Expanding into a country or hiring a workforce abroad can lead your business to great profits, but unfamiliar laws and regulations can counteract your company’s goals and plans. At Bradford Jacobs, we want to eliminate this complicated part. By using our PEO-service we can arrange all needed visas and permits including the entire application process without your physical presence.
With bold tax cuts, several investment incentives, and less than a handful of procedures required for business operation, Greece is an attractive option for business expansion by companies, entrepreneurs, and workers. However, Greek visa and work permit regulations are complicated as they vary for nationals from the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and countries outside these zones.
Our team is trained to research the latest information on Greek visas and work permits and therefore, we created a guide to introduce you to the rules and requirements. By reading this guide you will get familiar with all the requirements so you or your employees can start working in Greece in no time.
What types of Work Visas and Permits in Greece are there?
There are two main types of Visas that you can apply for in Greece:
1. Long Stay Visa (Greek D Visa): authorizes a person to enter and stay in Greece for more than 3 months. It also allows the person to engage in most types of paid activities. Anyone with a D visa must apply for a work and residence permit immediately after they enter the country.
A Greek D Visa is usually valid for a year – however some categories of applicants are granted with shorter visa validity. The categories include:
- Seasonal Employees (Tourism, Retail) - Up to 6 months
- Fish workers - Up to 11 months
- Artistic group members - Up to 1 year
- Employees legally employed by an enterprise established in a Member State of the EU, who travel to provide a specific service under contractual obligation - Up to 1 year
- Qualified technical employed by an enterprise established in another country, under a contract to provide specific services - Up to 6 months
- Leaders of organized tourist groups - Up to 8 months
- Sportspeople, coaches, and other specialized personnel for training purposes - Up to 6 months
- Students participating in a traineeship program - Up to 6 months
2. Short Stay Visa (Greek C Visa): A Greek Schengen Visa, authorizes person to enter and stay in Greece for a maximum of 90 days uninterrupted, or 90 days within 6 months. There are also different types of Short Stay Visas:
- Greece Tourist Visa – to visit Greece for vacations and tourist activities.
- Greece Visitor Visa – to visit friends and family members.
- Greece Business Visa – to engage in business-related activities.
- Greece Medical Visa – to get medical treatment in Greece.
- Greece Short-Term Study Visa – to engage in courses that last up to 3 months in half-year periods.
- Greece Cultural Visa – to participate in cultural/sports events, or film-shooting.
How to obtain a Greece Work Visa?
To obtain a Work or Long Stay Visa for Greece for non-EEA workers, an employee must meet certain requirements, particularly concerning documentation for your application:
- Your valid passport.
- Recent Photos.
- Health insurance.
- Medical certificate.
- Roundtrip flight booking.
- Evidence of sufficient financial means.
- Proof of accommodation.
Employees applying for their work visa also need to acquire other documents pertaining to their employment:
- A certified copy of a valid employment contract, which has been notarized or approved by a public authority. The employee’s salary must be (at least) equal to the National Minimum Wage, and equal to the national terms of employment.
- Proof of employee’s qualifications and experience.
- Any relevant certifications, licenses, references, or authorization.
How to Apply for Work Visa/Work Permit in Greece
The application process of a Greek D/Long Stay Visa for non-EEA workers consists of a few procedures that need to be completed correctly, to not risk any delays or unsuccessful applications. It is important to note that the order of the steps may change, according to the home country’s regulations.
- Fill in the application form: fill in both parts of the form – the first refers to your personal information, and the second contains questions related to the purpose of your application.
- Schedule a Visa Appointment: You must make an appointment for a Visa interview at your local Greek Embassy or consulate, which is compulsory to attend. The scheduling and interview process may vary according to how they are regulated in your country of residence – you might have to do it over the phone, online, or in some cases, in person.
- Have the visa interview: You will be meeting with a consular or two, who will be asking you questions relating to your trip. You will need to answer carefully.
- Present the required documents: You need to give the documents you have collected to the consular(s), as required.
- Give your biometrics: Your fingerprints will be scanned, and facial image taken if you have not travelled to the Schengen Area in the last 5 years.
- Pay Visa Fee: in most cases, payment for your visa is required on the day of your interview. The payment process/requirements may vary according to the country of residence.
The processing time of the Greek D Visa varies - the minimum is 6 days, and the maximum processing time is 3 months.
Once the visa has been granted, employees must obtain a work permit in Greece to legally work for a company. The employer, however, may opt to apply for a work permit for their employees, if the company is licensed and incorporated.
It is also important to note that work permits include residence permits. Thus, employees only need their work permits, as well as a long stay visa to legally live and work in Greece. Work permits usually tend to be specific to the employer, occupation, and location in Greece, and are valid for a year.
Greece Residence/Work Permit
Any non-EEA employee moving to Greece with a Long Stay Visa that is valid for a year or longer must also apply for a Residence/Work Permit. This can also be done through sponsorship by the employer.
Before applying for a residence/work permit, applicants must obtain a tax identification number (AFM) from the local tax office, as well as a Social Security Number from the Social Security Institute (AMKA). It is possible to get a social security/AMKA number from the nearest IKA (Social Insurance) office or KEP (Citizens Service) office.
After that has been dealt with, the work permit application process begins:
- Be sure to have the original or notarized copies of the documents used to apply for your Greek D visa – they need to be submitted again.
- Completing the online application form for a residence permit – which is to be completed within a few days of your arrival in Greece.
- Schedule an appointment with the main police station in your district.
- Attend an interview with a local police officer, who will ask you questions about your purpose(s) for residing in Greece.
- Submit your documents at the police station.
It is important to note that those holding a visa which is valid for less than a year may not apply for a residence permit, but they must pay the consular post a visa fee of €150.
