Work Permits for Non-EU Citizens
Find out if you need a work permit if you are from a non-EU country and would like to work in Greece...
Residence/work permits for non-EEA nationals are very difficult to obtain for those who are not of Greek origin or not married to a Greek. Once separate permits, the residence permit and the work permit are now all-in-one, meaning residence permits can include the right to work. It is not possible for a non-EU national to obtain a stand-alone work permit; the permission to work is included in the residence permit.
Work permits in Greece are employer-specific (although there can be exceptions), occupation-specific, and location-specific, and are normally valid for one year. Greece also links residence status for non-EU nationals to continuous employment.
A worker from a non-EU country must first obtain a visa to enter Greece and then apply for the residence/work permit once in Greece.
A visa (National; Type D) for work must be obtained for any non-EU national planning to stay in Greece for more than 90 days and work. This visa must be obtained before arriving in Greece, from the Greek Embassy or Consular Section in the applicant's country of residence.
It is suggested to contact the Greek Embassy or Consular Section for exact documentation requirements. Documents generally required include:
- Valid passport
- Employment contract
- Proof of adequate medical insurance coverage while in Greece
- Criminal background check from the police station nearest the applicant's residence
Note: A National visa for work will only be granted if an employer in Greece has already offered the applicant a job or if the applicant is being transferred from a company in their country of residence to a Greek branch. Prior to offering a non-EU national a position, a potential employer must prove to the Greek Office of Manpower (OAED) that a Greek national or EU national was not able to fill the position first, and the employer may be asked to provide a monetary deposit. The employer is also required to meet minimum business profit requirements.
Some non-EU nationals hoping to work in Greece enter the country on a tourist (or Schengen) visa to look for an employer willing to offer them a job. If this is accomplished, they must return to their country of residence prior to the expiration of the tourist visa to apply for a work visa.
Obtaining a work permit
Within 30 days of arrival in Greece, the visa holder must apply in person for a residence/work permit at the local municipal office (Δημαρχείο / Dimarchio). In some areas, application may be made at the police station. There are numerous types of residence permit available, depending on the applicant's circumstances (self-employed, consultant, employee, executive). Validity periods range from one to five years.
It is suggested to file the application as soon as possible after arrival, as the process can be lengthy.
Note: If the visa expires before the application for the residence/work permit is submitted, the applicant will be required to return to their country of residence and begin the process again.
Individuals caught working without a work permit, or those having overstayed their visa, will be subject to fines and possible incarceration.
How to apply for a residence/work permit
Prior to applying for a residence permit, applicants must obtain a tax number (Arithmo Forologiko Mitro - AFM) from the local tax office (Eforia), as well as a social security number from the Social Security Institute (Αριθμός Μητρώου Κοινωνικής Ασφάλισης- AMKA). It may be possible to obtain an AMKA number from the nearest IKA office (Social Insurance Institute) or Citizens Service Office (KEP).
Tel: 11 131
At: Odos Agiou Konstantinou 8, Athens
Tel: 215 200 555 / 64 / 184
Multi-lingual helpline Tel: 1564
To find a KEP office: Click here
Application forms for residence permits should be obtained at, and submitted to, the local municipal office (Δημαρχείο/ Dimarchio) or prefecture (nomarxeia). It may be possible to obtain an application form at a KEP. Applications must be submitted, in Greek, either in person or by a certified lawyer granted power of attorney.
The following documentation is required to obtain a residence permit:
- Passport plus photocopies
- At least two passport photographs
- Certificate of medical insurance
- Health Certificate from a state hospital (declaration that the applicant does not have any serious communicable diseases)
- Proof of local address (title deed or rental contract)
- Proof of ability to support oneself - job or resources
- Proof of payment of the required fee to the national tax office (Eforia)
Construction workers, nurses and domestic workers, as well as those who work in agriculture insured by social security but who have more than one employer, do not have to submit a work contract in order to apply for the issuance (or renewal) of a residence permit.
It is suggested to bring multiple photocopies of all documents. Two passport photos are officially required, but many applicants have had to present four.
- An English-language translation of the residence permit application form is available at Living, Working, Musing & Misadventures in Greece: Click here
Once the application has been submitted, the applicant will receive a blue form (bebaiosi) as receipt that the application is being processed. The applicant may begin working at this time. Notification that the residence permit is approved and ready for pick up will not be sent; the applicant is responsible for following up to obtain the residence permit. The permit will be in the form of a sticker which is placed in the passport.
Executives transferred to Greece can generally expect to receive their residence/work permit within approximately one month. Other applicants can expect to wait longer, usually up to six to twelve months.
It may be possible to change employers, within the same industry, after one year of continuous employment. It is suggested to contact the IKA for further information.
Renewing a residence permit
At least 60 days before the residence/work permit is to expire, an application must be submitted for renewal to the local municipal office (Δημαρχείο / Dimarchio) or prefecture (nomarxeia).
Documents required for renewal include:
- A valid passport
- A photocopy of all pages in the passport
- A certified copy of the original residence/work permit
- A completed application form (in Greek)
- Additional documents will be required, depending on the type of permit being renewed