Guidance

Living in Greece

Official information for UK nationals moving to or living in Greece, including guidance on residency, passports, healthcare, driving and the Withdrawal Agreement.

What you should do

You should:

Coronavirus

You should follow the advice of the Greek Government and your local authority. You can also read our Greece travel advice for our latest guidance.

Stay up to date

You should:

Attend a citizen outreach meeting

The British Embassy regularly holds events across Greece for UK nationals. Attend one of our citizen outreach meetings to keep up to date on working and living in Greece.

You can also:

The Withdrawal Agreement

The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and provides for a deal on citizens’ rights. It sets out a transition period which lasts until 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to live, work and study in the EU broadly as you did before 31 January 2020.

If you are resident in Greece at the end of the transition period, you will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and your rights will be protected for as long as you remain resident in Greece.

Any rights that are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will be the subject of future negotiations. Read this guidance page for more information.

In the meantime, make sure you are registered as a resident in Greece. We will update this guidance as soon as more information becomes available.

You should also read our guidance on living in Europe.

Visas and residency

Check the entry requirements for Greece.

Residency

You must register as a resident in Greece if you want to stay for more than 3 months. Read our guidance on how to register for with the Greek authorities.

If you are legally resident in Greece before the transition period ends on 31 December 2020 you will be able to stay.

The rules on residency registration will remain the same until 31 December 2020. If you are already registered as a resident in Greece, or you register before 31 December 2020, your residence documents will be considered as temporary national residence permits.

To confirm your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, you will need to obtain a new residence document. The Greek authorities have not yet announced the process to obtain this new residency document. We will update this guidance as soon as information is available.

Read the Greek government’s website for UK nationals living in Greece and submit any questions in the contact form provided.

If you move to Greece after 31 December 2020, different immigration requirements will apply. We will update this page when further information is available.

UK Nationals Support Fund

The government has announced funding for organisations to provide practical support to UK nationals who may have difficulty completing their residency applications.

This support is available only to those who need additional help. This may include pensioners, disabled people, people living in remote areas or who have mobility difficulties.

The services available for people who need this additional support include:

  • answering questions about residency applications, such as the documents required and application procedure
  • guiding individuals through the process, if necessary
  • supporting people facing language barriers or difficulty accessing technology

In Greece, this support is being provided by The Aire Centre. If you or someone you know may find it harder to complete the paperwork, you can contact them using the details below to discuss how they may be able to help you.

The AIRE Centre

Visit the Aire Centre website

Hotline: 0030 698 85 91 229, available Monday and Wednesday from 10am to 12pm

Email: eurobrits@airecentre.org (please contact the AIRE centre by email if the hotline is busy)

Passports and travel

The rules on travel will stay the same until the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to travel to countries in the Schengen area or elsewhere in the EU with your UK passport.

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.

You can apply for or renew your British passport from Greece.

Passports from 1 January 2021

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip.

From 1 January 2021, you must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland). This requirement does not apply if you are entering or transiting to Greece, and you are in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement.

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.

You will need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

As a non-EEA national, different border checks will apply when travelling to other EU or Schengen area countries. You may need to show a return or onward ticket and that you have enough money for your stay. You may also have to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. Your passport may be stamped for visits to these countries.

Entry requirements

From 1 January 2021, you will be able to travel to other Schengen area countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa for purposes such as tourism. This is a rolling 180-day period.

To stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel, you will need to meet the entry requirements set out by the country to which you are travelling. This could mean applying for a visa or work permit. You may also need to get a visa if your visit would take you over the 90 days in 180 days limit.

Periods of stay authorised under a visa or permit will not count against the 90-day limit. Travel to the UK and Ireland will not change.

Different rules will apply to EU countries that are not part of the Schengen Area. Check each country’s travel advice page for information on entry requirements.

Healthcare

If you are living in Greece or move there permanently before 31 December 2020, you’ll have life-long healthcare rights in Greece as you do now, provided you remain resident.

You must register for healthcare as a resident in Greece, as well as registering, where necessary, with a health insurer.

