place.
If you move to Greece after 31 December 2020, different immigration requirements will apply so if you want to be able to stay in Greece after Brexit then it’s a good idea to apply now.
Hopefully sharing our experiences has been useful to you. If you had a different experience when applying for Greek residency then let us know below!