Interested in the Greece Digital Nomad visa?
Greece’s Digital Nomad Visa has to be up there in the top five European visas for digital nomads right now.
So, I’m going to walk you through everything you need to know about it, what you need to meet Greece’s digital nomad visa requirements, and how to make it work best for your circumstances.
How do you decide where to make your European digital nomad base, when you can choose from so many countries in Europe?
Besides considering the beaches, food, cost of living, internet speed, and nightlife, it’s vital that you look at the visa requirements. Let’s check it out!
Table Of Contents
- What Is Greece’s New Digital Nomad Visa?
- What Is It?
- Who Is It For?
- What Are The Requirements For Greece’s Remote Worker Visa?
- Schengen Zone Countries
- Short-Stay “C” (Schengen) Visa
- Greece National “D” Visa
- Why Greece?
- Coworking As A Digital Nomad in Greece
- Key Points To Note
- Cost Of Living In Greece
- Cost Of Living
- What To Take Into Account About Living In Greece
- What Are The Pros?
- And What About Cons?
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What Is The Greece Digital Nomad Visa?
The new Digital Nomad law, which was passed by the Greek Parliament in December 2020, enables non-EU digital migrants (self-employed people from outside of the EU) to move to, settle, and work in Greece, also providing them with significant tax incentives.
The Digital Nomad Visa is Greece’s response to the rise in flexible working arrangements and the desire to increase the country’s long-term visitors.
As you can imagine, this could prove incredibly popular with the digital nomad and entrepreneurial communities!
The new visa agreement was created by the Ministers of Migration and Foreign Affairs to support remote workers and “create an organized, attractive environment for people that choose this advanced way of working,” according to Notis Mitarachi, Greece’s Minister for Migration and Asylum.
Alongside this, the City of Athens has recently launched a digital marketing campaign based around the slogan #BetterInAthens, designed to primarily lure northern European remote workers (such as London-based commuters) to its warmer shores!
Tie these projects together and you can see how north European remote workers could be drawn to warmer climes!
If your commute is long and the weather is often wet, what’s not to like about the prospect of long, warm summers, flexible working arrangements, fast internet, and meeting other like-minded travelers?
Who Is The Greece Digital Nomad Visa For?
In initiating this new visa, Greece isn’t aiming to become ‘the new Bali’ .
They are looking to attract long-term migrants, particularly in the entrepreneurial sector, who have big aspirations and who are looking for great weather, low taxes, affordable cost of living, and the opportunity to live in Europe.
Greece’s digital nomad visa will make it easier for those who are not EU passport holders to travel into and remain within the EU for longer than the current 90-day Schengen allowance – great news!
The digital nomad visa could also prove highly attractive to digital migrants from the United Kingdom, following restrictions that are being imposed as post-Brexit laws are being put in place.
Alex Patelis (Chief Economic Advisor to the Greek Prime Minister) has reported that Greece is keen to “get a share of that pie”.
Schengen restrictions following Brexit now mean that British passport holders are required to follow Schengen rules about the length of time they can spend in the Schengen area before needing to leave – a huge change for British citizens.
This digital nomad visa in Greece could be a viable long-term route into Europe for remote workers and digital nomads from the UK.
What Are The Requirements For Greece’s Remote Worker Visa?
Greece’s Digital Nomad Visa will be open to anybody from a country that has a tax treaty with Greece, which would include countries such as the UK, US, and Canada. It’s a huge opportunity for those citizens whose passports do not allow them to travel freely and work within the EU’s borders.
The application process is open to both employed (remote workers) and self-employed individuals, providing they haven’t been tax residents in Greece during the past seven years.
At present, the Greece Digital Nomad Visa is in its infancy and nomads are reporting slow processing of early applications.
So what are your options right now, if you want to move to Greece and work remotely?
It can be difficult to obtain a visa that allows you to work in Greece if you are a non-EEA (European Economic Area) national. So it’s definitely worth knowing what other options are available for you:
- Schengen Zone Countries
It is key to understand that if you live in a European country that is within the Schengen area, you do not require a visa to visit Greece. This covers citizens of 26 European countries.
You may however need a visa to live and work in Greece for an extended period of time (see information below), so please make sure to check your country’s visa agreements.