Read our guidance on who can access healthcare in Greece and how to register.

State healthcare: S1

If you live in Greece and receive an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may currently be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.

Read our guidance on how to get an S1 form.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

If you are resident in Greece, you must not use an EHIC from the UK to access healthcare in Greece.

When you travel from Greece for a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, you can use an EHIC to access state-provided healthcare in that country. During that short stay:

There will be no changes to your healthcare access before 31 December 2020. You can also continue to use your EHIC, as you did before, during this time.

You should also read guidance on:

You must check your prescriptions are legal in Greece.

The Greek government has introduced a platform for ordering prescriptions online, read a step by step guide on how to access the service (some information in Greek). This platform is only accessible within Greece.

Working in Greece

See working in an EU country.

You may need to apply for:

Once you have a job, you can get a social insurance number (AMKA) through your local Citizens Service Centre (KEP) (in Greek).

If you are resident in Greece on or before 31 December 2020, your right to work will stay the same, as long as you remain resident in Greece.

Money and tax

The UK has a double taxation agreement with Greece to prevent income being taxed in both countries. Ask the relevant tax authority your questions about double taxation relief.

Existing double taxation arrangements for UK nationals living in Greece have not changed following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Read the guidance on:

You must register for a tax identification number (AFM – pronounced aa-fee-mee) – read further guidance in the Greek government ERMIS website (in Greek), with central information and e-services. Once you have an AFM number, it is compulsory to submit a yearly tax return.

You should get professional advice on paying tax in Greece. Find an English-speaking lawyer in Greece.

National Insurance

Find out if you can pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.

If you are employed or self-employed in the EU or EEA and you have a UK-issued A1/E101 form, you will remain subject to UK legislation until the end date on the form.

Banking

Most people living in Europe should not see any change to their banking after 31 December 2020. Your bank or finance provider should contact you if they need to make any changes to your product or the way they provide it. If you have any concerns about whether you might be affected, contact your provider or seek independent financial advice.

Pensions

You will need to tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.

If you retire to Greece, you can claim:

Life certificates for UK State Pensions

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible. Your payments may be suspended if you don’t.

Pensions after 31 December 2020

There will be no changes before 31 December 2020 to the rules on claiming the UK State Pension in the EU, EEA or Switzerland as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

If you are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020 you will get your UK State Pension uprated every year for as long as you continue to live there. This will happen even if you start claiming your pension on or after 1 January 2021, as long as you meet the qualifying conditions explained in the new State Pension guidance.

If you are living in Greece by 31 December 2020, you will be able to count future social security contributions towards meeting the qualifying conditions for your UK State Pension.

If you work and pay social security contributions in Greece, you will still be able to add your UK social security contributions towards your Greek pension. This will happen even if you claim your pension after 31 December 2020.

If you are considering moving to Greece on or after 1 January 2021 and you are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, the rules depend on negotiations with the EU and may change. Check our guidance on benefits and pensions in the EU.

You can continue to receive your UK State Pension if you live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland and you can still claim your UK State Pension.

Benefits

You will need to tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.

You may still be able to claim some UK benefits like child and disability benefits if you live in Greece.

Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit cannot be paid to you if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

You may be eligible to claim some Greek social security benefits. Read guidance on Greek social security benefits.

You can request proof of the time you’ve worked in the UK from HMRC if you are asked for this.

Benefits after 31 December 2020

There will be no changes before 31 December 2020 to the rules on claiming UK benefits in the EU, EEA or Switzerland as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

If you are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020, you will continue to receive any UK benefits you already receive. This will continue for as long as you live there and meet all other eligibility requirements.

If you work and pay social security contributions in Greece, your UK social security contributions will be taken into account when applying for Greek contributions-based benefits. This will happen even if you claim contributions-based benefits after 31 December 2020.

If you are considering moving to Greece on or after 1 January 2021 and you are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, the rules depend on negotiations with the EU and may change. Check our guidance on benefits and pensions in the EU.