How much is a Greece Work Visa?
The standard fee for a Greek D Visa is EUR 180. However, these fees vary according to the following visa categories:
- Ethnic Greeks living in Albania and Turkey – 20 EUR
- Third country nationals traveling from an undertaking established in the EU/EEA – 75 EUR (plus an extra 150 EUR as they do not require a residency permit)
- Seasonal employees – 75 EUR
- Leaders of organized tourist groups applying to stay up to 8 months – 75 EUR
- Scholars participating in specific exchange programs in the framework of the bilateral agreements, or with co-financed programs from the European Union – 90 EUR
- Strategic investors and young people from Australia and Canada – EXEMPT
Working Visa / Permit for Greece
To work in Greece, European Union and European Economic Area nationals do not require work visa or permits.
Non-EU and non-EEA nationals must apply for a work visa and work permit to legally work in the country. A Greek D Visa or Greek National Visa authorizes a person to enter Greece and remain for more than 3 months – it also allows a person to engage in most paid activities. Non-EEA nationals must also apply for national insurance and social security.
Non-EU and non-EEA nationals may also be able to apply for an EU Blue Card – this is both a work and residence permit for highly-qualified non-EU workers who wish to work and live in the EU. To meet the qualifications, you will need:
- Proof of your higher education qualification (university degree, transcripts, etc.), or in some case, proof of at least 5 years of relevant professional experience.
- An employment contract of at least a year (does not apply for self-employed work or entrepreneurs).
- A higher-than-average salary compared to the average salary of Greece (except when the lower salary threshold applies).
- The necessary travel documents – health insurance, travel itinerary, etc.
- Proof you completed legal requirements to practice your profession, where this is regulated.
Business Visa Greece
Any person from a non-EEA country will need to apply for a Business Visa to visit Greece to engage in business-related activities. It is a Short Stay Visa, also known as a Greek C Visa. This visa type defines the activities in which a person can engage, as well as who can accompany him.
To apply for a Greece Business Visa, you will need the following documents:
- An invitation letter from the Greek Company you will be visiting, with their detailed address and the dates of your visit
- A certification from your employer allowing the business travel
- Proof of previous trade relations between the two companies (if there is any)
- Business bank statements of the last 6 months
- The Memorandum and Article of Association in an original certified copy (registered with joint stock companies)
- Trade License (first issued and present renewal, if applicable)
- Proprietorship/Partnership documents
- Expenses – employer/partner company must state coverage of expenses on the approval letter or invitation
The maximum validity of a Greek C Visa is three months within a 6-month period. However, this may vary, according to what your embassy grants you.
Greece Visa for EU citizens
Visas and permits for Greece are not required for EU and EEA nationals, regardless of the purpose or length of stay. However, they must have a National ID Card or passport that is valid for the duration of their stay.
However, if EU/EEA nationals plan to stay in Greece over 90 days, they must register with the Department of Aliens Bureau, which are found at police stations with a foreigner’s department in their residency. There, a Certificate of Registration (or Residence Certificate) will be issued.
This certificate has unlimited validity and is issued free of charge. The following documents are needed for the application (at least two copies of each are recommended):
- The application form (available from the Aliens bureau)
- Copy of your passport or identity card
- Four passport photos
- Proof of medical insurance: European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
- Proof of social insurance (AMKA)
- Certificate from employer or proof of sufficient financial resources
- Proof of local residence (rental agreement or property ownership documents)
- Your Tax Identification Number (AFM)
A Residence/Registration Certificate is normally issued the day the application is made – however, the procedure can take hours, or even a full day, depending on any delays. Those who do not register are subject to a fine.
Greece Visa for USA citizens
U.S Citizens who wish to enter Greece who do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes. If required to travel to Greece for longer than 90 days, however, an application for a visa is required.
Travel to Greece must be met with certain requirements:
- Your U.S. Passport - Greek law requires 3 months of validity beyond your departure date.
- You must provide proof of sufficient funds, your travel itinerary, health insurance, medical certificate, hotel/accommodation reservations, and employment papers.
- You will be required to have an interview at your local Greece embassy to state the purpose of your visit, as well as give your biometrics.
- U.S Citizens traveling on a passport reported lost or stolen will not be permitted entry into Greece. Emergency passports are issued at the Embassy in Athens.
U.S. official and diplomatic passport holders must obtain a Schengen visa prior to arrival. If you are traveling on a U.S. official or diplomatic passport, you will not be allowed to enter Greece without a visa.
Greece Visa for Canadian citizens
Canadian citizens also benefit from the Schengen Agreement – any citizen wishing to travel to Greece or other EU Member states for up to 90 days do not require a visa. If Canadian citizens plan to stay in the Schengen Area for a longer period, especially for work or study, you will need to apply for a visa, as well as a residence permit.
Greece Visa for China
To enter the Schengen Area, all Chinese nationals must have a valid visa, regardless of the duration of their stay and the kind of travel documents they have, except if they possess a valid residence permit.
To find employment in Greece, Chinese citizens must apply for a work visa, as well as the residence permit. They will have to present their documents to the embassy in both English and Chinese.
Greece Visa for UK Citizens
The requirements for traveling or working in the EU and EEA have changed for UK citizens on 1 January 2021. UK citizens may travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa – for tourism, business, cultural, or short-term studies/training. To stay longer or look for work in Greece, UK citizens must apply for and meet the requirements for a Long Stay Visa, and a work/residence permit.
At border control, you may need to show proof of your travel itinerary, as well as proof of sufficient means/funds.
Expanding into Greece with Bradford Jacobs
If you are expanding into Greece and are curious about the country's visas and work permit, contact us today to find out how we can benefit your plans!