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Greece – Work Permits and Working Legally

Necessity of Work Permits for Expats in Greece

Working legally in Greece as an expat often requires obtaining a work permit. The necessity of a work permit depends on various factors, including the expat’s nationality, the type of work they intend to do, and the duration of their stay in Greece. In this article, we will explore the necessity of work permits for expats, who is responsible for the application, exemptions, types of work permits, eligibility criteria, application procedures, required documents, costs, and reliable sources of information for working legally in Greece.

Who Submits a Work Permit Application

In Greece, the responsibility for submitting a work permit application typically falls on the employer who wishes to hire an expat worker. The Greek employer initiates the application process, compiles the necessary documentation, and ensures compliance with relevant regulations. The expat employee plays a role in the process by cooperating with their prospective employer, providing required information, and participating in interviews or appointments if necessary. It is crucial for both employers and employees to have a clear understanding of the specific requirements and procedures for obtaining a work permit in Greece.

Exemptions from Work Permits

While work permits are generally required for expats working in Greece, there are specific categories of workers and situations that may be exempt from this requirement. Some common exemptions include:

  • European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) Citizens: Citizens of EU and EEA countries typically have the right to work in Greece without a separate work permit, thanks to the principle of free movement of labor within these regions.
  • Highly Skilled Workers: Highly skilled professionals, such as researchers, scientists, and certain experts, may be eligible for work permits under specific schemes or agreements.
  • Short-Term Assignments: Some short-term work assignments, particularly those lasting less than 90 days, may not require a work permit.
  • Self-Employed Individuals: expats planning to start their businesses or work as self-employed individuals in Greece may have different requirements and regulations to follow.

It is essential for expats to assess their eligibility for exemptions and verify their specific circumstances with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs or consult with legal experts to ensure compliance with immigration regulations.

Types of Work Permits for Expats in Greece

Greece offers several types of work permits to accommodate different categories of expat workers. The most common work permit categories include:

  • Temporary Work Permit: This work permit category is suitable for expats seeking temporary employment in Greece. It allows them to work for a specific employer and is typically valid for a limited duration.
  • Permanent Work Permit: expats who intend to work in Greece on a long-term or permanent basis may apply for this type of permit. It allows them to work for various employers.
  • Special Work Permit for Investors: Greece offers a special permit category for foreign investors who plan to establish businesses and make significant investments in the country.

Each type of permit has its own eligibility criteria, requirements, and limitations. expats should consult the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs or seek legal advice to determine the most suitable option for their specific situation.


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Procedure to Apply for a Work Permit in Greece

The process of obtaining a work permit in Greece involves several key steps:

  1. Job Offer: expats seeking employment in Greece must secure a job offer from a Greek employer. The job offer is a fundamental requirement for the work permit application.
  2. Employer’s Role: The Greek employer initiates the work permit application process, compiles the necessary documentation, and submits the application to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.
  3. Document Submission: The expat employee, with support from their Greek employer, submits the work permit application along with the required documents to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.
  4. Processing Time: The processing time for work permits can vary depending on the type of permit and individual circumstances. Applicants should check with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs for estimated processing times.
  5. Interview or Appointment: In some cases, expat applicants may be required to attend an interview or appointment as part of the application process.
  6. Approval: Once the application is approved, the expat worker can legally work in Greece under the conditions specified in the permit.

It is important to note that the application process can be complex, and requirements may change. Therefore, it is advisable to seek professional assistance or consult with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs for the most up-to-date information.

Documents Required for a Work Permit in Greece

The specific documents required for a work permit application in Greece can vary based on the type of permit, the expat’s nationality, and individual circumstances. However, common documents often requested include:

  • Valid Passport: A passport with a validity period that extends beyond the intended stay in Greece.
  • Job Offer Letter: A formal job offer from a Greek employer that outlines the terms and conditions of employment.
  • Work Contract: A signed employment contract between the expat and the Greek employer.
  • Proof of Qualifications: Documents verifying the expat’s qualifications, skills, or talents, such as diplomas, certificates, or professional credentials.
  • Financial Documents: Evidence of financial stability, including bank statements, to support the expat during their stay in Greece.
  • Health Insurance: Proof of comprehensive health insurance coverage for the duration of the stay in Greece.
  • Police Clearance Certificate: A certificate confirming the absence of a criminal record in the expat’s home country or in countries where they have resided.
  • Passport-Sized Photos: Recent passport-sized photos that meet specific requirements.

Expats should be prepared to provide additional documents if requested during the application process. It is advisable to verify the specific document requirements based on the chosen permit or visa category.

Costs Involved in Applying for a Work Permit in Greece

Obtaining a work permit in Greece may involve various costs, which can vary depending on the type of permit or visa and individual circumstances. Common expenses related to work permits may include:

  • Application Fee: The fee associated with processing the work permit application, typically paid by the employer.
  • Visa Fee: If a visa is required in addition to the work permit, there may be visa application fees.
  • Legal Fees: Some expats choose to seek legal or immigration consultancy services, incurring additional fees.
  • Health Insurance: The cost of health insurance coverage, which is mandatory for all residents and workers in Greece.

Expats should budget for these costs and confirm the current fee structure with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs or their employer to avoid any surprises during the application process.

Reliable Sources for Information on Working Legally in Greece

Expats seeking reliable information on working legally in Greece can refer to various sources:

  1. Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs: The official website provides information on work permits, residence permits, and immigration requirements in Greece.
  2. Greek Government Portal: The official government portal offers insights into living and working in Greece, including updates on immigration policies.
  3. Citizens Advice Bureau Greece: This organization provides guidance and assistance to residents and expats in Greece, including information on legal matters and work permits.

Staying informed about the latest immigration policies and requirements is crucial, as they can change over time. expats should rely on official government sources and seek professional advice when necessary to navigate the complexities of obtaining a work permit in Greece.


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