My International Movers

An Expat Guide to Moving to Greece

Steven Rogers May 17, 2013
Posted May 17, 2013 In Living Abroad,
Steven Rogers

Apart from sharing Captain America's name, our freelance writer Steven is also a big fan of moving, history, and geography.

Relocating to the cradle of the Western world has its perks. Even if all the things we hold most dear in our civilization come from this place, moving to Greece will definitely change your way of living. For example, Thursday the 13th is an unlucky day here and not Friday. Adjusting to this amazing Mediterranean country will demand some effort and time, but it’s more than worth it.

And even if we share the same western values, such as democracy, philosophy, modern science, and literature, Greek culture and way of living are so different from ours. And it’s no wonder, after all, since you’ll be relocating across the world. Aside from its amazing summer weather and longest shoreline in the Mediterranean, Hellenic Republic (its official name) has so much more to offer. And if you plan to move here, we will take you through all the necessary steps and actions you need to take so your dream becomes a reality.

How Can I Legally Move to Greece? All About the Required Paperwork

When thinking about relocating overseas to a state with some of the most prominent World Heritage Sites, the first thing that pops into your mind is can US citizens move to Greece. The short answer is yes, while legal aspects of getting there require more explanations. You will have to have your passport and apply for a visa at the nearest Greece Mission, for starters. So search for the mission closest to you.

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Apply For Visa

The good thing about going to the Hellenic Republic when you are a US citizen is that you can stay there for 90 days in a 180-day period. After this, you can apply for a visa at the consulate. After you do that, you need to check in the Decentralized Administration Office upon your arrival to get resident permits. All the info can easily be found on the US Embassy in Greece website. These are some of the documents needed for travel abroad:

  • Application form,
  • Passport,
  • One biometric passport photo,
  • Medical certificate filled out by a licensed doctor,
  • Proof of valid medical insurance,
  • Excerpt from the penal register issued by your country of origin or current residence.

Apply For a Long-Stay Visa

You can apply for three types of national long-stay visas – family unification, work, and student one. Depending on the type you need, you can stay up to one year in the country. After that, you can apply for permanent residency. Living overseas is hard, and maybe before you invest time in obtaining citizenship or permanent residency, learn how to live abroad with this option first.

How to Apply For Residency as an Expat

All people who are staying for more than one year in the country must apply for residency. And after five years of permanent residency, you can apply for citizenship. The benefits of permanent staying are vast, such as traveling everywhere in the EU for six months, access to education and health insurance. If you are a citizen, you will get a passport and the right to vote. There are some other options for permanent residency you can try:

  • Golden Visa Route – if you invest 250,000 Euros ($295,000) in a property.
  • Financial independent person visa – if your income is 2,000 Euros.
  • Spousal route – partnership with another citizen.
  • Proof of employment offered in the country Getting a job in Europe as an American is not impossible if you know where to look.
  • Greek heritage proof.

For more information about all the paperwork you need, check out this video.

How Is Healthcare Arranged?

No matter your reasons for relocating to one of the friendliest countries in the world, whether you’re relocating alone or relocating abroad for love, you will want to keep your health in check. The healthcare system is good in big cities like Athens, the capital and largest city, and Thessaloniki. But if you decide to relocate to some rural areas or islands, your access to health care will be limited. Healthcare will be provided, of course, but you might have to learn how to break langue barriers first – few people speak English outside of the largest cities and tourist centers. If you have an emergency, you will get free care. Aside from tips for learning a new language, ask around about private health care insurance and providers who are excellent and yet affordable.

From Amazing Mediterranean Paradise to Urban Lifestyle, It Has   All

When international moving, choosing a place to call home will require extensive research. Luckily, options are broad – from 6,000 beautiful isles to some of the oldest cities in the world. And being the safe, healthy, and sunniest place in Europe, no wonder the Hellenic Republic gets to be one of the best countries to live in as well.

