Are you going to become Shirley Valentine and decide to move to Greece? Perhaps you are being relocated to Greece for work or maybe you are amongst 9% of all retirement age expats who choose Greece as their preferred country to relocate to. Whichever category you would place yourself in you will all have something in common and that is having to choose the most professional removals and storage company to get you on your way to Greece safely. Fox Moving and Storage is the only removals and storage company that you can fully rely on to take care of all of your effects and treat them with the utmost care at every stage of the removals process. For over forty years we have relocated clients to areas all over Greece, no part of this country has not been frequented by us. So who better to carry out this important and life changing process than the experts of the removals industry. We only deal with professional international removal agents in Greece who adhere to same beliefs and standards that we do. As a result we have compiled a detailed report about life in Greece and what you can look forward to in the very near future.
Facts About Greece
Firstly we will discuss the facts about the country that you are moving to. Greece is made up of around 80% mountains, making it one of the most mountainous countries in Europe. There are 6,000 islands scattered around Greece that make up part of the country but only 227 are actually inhabited.
Greece has a population of around 10.5million people and just over 3million of them live in the capital city, Athens. Other popular cities that expats relocate to are Thessaloniki, Patras and Heraklion.
Not many people know that Greek is the oldest spoken language in Europe; people have been speaking it for over 4,000 years.
If you are moving from the UK to Greece then you will not need a residence permit or a work permit as both are part of the EU/EEA. All you will need is a valid identity card or passport and you can stay for as long as you like. If you do intend on staying for longer than 90 days then you will have to register at the local Aliens Bureau, you will find these at your local police station that has a foreigners department within them. They will issue you with a Certificate of Registration and there is no charge for this. However you may take up your full day trying to get it issued so be prepared for the wait, on the plus side it will last for five years. Sometimes expats have stated that they have needed to take a Greek translator with them because the Greek official issuing the Certificate could not speak any English.
If you do not register for this certificate after 90 days then you could face a fine but often expats have said that the Certificate has never been asked to be produced and their tax identification number (AFM) is normally asked for as proof of residency.
After five years you will be able to get the Permanent Residence Certificate and it is valid indefinitely. Greek law requires to carry an identity card with you at all times and the Residence Certificate is a valid form of ID.
When you first arrive in Greece one of the first things that you will have to do is find suitable accommodation. A lot of people already have this in place but you will be surprised at the amount of people who relocate here and begin looking once they are here. They feel that once they have acclimatised themselves to the area they are better placed to make an informed decision about where they would like to live.
So when you first move to Greece there are a number of accommodation options for you.
Renting: If you decide to rent the first thing you need to decide is if you want a furnished or unfurnished property. There will be lots of signs dotted around towns and villages advertising properties for rent, the signs will state ‘Enikiazete’. You can also look in the local newspapers, as they will have pages dedicated to rental properties in there under the heading ‘Enikiasis Akiniton’. The main Greek newspapers that advertise are Ta Nea, Super Angelies, Makedonia, Apoyevmatini, Eleftherotypia and Chryssi Efkeria. The main English newspaper in Greece is the Athens News, so it is beneficial to look in here also.
Rental contracts in Greece are usually for two years, although you can try and negotiate a shorter one with the owner. The deposit is typically two months rent.
Buying: You will notice that estate agents in Greece are only in the larger cities and if you do decide to purchase a property in Greece you will need the services of a lawyer for land registry purposes. Again the newspapers above will have lists of houses for sale.
If you are relocating to Greece with your children you may be surprised to learn that children in Greece do not start school until they are six years old. Typically Greek children complete six years at primary level and then three years at high school (lykeio). If you want to enrol your child into school you will need their health book and birth certificate.
There are private schools in most of the larger cities and there is usually a school bus that will pick them up.
Higher education in Greece is classed as university level and you will need to have a leaving certificate from a lykeio in order to gain a place. Places are limited in universities here so there is an exam to sit in June.
When the time comes to leave Greece, if for example you are only on a work contract, then there are certain procedures that you need to follow. You won’t have to hand in your residence certificate because you are a EU citizen but you will have to let various authorities know of your imminent departure.
Let your child’s school know as quickly as possible as you may need them to supply you with a certificate of where they are academically for their next school.
Let you landlord know if you are renting a property. If you are leaving before your tenancy runs out then they can sue you, although this is very rare, However they do usually keep your security deposit if you leave before the tenancy ends. Typically you should give one month’s notice to the landlord.
In regards to your utilities you have to let the companies know. The electricity company requires you to fill out a service disconnection form at the local DEH office a few days prior to the move. This way a meter reading can be taken and a final bill produced for you and forwarded on. In regards to the gas you need to phone the company directly and inform them.
If you have a phone line in your property then you have to contact OTE, the telephone provider in Greece.
Moving to Greece for whatever reason can be a very exciting time for you and your family but you need to be very organised as early as possible so that the move goes smoothly. The same applies if you move back to the UK from Greece, so you need to have a removals and storage firm on hand to guide and assist you during these times. Fox Moving and Storage always puts our clients minds at rest because we know everything about moving to and from Greece, even if you don’t. If you need storage for your goods then we can arrange it, if you need various packing materials then we can help with that too. From the outset we will be by your side aiding you with your move, making you feel a lot calmer than if you were going it alone.
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