How to Successfully Move to Greece from the US

How to Successfully Move to Greece from the US -
8 min read
Daniel Fozard -

Written by Daniel Fozard

Can an American move to Greece?

Yes, an American can move to Greece, but there are specific requirements and procedures to follow. The process typically involves obtaining a visa, which can vary depending on the purpose and duration of stay. For longer stays or residency, different types of visas such as a work visa, student visa, or retirement visa may be needed. Additionally, Americans moving to Greece must comply with local regulations, including registering with the Greek authorities and possibly applying for a residence permit. It's advisable to consult the Greek embassy or consulate in the U.S. for detailed and up-to-date information.

Understanding the Move

Moving abroad is a complex process that requires careful planning and preparation. This is particularly true when the move is from the US to Greece, a country known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes. Here, we explore the appeal of Greece and the key differences between the US and Greece to aid your understanding of how to move to Greece from the US.

The Appeal of Greece

Greece draws people from around the world due to its unique blend of ancient history, stunning natural beauty, and relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle. Its temperate climate, featuring warm summers and mild winters, is just one of the many attractions for those considering a move from the US.

Greece is also renowned for its cultural heritage, being the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, and the Olympic Games. Its capital, Athens, is a bustling metropolis that seamlessly blends modern urban life with iconic historical landmarks.

Another significant appeal is the cost of living. Compared to many parts of the US, the cost of living in Greece is generally lower, making it an attractive option for those seeking a more affordable lifestyle.

Finally, Greece's geographical location offers easy access to other European countries, making it a great base for those who love to travel and explore.

Key Differences Between the US and Greece

While Greece is undoubtedly appealing, it's essential to be aware of the key differences between the US and Greece before making the move.

One of the most significant differences is the language. While English is widely spoken in tourist areas and by younger generations, Greek is the official language of Greece. Learning Greek can significantly enhance your experience and make daily life more manageable.

The pace of life in Greece also tends to be more relaxed than in the US. This laid-back lifestyle can be a refreshing change, but it may take some getting used to, particularly when it comes to business dealings and administrative processes.

Another notable difference is the healthcare system. Greece has a national health service that provides free or low-cost healthcare to all residents. However, many expats choose to take out private health insurance to access a broader range of services and avoid potential waiting times.

Lastly, the cultural norms and societal values in Greece may differ from those in the US. Greeks place a high value on family, social connections, and hospitality. While these differences enrich the experience of living in Greece, it's essential to respect these norms to integrate successfully into Greek society.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the practicalities of moving, living, and navigating the Greek lifestyle. This comprehensive guide aims to provide you with the necessary information and insights to make your transition from the US to Greece as smooth as possible. For other country-specific guides, explore our articles on how to move to Spain from the US, how to move to Italy from the US, and how to move to Portugal from the US among others.

Preparing for the Move

Once the decision to move to Greece from the US is made, the next steps involve careful planning and preparation. This chapter will focus on the necessary documentation and legal considerations and the importance of learning the Greek language before making the move.

Necessary Documentation and Legal Considerations

When planning on how to move to Greece from the US, understanding the legal requirements is critical. US citizens can stay in Greece without a visa for up to 90 days. For those planning to stay longer, a residence permit is necessary.

The Greek residence permit must be applied for within the first two months of arrival. The application process involves several documents, including a valid passport, proof of sufficient financial resources, health insurance, and proof of accommodation.

It's crucial to note that the requirements may vary depending on the purpose of stay (employment, study, retirement, etc.), so it's advisable to check the latest guidelines from the Greek embassy or consulate in the US.

Residence Permit Type Required Documents Employment Valid passport, employment contract, proof of health insurance Study Valid passport, acceptance letter from Greek institution, proof of financial resources, proof of health insurance Retirement Valid passport, proof of retirement status, proof of sufficient financial resources, proof of health insurance

Learning the Greek Language

Though English is widely spoken in tourist areas and by younger Greeks, it's highly beneficial to learn the Greek language when planning to live in Greece. Greek is the official language and is used in day-to-day life, government transactions, and local news.

By understanding and speaking Greek, it's easier to integrate into the local community, understand the culture better, and navigate daily tasks such as shopping, banking, and using public transportation. Numerous language schools offer Greek language courses for foreigners, and online platforms also provide flexible learning opportunities.

Preparing for the move to Greece involves several steps and careful planning. It's advisable to start the process early to ensure a smooth transition. Similar guides on how to move to Spain from the US or how to move to Italy from the US can also provide useful insights for individuals planning to relocate to Europe.

Practicalities of Moving

The procedure of transitioning from the US to Greece involves several practical factors that need to be carefully considered. This includes sorting out accommodation, deciding on the shipping or selling of personal goods, and understanding the healthcare system in Greece.

Accommodation Considerations

Finding the right place to live is one of the first steps in the process of moving to Greece. The country offers a variety of living options, ranging from modern apartments in bustling cities to charming houses in tranquil villages.

Renting is a common practice among expatriates, especially in the initial stages of their stay. It is advisable to research and compare rental prices in different regions, considering factors such as proximity to amenities, safety, and commute times.

City Average Monthly Rent for 1-bedroom Apartment in City Centre (€) Athens 500 - 800 Thessaloniki 300 - 500 Patras 250 - 400

Shipping or Selling Personal Goods

The decision to ship or sell personal goods largely depends on individual needs and the costs involved. The charges of shipping goods internationally can be quite high, so it is often more affordable to sell unnecessary items before leaving the US and purchase new ones upon arrival in Greece.

