Aiming to tap into the potential of the global trend and take advantage of the strong momentum, the Greek Parliament recently voted the Law 4825/2021 (Government Gazette A’ 157/4.9.2021), which introduces the Digital Nomad Visa for foreigners who wish to work remotely from Greece.
The national visa is granted to the applicant, upon an application submission either in person or by e-mail or registered letter to the competent Greek consular authority, which has to respond within ten (10) days of the relevant request. Applicants as well as members of his/her family, who meet the conditions to apply for a Digital Nomad Visa and have already entered the Greek territory either with a uniform type of visa or under a visa waiver regime, have the opportunity, within the period of validity of their existing Visa, to apply to the one-stop service of the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum for the issuance of a Digital Nomad residence permit.
Each applicant submits a solemn declaration stating his intention to reside in Greece for the provision of distance work, but also, he/she confirms that he/she will not in any way provide services or work for an employer based in Greece.
In addition to the relevant supporting documents such as an employment or project contract or proof of employment relationship with an employer, there has to be evidence that the applicant has sufficient resources, at a stable income level, to cover his living expenses during his stay in the country. The minimum monthly income threshold is set at €3,500/month. This amount is increased by 20% for the spouse or partner and by 15% for each child.
The law includes also the following provisions:
- The spouse or partner and family members of the applicant are not allowed to provide dependent work or to engage in any form of economic activity in the country.
- Initially those applying for the visa can qualify for a 12 month stay. A Digital Nomad Visa is valid for a period of up to 12 months. If the third country national estimates that he/she shall continue to be eligible following that period, then prior to the expiration of the Visa he/she may apply for the issuance of a Digital Nomad residence permit, with a 2-year period of validity (with option of renewal). In that case also, family members are eligible.
- The visa may be extended to a permit at a fee of €1,000.
Periods of absence from the country do not hinder the renewal of the residence permit, as long as they do not exceed 6 months per year.
- Successful applicants need to prove that they have been working for a non-Greek employer for the last 12 months and have a valid work contract, fixed or indefinite, that covers the entire period for which the visa stays valid.
- Main applicants may be accompanied by their family members, who are granted, upon request, an individual visa which expires at the same time as the dependent visa.
The granting of digital nomad visa and permit may be combined with certain tax incentives, recently introduced by the Greek government.
Digital nomads who come to Greece can take advantage of a 50% tax break for the first seven years.
In order for an individual to be eligible for the favourable tax regime should satisfy the following conditions:
i) Be a non-Greek tax resident for the previous 7 out of 8 years,
ii) Transfer his tax residency from an EU Member – State or a State of the EEA or a State with which Greece has signed an administrative cooperation agreement,
iii) Has secured an employment contract (for new job positions only) as per article 12 par. 2 of Income Tax Code (L. 4172/2013) with a Greek legal entity or a foreign legal entity having a permanent establishment in Greece or is a self-employed in Greece
iv) Declares that his stay in Greece will be for at least two years.
According to surveys, digital nomads will reach 1 billion by 2035. If Greece managed to attract 100,000 digital nomads in a year, and they stayed in the country for 6 months, the benefit could reach 1.6 billion euros a year, which is almost equal to the revenue generated during a week by 2.5 million tourists.
Since the wake of the pandemic, Greece has been one of the most favourite destinations for remote workers to set up their homes as they are attracted to the Greek package of a Mediterranean climate, high quality of life, good healthcare services and a reasonable cost of living.