To relocate to Greece, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the immigration terminology specific to the country. Understanding these terms will help you navigate the immigration process better and know what to expect. 

Here, we have compiled a list of essential immigration terms that every individual or family relocating to Greece should be familiar with.

Immigration Terminology – Greece Edition

Immigration terms in Greece may seem daunting at first glance, but understanding these concepts is pivotal for a smooth transition into the country’s administrative landscape.

“Moving to a new country is more than changing locations; it’s embracing a new way of life, culture, and language. Understanding the terminology is the key to unlocking the doors of a seamless transition.”

Residence Permit

A Residence Permit, also known as a “Άδεια Παραμονής” in Greek, is an official document issued by the Greek authorities that grants legal permission for an individual to reside in Greece for a specific period. It is a crucial document for foreigners who intend to live and work in Greece.

Golden Visa

The Golden Visa is a residency-by-investment program in Greece that offers non-European Union citizens the opportunity to obtain a residence permit by investing in Greek real estate. 

Schengen Zone

Greece is a part of the Schengen Zone, which is a group of European countries that have abolished internal border controls. Understanding the concept of the Schengen Zone is important, as it affects travel and residency within the member countries.

Blue Card

The Blue Card is a residence and work permit issued to highly skilled non-EU citizens who wish to work in Greece. It aims to attract foreign professionals who can positively contribute to the Greek economy and allows them to work and reside legally in the country.

Tax Identification Number (AFM)

The Tax Identification Number, is also known as as “Αριθμός Φορολογικού Μητρώου” and pronounced “a-phi-mi” (AFM) in Greek., It is a unique identification number assigned to individuals for tax purposes. It is required for various legal and financial transactions in Greece, including employment, opening a bank account, and filing taxes. 

Social Security Number (AMKA):

The Social Security Number, or “Αριθμός Μητρώου Κοινωνικής Ασφάλισης” (AMKA) pronounced “am-ka”, is a unique identification number assigned to individuals for social security and healthcare purposes. Every person residing in Greece will need an AMKA number to access healthcare services and obtain health insurance. 

Citizen Service Center (KEP)

ΚΕΠ or Citizen Service Center, is the office where individuals can obtain various documents, including residence permits and tax-related information. It serves as a one-stop shop for information and assistance related to immigration, residence permits, tax matters, social security, and other administrative procedures. KEP plays a crucial role in facilitating and streamlining interactions between individuals and the Greek government. Both walk-in and appointment-only services are available depending on the purpose of the visit and the location of the office. 

ΕΦΚΑ (Ethnikos Foreas Koinonikis Asfalisis) also referred to as IKA

EFKA and IKA both refer to social security organizations in Greece. 

IKA was the original social security organization in Greece while EFKA was established later as part of Greece’s social security reforms. They differ in terms of their names, functions, and the timeline of their establishment. The purpose of this consolidation was to streamline, modernize and improve the efficiency of the social security system in Greece.

While the name has changed, the fundamental purpose remains the same. It is important to note, that most people still refer to social security coverage as IKA prounounced “ee-ka”. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Residence Permits: vital for legal residence, issued by Greek authorities.
  • Greece Golden Visa Program: Offers residency through real estate investment. (thresholds have changed since July 2023)

  • Blue Cards: Allows skilled non-EU citizens to apply for a limited work visa.
  • Schengen Zone: Facilitates bordless travel within member countries.

  • Digital Nomad Visa: An affordable 1-3 year program, with favorable tax rates.

Published On: June 24th, 2020 / Categories: Immigration /

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