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Random answers on Thinking of Moving back to Greece
So, you are considering to leave the UK to follow your dream and move to Crete, Greece? I see you and your husband have had lengthy stays before in Volos and Skiathos. Both are somewhat different in character to Crete with its large size with a a sizeable population too.
As you may be aware, the population is concentrated in the prefecture capitals of Heraklion, Chania and Rethymnon along the north coast. Agios Nikolaos, the capital of Lassithi, the 4th prefecture on Crete has a much smaller population for both Brits and Greeks.
Before making personal suggestions, it is important to understand that now the UK is completely outside the EU, if you do not hold current residence permits, your process to stay in Greece longer than three months may well require a number of bureaucratic hurdles to jump over. So before even considering work and education needs, I suggest you get the fundamentals out of the way.
Check out the best Greek government’s comprehensive resource for Brits staying in Greece, post Brexit
- The dedicated Greek Government website in English helps Brits with post Brexit info .
For the actual requirements and process to move to Greece and Residency, there are two useful websites
My main suggestion then is to update yourself on the fundamentals of day-to-day life, as you will be newcomers to Crete. If you can, get to Crete as soon as possible and check it out. You can stay for a maximum of 90 days in 180 days period without visa, if your purpose is as a visitor or on business.
Important: To come again and enter Greece after the first visit of 90 days, you have to wait out the balance of the 90 days first. The 180 days rolling rule.
While here, I hope you can speak to friends and relatives (if any) for just about anything and everything. I have always found to get into contact with a lawyer locally in Crete smooths many issues. Their rates are usually very reasonable compared to UK.
In this Post-Brexit era, you as a Brit, as indicated in the Greek Embassy link above, will have to apply for a long stay visa before coming and to stay longer than 3 months. It all takes time and paperwork.
This is of course, unless you can re-instate residency without the need for a new visa. To my knowledge, however once a residence permit expires and is not renewed, then to come again and apply, the general rule as a third country foreigner you have to start all over again from scratch.
There is a possible caveat: if you have already documents from before such as your AFM/ΑΦΜ (tax number) and other documents showing proof of residence that may enable a faster track to apply. Hence the possible need for a lawyer with experience in these matters. Until you know the place you want to locate in Crete, recommending a lawyer would be academic, as they tend to be focussed on the prefecture in which they practice.
The British Consulate for Crete in Heraklion is a useful resource as well. The staff are very friendly and all fluent in English. But be aware, the staff cannot give advice only practical information. It is worthwhile noting that the British diplomatic staff in Greece uses a centralised telephone answering system for the Athens Embassy and all the consulates around the country.
Regarding your son’s needs: Health Services and Public/Private Schooling
If you benefit from reciprocal family health benefits by agreements between UK and Greece, you may be able to use such services. In all likelihood you will also have to prove you have private insurance!
Public (State) Supported Nurseries and How they Work
You say your son is three years old. I believe he would be eligible once you have residency to be registered into the Greek state nursery system. Basically, if your child has their 4th birthday by roughly September (the start of the school year) he/she will be eligible to commence Nursery School. The Nurseries operate in the morning hours, generally between 0900hrs to 1200hrs, noon time. The kids can attend until their 6th birthday.
For Private Creches and Nurseries
For youngsters below 5 years of age, on Crete there are private nurseries which provide comprehensive childcare if needed. Operating hours can vary but based mostly on morning times. For the most part, charges for sending a child to a nursery are in line with the local economy. This means they are somewhat cheaper than Northern Europe.Otherwise you can regard as a means of social gathering with same age Greek children. I am not aware of English language nurseries. Ask when you are here. Remember, Crete is a very large diverse island.
More Education Info for expat children in Crete
A personal viewpoint, please check out: English language schooling on Crete
While I appreciate you have Greek living experience from before, yet you should be aware that so much has changed in government systems and the problems related to Greece’s financial position, job opportunities etc in the last few years, therefore my main thoughts are that you get into committed detailed research as soon as possible.
Not a rosy picture, as is the case in most of Europe currently. Being self employed is a better policy. But do not rush to register before getting expert advice from an accountant. It is a minefield, as you may know. But it is in the complicated tax structure that most changes have taken place.
By the way, searches in this forum have many useful articles on the subject of living in Crete. We are in the process of updating many of the web pages to cover the changes in residency for Brits, etc.
To sum up, I earnestly hope you will get into detailed and thorough research when considering to return to Greece to live. Times have really changed, as I hope I have been able to show above. Indeed, now as a third country family when you arrive in Greece, immigration have the right to ask you to prove you have health insurance, enough financial support when you arrive without a visa. While I am sure, all visitors will be welcomed from June 1st, 2021, the intended tourist season start date this year, you should be prepared for border security to ask such questions – if you come on a holiday visit, ostensibly to carry out your research. It may not happen but be prepared.
I am sure you know much of this information already. I am not offering this post as formal advice, as I am not a professional to do so. But the britsincrete websites are useful info resources from countless experiences of Brits who follow their dream to live a more un-pressured lifestyle. If you find this post useful, then it would be helpful if you could check out some of our sponsors ads.
Hope that is a little bit helpful for your planned move back to Greece to live in Crete – where remember the sun still shines most days.