Greece

    Guidance

    1.1 Has any guidance already been issued in relation to Brexit, for example on residence or work permits in the event of a no-deal Brexit?

    Yes.

    On 26 March, Greece adopted legislation with regard to the rights of British citizens in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

    It provides that British citizens will retain their privileged status under Directive 2004/38 EU until 31 December 2020, even after a no-deal Brexit. This Directive provides for the right to stay in Greece by issuing evidence of their registration as European citizens with the competent Greek authorities. For British citizens who enter Greece on or after 1 January 2021 the Immigration Law would apply, since they will be considered as third-country nationals.

    With regard to the entry and exit of British citizens in Greece, they may enter or exit Greece if they possess a valid travel document such as a passport or identity card. They do not need a visa if they hold evidence of their registration as European citizens.

    With regard to their residence, British citizens and the members of their family who are already registered with the competent Greek authorities as European citizens and therefore, have evidence of their registration, may stay in Greece until 31 December 2020. The evidence of registration is also valid until 31 December 2020. British citizens and the members of their family who have not yet been registered in Greece as European citizens may proceed with their registration until 31 December 2020. 

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    Business visas

    2.1 When UK employees become third-country nationals will they require a business visa?

    No, Regulation (EU) 2019/592 of 10 April 2019 exempts UK citizens from the requirement for a Schengen visa. It will apply from the day the UK is no longer subject to EU law. When it takes effect, UK citizens will be able to enter and stay in

    the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days in any rolling 180-day period.

    The Schengen exemption will apply:

    • from Brexit date in the event of no deal;
    • from 1 January 2021 if the Withdrawal Agreement (‘WA’) is ratified (under the WA, UK nationals keep their EU free movement rights until 31 December 2020).

    The recent regulations provide for a permit to work. However, even if allowed to enter and stay without a visa, business travellers might nonetheless need a residence permit for employment and business purposes.

    Third-country nationals coming to stay and work in Greece for more than 90 days require a residence permit for employment and business purpose. The type differs depending on the type of work that is provided. The same applies for the required documents. There is provision for a residence permit for employment and business purposes for four categories:

    • paid employment or provision of services or work;
    • special purpose employees;
    • investment activity;
    • highly qualified employment (EU blue card).

    There is also provision for a temporary residence for seven categories of employment such as seasonal employment or for members of artistic groups.

    The legislation adopted on 26 March provides for the issuance of a subsequent ministerial decision, which will regulate work permits. There are no other instructions  or regulations with regard to work permits.

    2.2 What documentation will be required for business travel on arrival at the border once UK citizens are considered third-country nationals?

    Travel documents (valid passport) with a validity of at least three months after the intended date of departure from the country and that has been issued within the last ten years.

    Proof of duration and purpose of stay as border control may ask additional questions concerning duration and purpose of stay.

    Proof of health insurance that covers the same risks against which Greek nationals are usually covered.

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    Permission to work

    3.1 When UK citizens become third-country nationals will they need permission to work?  

    Yes, unless they can rely on an exemption such as:

    • family members of an EU national or a non-EU national who has authorisation to work (subject to conditions);
    • holders of a permanent Greek residence permit (individuals who have stayed in Greece for five years continuously)

    3.2 If permission to work is needed do any quotas apply for employing third-country nationals?

    Yes.

    Quotas are established in a joint ministerial decision issued by the Ministers for the Interior, Foreign Affairs, Development & Competitiveness, Shipping & The Aegean, Labour, Social Security & Welfare.

    This decision is issued during the last quarter of every other year and determines the maximum number of paid employment posts offered to third-country nationals per region and speciality.

    3.3 If permission to work is needed, as of when will it be needed?

    The legislation adopted on 26 March provides for the issuance of a subsequent ministerial decision, which will regulate the work permits. There are no other instructions or regulations with regard to work permits.

    3.4 If permission to work is needed, what are the most common categories?

    In Greece (current status of the law) with regard to the residence permit for employment and business purposes:

    • paid employment or provision of services or work;
    • special purpose employees (individuals whose intention is to work in Greece in fields relevant to the public interest, culture, sports and the national economy. This category can include, for example, executives and officials of companies with activities in Greece subject to conditions, press correspondents, foreign athletes and others);
    • investment activity;
    • highly qualified employment (Blue Card).

    With regard to temporary residence, the following categories exist:

    • seasonal employment;
    • fishermen;
    • members of artistic groups;
    • third-country nationals who move from undertakings established in EU or EEA Member States with the purpose of providing services;
    • third-country nationals who move from undertakings established in third countries for the purpose of providing services;
    • tour leaders;
    • third-country nationals who are tertiary education students participating in traineeship programmes;

    3.5 If permission to work or stay is needed, how long does the procedure take?

    Greek legislation provides for a three-month period for the issuance of the permits.

    However this period is not currently observed by the Greek authorities due to the current high volume of immigrants and refugees entering the country.

    The problem is also dealt with in the following way:

    By submitting an application for a permit, the administration provides the applicant with a temporary statement that the applicant can lawfully stay and work in Greece until his or her permit is definitively issued.

    This temporary statement is valid until the authorities issue a final decision.

    3.6 If permission to work or stay is needed, what Government fees would be due for this permission?​​​​​​​

    The costs differ depending on the category.

    For example, for investment activity the fee is between EUR 500 and EUR 2,000.

    For dependent workers the fee is EUR 150.

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    Permanent residence

    4.1 From when can third-country nationals obtain permanent residence?

    On completion of five years of legal continuous stay in Greece (subject to conditions).

    The legislation adopted on 26 March provides for aggregation of stays in Greece up to 31 December 2020 after registration with the competent Greek authorities.

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    Residence Status

    5.1 What steps could UK nationals still take to secure their residence status?

    Currently (in the absence of any specific contingency rules):

    • Applying for an EU residence card (E card or F card for non-EU family members) as soon as possible.
    • Applying for an EU permanent residence card (E+ card or F+ card for non-EU family members) if conditions are met.
    • Applying for Greek nationality if conditions are met, but individuals should consider consequences before doing so.
    • Preparing documents for family reunification with an EU national if relevant.
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