Greek Bureaucracy

This Greek Bureaucracy Page is from the Completely Crete Living in Crete section.

Lots of people think Greek bureaucracy is a nightmare. We don't! It is no more difficult to cut through the red tape than in the UK for example. Patience, a good sense of humour and an acceptance that you may have to visit and revisit various offices and produce documents, photocopies and numerous passport sized photos are all that is needed.

If you intend living in Crete, you’ll soon get used to the red tape and accept Greek bureaucracy as a small price to pay for living on such a wonderful Greek Island.

Things like getting a tax number, getting a residency permit, getting your head around the IKA National insurance system, and buying a car are easy once you know how.

Our best advice is to make several photocopies of your passport, your birth certificate and have lots of passport sized photos before coming to Crete.

We’ve also found that the Crete officials have been helpful and understanding of our lack of Greek. Most speak perfect English and are extremely helpful, professional and polite.

A top priority is to get yourself a Greek Tax number (AFM) as soon as possible if you intend living in Crete. You’ll need one if you’re hoping to start a business in Crete, work in Crete or retire to Crete. See our dedicated Getting a Tax Number page for all the information you’ll need. Also see the advice about Income Tax.

Armed with your newly acquired Greek Tax number, you are free to apply for a residency permit. Despite EU law officially scrapping this system, Crete still insists on foreigners having a residency permit.

You’ll need one if you intend buying a car here in Crete, or hoping to start a business.

Check out our informative guide on how to get a Residency Permit and the rules, regulations and red tape surrounding this topic.

The thorny subject of whether to import a car to Crete or not, is covered in our Importing a Car page.

The IKA national insurance system is covered in both our comprehensive and informative Health Care in Crete section and our advice and fact-filled Starting a Business in Crete section.



Just some of the reasons we love Crete...

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