How I Got the Greece Digital Nomad Visa (and How You Can Too)

[Last updated: June 13, 2024]

In 2021, Greece introduced a new digital nomad visa, which was exciting news for those of us who love this beautiful and friendly country (hi, it’s me!!). I was especially thrilled as I had been looking for a way to move here for two years and finally found a path. 

But as with everything involving Greek bureaucracy, this was not an easy path, though it was worth it in the end. 

Since there is still almost no information online about how to apply for this new one-year visa, or for the two-year residency permit, I wanted to share my experience and knowledge. Hopefully it will help you get your own base in Greece! 

Please note, I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice—I am just someone who went through the process and I’m sharing my individual experience. 

First, I’ll share the factual requirements and costs for the visa. Next, I’ll get into what my application experience was really like, and how I recommend you go about applying for the visa or residence permit yourself.

Πάμε!

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Greece Digital Nomad Visa Requirements 

There is both a digital nomad visa and residence permit you can apply for to live in Greece.

  • The visa is good for one year and you must apply at a Greek consulate in your home country or country of residence.
  • The residence permit is good for two years and you can apply while you’re in Greece for the moment, although that is supposed to be changing at some point. 

To get the digital nomad visa or residence permit in Greece, the main requirement is earning at least €3,500 per month after taxes. Yes, the limit is high—you don’t need nearly that much to live a good life in Greece, where the average monthly salary is about €1,000 monthly. But Greece is clearly aiming for high-earning nomads, so you’ll need to prove you have this much consistent monthly income. 

If you want to bring a spouse or partner along with you, you must have 20% more (so €4,200 monthly). If you have children, the minimum goes up by 15% per child. 

Proving you have this income is easy if you’re working remotely as an employee for a foreign company. For freelancers like me, it’s a little more difficult—they wanted to see contracts from my clients that added up to at least that minimum, and bank statements showing I was really getting that much. 

Other requirements are also aimed at ensuring you’re not taking away jobs or resources from Greeks, and that you truly intend to stay here. You must:

  • Sign a statement saying you won’t establish a business here or work for any Greek companies during your residency 
  • Show that you have health insurance that covers you here because you can’t use the public healthcare (I had a SafetyWing nomad insurance policy when I first applied, but had to get a specific policy that covers the requirements from my lawyer for €75)
  • Have a Greek tax number, called an AFM, for non-residents 
  • Have a lease that’s valid for at least six months, registered and signed on TaxisNet (the Greek tax platform) 
  • Show your birth certificate (they prefer the original, but I provided a copy and that was ok)

Apparently when applying for the visa, the consulate may require a medical report and a background check as well. But if you apply in Greece for the residence permit, neither of those is required, which makes life simpler. 

Greece Digital Nomad Visa Cost 

How much does the Greek nomad visa cost? Well, if you’re applying for the one-year visa from a Greek consulate in your home country, it’s €75. 

If you apply for the residence permit when you’re in Greece, it’s €1,000 for the two-year permit. Yes that’s steep, but it’s the cost for any residence permit in Greece. 

Greek flag over the Acropolis at sunrise  in Athens
Living here is well worth the visa cost.

The Greek Residence Permit Application Process 

I applied for the residence permit and skipped the visa since I didn’t want to go back to the US and wait for approval.

In May 2022 when I was applying, I couldn’t find any information online, or from the Greek consulates in Boston and Croatia about how to apply (they kept referring me to a “one-stop shop” online for application which did not exist).

[Update: it looks like you can now apply for the Greek digital nomad residence permit online!]

So I worked with a lawyer to take me through the process. Here’s what we did. 

My lawyer had me gather all the documents needed to apply and had them translated. You’ll need to get them translated by an official translator—you can find them through your lawyer or ask the Ministry. 

Then, once you have everything, you or your lawyer will contact the Ministry of Migration to make an appointment to submit your application. You’ll go in with everything you have, including proof you paid the fees online and photos for your ID, and a Ministry employee will go through all of your documents to make sure everything looks good and ask any questions. If they accept your application, it means you’re highly likely to be approved for the permit. 

At the end of the interview, they’ll give you the “blue certificate” which used to be a blue official document (now it’s a digital document) saying you’ve submitted your application and it’s processing. Don’t lose this! It’s super important—you’ll need it to hand in to get your residence permit, and it’s your proof that you can stay legally in the country while your residence permit application is processing. 

While your application is processing, you’re legally allowed to stay in Greece even if you’ve run out of your Schengen days. Since my application took eight months, this was definitely needed! And you can go back and forth to your home country as needed—you just need to show the blue certificate to get back into Greece. 

However, you’re not supposed to travel to any other countries until you get your residence permit. In fact, you can’t even transit through Schengen countries on your way to your home country. This was extremely frustrating for me as a digital nomad, and it’s much, much longer than you’d have to wait in other countries (for example, Spain’s digital nomad permit considers you automatically approved if you haven’t heard anything back 18 DAYS after applying, which is SO much better).

