Guidance

Living in Greece

Information for British citizens moving to or living in Greece, including guidance on residency, passports, healthcare and driving.

This guide sets out essential information for British citizens moving to or living in Greece. Read about how the consulate in Athens, our vice consulates in Corfu, Crete, Rhodes and honorary vice consulate in Zakynthos can help.

This information is provided as a guide only. You should get definitive information from the Greek authorities. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is not liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Read general guidance on moving or retiring abroad.

To stay up to date:

If you were living in Greece before 1 January 2021

Some parts of this guide only apply if you have been living in Greece since before 1 January 2021. You should read these in addition to the rest of the guidance in each section.

You should also read our Living in Europe page for detailed guidance about citizens’ rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Coronavirus

Follow the advice of the Greek government and your local authority. You should also read the Greece travel advice.

For information on getting a COVID-19 vaccine as a UK national in Greece, read coronavirus travel advice.

Visas and residency

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

Check the entry requirements for Greece.

You should also read:

Visas and residency if you were living in Greece before 1 January 2021

If you have lived in Greece since before 1 January 2021, you and your family members have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

All UK nationals resident in Greece before 1 January 2021 should get the new biometric residence document (Engrafo Diamonis 18 (4) ΣΑ Έγγραφο Διαμονής). It shows that you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. The Greek government has not yet set a deadline for getting the document, but confirmed that it will be indicative. This means that your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement will not be affected if you do not meet the deadline. However, we strongly recommend that you request the Engrafo Diamonis 18 (4). It also shows your right to enter Greece and exempts you from the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) and visa requirements.

Read the Greek Ministerial Decision on residence documents (in Greek) and the related announcement from the Hellenic Police (including a series of Q&As).

To request the document:

  • if you live in Attica and Thessaloniki regions, visit your nearest Hellenic Police station that has an Aliens Department
  • if you live elsewhere, visit your nearest General Regional Police Directorate that has an Aliens Department
  • non-EU family members should visit their nearest Directorate for Aliens and Migration of the Decentralized Administrations

If you have been legally resident in Greece for:

  • over 5 years: you will be eligible for permanent residency and a 10-year residence document which you should renew when it expires
  • less than 5 years: you will be eligible for a document valid for 5 years. After 5 years, when you renew it, you will get a 10-year residence document

Read the Hellenic police’s guidance on how to renew your residence document.

The Greek authorities will only accept your application if you include all the documents that they request. When your application is accepted, you will be given a temporary certificate. You can use this until you receive your biometric residence document.

You should also read the Greek government’s website for UK nationals living in Greece and submit any questions using the contact form.

If your mobility is impaired, for example you are bedridden, hospitalised, in a nursing home or care facility, you do not need to request the biometric residence document in person. You can authorise a family member or lawyer to apply on your behalf. You can also ask a police officer to collect your application and supporting documents, and take your biometric data (fingerprints). You will need a medical certificate to confirm that your mobility is impaired. If you lack mental capacity, your representative will need to provide a medical certificate confirming your condition.

If you have problems with your request for a biometric residence document, contact the Department of Citizenship, Homogeneous and European Union Citizens of Aliens Division of the Hellenic Police Headquarters.

If you need further information on how to secure your residency, you may find useful the EuroBrits Greece guidance on residency.

Appeals process

If your biometric residence document application is refused, the refusal letter will explain how you can appeal. You must appeal within 20 days of the refusal decision. You will be given a Certificate of Legal Residence (Ειδική Βεβαίωση Νόμιμης Διαμονής). This shows that you continue to have full Withdrawal Agreement rights until there is a final decision on your appeal.

The Director of the relevant Aliens Division will make a decision within 30 days. If your appeal is refused, you can make a further appeal to the Administrative courts. You can continue to stay in Greece until you get a decision on this appeal.

If your appeals are refused, you may be able to apply for the relevant permit under the rules for third country nationals. A third country national is someone who does not have EU, EEA or Swiss nationality.

Family members

Your close family members continue to be able to join you and settle in Greece at any time in the future. Read more information on who this applies to in the Living in Europe guidance.

Nationals of certain non-EU countries may need a visa before travel. The Greek authorities should issue family reunion visas free of charge.

Passports and travel

Coronavirus travel restrictions may affect travel to and from Greece.

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

Check the Greece travel advice for passport validity requirements.

Always carry your passport when travelling within the Schengen area. If you have citizenship of an EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) country, in addition to your British citizenship, you should enter and leave Greece using your EU or EFTA country passport.

If you stay in Greece with a Greek residence document or long stay visa, this time does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit for the Schengen area.

If you visit other Schengen area countries outside Greece, make sure you do not exceed the visa-free 90 days in any 180-day period. You are responsible for counting how long you stay under the Schengen visa waiver, and you must comply with its conditions.