When it comes to shipping valuable items, it is recommended to hire a reliable international moving company. Ensure to get quotes from multiple companies and compare their prices and services before making a decision.

Healthcare System in Greece

The healthcare system in Greece is a mix of public and private services. The public healthcare system, known as EOPYY, provides free or low-cost medical care to residents. However, it is common for expats to opt for private healthcare due to the shorter waiting times and wider range of services.

Most importantly, it is crucial to have comprehensive health insurance coverage. Some expats may be eligible for state healthcare if they’re employed in Greece or contribute to the Greek social security system. Others may need to consider private health insurance options.

The practicalities of moving to another country can be complex, but with careful planning, it is entirely possible to make a successful transition. For those considering a move to other European countries, our articles on how to move to Spain from the US, how to move to Italy from the US, and how to move to Portugal from the US offer insightful guidance.

Living in Greece

Once the big move is complete, it's time to face the reality of living in Greece. Navigating through the nuances of Greek culture, understanding the cost of living, and exploring employment opportunities are key aspects to consider.

Adapting to Greek Culture

Known for its rich history and vibrant culture, Greece is a country that can be both exciting and intimidating to newcomers. Embracing Greek culture involves understanding the local customs and traditions, which are deeply rooted in history. Greek people are renowned for their hospitality and friendliness towards foreigners, which can make the transition easier.

It's common to greet with a warm smile and a handshake, while close friends and family may exchange a hug or a kiss on both cheeks. Greeks also have a relaxed approach to time, often referred to as 'Greek Time', where events and appointments may not always start at the scheduled time.

Learning the Greek language can be a significant advantage, as it not only helps in daily communication but also provides a deeper insight into the Greek culture and lifestyle.

Cost of Living in Greece

Compared to many parts of the US, the cost of living in Greece is generally lower. This is reflected in the prices of groceries, dining out, and public transportation. However, like any country, the cost of living can vary significantly depending on the location. Major cities like Athens and Thessaloniki are often more expensive than smaller towns and rural areas.

Here is an approximate comparison of prices:

Expense Category Greece (€) US ($) Rent for 1-bedroom apartment (city centre) 400 - 600 1200 - 2000 Monthly public transportation ticket 30 70 Meal at an inexpensive restaurant 10 15 1 litre of milk 1.10 0.80

Employment Opportunities in Greece

For those looking to work in Greece, there are a variety of opportunities, particularly in sectors such as tourism, shipping, and education. Fluency in Greek can certainly open up more job prospects, but there are also opportunities for English speakers, particularly in teaching and tourism.

It is important to note that Greece's economy has faced challenges in recent years, and the job market can be competitive. Therefore, it is advisable to secure a job before making the move. Alternatively, for those who can work remotely or are considering starting their own business, Greece can offer an attractive lifestyle.

If you're considering moving from the US to another country, you might also find these articles helpful: how to move to Spain from US, how to move to Italy from US, and how to move to Portugal from US.

Navigating the Greek Lifestyle

Relocating to Greece from the US involves more than just understanding the logistics of the move. It's equally important to familiarize oneself with Greek culture and lifestyle to ensure a smooth transition. This section will explore Greek cuisine and dietary changes, Greek festivals and celebrations, and understanding and adapting to Greek etiquette.

Greek Cuisine and Dietary Changes

Greek cuisine is a delightful medley of flavors, with a focus on fresh vegetables, fish, olives, and grains. A significant dietary change one might notice is the reduced reliance on processed food and increased consumption of fresh, locally sourced produce.

The Mediterranean diet prevalent in Greece is known for its health benefits. It's rich in lean proteins, healthy fats, and antioxidant-rich vegetables. The switch from typically heavier western cuisine to the lighter, more balanced Greek diet might require some adjustment, but most find it a positive change.

Greek Festivals and Celebrations

Greece is a country steeped in tradition, and its festivals and celebrations are a testament to this cultural richness. Some of these festivities include Easter, the most significant celebration in Greece, and the August 15th celebration of the Assumption of Virgin Mary.

During such occasions, Greeks engage in a variety of traditions like special church services, parades, and feasting. Participating in these celebrations can provide valuable insight into Greek culture and community spirit, helping one feel more integrated into their new home.

Understanding and Adapting to Greek Etiquette

Greek people are known for their warm hospitality and sociable nature. Understanding and adapting to Greek etiquette can help newcomers build strong relationships with locals. A few key points to remember include the importance of greeting and acknowledging everyone in a group, from the oldest to the youngest, and being open to engaging in friendly discussions, even with strangers.

Greeks value their family and personal relationships highly. Often, these relationships influence social and even professional interactions. Being respectful and understanding of this cultural aspect can significantly aid your integration into Greek society.

Learning to navigate the Greek lifestyle is a significant aspect of understanding how to move to Greece from the US. The more one understands and embraces the local customs and traditions, the smoother the transition will be. For information on moving to other European countries, check out our guides on how to move to Spain from US, how to move to Italy from US, and how to move to Portugal from US.

The content in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice. Always consult with a qualified expert or professional for specific guidance on any topic discussed here.
Daniel Fozard -

Written by Daniel Fozard

Daniel started his career at a major UK foreign exchange brokerage, working for over 6 years in both traditional and tech-based settings. He co-founded Fibre, using his expertise to improve its sales and operations. With a strong network in legal and financial fields, and a deep understanding of banking and payment processes across various regions, Daniel's dedication to top-notch service has been vital in serving Fibre's HNW and UHNW clients.

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