Greece: Visa & Residency Options For Non-EU Nationals 

Understand how to obtain residency in Greece: know your best options, the requirements and important facts you need to know.

Embarking on a journey to establish residency in an EU country can be daunting, especially for non-EU nationals. In this comprehensive guide, we dive into the existing residency options that Greece offers to non-EU nationals.

Let us unravel the intricacies of the Greek residency process, highlighting key visa programs, requirements, and benefits.

Visiting Greece

Many non-EU citizens, including Britons, USA citizens, etc., can stay in Greece for up to 3 months without a visa. If you are planning to stay for longer, you need to apply for a long-stay visa (national visa − visa D) which allows you to enter and stay in Greece for a period exceeding 90 days and up to 365 days. 

You should submit your D-visa application at the nearest Greek consulate in your home country, and then on entering Greece, you need to apply for a residence permit within two months of arrival. 

If you’re already in Greece on a tourist visa or any other visa that gives you the right to enter Greece legally, you can apply for a residency permit at the one-stop service of the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum, but only before your visa or your visa-free three months period expires.

Our guide will look at the best options for people with some form of passive income, including retirees, investors, and digital nomads (people who can work from anywhere). The options we will be looking at are:

  • Financially Independent persons visa and residency for retirees and people with a passive income 
  • The Golden Visa route if you have over €250,000 to purchase a property in Greece
  • Digital Nomad visa and residency

General documents and requirements 

Here’s a list of what you need regardless of the visa type you are planning to apply for:

  • A fully completed and signed application form
  • A color passport-style photograph of the applicant
  • A passport issued within ten years, valid for at least three months from the date of intended departure from the Schengen Zone,  and with at least two blank pages
  • A police certificate that details whether there is any criminal record from your country of residence
  • A medical certificate from a recognized state or private body confirming that you are not a health risk
  • Comprehensive health insurance valid for the period of your visa 
  • Proof of accommodation (a rental contract or proof of property ownership)

In addition, each visa type has a list of other documents you have to prepare and submit with your application. 

Financially Independent Person’s visa and residency 

Greece’s financially independent persons (FIP) visa is arguably the easiest option for non-EU citizens who aren’t looking to work in Greece and who don’t want to follow the Golden Visa route. 

Financial requirements

The financial requirements can be met in 2 ways: either based on a regular secure passive income or on savings. 

To demonstrate financial independence, you must have a minimum monthly income of €2,000 (equal to €24,000 a year). Note that this is for one person, although an applicant can bring their spouse and children. If this is the case, the minimum amount increases by 20% for the spouse and 15% for each child.

If you base your application on savings, to be able to receive the entry visa and then convert it into a 2-year residency permit, you need to show that you have enough savings to cover the whole 2-year period. So you’ll need to have €48,000 if applying alone and €57,600 if applying with a partner. 

It’s important to note that you will be expected to move the qualifying savings to a Greek bank.

1. Getting your long-stay entry visa (Visa D for financially independent persons)

You begin the visa application at your country’s Greek embassy or consulate. In addition to the general documents listed above, you will need to submit proof of funds that show you have enough income, such as a bank, social security, or pension statements, evidence of rental income, income from shares, dividends or other investments. 

Take all this information with you to the Greek embassy or consulate, and they’ll begin processing you for a Type D entry visa. It’s a long-term visa that grants you one year of residency in the country.

2. Switching to a residency permit

Once you’re in Greece, you’ll need to go through the process again to get your residency permit. You have to do this at your closest police station or Aliens Office and should start the process within 2 months of arrival. 

You will need the same documents you prepared for your visa application

All your documents need to be notarized and apostilled, which can be done either by a public notary or lawyer.

Each family member will be given a provisional permit while they wait for their permanent one to be issued. 

This first permit lasts for 2 years, after which you’ll need to get it renewed. Everyone after the first is valid for 3 years. You’ll need to continue proving financial independence whenever you go for renewal.

Important things to know about the FIP Visa

The critical point to qualify for this visa type is that you must be financially independent. This specifically means you can’t take up any form of employment in Greece, and your passive income should be non-salaried.

The visa allows you to bring dependent children into the country with you. This only applies to children under the age of 18. Also, there’s no maximum cut-off age for a FIP – anyone over 18 can apply.

It’s worth noting that there is a minimum stay requirement for a FIP visa. It’s currently 183 days out of every 365, approximately 6 months. However, unlike other countries with the same visa, there’s currently no evidence that Greece is enforcing this rule. Even so, it makes good sense to abide by it.

Finally, a FIP visa grants you access to the Schengen visa area. In short, this means 90-day stays in any country without the need for a visa. As such, it’s a pretty big benefit if you like the idea of having Greece as your home base while being able to enjoy easy access to the other EU Schengen area nations.

Golden Visa program

There is a shortcut to residency in Greece known as the Golden Visa program. Simply put, you invest a minimum of €250,000 in property in Greece and receive residency in 60 days. 

The property can be either residential or commercial, situated anywhere in Greece, excluding Athens, Thessaloniki, Mykonos, and Santorini. You can combine several properties or make a joint investment with somebody else into one property as long as the total minimum is €250,000 per applicant. With fees and taxes, the total cost is about €300,000 per applicant – the cheapest Golden Visa option in the EU. 

