+44 7393 450837
advice@adamfayed.com
Follow on

Retiring in Greece in 2022

Retiring in Greece in 2022.

If you are looking to invest as an expat or high-net-worth individual, which is what I specialize in, you can email me (advice@adamfayed.com) or use WhatsApp (+44-7393-450-837).

Introduction

Say, you ponder about retiring in Greece since perhaps you want to spend the rest of your life in reflection, finally taking the time to slow down and search for meaning. What could be better than being where philosophers who had much influence on our understanding of the world came from, yeah?

Okay, maybe you’ve just fallen in love with the European country’s architecture and the island of Santorini, or was just totally captivated by the setting of the film Mama Mia. That’s cool too. Retiring in Greece would allow you to relish everything this country – often dubbed the cradle of Western civilization – has to offer.

Retiring in Greece: Crime and Safety

If you’re set about retiring in Greece, crime should be the least of your worries as there is very little serious crime in the country. The only issue is the minor crime that occurs on the streets, but you can avoid such as long as you take necessary safety precautions. Although pick-pocketing and bag snatching occur in Greece, especially around tourist attractions and in crowded areas, the country ranked 53rd among the safest countries in the world based on the Global Peace Index report from the Institute for Economics and Peace.

Who Can Retire in Greece?

Retiring in Greece is relatively simple. Greek visas are frequently simple to acquire because of the country’s thriving tourism industry. The procedure could be a little more intricate in some circumstances, though.

Entry Visa for EU Citizens

You don’t need a visa for retiring in Greece if you’re a citizen of the EU, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland. If you want to enter the country, all you have to do is show your passport or identification card.

Additionally, you should apply for a Tax Identification Number to streamline certain procedures if you want to stay in Greece for an extended period of time.

Entry Visa for Non-EU Citizens

The “D” type visa, which has a validity of three months, is required for non-EU nationals retiring in Greece. Visit the Greek consulate in your nation to obtain an entry visa, and make sure you bring the following requirements:

  • A passport that will be valid for a minimum of three months following the visa expiration
  • A biometric passport image
  • The application form, completed in either Greek or English
  • A medical certificate completed by a qualified doctor
  • Evidence of health insurance valid in Greece
  • A section from the penal register issued by your home nation or present residence

You should physically visit the Greek consulate so that you can be interviewed by the authorities. During your appointment, they will also collect biometric data from you. Do not forget that these visas are only good for 90 days.

Entry Visa for US Citizens

The duration of a US citizen’s stay in Greece is limited to 90 days without a visa or permit. A visa is required for entry if your stay in Greece is longer than 90 days.

retiring in greece flag
Greek flags

Retiring in Greece: Residence Permits

It will take some time to apply for a resident permit in Greece. While residing in the nation, you must submit an application for a permit. That means, as we previously indicated, you must first obtain an entry visa if you are a non-EU citizen.

The required documents for a residency permit are as follows:

  • Passport
  • Proof showing that you have ongoing coverage for medical expenses in Greece
  • Evidence of a steady income of at least 2,000 euros per month or a minimum of 24,000 euros in a bank

The Greece Golden Visa Program is a popular and practical method for non-EU nationals to obtain permanent residency in Greece.

Retiring in Greece: The Golden Visa

The residence by investment scheme known as the “Greece Golden Visa” was rolled out in 2013. This is a great option if you’re retiring in Greece because the program will grant you permanent residency in the country via a financial investment in the Greek real estate market.

Because this program requires the least amount of investment of any Golden Visa scheme, it has garnered a lot of support from retirees and investors. A minimal fee of 250,000 euros will allow you to settle permanently in Greece.

You are granted immediate permanent residency good for five years in Greece when you subscribe to this program. For as long as you keep the investment, you can renew this authorization every five years. The best feature of this scheme is enabling you to apply for citizenship after seven years of residing in the country.

Nevertheless, you will be required to stay in Greece for a minimum of 183 days in a year, and you will have to pass a citizenship exam.

There are several methods to be eligible for this program, including:

  • Acquisition of real estate worth 250,000 euros, located anywhere in Greece
  • Acquiring more than one piece of Greek real estate as long as the total price is at least 250,000 euros
  • Timeshare or lease for at least 10 years in a hotel or other furnished tourist lodging
  • The ownership of real estate valued at 250,000 euros through a legal entity, provided that you are the only owner of that entity.

As long as each investor contributes a minimum of 250,000 euros, numerous investors are also permitted to pool their funds.