But at least I could pop back to the US as needed. 

And then once your interview is over, you just… wait. And wait. And then wait some more.

How Long The Greek Digital Nomad Residence Permit Takes 

[June 2024 update: The Ministry of Migration is now taking so long to review applications for this permit that by the time you receive your approval, your permit may be expired already and you immediately have to apply to renew. Here’s what they just told one applicant in June 2024:

“Good morning, in the category of Digital Nomads currently are examined applications that were submitted in November-December of 2022. There is a possibility that the permit will be issued expired but with the decision you will be able to apply for a renewal.”

If you find this a little insane, you are correct, and welcome to Greece!

The clock for the permit starts when you apply, so you are essentially stuck in Greece for more than two years. There are worse places to be stuck, but this is one of the many areas where Greek bureaucracy needs to get its shit together.]

The amount of time it will take the Ministry to process your application, create your permit (which is your Greek ID card), and allow you to make an appointment to pick it up varies significantly. It depends on how many other applications are in at the same time, any upcoming holidays (most people in Greece don’t work in some or most of August, for example), and how fast they decide they want to move. 

A friend and I applied at the same time in mid-May 2022 for the permit with the same lawyer. It took five months for them to review our applications, and his was approved at that point while mine was sent back with a request for additional documents.

It’s easier for them to approve remote employees of a company with a steady paycheck than a freelancer with varying income, even though mine is always well over the minimum threshold. That’s what led them to request extra documents from me and not my friend.

So my lawyer and I sent them the additional bank statements they requested right away, and waited to hear (again) for two more months. My lawyer had to contact the Ministry to get my application expedited because I had upcoming travel to Croatia planned for the holidays which I had booked months earlier. Finally, after 7.5 months, we got word it was approved! 

Solo female traveler at the Porch of the Caryatids at the Acropolis in Athens
Looking into my bright future as a Greek resident!

But you’re not done just yet. Once your ID has been made (which took about two weeks in my case), you need to make an appointment to pick it up from the Ministry. They’re apparently quite busy now, so that won’t happen until about 4-5 weeks after the ID is ready either. My lawyer also had to ask someone at the Ministry to expedite that as well so I could go to Croatia. 

But finally, after eight months and a whole lot of stress, I have my Greek digital nomad residence permit! 

The permit is good for two years, but they start that two year clock when you submit your application, not when you receive your approved permit. Mine expired in May of 2024.  

[June 2024 update: the Ministry of Migration no longer allows you to renew the digital nomad permit – eek! They are switching us to the Financially Independent Person permit, which is intended for retired people with pensions, not active workers, and it’s not clear how all of this will work out, but I’ll keep this updated.]

Theoretically, after five years living in Greece you qualify for permanent residency, and after seven years you qualify for citizenship. It’s not guaranteed because the permit is so new that we’re a few years away from seeing if that actually happens. But if you love Greece and want to live here long-term, it’s a great option to have for the future. 

Greece Digital Nomad Tax Requirements 

This was also much more challenging to figure out than I anticipated. I still don’t have definite answers after two years with this permit.

Greece has a highly promoted tax break for digital nomads who relocate their business to Greece—you are only taxed on 50% of your income for seven years. You don’t get this automatically, you must apply and be approved for it and then it begins the following tax year. 

So I figured this must apply to the nomad permit holders, right?

Well, under the permit terms you can’t establish a business in Greece, so you don’t qualify for the break. But it also seems that, at least for Americans like me who don’t pay US taxes because of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, that we also don’t have a way to be taxed in Greece. 

(Note: again, I am not a lawyer or an accountant or an expert!) I’m still digging into the tax issue, but it appears even the Ministry of Migration does not know what taxes we’re supposed to pay on this permit. This is pretty wild, but honestly if you’ve spent enough time in Greece it’s also not surprising.

I’ll update this post when I find out more. [June 2024 update: yep, still no definite answers! welcome to Greece haha]

My Experience with the Greece Nomad Visa

A glass of rose wine at a rooftop car Couleur Locale in Athens Greece

Overall, I’m delighted that Greece has introduced a digital nomad visa and residence permit. I’d recommend applying for the visa if you have a Greek consulate near you and don’t mind being in your home country to apply, and if you want to test out Greece for a year and see how you like it. 

If you know you want to stay in Greece for at least two years and don’t want to return home to apply, I’d definitely recommend applying for the residence permit while you’re in Greece. The requirements are fewer and you can simply keep renewing it. 

However, like digital nomad visas in many countries, these aren’t great for actual digital nomads. I’ve given up the digital nomad life and want a stable base, so this was great for me. But they don’t allow you a ton of freedom to move around or ease of applying for someone who doesn’t have connections or know the language. 