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

If you were living in Greece before 1 January 2021

When you travel, in addition to your valid passport, carry your residence document:

  • registration certificate ‘Veveosi Engrafis - Βεβαίωση Εγγραφής’ or
  • permanent residence certificate ‘Engrafo Monimis Diamonis - Έγγραφο Μόνιμης Διαμονής’ if you registered before 1 January 2021 or
  • residence document ‘Engrafo Diamonis 18 (4) WA - Έγγραφο διαμονής 18 (4) ΣΑ’, issued under the Withdrawal Agreement

You must proactively show your residence document, or other evidence of residence status, if you are asked to show your passport at border control. Other evidence may be your tenancy agreement or a utility bill in your name, dating from 2020. If you have applied for, but not yet received, your residence document, show your certificate of registration.

If you cannot prove that you are resident in Greece, you may be asked additional questions at the border to enter the EU. Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. This will not affect your rights in the country or countries where you live or work. If a passport is stamped, the stamp is considered null and void when you can show evidence of lawful residence. Read EU guidance for UK nationals on entering and leaving the Schengen area.

If you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, you can enter and exit Greece with your valid UK passport. You do not need any additional validity on the passport beyond the dates on which you are travelling.

Healthcare

Read our guidance on healthcare in Greece and make sure you are correctly registered for your circumstances.

Read the Greek government guidance on EHICs and S1s:.

Travel insurance is not intended to cover healthcare costs if you live overseas.

If you do not have any healthcare insurance, you can get medical treatments or diagnostic tests from public hospitals and primary healthcare centres. Read the Greek Ministerial Decision on uninsured citizens’ access to medical treatments and diagnostic tests (in Greek). You will also only be able to get prescription medicine from hospital pharmacies or pharmacies registered with the EOPYY healthcare fund (in Greek). 

COVID-19 vaccination

If you live in Greece and are over 60 years old, you must be vaccinated for COVID-19. If you are not vaccinated, you will need to pay €100 each month.

Read the Greek legislation on fines (in Greek) to check if you are considered unvaccinated. The rules, exemptions and fines depend on your personal circumstances.

If your COVID-19 vaccination certificate was issued abroad, you should register it on the Greek government’s online platform using your Taxisnet access code and your AMKA or PAMKA number, or at your nearest KEP office. If you do not register your vaccination certificate, the Greek authorities will consider you as unvaccinated.

Read the guidance on:

Working in Greece

If you are planning to move to Greece and work, you may need a visa. Read the Greek government’s guidance on working in Greece as a foreign national and how to get a visa.

To apply for a job you may need to provide a UK criminal records check.

For a Greek criminal records check you can apply through:

Read:

If you plan to work in Greece, even if you work for a UK based employer, this may affect where you pay National Insurance-type contributions. Read the National insurance and social security contributions section for more information.

If you were living in Greece before 1 January 2021

You have the right to work under the Withdrawal Agreement.

If you live in Greece and were regularly commuting to work in another EU or EFTA country before 1 January 2021, read our guidance for frontier workers.

Professional qualifications

You may need to get your professional qualification recognised if you want to work in a profession that is regulated in Greece.

Read guidance on:

If you were living in Greece before 1 January 2021

If the relevant regulator in Greece officially recognised your professional qualification before 1 January 2021, or you started the recognition process by this date, make sure you understand the terms of your decision. You should get advice from the relevant regulator.

Studying in Greece

If you plan to study in Greece, you must meet all visa requirements before you travel.

Contact the relevant higher education provider in Greece to check what fees you may have to pay.

Read:

If you were living in Greece before 1 January 2021

The studying in the European Union guidance includes information if you were already living in Greece before 1 January 2021.

Tax

The UK has a double taxation agreement with Greece so that you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. Ask the relevant tax authority your questions about double taxation relief.

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

Read 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 information and e-services. Once you have an AFM number, you must submit a yearly tax return.

Declaring your assets

You must declare any assets held outside Greece and file an annual declaration of assets, alongside your annual tax return. There are severe penalties if you fail to file this, or if you give incorrect or incomplete information.

National insurance and social security contributions

National Insurance-type contributions(NIC) are called ‘social security contributions’ (SSC) in Greece. Find out if you need to pay National Insurance in the UK or social security contributions in Greece.

If you plan to move to Greece and work, even if you continue working for a UK-based company, you and your employer may need to pay social security contributions in Greece. These social security contributions would entitle you to certain benefits, such as healthcare, in Greece.

Read guidance on National Insurance for workers from the UK working in the EEA or Switzerland.

You can check your UK National Insurance record..

Benefits

UK benefits

Read guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in Greece.

Check which UK benefits you can claim while abroad and how to claim them.

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

Greek benefits

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

Pensions

Read guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in Greece.

Read State Pension guidance if you have lived in Australia, Canada or New Zealand and you are claiming or waiting to claim your UK State Pension.

If you retire in Greece, you can claim:

Read the Money and Pension Service’s MoneyHelper guidance on pension and retirement for more information on cross-border pensions.

Life certificates for UK State Pensions

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you must respond as soon as possible. Your payments may be suspended if you do not.