The permit can be obtained in 40–60 days, making this the quickest method of obtaining permanent residency for when you’re retiring in Greece.

The Golden Visa scheme provides many advantages, such as reuniting families and visa-free travel in the Schengen region.

This benefit is popular among retirees who wish to relocate to Greece with their families. Within just two months, you and your family can apply to live permanently in Greece. Your spouse and children who are under 18 years old are considered family members. You can include your children in the program if they are more than 18 years old, enrolled in school full-time, and are still completely reliant on you.

You are also permitted to freely travel throughout the Schengen zone if you have a Greece Golden Visa. Imagine taking a weekend trip to Paris and then making a detour in Austria to attend an opera on your way back to your new home in Greece.

Retiring in Greece: Taxes

In a bid to attract high net worth individuals who consider retiring in Greece, the government in 2020 introduced a new tax initiative imposing a 7% flat tax rate for those who move their tax residence to the country. 

Eligibility

The following requirements must be met to be eligible for the Greek foreign pensioners’ scheme:

  • Receive pension payments from abroad
  • Change your country of taxation to Greece, which requires you to spend more time there (more than 183 days) than anywhere else
  • Not having been considered a tax resident in Greece for five out of the previous 6 years before shifting your tax residence in the country
  • Moving from a nation with which Greece has an active tax administrative cooperation deal or double taxation avoidance pact
  • Application for the Greek Foreign Pensioners’ Scheme
  • The following are the essentials for applying to the Greek pension program for foreigners:
  • Lodge an application for the program by March 31 of the applicable tax year. Applications received after this date will be taken into consideration for the subsequent tax year.
  • The Greek tax authorities have 60 days to decide whether to approve or deny the application.
  • Any document produced by a foreign social security institution may be used as evidence of overseas pension income.
  • The Athens Tax Office for Foreign Tax Residents and Alternative Tax Regimes for Greek Tax Residents is the appropriate tax body to receive and make decisions about such applications.
  • There is no need to transport the application to Greece because it can be submitted electronically or on paper.

How the Pension is Taxed

The following taxes will be applied to pensions under the Greek foreign pensioners’ scheme:

  • A flat rate of 7% per year on pensions and withdrawals from private non-Greek pension plans
  • A flat rate of 7% per year for foreign income – dividends, interest, capital gains
  • If tax is paid at source, tax credits and deductions for international double taxation will be applied against the stated 7%
  • The applicant will be subject to the general tax laws, which impose a progressive rate of up to 44% on all income having a Greek source
  • The program has a maximum duration of 15 years, which is longer than those in Portugal or Italy
  • Where appropriate, successful applicants are not free from inheritance tax or Greek gift tax for movable property located overseas
  • It should be emphasized that the conclusion of a person’s application does not alter the tax resident status of his or her family members, who are assessed separately. Therefore, the law does not provide for the possibility of also applying the aforementioned alternative tax regime to the applicant’s relatives.

Taxpayer Identification Number

You need the taxpayer identification number, or AFM, to set up utilities, create a bank account, and enjoy the benefits of the flat-rate pension of 7% when retiring in Greece.

It’s really easy to apply for this number. Simply fill out an M1 form when you go to the local tax office. Remember to carry your passport with you, as well as a bank statement or proof of address as they may occasionally be needed by the local tax office.

retiring in greece food
Taramasalata (fish roe dip)

Retiring in Greece: Healthcare

Greece’s healthcare system is very advanced, which is great for retirees. Both citizens and residents of Greece have access to public healthcare either for free or a low cost.

The unified healthcare system in Greece, known as the EFKA, offers free medical care to all citizens and residents.

Public Healthcare

The public healthcare system, called ESY, is open to EU citizens, foreigners, and jobless people. If you’re retiring in Greece, you’ll have access to ESY once you secure your residency permit. This system is unique in that you can schedule an appointment with a specialist without a referral. Unfortunately, waiting lists to see specialists are usually long.

There are employees who speak English at most of Athens’ public health facilities. In smaller towns or islands, though, they are more difficult to come by.

Some of the services provided by the public healthcare system are as follows:

  • Infectious diseases control
  • Health promotion
  • General and specialist care
  • Hospitalization
  • Laboratory services
  • Low-priced drugs
  • Maternity care

Private Healthcare

If you’re retiring in Greece, we advise you to research private healthcare. Better facilities are available for private healthcare and the staff in private hospitals are also more likely to speak English than for public.

In addition, a few private hospitals collaborate with some hospitals in the US and internationally. As a result, your present health insurance company could be able to expand your current policy to include coverage for you in Greece.