When I was considering applying, I couldn’t even figure out how to apply or even where to ask for help! And I’ve gotten so many questions on Facebook about how to apply so it’s not just me. 

Plus, I adore Greece but being stuck here for eight months while my application processed was very frustrating. You can only leave for six months of the year as well, which again is fine for me, but for actual nomads, it’s restrictive. 

How to Apply for the Greek Digital Nomad Visa and Residence Permit 

To apply for the one-year digital nomad visa, you must apply at a Greek consulate in your home country or the country where you reside. Contact them directly to ask about the process and they should (hopefully) be helpful, although some of them are ill-informed or sometimes downright hostile. 

To apply for the digital nomad residence permit when you’re already in Greece, you can contact the Ministry of Migration directly at Info.rp@migration.gov.gr or call +30 213-162-9027. Apparently they are pretty helpful as well if you can get them to respond to you (which doesn’t happen often, but it does happen!). 

You can also work with a lawyer—it’s not required but it was certainly great for me since it made everything move faster. I’d recommend my lawyer, Jacob Manolas, because he’s successfully done applications for this permit many times and is great to work with. You can contact him at jacobmanolas@gmail.com

If you do decide to apply for either the residence permit or visa, good luck! Greece is an incredibly beautiful and welcoming country, and one I’m delighted to call home for the foreseeable future. 

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26 thoughts on “How I Got the Greece Digital Nomad Visa (and How You Can Too)”

  1. Hi Kathleen

    Were you able to figure out the tax situation? Every immigration firm website promotes the Digital Nomad Visa in relation to the 50% tax break, so if it actually doesn’t work that is a problem.

    I am in a similar situation as you because I am also self employed rather than a remote worker. I am caught between relocating to Greece or Bulgaria. I like both places. Bulgaria has the much more inviting tax situation, but a more bothersome visa situation for someone relocating there who isn’t from the EU. However, with the 7 years of 50% tax reduction in Greece, in addition to the other benefits of the country, I would choose Greece. But if we can’t actually qualify for that, it would heavily away my decision.
    Any further info on this would be really appreciated!

    All the best,
    Kevin

    Reply
    • Hi Kevin! I haven’t gotten any additional information about the tax situation, unfortunately – as I noted in the post, we don’t qualify for the tax break because Greece can’t figure out how to tax us at all, so currently I don’t pay taxes here. I do think they’ll figure it out at some point, but they’re certainly taking their time!

      Reply
  2. Hello Kathleen,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience here because there’s really not a lot of straightforward information online and so I appreciate you sharing your experience here on your blog!
    My boyfriend and I would like to apply for this particular visa and he is a remote worker,I would be joining him as a dependent however we are not yet legally married and I am wondering wether that would hinder us getting this visa?

    Reply
  3. I’m from LA and lived in Athens for over a year in 2020! If you need tips let me know 🙂 love Athens so much and have great travel tips for ya! x

    Reply
  4. Hi Kathleen! Love reading your blog post. Wondering if you may have found out or heard differently then I did today. I asked the Greek Consulate in Florida about applying for the 1 yr DNV, and then I asked if it was the same process and documents required for the 2 yr DN residency permit because I had seen an update somewhere that starting JAN 1, 2024, we could not apply for the DNV in Greece anymore. I was unsure if that meant both programs or just the 1year visa so I asked. They replied, “please note that you cannot apply directly for a residency permit as a digital nomad from the US. You must obtain the digital nomad visa first.” My backup plan if I had trouble with timing everything for the move, was to just fly into Greece on my tourist visa and then apply for the 2 year permit like you did. Now I’m unsure if I’m permitted to do this or not. The closest Greek Consulate is a 4 hr drive away for me, and I don’t mind doing the DNV there for just 75 +150 euros but thought it would be nice to not have to apply again so soon, in 1 year, rather than 22 months ish.

    Reply
    • Hi Thai! Your question is a good one, it does seem that the Ministry of Migration now won’t allow people to apply from within Greece for the residence permit (which is a bummer!). The visa hasn’t changed, you always needed to apply for that at a consulate wherever you live, and you also can’t apply for the residence permit without getting the visa first. Hope this helps, even though that drive to the consulate is a pain I do think they move faster!

      Reply
      • oh man, that DOES suck, if I can’t apply for the res permit once I get to Greece, without the visa first. Because then I also found out lol, the Tampa, FL consulate won’t let me apply there unless i have a FL DL, and complicated but i moved around a bit this past year and don’t hold a FL DL, was going to leave the US by summer and didn’t feel a need to switch to FL. sigh. lol. now I might have to suffer the 2-3 hr FL DMV visit for a DL AND drive the 4 hours to Tampa.