Read our guidance on benefits and pensions in the EU.

Driving in Greece

Driving licence rules will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

If you are a resident in Greece you should exchange your UK licence for a Greek driving licence. You can still use your Greek licence in the UK for short visits or exchange it for a UK licence without taking a test if you return to live in the UK.

Read guidance on:

Bringing a UK-registered vehicle to Greece

Read our guidance on taking a vehicle out of the UK.

Read the European Union’s guidance on car registration and taxes in Greece. You may be exempt from some of these taxes. If so you will need certificates of exemption.

If you’ve been resident in an EU country for at least 2 years before moving to Greece, you’re exempt from VAT and registration for:

  • cars (owned and used privately)
  • pleasure craft
  • motorcycles
  • mobile caravans

You must appear in person at the nearest Customs Authority to request exemption from paying registration and VAT within 1 month of arriving in Greece. You’ll then be given special Greek registration plates.

Your vehicle must also pass a test at any official KTEO facilitation station.

Voting

You cannot vote in local municipal elections in Greece or European Parliament elections.

You may be able to vote in some UK elections.

Births, deaths and getting married

If your child is born in Greece, you will need to register the birth abroad.

If someone dies in Greece:

Find out how you can get married abroad.

Find out about notarial and documentary services for UK nationals in Greece.

Pets

Current pet travel rules will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

If you’re travelling with your pet for the first time you must visit your vet to get a pet passport.

Read guidance on bringing your pet to the UK.

Emergencies

You can dial the European emergency number 112 or:

  • 100 for police
  • 199 for fire brigade
  • 166 for emergency medical service
  • 108 for coast guard
  • 197 for emergency social assistance

Read further information on emergency numbers in Greece.

If you need urgent help (you are the victim of crime, have been arrested or are affected by a crisis abroad), contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.

Other useful information

Returning to the UK

Tell the UK and Greek authorities that you are returning to the UK permanently.

Contact the International Pension Centre to move your pension to the UK.

If you get healthcare in Greece through the S1 form, you must contact the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 (0)191 218 1999 to make sure your S1 is cancelled at the right time.

Read the guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on, amongst other things, tax, access to services and bringing family members.

Disclaimer

Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Greek authorities. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Published 27 May 2013
Last updated 17 September 2020 + show all updates
  1. Visas and residency section updated to include information about how to access the UK Nationals Support Fund for those who may find it harder to complete their residency applications.

  2. Passports and travel section updated to include information on passport validity and entry requirements when travelling to other European countries from January 2021

  3. Healthcare section updated to include details on how to use the new online platform for ordering prescriptions.

  4. Brexit update: includes further details on passport validity, healthcare rights and State Pension uprating if the UK leaves the EU with a deal.

  5. Brexit update: healthcare section updated to reflect transitional arrangements announcement

  6. Brexit update: Pensions section updated to include further details on State Pension uprating. 

  7. EU Exit update: updates on 'Passports and Travel', 'Pensions' and 'Returning to the UK' sections

  8. EU Exit update: updated information on EU Exit in healthcare, visas and residency, driving and working sections

  9. EU Exit update: Details on Greek government's statement regarding the protection of citizens’ rights after EU Exit in the Visas and residency section

  10. We have updated the contact details you need to apply for an S1 form.

  11. Updated information on passports: you must use the checker tool to see if your passport is still valid for your trip

  12. EU Exit update: updated information on access to healthcare

  13. EU Exit update: updated information on pensions and driving.

  14. EU Exit update: New information in residency and visa section on draft withdrawal agreement in principle between the UK and EU. Plus information on travelling with pets in Europe in pet section.

  15. Brexit update: added in information about outreach events in Greece

  16. Complete revision of guidance to ensure it's up to date and accurate.

  17. Update to healthcare for early retirees and pensions information.

  18. Information added on changes to EHIC rules and health cover for early retirees.

  19. a contact information has been added under 'Useful Contacts'

  20. Updated the information on life certificates for UK state pensions.

  21. First published.