Money and banking

Whether UK banks can provide services to customers living in the EEA depends on local laws and regulation.

Read the Money and Pension Service’s MoneyHelper guidance on banking, insurance and financial services for more information on cross-border banking.

Accommodation and buying property

Read our guidance on buying property abroad.

Driving in Greece

You cannot renew or replace your UK, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man licence if you live in Greece. Read the guidance on what you must do to drive legally in Greece:

If you have a UK or Gibraltar driving licence

If you have a valid UK or Gibraltar driving licence you can drive in Greece without restrictions.

Read the Greek government’s guidance for UK nationals living in Greece.

If you have a Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man licence

If you have a Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man licence, you should contact the competent Greek Directorate of Transport & Communications in the area of your residence (in Greek) to find out what you must do to drive legally in Greece.

Disabled drivers

If you have a UK Blue Badge and live in Greece, you must return it to the original UK issuing authority. Contact the Greek Directorate of Transport & Communications for the area where you live for information about the Greek disabled parking card (in Greek).

Read the EU guidance on the EU parking card for people with disabilities.

Bringing a UK-registered vehicle to Greece

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

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 go in person to 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 (MOT equivalent) at any official KTEO (Kendro Techniko Elengho Ohimaton – Vehicle Technical Control Centres).

Driving outside Greece with a Greek licence

You can use your Greek licence when visiting the UK. Keep up-to-date with the UK Highway Code.

If you go to live in the UK, you can exchange your Greek licence for a UK one without taking a test.

To drive in another country, in addition to your Greek licence, you may need to apply for an IDP (in Greek).

Read the EU guidance on:

Voting

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

You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:

Births, deaths, marriage and civil partnerships

If your child is born in Greece, you can also register the birth with the UK authorities in addition to registering locally. If your child has British nationality, you do not need to register the birth with the UK authorities to apply for a British passport.   

If someone dies in Greece read our guidance on:

Find out how you can get married or get a civil partnership abroad.

You may also need guidance on notarial and documentary services for UK nationals in Greece.

Pets

If you’re moving to Greece with your pet, read the guidance and ensure you comply with the regulations:

To visit other countries with your pet, check the rules for the country you’re travelling to. Contact your vet to get the travel documents your pet needs.

Read guidance on:

Emergencies

Dial the European emergency number 112 in Greece for the police, ambulance or fire brigade, or dial:

  • 100 for police
  • 199 for fire brigade
  • 166 for emergency medical service
  • 108 for coast guard
  • 197 for emergency social assistance
  • 116 000 for missing children

Dial the EU 116 000 hotline to report a missing child in Greece or in another EU country.

If your child is at risk of being, or has been, abducted, read the guidance on international parental child abduction, the EU guidance on child abduction and the EU guidance on child abduction to another EU country.

The Greek government provides information on moving or settling with children abroad, and child custody and contact rights.

Read our information if you are a victim of rape or sexual assault in Greece.

If you’re the victim of a crime, have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis, contact the British Embassy Athens.

Returning to the UK

Check the COVID-19 travel guidance for entering the UK.

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

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.

To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.

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

Useful information

Support for British nationals abroad: a guide sets out how to stay safe abroad, and explains how the FCDO can support you if you get into difficulty. 

Published 27 May 2013
Last updated 11 March 2022 + show all updates
  1. Important information in the Working in Greece, and National insurance sections if you work in Greece, even it if it is for an employer based in the UK.

  2. Guidance reviewed and updated with new information, including in the visas and residency, and healthcare sections.

  3. There are now no restrictions on driving in Greece for residents with valid UK or Gibraltar driving licences

  4. Visas and residency section updated: If you need support with your residency application, contact the relevant UK Nationals Support Fund organisation before 31 October 2021

  5. Guidance reviewed for money, tax and banking, benefits, births, deaths, marriage and civil partnerships, and useful information sections.

  6. Guidance reviewed for Passports and travel, Healthcare, Working in Greece, Studying in Greece, Emergencies, and Returning to the UK sections.

  7. Professional qualifications section updated for British citizens who are moving or moved to Greece after 1 January 2021 and those living there since before 1 January 2021.

  8. Working in Greece section updated: new guidance for frontier workers

  9. Additional support section updated with link to guidance on UK Nationals Support Fund, healthcare section updated including guidance on the S1 form and applying for EHIC and GHIC cards; working in Greece section updated with link to Department for International Trade (DIT) guidance on recognition of professional qualifications and link to DIT guidance on working or providing services.

  10. Coronavirus section updated with a link to guidance on vaccines.

  11. Updated as the transition period ends with new information on residency, pet travel and moving to Greece

  12. Passports and travel section updated on carrying proof of residence when travelling.

  13. Visa and residency section updated on how to get the new residence document

  14. Healthcare section updated on how to apply for a new UK EHIC as a student or S1 holder. Working section updated with information on frontier workers.

  15. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  28. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  35. First published.