Greeks and expats prefer private health insurance because it provides better services with faster wait times. You can also opt for an all-inclusive plan or one that complements the government-run healthcare system.

Private Health Insurance Coverage

  • Treatment in cutting-edge hospitals in Greece
  • Advanced dental care
  • Cosmetic procedures
  • Charges for seeing a specialist

AXA PPP Healthcare, BUPA International, Exeter Friendly Society, and International Health Insurance are some of the international health insurance providers that can provide coverage for when you’re retiring in Greece.

Retiring in Greece: Cost of Living

Of course, where you live and your way of life have an impact on how much retiring in Greece costs. For instance, fuel and other necessities are more expensive on the islands than on the mainland. In addition, compared to cities, the countryside is substantially less expensive.

The Mediterranean diet is very high in cheese, olives, and other locally produced foods. Recent research demonstrates that this diet lowers the risk of diabetes and heart disease while also promoting longevity. Greece is renowned for its excellent locally grown food, which is also reasonably priced.

A meal at an inexpensive restaurant in Greece is estimated to cost 11 euros while a mid-range restaurant can charge 40 euros for a three-course meal for two (as of the time of writing), according to global cost of living data aggregator Numbeo.

If you’re retiring in Greece, you might either want to rent or buy a property. Worry not, you’ll have a wide selection to pick from.

The cost per square meter for buying an apartment within the city center is at 1,989.5 euros ($2,041.7), while that outside of the area is at 1,706 euros. For comparison, acquiring an apartment in the US’ city center costs more than twice as much at $4,512.5 on average per square meter.

Rent for one-bedroom apartments inside and outside Greece’s city center cost 393 euros ($403.32) and 325 euros on average per month, respectively. Rent prices in the country’s city center are way cheaper than in the US, which cost $1,665 on average per month.     

For utilities such as electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage, expect to pay an average of 184 euros per month. These vary according to the size of your home, how much you use them, the time of year, and other factors. Meanwhile, the cost of the internet is about 32 euros per month.

The overall monthly cost of living in Greece for one person can hit 666.5 euros on average, while it can cost about 2,282 euros for a family of four, both excluding rent.

Retiring in Greece: Transportation

The public transportation system in Greece is first-rate and reasonably priced. Most cities have city buses, and Athens has a metro system.

It is possible to want to own a car when retiring in Greece, in which you must obtain automobile insurance for. 

Retiring in Greece: Banking

Having a bank account in the nation where you currently reside is always a good idea. Thankfully, Greece has a simple procedure. Taking your passport and taxpayer identification number to the bank is all that is necessary. We advise examining the particular bank you wish to open an account with since some may have different requirements.

You can choose from a wide variety of banks, such as Eurobank, when retiring in Greece. The company’s website is really easy to use, and it offers top-notch customer assistance in English. Furthermore, using electronic banking makes paying bills very simple.

The National Bank of Greece is another bank that expats favor. This bank provides a virtual prepaid card that can be useful, especially for online shopping. Piraeus Bank and Alpha Bank are some of the other banks in Greece.

Retiring in Greece: Best Places

Wherever you go in Greece, there are crowds wanting to live the Greek way of life, which is a huge turn off if you long for some peace and quiet. Well try to stay away from the city of Athens (Greece’s capital) as it is very busy due to being a locus for tourists.

Below is a list of some of the best places to consider when retiring in Greece:

Chryso

Chryso is very astonishing. It is located at the base of Mount Parnassus, has a population of a little over 700, and is about a 2.5-hour journey from Athens. You can get lost in nature in this Greek village because the community is surrounded by olive groves. It’s a real nice place to consider for retiring in Greece.

There are old stone cathedrals as well, which will completely immerse you in the past. Furthermore, the UNESCO-listed monuments at Delphi are just three kilometers away.

Polydrosos

This is another village located on Parnassus’s slopes, about a two-hour drive from the capital. Polydrosos is close to the famous Byzantine monument, the temple of Paleopanagia.

Another settlement on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, Polydrosos is around two hours from the capital. The village lies close to the Paleopanagia Temple, a well-known Byzantine structure.

Through a sizable national park outside the city, you can walk for two hours to reach the settlement of Arahova. The ancient city was bathed in history, and the residents are quite kind, frequently providing Greek food and coffee to expats. A stunning ski resort is also close by and can be reached in about 30 minutes by car.

Note that if you crave calm and quiet when retiring in Greece, Polydrosos is the ideal location for you as it only has about 1,000 residents.

