Work permit for Greece

In the 2020s, Greece is considered an amazing place to work. In the previous decade, this state underwent a large-scale economic crisis but has successfully overcome it. Now, its economy is on the rise. The government actively provides financial support to many sectors and attracts foreign investment. In this article, we'll explain how to get work permit in Greece even if you aren't a resident or citizen of this country. The information that we'll share is valid both for white-collar and blue-collar positions.

Essence of Work Permit

Let's start by explaining the difference between a visa, a work permit and a residence permit:

  • A visa is a document that lets you visit Greece for a specific purpose. The type D visa is the one that enables you to work here. However, it's not enough to get only the visa to get down to work. It only allows you to cross the country's border and stay in its territory for up to 90 days with the purpose of carrying out professional activities.
  • A work permit enables you to stay in the country for a longer period of time (such as half a year or one year) to work. This document can't be used as permission for crossing the country's border from the outside.
  • A residence permit confirms that you can live in Greece for a long period of time. Not all varieties of residence permits include the right to work in this country. For instance, Golden Visa owners can't get employed in Greece — we'll talk about it a bit later. Yet in most cases, it doesn't make sense to talk about the work permit separately from the residence permit. Both are perceived as one entity.

You can't obtain a universal permit that would let you get employed in any random company in Greece. Permits are issued for specific organizations and locations.

Most likely, your family members won't be allowed to relocate to Greece together with you if you have a short-term contract. If you qualify for a long-term residency, your spouse and kids should be able to join you. They will get the right to live, study and work in this Mediterranean country too.

Who Is Eligible

To apply for a work permit, you usually need to prove that you have profile education and work experience. The main exception is non-skilled jobs. Besides, trainees might have a right to work for international companies in Greece with only 6 months of experience.

According to the law, employers need to hire local specialists first. By saying "local" we mean not only Greeks but also professionals from across the EU. Only if they can't find locals with the relevant skills and expertise, companies are allowed to hire expats from outside the EU. They need to prove that there is no other way out and get permission from the authorities to sign a contract with a foreigner.

In the 2010s, many Greeks left their homeland because they struggled to land a job there. They spent a few years working for foreign and international companies, gaining precious knowledge and experience. Now, they're coming back because the economic situation is improving. It's a superb tendency for the nation — and a not-so-positive trend for expats. If you aren't of Greek origin or aren't married to a Greek, it might be challenging for you to get a work permit in this country. However, we don't mean to say that it's impossible.

Greece is a small country and it often lacks experts of the highest level in such spheres as management, technology, medicine, science or telecommunications. These are demanding and well-paid jobs. To get such a position, it's crucial to have an impressive resume.

Another niche is sportsmen and creative talents. If you have outstanding achievements in music, performance arts, restoration of monuments and so on, you might qualify for a work permit.

One of the easiest ways of relocating to Greece to work is by signing a contract as a teacher. There are many foreign schools in the country, including those that stick to a British or American curriculum.

Another option is to be a journalist and join a foreign media that covers life in Greece. It's much more difficult to join a local medium because there are enough Greek talents to choose from.

This state also lacks blue-collar workers to catch fish, extinguish forest fires, work on farms and so on. Such jobs are not too well-paid by the EU standards. But for expats from other parts of the planet, it can be a great opportunity to earn money in rather comfortable conditions.

Around 30% of the country's population is concentrated in Athens. Logically enough, most vacancies for expats come from the capital.

Work Permit Varieties

There are two types of work permits in this Mediterranean state: short-term and long-term ones. Besides, there are two separate subcategories within the short-term category: digital nomads and seasonal workers. Let's have a look at the respective requirements for each type of permit.

Long-Term Permit

The target audience of this type of permit is foreign professionals who:

  • Have been working for an international company that has branches in several countries and have been transferred to the Greek branch
  • Are professional sportsmen
  • Are employed in the sphere of art, culture and entertainment
  • Work as journalists
  • Carry out research
  • Teach in non-Greek schools
  • Have signed a contract with a Greek company that faces a shortage of local specialists

Typically, such a permit remains valid for two years. Then, you can renew it. Repeated renewals might lead to the opportunity to become a Greek resident and then, a citizen. It makes sense to apply for residency only if you're planning to live in Greece permanently.

Sometimes, you might need to leave Greece after spending a specific period of time there — and then, you can come back. For instance, this requirement is valid for people who're transferred to Greek branches of international companies. Usually, they get their initial work permits for 1 year and renew them for 2 years. After that, they have to spend at least half a year away from Greece before coming back if they wish.