Investing in urban zones requires a minimum of 500,000€ investment. These areas are: Athens’ Northern, Central, and Southern Sectors and the Municipality of Vari-Voula-Vouliagmeni; The Municipality of Thessaloniki and the islands of Mykonos and Santorini. In these regions, a single property must be bought.

There are other options as well:

  • A lease agreement with a hotel or tourist establishment for at least ten years
  • Make a capital investment of at least €400,000 in business, Greek government bonds, or shares of real estate investment companies.
  • Deposit €400,000 in a Greek bank.

Doing this provides you with a 5-year renewable residency permit that also covers spouses and children. It also gives you access to national healthcare and schooling and the right to start your own business in Greece. 

You should make the investment before applying for your visa and collect all the documents proving the investment. These documents should be submitted together with the general documents listed above.

Your Golden Visa will be valid for five years, and you can renew it every five years as long as you maintain the investment. If, however, you choose to live in Greece permanently for seven years, you then have the option to apply for citizenship.

If you have questions or need further information, see our full Guide to EU Golden Visa Schemes and options, or contact us via our page on Residency and Citizenship. We will be happy to help. 

Digital Nomad visa and residency

This visa and residency option is perfect for self-employed employees working remotely for employers or clients outside Greece.

Applying for an entry visa

Applications are submitted in your country of residence at the nearest Greek consulate. What you need to submit:

  • A declaration stating that you intend to stay in Greece while working remotely and promise not to seek employment or provide services to an employer based in Greece.
  • Your existing contract or proof of employment with an employer outside Greece 
  • If you are self-employed, your existing contracts of independent services
  • If you are employed in your own company, provide information on your status in the company, your company’s trade name, registered office, etc.
  • Evidence that you have a stable income to support you during your stay, which is a minimum of €3,500 a month after tax. It is increased by 20% for the spouse or partner and by 15% fifteen for each child. 

The residence permit for digital nomads

When you arrive in the country, you need to register for a residency permit in the nearest Aliens and Immigration Department with the same documents you used to apply for your visa. You will be granted a two-year residence permit that does not give you the right to work or do business with any company or individual based in Greece. 

The residence permit can be renewed every two years as long as you continue to meet the requirements for residence, which are subject to change year on year.

You might find useful:


  1. My visa as a FIP expires in 5 days. The system for processing residence permits is not functioning – no online access. Anyone know if I can get an extension or renwal of my VISA pending me being able to submit my residence application in a timely manner?

  2. Hi, my husband & I have a D visa and property worth around 180euros in Crete are going for our residency card and I am wondering how much this will cost us. We have the visa as Financial Independent Person.

  3. Hi Ola,

    Thank you for clarifying the income and savings question for me. It would be great to get the FIP visa professional contact from you. I really appreciate your help.

    Warm regards,


  4. Hi – after holidaying on Crete for the last several years I now find I’m in a position where I’m looking to make a permanent move sometime next year. I’ve a property to sell in UK and am looking to settle in western Crete. I’m looking for a furnished property in a large-ish village with amenities so I won’t feel too isolated to start with. I will want to work part-time to a) earn a little wage & also b) mix with people as much as possible. Re. VISAS I don’t have the 250K to invest in property nor the 2.5k monthly income to be a Financially Independent Person – but want to work in any event. Any advice on which VISA I’d need because I do want to work gratefully received. Thanks very much, Wendy.

    • Hi Wendy,
      This is a tricky situation, as your income doesn’t qualify you for a Financially Independent Persons visa or a Digital Nomad Visa (also called a self-employed visa).
      This can prove even more complicated if you are considering getting employment in Greece with a Greece-based employer. You will need to have an employment contract before applying for a visa. A type D visa for work must be obtained for any non-EU national planning to stay in Greece for more than 90 days and work. You will have to obtain it before arriving in Greece from the Greek Embassy or Consular Section in your country of residence.

      It is worth consulting a lawyer who can take into account all your circumstances and make sure the path you choose is the right one for you.

    • It looks like the new limits will be applied to the centre of Athens , and in the northern and southern suburbs, as well as Thessaloniki, Mykonos, and Santorini , while in Attica the eastern and western suburbs, as well as Piraeus, the threshold will stay as it is now.

      Also, it looks like there’s a window of opportunity until April 30, 2023 for the signing of pre-contracts for the purchase of real estate based on the current regime of 250,000 euros.

    • Hi Ola,
      My husband and I are planning a move to Greece this year. We are interested in the FIP Visa, but the requirements are confusing and conflicting depending on where you get your information. We are in contact with an attorney and it seems from what he said, that you can have sufficient funds in a bank account (enough to cover 2 years) or have a sufficient monthly income. We want to make sure it’s “or” and not “and”. We have enough in account to cover the time period, but our monthly flow of funds varies throughout the year. Will we qualify with enough funds in accounts only?

      Also, we are looking to buy a property before applying for the visa. Can you prove you’re in the process by showing a deposit made on a home while applying for the visa or do you have to show a property owned completely?

      Thank you for your help,


      • Hi Kim,

        Regarding the FIP visa, it is definitely ‘or’. I am not sure about the property; your lawyer should advise you on this. I can put you in touch with a professional who helps expats in Greece with FIP visas. Just let us know through the contact form if you need it.

        Good luck with your relocation

        • Hi Ola,

          Thank you for answering my questions about income and savings. It would be great to receive contact information for the FIP visa specialist you mentioned.

          Thank you again and warm regards,


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