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Thinking about a move back to Greece

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  • #92332
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        • BIC 2.0 Newbie
        Member since: 12th February 2021

        Hello Everyone.

        I am looking for some advise, I hope you can help….Me and my husband have lived in Greece previously, we lived in Volos and then when we ran our restaurant moved to Skiathos. When I became pregnant we moved back to the UK. My husband is not Greek but lived in the country growing up since he was 16 and so speaks Greek.

        Our Son is almost 3 – while we so want to return to Greece and live the lifestyle we had planned, we now have the interests of our child and need to consider factors such as school. I would also like to move somewhere where there was a bigger expat community than say perhaps Volos.  I need to consider good schools and I am aware that education systems and curriculum is different to the UK. I saw that in Crete there were some international schools, one of which was none fee paying. Would anyone have information/advice/experiences of English children going to schools in Greece and recommend any international schools?

        Since the pandemic I work remotely, so if I was able to continue doing this, moving back overseas could be a real possibility for us, however, now we have a child there is much more to think about. We really want to find a balance in life, we have family in Greece would be so lovely to be able to see them more, but need to consider the right place. I liked Crete as is a big island and I feel you can sustain winters and Summers and I found the isolation on the small island like Skiathos quite hard. If anyone has any information that might help I would really appreciate!

        Thanks :)

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            • Practcally Cretan
            • ★★★★★★
            Member since: 1st January 2005

            Hello Bushberry48

            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

            The main one is:
            • The Greek Embassy in London, and an unofficial one
            • A private company, visareservation but with more detailed information for an application

            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.
            Admin/britsincrete websites

                • Topics: 1
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                • BIC 2.0 Newbie
                Member since: 12th February 2021

                Thank you very much Gerald for your detailed response – yes, lots to think about and I think mostly for my Son, but we will do lots of research and we might find we do stick to moving to Volos where we have family and some friends.

                We both already have our Greek tax number and since our business we are aware about ALL the papers, papers and more papers for tax/work etc and that is a real pain, even when we had a lawyer!

                Thanks again for your feedback and links that I will explore,


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                    • BIC 2.0 Newbie
                    Member since: 20th March 2021

                    If you left Greece when you were pregnant and your son is almost 3 (assuming he’s the child of that pregnancy and not a later addition), it sounds like you moved back to UK 3-4 years ago.  If you are UK citizens and were in Greece previously for more than 5 years, and especially if you had permanent residency permits (blue cards) you should still be able to benefit from the Withdrawal Agreement, which would make your lives much simpler in terms of rights to stay and work, etc in Greece.  You’d need to have been absent from Greece for less than 5 years, so worth considering as part of your thinking.

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