Short-Term Permit

This category includes many different types of permits. Each permit is relevant only for a specific occupation and remains relevant for a certain period of time. For example, a sports coach can work in Greece for up to 6 months and a tour guide for up to 8 months. You should be able to confirm your qualification before applying for the permit. The maximum validity period of a short-term work permit is 1 year.

Seasonal Work

Technically, it's short-term work — but it's not identical to the previous category. A work permit of this type remains valid for up to 6 months but not longer. The professional activities that this document refers to are seasonal — for instance, you can help farmers with harvesting. In this case, you might not need to confirm your qualification.

Digital Nomad

A digital nomad is a person who earns enough money outside Greece to sustain themselves in this country without getting employed here. Such a professional can work remotely for an organization registered outside Greece. Alternatively, they can be self-employed and offer their services to clients outside Greece. The main requirement is that they shouldn't get their salaries from Greek companies or benefit from local social securities.

To apply for a digital nomad visa, you should prepare:

  • Statement that explains your intentions to spend some time in Greece without trying to get employed here.
  • Proof of earning enough funds abroad. The minimum required threshold for the main applicant is €3,500 per month. This should be your stable and regular level of income.
  • Details of your professional activities. Self-employed specialists should show agreements or contracts with their clients. If you run a company, provide general information about it and reveal your position in it. If you're working remotely for a foreign organization, show your service agreement or employment contract.

Your family members have the right to apply together with you. If you're planning to relocate to Greece together with your spouse, add 20% to the minimum required monthly income. If you take underage kids with you, add 15% for each son or daughter. Children aged 18 or older can't be added to your application.

Digital nomads are allowed to stay in the country for a maximum of 2 years.

Who Needs a Work Permit for Greece

Anyone who comes to Greece from outside the EU/EEA needs to get a work permit to be allowed to carry out professional activities in this country and earn money.

There are two ways of applying for the permit:

  1. From Greece. First, you get a visa to be allowed to enter this country.
  2. From the Greek consulate or embassy in your homeland or any other state. In this case, you might be able to get your permit before arriving in Greece — so you won't have to get a separate visa.

As you've already understood from the previous passages of this article, there can be too many individual cases. The requirements can differ considerably depending on your nationality, professional experience and the location from where you apply for the permit. Please consult a legal expert before submitting your application.

What Should Professionals from the EU Do

If you come to Greece from another EU country, you don't need any visas or permits to stay here for 90 days. Then, it's necessary to obtain a registration certificate. Please prepare the following documents:

  • Passport or ID
  • 4 passport-style photos
  • Filled-in application form
  • Health insurance
  • Contract from the organization that hires you
  • Proof of having accommodation in Greece

Smart tip: if you don't speak fluent Greek, try to bring a translator with you or a friend who will help you. The local officials are not always good at English.

Normally, the process of issuing the certificate takes just a few hours. As soon as you get this document, you can start working immediately. No extra papers will be required.

There is only one obstacle. Please mind that if you don't speak Greek, your employment opportunities can be limited.

Golden Visa Owners Can't Apply for a Work Permit

Greece grants residency and then citizenship to wealthy expats who can afford to invest the following amounts of money in the following types of assets:

  • €500,000 in properties in the capital and the most popular touristic regions
  • €250,000 in properties in lesser-popular parts of the country
  • €400,000 in local business (or deposit funds in one of the national banks)

Investments in real estate are the easiest and the fastest way. Up to 9 family members can apply together with the investor.

Your Golden Visa will remain valid for 5 years. Then, you can renew it. 7 years after applying for this visa variety, you'll get the right to apply for Greek citizenship together with your family members.

Golden Visa won't allow you or your relatives to work in Greece. The logic is obvious: why should you work in this country if you're rich enough to sustain yourself? You shouldn't even try to get a work permit because your application will be rejected. However, you can legally launch a business in Greece. Now, it seems to be a good moment to do so because the national economy is on the rise and many new businesses qualify for subsidies. From Greece, you can easily export physical goods to three continents. Plus, you can expand to the whole EU market with its developed infrastructure, a large pool of talent and high paying capacity.

Step-by-Step Guide on Obtaining Greece Work Permit

Below, we'll describe the key stages of obtaining a Work Permit Greece Non EU Citizens. Normally, expats are required to submit all the papers in person. If you can't do it for some reason, you may try to ask a legal expert to represent you.

