Visas and Work Permits 10 min

Work permits and visas in Greece: an employer’s guide

Written by Sally Flaxman
Sally Flaxman

Share

share to linkedInshare to Twittershare to Facebook
Link copied
to clipboard

Employers are responsible for ensuring they comply with Greece’s immigration and work permit requirements when bringing employees on board. It's key that employers understand the different types of visas, permits, and entitlements not only to avoid potential penalties when employing in Greece but also to provide a safe and secure workplace for their global team members.

By working closely with professional consultants as well as having up-to-date knowledge regarding visa regulations, employers can streamline the immigration process whether it is for EU citizens or foreigners coming from outside Europe. 

This guide offers a comprehensive breakdown of Greece's work visa requirements and work permits. It also provides employers with information that covers all scenarios like relocating an existing team member, employing a non-citizen without an owned entity in Greece, or hiring digital nomads with appropriate credentials and documentation. 

The importance of immigration compliance in Greece

Employers who hire remote employees in Greece should understand visa requirements as they may face financial penalties, legal issues, or reputational damage due to non-compliance.

While Greece offers generous schemes such as its digital nomad visa, the government is getting more stringent, especially when it comes to short-term residency. To avoid facing difficulties with the authorities regarding residency status, employers should seek professional advice about legal restrictions and ensure every employee can legally work in the country.

It is crucial to work with a reliable employer of record (EOR) to not only manage regulatory compliance, but also to efficiently handle the processes and requirements of international hiring. To learn more, you can view Remote's guide on finding an EOR.

Get your Remote Relocation Guide

Learn how to simplify your planned relocation with this walkthrough guide. We outline the key steps for you and your employer to enable a compliant, efficient, and hassle-free move.

Relocation Guide download

Which workers need a right-to-work check in Greece?

Permanent residence in Greece is a status that gives the holder various benefits, including the ability to live and work in the country for an extended period. 

Greek citizens receive this automatically, as opposed to non-EU citizens who must live in Greece continuously for at least five years before qualifying. This longer-term residency provides access to employment without any further requirements, but will only last for five years. There's an option available to renew it, however, via a simple re-application process that just involves filling out a form.

Furthermore, nationals from European Union countries or those who belong to the EEA can legally work in Greece since they do not require visas or permits. On the other hand, foreign workers coming from other parts of the globe have no choice but to comply with regular visa and permission rules established by Greek legislation. These documents can be sponsored by a locally incorporated entity to permit the foreign worker's entry into their labor market.

Do non-citizens need a work visa or work permit in Greece?

As mentioned earlier, anyone who isn’t a permanent resident in Greece or a national of EU or EEA member states requires a work visa. 

Greece offers two key types of work visas: short-stay “C” and long-term stay “D” visas. The former allows people to pass through or stay in the Schengen area for up to 90 days, which can be done either non-stop or divided into intervals over 180 days. 

When it comes to long-term working arrangements, employers need a D visa that permits them to enter Greece and allows an application for a residence permit. These authorizations have a maximum validity period of one year. There are several matters to consider when trying to obtain a visa, such as seeking employment opportunities or specializing through studying or training.

How is the Schengen Visa applicable?

The Schengen Visa is a travel authorization for those who wish to visit and reside in any of the EU's 26 member states. In Greece, it functions the same as a Type C short-term stay visa. It enables holders to stay up to 90 days during 180 days, unless pre-determined exemptions apply.

In Greece, if you wish to work legally, you must have a valid residence permit and an employment contract with a registered employer in the country. To obtain these documents, employers should ensure they are meeting the requirements of both Greek and EU immigration laws, as there are complex procedures that need to be followed. 

This includes obtaining relevant documentation from potential employees such as travel documents or evidence of their right to stay in Greece (i.e. visa/residence permit), health certificates, and more before commencing employment relations with their employee.

How is the European Union Blue Card applicable?

The EU Blue Card is a residence permit that enables highly skilled professionals from outside the EU to live and work in any one of the 26 member states. 

The EU Blue Card is a valid Greece work permit, and holders of an EU Blue Card can live and work in Greece without requiring additional visas or permits. Non-EU citizens must apply for their cards from within their country. 

What are the eligibility requirements for a work visa in Greece?

Obtaining a Greek D or long-stay visa for non-EU and non-EEA workers follows different steps, depending on the regulations of their home country. The first of the general Greece work visa requirements is filling out an application.

