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Society

It’s Not Easy to Become Digital Nomad in Greece: Restrictions Apply

ATHENS – Greece is telling highly-skilled digital workers to come on down and live in the country as they can work remotely from anywhere but isn’t making it easy for them to do so.

Greece offers a Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) that gives them a three-month visa-free stay – up to a year – and can be used to travel within the 26-country Schengen Area in the European Union, a valuable asset for them.

With great weather and tax incentives being offered it seems like those with digital know-how would be lining up but Greece has notoriously slow Internet that’s problematic for them and the bureaucracy is a problem still.

The site EuropeBackPacker said that Athens – along with its island of Paros – rank only 8th in popularity for them, with Budapest number one despite Hungary having an authoritarian government.

That’s followed by Lisbon and Porto, Portugal; Barcelona; Tbilisi, Georgia; Tallinn, Estonia; Split and Zagreb, Croatia, showing there’s plenty of competition for those valuable skilled workers.

Greece’s Digital Nomad Visa is not the most affordable in the market, reported TravelOffPath of what will be needed to get one, with countries outside of Europe, such as Costa Rica or Colombia requiring them to be able to show they can earn as little as $684 monthly to be eligible.

In Greece, it’s 3,500 euros ($3670) which is three times what teachers get and far higher than the average wage in the country, the government wanting only high wage earners who would also compete with Greek technological workers.

To be eligible, remote workers must work for a company registered outside of Greece or as an entrepreneur whose income originates entirely from abroad, which could mean it would be tax free as Foreign Earned Income.

But to prove their status as a remote employee, nomads must submit proof of a work contract established outside the Greek territory, either for an ‘indefinite period’ or a ‘fixed-term’ encompassing the duration of the visa itself. Self-employed nomads must also disclose their earnings and produce any contracts or payment slips that may support their application.

Tose hoping to bring their partners, children, or any ‘dependents’ can expect the financial requirement to increase as the law means monthly costs rise up to 20 percent to include a spouse and an additional 15 percent

A Greek DNV is normally issued for up to a year, subject to renewals if the visa holder intends to prolong their stay. They can’t be citizens of other EU countries either or Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.

If you’re an American who’s eligible for an EU/EEA/Swiss passport, you could alternatively apply for one and Greece is trying to lure the nomads – apart from the rigorous requirements – with its other attractions.

If you’re a digital nomad entering Greece visa-free as a tourist, in hopes of staying three months, you will need to exit not only Greece at the end of this period but the entire Schengen Area as well.

You cannot re-enter (most of) Europe until a further 90 days have elapsed, and this could pose a barrier to your long-term travel plans in the continent although you can go to Albania, Montenegro or Turkey to avoid the problem.

The DNV law explicitly states that absences from the country for a period of more than six months per year may hinder the renewal of the residence permit. You can still work remotely from Greece as a tourist, as long as you leave the country after every 90-day stay for an additional 90 days.

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