Yet, choosing the place to call home can still be tricky when so many great options are in place. For example, on the island of Ikaria, around 30% of people live well into their 90s, which is, on average, ten years longer than in America or rest of the Europe. So maybe you would want to live there. If you have a remote job, you are in luck. All you get to think about is how close the beach will be to your home. Here are some of the best cities to move to:

  • Athens – The capital of the country, the biggest city, and the largest economic center. This charming ancient city will blow you away. From nightlife to amazing bars and restaurants, it has more archeological sites than we can count, and most of them are imprinted in its streets and buildings.
  • Thessaloniki – A port city, situated in the north. It is usually referred to as the Gastronomical Capital of the state. Aside from food, you will get the same commodity, like in Athens – airports, hospitals, good schools and more. But even if it is the second-largest city, Thessaloniki’s way of living is way more relaxed and indulgent (aside from a variety of food, they enjoy their wine as well.)
  • Chania, Crete – If you wish to stay on an island, Chania is the place. The most popular place for expats is located on Greece’s largest island. The expat community and support among them are way more represented here than on the mainland.

Cost of Living in Greece

If you love sunny weather and friendly people, then relocating to Elláda will be the best decision you ever made. So, is Greece a good country to move to?  Maybe it is not one of the best places to live in Europe, but it is definitely one of the most affordable when it comes to choosing to live in some of the most famous tourist destinations. For example, if you move to Hawaii, rent prices in Honolulu will be 289% higher than in Athens. Furthermore, if you relocate to Italy, to Rome, rent prices will be 126% higher than in the oldest capital of Europe. If you wish to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Athens city center, you will pay around $480. Aside from that, utilities, food, and meals at the restaurants are cheap. And soon, you will embrace Greek’s saying “live more and spend less.” Finding new ways to spend less money on high-quality food is a proud habit of every Greek.

Think About Job Opportunities

One of the best relocation questions to ask your employer is to allow you to work remotely because finding a job here will not be easy if you don’t know the language. But like in every moving overseas, if you ask around on time what your options are, finding a job will be easier and your relocation stress will be lessened. Tourist service, air companies, child care, and seasonal agriculture work all require English speakers, so try and apply for a job in those fields. Also, some big multinational companies are willing to give a job to expats.

Arrange All Necessary Things for Your Moving to Greece

Before you even start thinking about what to pack for relocating, you will have to make some strategy and checklist for relocating abroad first. Moving to Greece from the USA may sound simple, but it is not easy at all. From paperwork and packing to overseas vehicle shipping, you will have to think about everything. For these reasons, immigration to Greece is nearly impossible without the help of an overseas shipping company. And even if you decide to hire them only for international moving services, you will have a lot fewer things to worry about. If you don’t hire movers for packing service, make sure to ask them about items you can not bring through customs and how to protect your goods from damage during transportation.

Find the Best International Moving Company for Shipping Overseas

Moving internationally without the help overseas moving company is probably one of the best ways to torture yourself. Coordinating a relocation down the block is a nightmare. Can you imagine coordinating international relocation by air with car shipping and getting all the papers done? When searching for overseas shipping companies, make sure to pick the one that will do all of this for you. And if possible, find the one with storage units in case you need to store your belongings until you are all settled in.

Get to Know Greek People and Their Way of Living

Moving abroad is a shock and probably one of the hardest experiences you will ever have in life. On the other hand, if your country of choice is this amazing, almost mythical place, you will adjust in no time. Greeks are one of the most friendly, communicative, and welcoming folks you will ever meet. With a good taste for food and a love for music, you will make friends in no time. And not only that, you will embrace their way of living much sooner than you think.

Their national drink Ouzo will become your favorite, but if you are a wine or beer lover, they will not disappoint you either. What they hold most dear is their rich heritage, and they mean business when it comes to keeping history preserved. In fact, if you take a single stone from Parthenon, you can end up in jail. And not only that – Greeks love their paradise beaches, so taking a pebble or even sand from some of them is also forbidden.

Walk the Land Filled With History and Culture

Now that you know answers to questions of how to move to Greece and is it hard to move to Greece, we can talk more about what is waiting for you once you get there. The mix of different cultures and the fusion of so many ethnicities might be strange for you at first. But in time, you will realize that that exact mix of eastern and western cultures is what makes this place so great for foreigners. From art galleries, museums, and archaeological sites to amazing natural beauties, you will soon realize that you will not know what to visit first. And if you are a snow lover, you should know that more than 80% of the mainland is covered with mountains with excellent ski resorts. All in all, your biggest concern may be how to keep in touch with friends back home.

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