An appointment must be set up at a local embassy or consulate, after which they're invited in to answer questions related to their trip and present all necessary documents. Biometrics will then be taken if it hasn't already been obtained in the past five years within the Schengen Area.

 Lastly, payment of a relevant fee must be made (this may vary based on the citizen's origin). Processing can range between six days and three months before the official granting of a visa happens.

Once the visa has been granted, the employee will need to put in an application for a residence permit. They can do this by submitting applications to the Greek Decentralized Administration’s one-stop shop with all necessary documents included.

What are the long-stay visa types in Greece?

The Greek D visa is typically issued with a year-long validity. 

To legally take on employment in Greece, the individual needs to apply for a national visa at their country's consulate/embassy. After arriving in the Greek territory and before the current visa expires, they must also obtain a residence permit. 

Receiving the required certificate of completion indicates that they are allowed to stay lawfully within the state for one year. If there is any delay past 12 months of processing, they will be provided an explanation as well as another certificate accordingly.

The validity period of residence permits issued on grounds of employment stands at two years. This may be extended upon request up to three more years. They must remember to submit the request two months before their current visa's expiration date.

How do you get a work visa for Greece?

To get the visa they need, they'll have to prepare all the necessary documents along with their application:

  • An English or Greek-filled D Visa form

  • Passport valid for at least three months after the type D visa expiration date

  • Copies of the data page plus the residence permit

  • Up-to-date color photo no older than six months old

  • Travel medical insurance covering the period related to the D visa

  • Certificate of good health

  • No records of any criminal activity in their name.

What is the process for employee work visa sponsorship in Greece?

The employer can sponsor the employee, and apply for a Greek Type D visa on their behalf. Before this step, the employer needs to get an employee AFM (Tax Identification Number) from their local tax office, as well as a social security number from the AMKA (Social Security Institute). To get the work permit, the sponsor (employer) or employee has to: 

  • Ensure you have original copies (or notarized ones) of the documentation used when submitting your Greek D visa

  • Fill in the electronic form necessary for obtaining residence permits within several days of arriving in Greece

  • Schedule an appointment with the neighborhood police station

  • Attend an interview with a local law enforcement officer who may ask questions as to why you are living in Greece

  • Present the appropriate papers to the police afterward

Read Remote’s guide to know more about international employee relocation: How to handle international employee relocation. You can also view our webinar on the topic.

What are the visa requirements for digital nomads in Greece?

Digital nomads in Greece must follow the normal work permit requirements like any other non-EU and non-EEA foreign worker. They must obtain a visa from their embassy before starting work in the country. The type of residence permit required depends on the length and purpose of stay, so if they will be staying for longer, it is best to apply for an EU long-term residency permit. Additionally, digital nomads must show proof that they can financially support themselves during their stay.

More specifically, the steps for applying for a digital nomad visa in Greece are:

  1. Schedule an appointment with a Greek consulate or embassy to find out more information about the process. 

  2. Have all the usual required documents ready to submit on your appointment date.

  3. Download and complete an online application form, ensuring that all information is correct before submission.  

  4. Pay the required fees at the time of your appointment so you can officially initiate processing from the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum.

  5. Receive evaluation within 10 days after submitting documents at the respective Embassy.

How Remote makes compliance in Greece so much easier

To hire or relocate employees to Greece, you’ll have to establish your own local entity in Greece, a process that can be complex, lengthy, and expensive. Essentially, you’ll have to comply with relevant immigration laws and regulations to avoid potential penalties. The immigration process may seem daunting at first, fraught with pitfalls such as permanent establishment and employee misclassification.

This is where Remote’s employer of record can be invaluable. Our global employment specialists can guide you through the process of international hiring whilst keeping you compliant with local legislation. From onboarding, international payroll, and employee benefits advice, to compliance with immigration laws and tax practices —  Remote can make it quick and easy to hire in Greece and beyond.

For guidance about relocating international employees, download Remote’s Relocation Guide. Or contact our Mobility team to learn more about your options today! 

Hire, pay, and manage relocation for your global team

Create an account with G2’s top-ranked multi-country payroll software and start onboarding your first employees in minutes.

Get started now
Remote is the G2 top-ranked multi-country payroll software

Subscribe to receive the latest
Remote blog posts and updates in your inbox.