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Retire to the land of the Greeks- Moving to Greece for retirement

Friday, March 17, 2023

After retirement, you have the freedom to live anywhere in the world, depending on your budget. Some people choose to move back to their hometown, others choose to live near family, and some even decide to move to a whole new place. This article is for those of you who are thinking of starting anew, particularly those thinking of retiring in Greece where the cost of living is a lot lower when compared to the US.

Residence permit and Greek visas

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If you are a citizen of Greece, then retiring in Greece is a piece of feta cheese. If you are not, then you will have to get a Greece Visa and aim to get a residence permit. Obtaining the latter will depend on your specific situation. If you are planning to work in Greece before you hit retirement then you would first have to get a work visa, obviously. If you just want to retire in Greece, work be gone, then you should apply for a residence permit.

The plus side of being a US citizen is that you can visit Greece for up to 90 days without a permit or visa. This is a type of entry visa. It can give you more than enough time to see if Greece is indeed the place for you. You can also do some house hunting during your visit, as well. If you plan to stay more than 90 days, be it for personal or even work-related reasons, then you must apply for the right type of visa. Certainly, so if you plan to keep your US address.

Another slight, for lack of a better word, loophole (entry visa) is if you have citizenship with one of the EU’s 28 countries. This means that you can live in Greece without the need for a visa or permit, making your retirement in Greece so much easier.

If you are not a member of the EU and would love to retire in Greece, it would be best to start the application process for your residence permit. This will take you some time, and you would have to apply while living in Greece. Hence, why you would have to apply for a visa since the process may take longer than 90 days. It is better to be safe than sorry while giving yourself enough time for the process. You would want to be in the country as the process goes on to receive your resident permit.

What you need to apply for a resident permit in Greece

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When applying for a residence permit in Greece you would have to fulfill certain aspects:

  • Having a valid passport
  • Proof that you have at least 24, 000 euros (about $23,277.60) in your bank account. If you are still working, then prove that you have a monthly income of 2 000 euros (about $1939.80) or more
  • Proof of your medical insurance which is current and continuous

Regarding the latter point about medical insurance, you cannot use Medicare or/and Medi-Cal since these programs are not effective outside of the US. You would have to speak to a professional to get the right medical insurance that is recognized or used in Greece. When you move to Greece and have a residence permit then you can opt to drop/ change the medical insurance to something more suited to you.

Getting a visa to enter the country will require a valid passport.

Self-employment visa

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The other type of visa that you may want to apply for before moving to Greece, certainly if you are still in the working world, is the self-employment visa. To obtain this type of visa you would have to have an entrepreneurship plan for the application. The progress for this application can also require you to deposit a certain amount to your Greek bank account. It is best to speak to a professional if this is the option you wish to go with since the requirements may change.

Golden Visa

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When you decided to live in Greece then you would most likely want to own some sort of property that is just yours. If you do, then you should apply for the Greece Golden Visa which is hassle-free and one of the easiest ways for people to retire and live in Greece. The application process is that you buy a property in Greece for around 250 000 euros or more, and then wait two months or so, to get your Golden Visa.

This visa will grant you a residence permit and you would not have to worry about doing any extra work with the Golden Visa. You can view it as a Golden Ticket, but you just have to own property in Greece, instead buying chocolate bars. When you have this type of visa then your resident permit can be renewed indefinitely as long as you own the property.

Remember to speak to a professional or a Greek Consulate to make sure that you know exactly what price for the property you would need to pay to start the process of the Golden Visa. If you lived in Greece for seven years, then you can think about applying for citizenship. Again, speak to a professional to find out if applying for citizenship is the best option for your retirement in Greece, just to be on the safe side.

Healthcare in Greece

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While you would need medical care to apply for a residence permit, you can drop it in favor of a local one. Healthcare in Greece is significantly cheaper than that in the US. It is also very good. You would have to apply for private healthcare until you are granted citizenship since Greece’s universal healthcare is only for its citizens.

Before you drop your US healthcare you should keep it until you find the right Greek one for you. You can compare services, and prices, while still having coverage. Another factor when your Greek home is to take note of what your new healthcare will provide you. It would be wise to make sure that you live near a medical center or hospital, certainly, those that specialize in areas where you will need check-ups and treatments. Living in the city can aid in finding a property that is near a hospital.

What you should know about Greek taxes

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Taxes are something that cannot be avoided regardless of where you live, and Greece is no exception. If you are making an income even if it is from an international company (outside of Greece like the US) then you would have to pay tax to that country. The US. You will need to file an annual tax return to the US if you plan on keeping your American citizenship.

Another thing about taxes in Greece is that you would have to pay taxes for certain items such as earning an income from a Greek company. The law which passed in 2020 says that Greece requires all foreigners who make Greece their tax residency to have a flat 7% rate on their retirement income. Speak to a professional to get all the information you need about taxes.

If you are planning on buying property in Greece, then you also have to consider property taxes. These are fairly high when compared to other places. This is just a heads-up.

Moving to Greece with the help of AARP® Moving Services powered by Shyft

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When you have your passport updated and are ready to move to Greece, then you would want to get onto the organization of your moving process as soon as you can. Instead of doing it all by yourself, you can use AARP® Moving Services powered by Shyft. What Shyft does is they organize your entire move from the US to Greece for you. What is more, is that you will be not only saving your time, and nerves, but also money. Shyft is a collective of real-life people who are there to make the moving process easier for you.

Shyft will tailor your experience to your needs while giving you comprehensive coverage.

To find out more, and to get in touch you can visit the website, or you can call 1-888-838-5981 where a Shyft representative is waiting for your call.

Shyft will provide you with a personal Move Coach. This is a person who is there to answer your concerns, and organize the entire move for you. Even create your inventory list. When you have contacted Shyft either through the website or number you tell them when you want to be contacted to start the process. This is done by using the Android or iPhone mobile app, called Shyft Next. It is a free app, and it is used for having a video chat with your Move Coach. It is also used for them to create your inventory list without stepping foot into your home.

It is all done virtually, and the initial list is 95% accurate through this process. This initial list will be sent to you within half an hour from the end of the video call. The call as a whole takes an average of half an hour depending on the size of the inventory list.

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When you receive the list, you can remove items, add some that were missed, and even add notes. You will make the list 100% accurate and send it back to your Move Coach. This updated list and your moving details (not including the personal ones) will be presented to Shyft’s secure move board.

It is here that experienced, vetted, and international moving companies come to bid on moving projects where yours will be included. It is here where Shyft will gather moving quotes and each one is from a different moving company. This and the information about the company will be given to you so that you can compare. You can make an informed decision about which mover you want to work with.

The best part is all the moving quotes are locked in place. This means that if you add an item to your inventory list after you have picked a mover. The price will not change. Shyft will lock down the moving company of your choosing as soon as you tell Shyft who it is. Shyft is also on call to you seven days a week when you need a question to be answered. 

AARP members can save up to $250 on their move to Greece by using Shyft. Shyft and AARP are here to help you get to your Greek home for retirement. Get in touch today and get the moving process started. The cheese awaits.

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