Kyriaki

About two hours’ drive from Athens, Kyriaki is situated on the western side of Mount Helicon. The village has a particularly gorgeous setting and is a mere seven kilometers distant from the Corinthian Gulf.

The Church of St. John the Baptist in the village’s center square, Arvanica Park, and the former chapel of Agios Nikolaos are just a few of the attractions that may be found by just strolling around.

Goura

Only a 2.5-hour drive from Athens, this breathtakingly lovely community is situated at the base of Mount Kyllini or Mount Cyllene. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a Greek book from the 19th century when you first set foot inside it. If you love old feels when retiring in Greece, this location is a great contender.

Locals enjoy hiking on Kyllini’s hills, which are studded with fir trees. Doxa Lake is also accessible through a two-hour climb, and it may be the cleanest lake you’ve ever seen.

The St. George monastery is without a doubt this village’s outstanding feature. The monks provide tourists with treats made from pink petals, and the scenery is simply breathtaking.

retiring in greece lake doxa
Lake Doxa

Steni Dirfyos

The village of Steni Dirfyos is situated in the slopes of mount Dirfys. In less than two hours, you may travel to the village by car from Athens, crossing two enormous and exquisitely constructed bridges.

The cycling paths that wind through the picturesque woodlands are what make this community unique. This location is unquestionably worth taking into account if you want to engage in picnics, mountain climbing, hiking, biking, or any related activities when retiring in Greece.

You can also drive about 40 minutes to Chiliadou beach, where many people spend sunny days and swim in the pristine waters.

Chiliadou beach, where many people spend sunny days and swim in the crystal-clear waters, is also accessible through a short 40-minute trip from here.

Santorini

Greece’s most well-known island, Santorini, is also the most popular with tourists in the summer. Moving from the other side of the world and retiring in Greece is worth it for the island’s unmatched natural beauty and enchanting scenery. The fact that life on the island is simple and worry-free is one of the factors contributing to Santorini’s popularity as a travel destination. Santorini has everything you might want, despite the fact that it could be a bit pricey.

Corfu

Greece’s northwest coast is home to the stunning island of Corfu, which is encircled by mountains and has a seashore lined with resorts. When retiring in Greece, it is the ideal location for those who want to disconnect from the world and lead peaceful, relaxed lives. The island is home to stunning greenery, picture-perfect white-sand beaches, historic sites, and a fantastic food culture.

In addition to the relaxed way of life, Corfu offers a wide range of outdoor pursuits, including hiking, swimming, diving, boat tours of the island, snorkeling, sailing, and more.

Athens

Athens, which is called the heart of Ancient Greece, is a fantastic choice for expats who consider retiring in Greece. The Greek capital offers excellent life quality yet relatively affordable living prices. There is so much to see and do in Athens that you will feel as though you do not have enough time. It is a bustling but safe city that holds history and culture close to its heart.

Rhodes

Spend your golden years in Greece’s sunniest region, surrounded by comfortable temperatures and bright sunshine. Rhodes is a sizable island with the perfect climate for an enjoyable retirement. The island is well-known for its thriving nightlife, clubs, and cafes as well as its stunning scenery and upscale cuisine. Rhodes features a wide range of attractions that you may check out and explore, as well as a wide range of activities for all ages.

Crete

The pristine beaches are perfect for swimming and relaxing while tanning and enjoying a glass of wine.

Crete is an excellent alternative for retiring in Greece because of its pleasant climate, immaculate beaches, stunning scenery, and hiking trails. Crete is the biggest island in Greece that is distinguished by a distinctive history and culture. Thousands of visitors come to the island each year because it is a top tourist destination.

You can pamper yourself along its immaculate shorelines which are ideal for swimming, lounging, and sipping wine.

Pained by financial indecision? Want to invest with Adam?

smile beige jacket 4 1024x604 2

Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 760.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.

This website is not designed for American resident readers, or for people from any country where buying investments or distributing such information is illegal. This website is not a solicitation to invest, nor tax, legal, financial or investment advice. We only deal with investors who are expats or high-net-worth/self-certified  individuals, on a non-solicitation basis. Not for the retail market.

SUBSCRIBE TO ADAM FAYED JOIN COUNTLESS HIGH NET WORTH SUBSCRIBERS

SUBSCRIBE TO ADAM FAYED JOIN COUNTLESS HIGH NET WORTH SUBSCRIBERS

Gain free access to Adam’s two expat books.

Gain free access to Adam’s two expat books.

Get more strategies every week on how to be more productive with your finances.