- Short-Stay “C” (Schengen) Visa
The most commonly sought-after visa for work and residence in Greece at the moment is the Greece Schengen Visa.
The Schengen Visa Info website is an invaluable source of information, resources, and advice when it comes to applying for visas in Europe.
This visa is effectively a short-stay visa for people travelling to Greece from non-Schengen countries and allows the recipient to remain in Greece (or any Schengen country) for 90 days out of a 180 day period, whether consecutive or otherwise.
- Greece National “D” Visa
This is an excellent visa for those individuals whose countries are not part of the Schengen zone, and who want to live and/or work for longer than the 90-day allowance under a Schengen Visa.
As a non-EU resident, this is the visa you will need to apply for in order to enter and work in Greece. At present, being a digital nomad (not working for a physical company), will not exclude you from needing a work visa.
You need to apply for the Greek ‘D’ visa in your country of residence BEFORE you travel to Greece.
On your arrival in Greece, you will then need to apply for a residence/work visa as soon as possible. Greece has a range of permits available depending on your job and circumstances. These visas usually last up to 1 year depending on the individual visa.
As mentioned above, the “D” Visa also affords you the opportunity to apply for residence once you have arrived in Greece. It is not possible to get a visa that is only work-related.
A great guide to Greece’s working and residence visas can be found here.
Home to incredible ancient monuments, thousands of years of history, fantastic food, friendly people, and a warm temperate climate that (apart from the north of the country) would suit most people’s weather requirements all year round.
There are so many reasons that Greece is a dream destination for thousands of people every year.
The country is mountainous, covered in woodland, and has miles of fabulous sandy beaches. What’s not to like!
You can take a ferry between the mainland and your island of choice, or island-hop for a while in between jobs. Swim in the turquoise waters and enjoy exploring its stunning coastline.
Base yourself in Athens, Halkidiki, or Thessaloniki to enjoy the tourist hotspots, beaches, and nightlife.
Or aim for one of the quieter Greek islands as your nomad home. Visiting islands such as Santorini and Crete off-season will mean you get the best of both worlds – quieter paradise islands, but good internet speeds!
Coworking As A Digital Nomad In Greece
Greece already has a thriving and growing digital nomad community that is located throughout the mainland and islands.
- Stone Soup is a well-established coworking space in the centre of Athens that offers both flexible working spaces and office space for rent. Starting at €12/day, it offers excellent value for money in a central location in Greece’s capital city. It’s worth noting that Stone Soup is only open between the hours of 10am-6pm Monday to Friday.
- i4G PRO is a busy digital hub in Thessaloniki offering flexible coworking space starting at 5/day. Open Monday to Friday from 9am-10pm, they offer more flexibility than some spaces who run more limited hours.
- Lefco.work is a smaller coworking hub on the island of Lefkada. Operating from 9am-9pm Monday to Friday, they offer a mixture of regular and stand up desks set up in two larger open plan rooms, plus the option to pre-book a meeting room for private business. Prices start from €10/day.
- Selina Theatrou—Omonia is a new addition to Athens’ coworking culture, with its exciting combination of workspace and accommodation! Another plus for Selina is the choice of hot desk, personal desk, or private office space along with meeting rooms for hire.
The islands will most likely remain inconsistent in their internet provision in the near future, so this would need to be taken into account when choosing a base. However, the major hubs already have well-performing internet and wifi available.
The weather is great with all but the most northern parts of the country maintaining good temperatures throughout the year – winters are mostly mild with hot summers.
One of the advantages of being able to work flexibly in Greece is the ability to take time to travel. Greece is a stunning country, made up of the mainland and a myriad of beautiful islands around the Aegean and Ionian seas. There are around 6,000 islands in total, though only around 227 are inhabited.
Cost Of Living In Greece
The cost of living varies across the country, with the more tourist-centric areas being more costly in terms of accommodation and eating out. However, the general cost of living is lower than in many of Greece’s southern European counterparts.
Remember that May to August is the peak tourist season in Greece, so you’ll pay a premium for all essentials such as accommodation and eating out.
Avoid the high tourist areas and do your own cooking – it all helps you to save money!
Accommodation prices for a 1-2 bedroom apartment in Thessaloniki for example would be anywhere between $350-$725 going into the summer season, if outside of the key tourist spots.