        Reply
      • Per my lawyer they are still accepting applications in Greece because the local offices have not been given clear instructions on the new regulations. I have friends that have had their applications accepted (in Greece, in Athens) and I am working with a lawyer that has multiple applications in process now. BUT – they could decide at any time how to apply the new rule and from that point you may only be able to do it at the embassy of your resident country.

        Reply
  5. Also, one more note I forgot. Thank you for posting the link for the online application. There was one other statement they wrote to me, which I think could imply, that I would not be able to apply for the 2 yr RP here in Florida, but it isn’t clear if I can do what you did, but I will be emailing the Ministry of Migration: “For any fee related to the residency permit you should contact directly the authorities in Greece (Ministry of Migration and Asylum, Residency Permits Directorate : dir.rp@migration.gov.gr). The Consulate in not involved in this process. “

    Reply
  6. Hi Kathleen,

    Thanks for this post! I do have one question.

    Did you need to have any visa at all in order to apply for the residence permit? Hypothetically speaking, if someone were to go to Greece within the Schengen days without a visa, and then apply for a residence permit, would that hypothetically work?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  7. Do you know how long the “travel insurance” needs to be if you apply at the consulate in the USA? Does it need to cover the whole year? My understanding is after you are in Greece when you apply for the residency permit you will need to apply for a greek insurance company… is this correct?

    Also is the digital nomad visa a pathway to permanent residency and citizneship?

    Reply
    • Hi Shawna! I’m not sure how long the insurance needs to be for with the visa, the consulate should be able to tell you. And yes if you apply in Greece for the residence permit, you need to use a Greek company but it’s cheap and easy (like 75 euros for a year).

      Theoretically, the visa is a pathway to permanent residency (after 5 years) and citizenship (after 7-12 years)! But it’s still pretty new so that can always change. Hope that’s helpful! You can email me with further questions: kathleenodonnell7 at gmail dot com 🙂

      Reply
    • Hi, it was pretty basic! They just asked my lawyer about some things related to my income (that I had, of course, already given them lol) and then I was approved. Hope that’s helpful!

      Reply
  8. Hi Kathleen, we applied last August for the 2 year residence permit, we got the successful submittal and ok and we’re waiting for the fingerprint appt. It’s been 7 months with no answer yet.

    Reply
    • Hi, yes I hear they’re incredibly backed up right now unfortunately, I’ve heard it can take up to 14 months or longer to get approved unfortunately. Good luck!

      Reply
  9. Hi Kathleen,

    It seems the rules have changed AGAIN and we can now apply for the permit in Greece. I’m coming up on 30 days left of my Schengen tourist visa. I’ve started the application online, but it asks for a code to show the prepayment (Parabola) but I don’t see anywhere online to submit the payment! I’ve called every single number associated with the ministry of migration and they all tell me the only way to contact them is via that email – I’ve emailed it nearly 20 times and only received one reply, which was the link to the online application. Do you know where to make the pre-payment of 1,000 euros.

    For the accommodations, it’s crazy they want you to sign a year lease without knowing if you’re actually approved to stay in the country. Do you know if a year long airbnb reservation would suffice?

    Additionally, I didn’t see anywhere on the resident permit application that mentions the background check or finger printing, but I couldn’t move along very far in the application without posting the payment code. Do you know if this is required as it is with the visa and at what point?

    Once you apply, is it true you cannot go to any other countries besides your home country, or no just no countries in Schengen? What about layovers on a flight home?

    Do you mind sharing a range of how much the lawyer cost? Totally ok if not, but was just curious. Thanks for your super helpful post!! This is a great resource.

    Reply
    • Hi Tara! Yes apparently you can now apply from within Greece again (it’s so hard to keep up with the rule changes!) but that does come with some pros and cons. You will need at least a 6 month lease registered in the TaxisNet system, so an Airbnb will not be enough. Also you’ll need a Greek tax ID to get into that system, so that’s a must (an accountant can get it for you in a few days). To pay the Parabola, I’m not sure how to do that without a Greek bank account but an accountant could probably help you, or someone at your local KEP which is the citizen’s service center. The Ministry is so unresponsive sometimes sigh. And you don’t need a background or fingerprinting when you apply from within Greece! My lawyer is about 400 euros which is a good price comparatively. Hope this was helpful!

      Reply
  10. Hi Kathleen,
    Thanks so much for sharing! Can you please tell me what you know about how the DN Visa can be used for permanent residency/citizenship? I asked a lawyer online and he said no but I am not sure why. Is this because this nomad permit is no longer being renewed as you mentioned in a 2024 note in this article? Is there another reason?

    Thanks!
    Marianna

    Reply
    • Hi! I need to update the post again bc I got more info from my lawyer, but basically yes. Now instead of renewing the DN permit, they are switching us to the FIP permit (same income requirements). And after 5 years, that one definitely is eligible for permanent residency and then citizenship! Hope that helps.

      Reply

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