Step 1

Find a job in Greece and sign a contract with an employer. Otherwise, you'd fail to get the relevant visa. You may look for a job yourself on profile websites. Another option is to use the services of an employment agency.

Step 2

Apply for a type D visa in the Greek visa center, consulate or embassy in your homeland. Be ready to submit the following papers:

  • Passport
  • Passport-style photos
  • Contract of employment
  • Medical insurance
  • Proof of having never violated the law

The processing time depends on from where you apply and how many people apply simultaneously with you. You might need to wait from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. In most cases, your visa will be valid for 12 months.

Step 3

As soon as you arrive in Greece, get a tax number and a social security number. To apply for both, it's enough to bring only your passport with you.

Step 4

Now, the time has come to apply for a work permit. It's crucial to do so within 30 days after your arrival to the country. Prepare the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Two passport-style photos
  • Contract with your employer (don't forget to mention your salary)
  • Proof of having never violated the law
  • Proof of having somewhere to live in Greece
  • Proof of having enough funds
  • Medical certificate

Be ready to provide additional papers upon request. You won't need to pay a fee for your permit because your employer will do it (it will cost them around €300).

Step 5

Wait until the authorities review your papers and approve your application. The processing time will depend on your occupation and qualification. Most applicants have to wait up to six to twelve months. For executives, the process tends to be faster and can take as little as one month.

The good news is that you won't have to wait for a year to get down to work. As soon as the authorities accept your documents, they will issue a receipt to you. This will serve as proof of the fact that your application is being processed. Feel free to start working!

Step 6

When your work permit will be ready, you won't receive a notification. It's up to you to monitor the process online and collect the issued document in person. It will be released in the format of a sticker that you'll place in your passport.


To apply for a work permit, it's necessary to prepare the following set of papers:

  • Passport with a valid visa
  • Copies of passport
  • Two passport-style photos
  • Contract with the employer
  • Medical insurance
  • Health certificate
  • Proof of having somewhere to live in Greece
  • Proof of having enough funds
  • Proof of having paid the fee

It's just an approximate list. The exact set might vary depending on your individual circumstances. For instance, you might need to attach four photos instead of two. Professionals who will be working for several employers might not need to submit the contract — this can be relevant, for instance, for domestic workers or construction workers.

If you submit the papers in Greece, make sure to translate them into Greek. If you apply from a consulate or embassy in your homeland, you might be allowed to submit them in English — this aspect as well as the fees depends on which country you apply from. Besides, you should find out whether electronic signatures are accepted or whether it's mandatory to sign all the papers manually with ink. Be ready to notarise or apostille the documents. Find out the validity period of each document — for example, you might need to collect some of them no later than one month before the application. Last but not least, you might be required to bring photocopies of all the submitted papers with you.

How to Switch to a New Employer

Some expats think they can sign a contract with a specific employer, get their work permit, arrive in Greece and start looking for alternative jobs with better conditions. That would be a mistake! Those who act like that risk losing their work permits.

If you aren't fully satisfied with your current Greek employer or they won't need your services for a longer period than planned initially, stick to this scheme:

  1. Fulfill your obligations to your initial Greek employer exactly as it was indicated in your contract
  2. A few months or weeks before the end of your initial contract, find another local employer — but avoid signing a contract with them right away
  3. When your initial contract expires, sign a new one with your new employer and renew your permit

It's not illegal to look for a new job while still working for the company that initially hired you. Only the breach of contract can cause problems for an expat.

Attention: if you'd like to change not only the employer but also the sector where you work, you'll need to collect additional papers to prove that you have the necessary qualifications.


You have the right to renew your work permit if your Greek employer wants to keep you — or if you find another organization that wants to hire you. The right time to apply for renewal is 2 months before the expiry date of the current one. If you apply later, you might still get your renewal — but it might involve a fine of around €50.

The approximate list of papers to submit includes:

  • Passport and copies of all its pages
  • Filled-in application form
  • Work permit
  • Contract with the employer

You might need to attach more documents, depending on the specifics of your activities.

If your initial permit was valid for 2 years, you can expect the renewed version to expire in around 3 years — but hardly longer.

What you should avoid doing is staying in Greece after your permit or visa has expired. That would be considered a violation of law and you might fail to get your next visa or permit. The legal way out is to leave the country before the expiry date of your document and secure a new visa or permit for yourself while staying outside the EU.

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