A range of accommodation in Athens in the summer season would come in at around $250+, depending on location, size of the property, and amenities. As in most locations, accommodation such as hostels and shared dorm rooms is significantly cheaper than hotel accommodation.
Greece is at the cheaper end of the food budget scale when compared to neighbouring southern European countries.
But it’s definitely still worth seeking out the budget supermarkets and local farmers markets close to where you’re staying, in order to help you to keep your costs down.
Of course, eating out will increase your spending, so try wherever possible to cook at your accommodation when you are trying to limit your costs.
- 3-course meal for 2 people, mid-range restaurant: €35
- 1 litre regular milk: €1.17
- Fresh, white loaf of bread: €0.85
- 1kg local greek cheese: €7.94
- 1kg apples: €1.53
- 1kg potatoes: €0.82
- McMeal at McDonalds: €6
Greece also has a burgeoning wine industry with successful vineyards on some of its southern islands such as Crete and Santorini.
But take note that soft drinks are not cheap in Greece! Like many of the other countries in Europe, water and wine are relatively cheap, where fizzy drinks can cost half as much again:
- ½ litre draught local beer: €4.00
- 0.33litre imported beer: €4.00
- Mid-range bottle of wine: €6.00
- 0.33 litre Pepsi: €1.66
- 0.33 litre bottled water: €0.50
Despite having a rough time economically over the past decade, Greece’s credit rating has been upgraded recently. It is a country on the rise and is seeking to capitalize on that.
As an entrepreneur or individual business owner potentially bringing your cash and tax revenue into the country, the digital nomad visa Greece could be a significant opportunity for you personally to build your savings, make significant investments, and be part of Greece’s ongoing economic rebuilding strategy.
What To Take Into Account About Living In Greece
What Are The Pros?
People across Europe especially are becoming increasingly keen to implement flexible working, which is now starting to include location as well as working days and hours.
Why not swap your costly (in terms of both time and money) commute for a co-working hub on a stunning Greek beachfront with your business boosted by 5G internet and amazingly low taxation?
With only 50% of your income being considered for tax purposes over your first seven years in the country, that has to be a huge plus for people looking to move their business base to Greece!
The key pros are:
- Amazing weather almost all year round
- Incredibly low taxation with this new Digital Nomad Visa – yes please to the 50% income tax break!
- Relatively low cost of living in comparison to many of Europe’s digital hubs
- A strong currency and economic reliability as part of the European Union’s Single Currency Zone
- Opportunities for long-stay living for citizens of nations that are not often afforded that in Europe (post-Brexit UK or US passport holders)
- Great healthcare services in the larger towns and cities, plus excellent private healthcare options for international citizens
- 5G agreements in place and starting to roll out for the majority of Greek towns and cities, along with some islands
- A rapidly growing network of coworking spaces – check out Coworker for more details
- If green credentials are also on your checklist, Greece is currently making major moves towards renewable energy too.
And What About Cons?
- Geographical pricing differences
The islands can be expensive places to live, especially during the busy tourist season periods. Summer accommodation in the main tourist resorts on Santorini will cost significantly more than say Thessaloniki for example.
- Internet unreliability
In smaller towns and on some of the islands, the internet can be unreliable and slow at present. If a fast and reliable internet connection is essential for your business, you might want to look at settling in a major town or city, such as Athens, Thessaloniki, or Patras.
- Clarity is needed as to the overall tax status
It will be vital that you are able to clarify what the 50% tax break will mean in terms of your overall tax accounting. Offsetting the Greek tax break against your other taxable assets may not be as advantageous as on the first inspection. Professional tax advice is recommended for clarity.
But if those cons don’t put you off, Greece’s digital nomad visa application process might well be worth looking into!
There has never been a better time to look seriously at relocating! Making the move to become a nomad in Greece could be the next (or the first!) step in your digital nomad adventures.
With the advent of Greece’s Digital Nomad Visa, there has never been a better incentive to travel and work from anywhere.
So whether you’re a seasoned traveler, a digital nomad of many years, or someone who has finally begun to see that you really can work from anywhere, now could be the time to look to Greece for your next move.
“Come for the sun, stay for the taxes and technology.” Alex Patelis, Chief Economic Advisor to the Greek Prime Minister.
If I’ve inspired you to look to Greece as your next move, let me know in the comments below!