After a thorough study and research, the Greek Government finally introduced the “Digital Nomad Visa” that will allow for remote workers to settle in Greece and work from such a highly preferred destination. With the cooperation of the Ministries of Immigration and Citizen Protection, the highly anticipated visa for “digital nomads” has been voted upon by the Greek Parliament during the last week, following the desire of the Greek Government to catch up with the international trend of remote workers which has significantly bloomed during the pandemic.
While speaking at the «Delphi Forum» in February 2021, the Minister of Tourism at the time, Haris Theocharis, expressed the Greek government’s intention to form a comprehensive legal framework in order to attract digital nomads intending to base themselves in Greece. As a result, recently such plan was concretized with Law 4825/2021 that was finally voted upon on 04.09.2021.
It is true that the digital nomad market has been steadily expanding since 2014, and in particular during 2020. In spite of the travel restrictions, the number of digital nomads increased remarkably, reaching 11 million self-defined digital nomads in the US alone, an increase of 49% from 2019, while since January 2021, Greece has joined the global competition for digital nomads even more dynamically.
In fact, according to a study conducted by the MIT Enterprise Forum, it is estimated that if Greece attracted 100.000 digital nomads every year, with an average stay of six months, the financial benefit for the country would amount to more than €1,6 billion. With the broadband services of high quality, their providers offering competitive packages and rental prices remaining reduced, Greece is undoubtedly rendered a highly attractive destination for digital nomads.
In particular, Article 11 of Law 4825/2021, titled “Digital Nomads” proceeds to the addition of subparagraph IE to paragraph 1 of Article 18 of Law 4251/2014 (i.e. the Greek Immigration Code), which regulates residence permits issued to third country nationals for special purposes.
Substantive requirements for the issuance of the digital nomad visa:
Digital nomads, who are defined as “self-employed, freelancers or employed third country nationals, who work remotely with the use of technological means with third-country employers or clients”, can acquire a national entry visa (the so-called “digital nomad visa”) of a duration of up to twelve (12) months if they meet the following principal conditions:
a. They have sufficient resources to cover their living expenses, amounting to a minimum net monthly income of €3.500, as evidenced by the employment contract or bank account statements. In the event that the third-country national is accompanied by members of their family (spouse/civil partner or children), this amount shall be increased by 20% for the spouse/civil partner and by 15% for each child.
b. Have comprehensive health insurance in order not the burden the National Health System.
It is worth noting that, as highlighted above, digital nomads can be accompanied by their family members, in particular their spouse or registered partner and their underage children. Said family members are granted an individual visa that expires at the same time as that of the main applicant. Of course, during their stay in Greece, the family members of the main applicant are not allowed to provide dependent work or engage in any form of economic activity in the country.
Procedural requirements for the issuance of the digital nomad visa:
The application for the national-entry visa must be submitted in person or sent via e-mail or registered letter to the competent Greek consular authority, along with the necessary documentation. The Consular authority is then obliged to reply within 10 days from the request of the person concerned and complete the procedure for granting the visa.
In addition to the general documentation required for the issuance of a national-entry visa, the applicant is required to submit the following additional documentation:
a) A solemn declaration stating their intention to reside in the country by virtue of the national entry visa for remote work, as well as their commitment not to provide any work or services to an employer based in Greece,
b) An employment or work contract or proof of employment with an employer, who is established outside of the Greek territory, with a minimum duration of at least their intended stay in Greece, based on the visa, or, if the applicant is self-employed,the information referring to the applicant’s position within the business, as well as the information referring to the business itself, in particular, name, field of activity and purpose,
c) Proof that they possess the sufficient monthly resources of €3.500,00 mentioned above,
The above-described application submitted to the competent Consular authority is subject to a fee of 75 euros.
In case the holder of the Digital Nomad Visa and their family members leave Greece and their Visa expires, it is possible that they apply and issue anew a Visa for the same purpose.
Digital Nomad Residence Permit
Moreover, provided that the Digital Nomad Visa holder continues to meet the requirements set out in Article 11, they, along with the members of their family, may also apply for a residence permit of a duration of two years. It is worth noting that the relevant application must be submitted before the expiry of the national visa and is subject to a fee of €1.000.
The above residence permit does not provide the right to work nor to provide independent financial services in Greece. Said prohibition is valid for both the main applicant, as well as their family members.
The residence permit can be renewed for as long as the holder meets the conditions described above. Periods of absence from the country do not impede the renewal of the residence permit, provided that they do not exceed six months per year.
As evident, the first step to issuing the residence permit is the Digital Nomad Visa issued by the Consulate. However, the law provides for an exception for applicants who have already entered Greece on the basis of a Visa Type-C or on the basis of a Visa Waiver regime, meaning they do not require a Visa for entry, to maintain the possibility to apply for the Digital Nomad Residence Permit while their Visa is still in force.
In that case, in addition to the documents described above and the general documentation, the applicant will also need to submit a lease contract or a sale and purchase contract for a property located in Greece, that would attest to their intention to actually reside in the country for the next two years.
Greece, already being the center of attention for investment opportunities and pensioners searching for the location to spend their retirement years, is undoubtedly among the most desired destinations for digital nomads. As is evident, the above-described law provides for a comprehensive framework that, along with Greece’s many advantages, is expected to attract more and more digital nomads who wish to establish themselves in the country.
At Amoiridis Law Services® we are dedicated at assisting our well-respected clients successfully acquire the residence permit in Greece that is most suitable to them. Thanks to our longstanding experience, we are able to provide a full package of consultancy services to our almost exclusively international clientele, customized to their specific needs.
As a result, we have represented clients from all around the globe regarding their projects in Greece. Our network of associate experts, composed by both in-house and external solicitors, notaries, accountants, tax experts, civil engineers, topographers, realtors etc., enables us to provide an all-in-one package of consultancy services, guiding you throughout the entire procedure of transferring your tax residence to Greece and benefiting from the upcoming tax exemption package.
For any further information and clarifications please do not hesitate to contact our qualified legal team, ready to provide you with further personalised information tailored to your needs and your profile.
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Athens, September 2021