Digital Nomadism, a phenomenon that began in the 21st century as a new trend concerning the workplace, is now becoming a global movement.
This term was coined in 1997 in a book titled “The Digital Nomad”, written by Tsugio Makimoto and David Manners. Their book envisioned the invention of a powerful movement that would allow employees to work from anywhere, while performing the rest of their day-to-day duties and activities, including their professional affairs.
Today, more and more expatriates are digital nomads. Freelancers, entrepreneurs, or employees can work from anywhere they want just by using their laptop. The goal is to work in a country that offers a good quality of life. An indicative finding according to the latest Digital Mobilities Survey revealed a remarkable turn towards the Mediterranean countries. Spain, Cyprus, Portugal and Greece are among the top choices in terms of quality of life.
The Digital Nomads’ Visa
The digital nomads’ visa is another means of attracting high incomes, as from the relevant reports that have been published worldwide, it turns out that digital nomads are usually high-income employees. Greece hopes that this effort will also help achieve the goal of increasing the revenue expected from this action.
Greece has entered dynamically into the global battle of claiming digital nomads. In September 2021, the country passed the 4825 Law: “Reform of deportation and return procedures of third-country nationals, the attraction of investors and digital nomads, issues of residence permits and procedures for granting international protection and other provisions”. This law contains provisions for digital nomads and arrangements for foreigners, working remotely with the introduction of a special entry and residence visa (digital visa). The grant is provided for a period of up to 12 months and is related to the issuance of residence permits to third-country self-employed nationals and employees working with employers or clients outside Greece remotely.
The applicant should submit the relevant request either in person or by registered letter. The Visa (request and issuance) will be examined and processed by the authorities within a short timeframe (10 days) through a “one-stop-shop” procedure.
Conditions of Grant
The applicant should submit the following:
- a statement, in which the individual will state the intention to stay in Greece for at least one year
- a provision of remote working, which will not concern work or services to an employer-based in Greece during this period
- the employment contract, project or proof of employment relationship with one or more employers, natural or legal person, who is established outside the Greek territory
- the period of contract (indefinite or definite) provided that the remaining period covers the period of the national visa issued
- information on his/her status in the business, as well as information on the name, registered office, the activity of the business in case the third-country national is self-employed in his/her own business, which is located outside the Greek territory
- proof of a stable income (3,500 euros per month) sufficient to cover their living expenses in Greece, without burdening the social welfare system
Sole or with Family?
The visa can also be issued to members of the digital nomadic family individually for the same duration (12 months). However, family members should not provide dependent work or engage in any form of economic activity in Greece. In the case of a family, the income criteria increase by 20% for the spouse or cohabitant and by 15% for each child.
Possibility of extension
The possibility of extending the twelve-month visa for another two years is also provided, upon application submitted before the expiration of the national visa and if the conditions of the initial issuance continue to be met.
Access to Internet, Coworking Spaces, and Communities
The Wi-Fi speeds aren’t always incredible and can have their ups and downs, mostly if you settle on the islands and especially when it comes to uploading data. The download speeds, instead, are pretty good. However, Internet services are improving year by year.
Major cities in the country offer well-equipped coworking spaces, which have quickly turned into work hubs where digital nomads from different countries meet and socialize.
There are several ex-pat communities scattered all over the country, which are easy to find on social media platforms.
Greece to seize the opportunity
Greece tried to identify a package of necessary actions that will make the country even more attractive to digital nomads, as well as to all those who would like to work from our country. In order to design a comprehensive plan for attracting digital nomads, the country paid special attention to:
- the cooperation with co-competent Ministries and collective bodies of the private sector and the society
- the promotion of Greece as an ideal destination for “digital nomads”
- the broadband infrastructure improvement, especially concerning the provision of fast internet connection services
- the cooperation and exchange of infrastructure know-how and best practices with other cities abroad (oriented to digital nomads)
- the cooperation with start-up companies that employ “digital nomads”
- the cooperation with major telecommunication providers to offer attractive internet packages to digital nomads to facilitate their stay
From all the possible locations to establish worldwide, the latest trends show that more and more digital nomads are moving to Greece and usually stay longer than expected. As a country of relatively low cost in terms of accommodation, Greece seems to have become an important destination for digital nomads in recent years.
Areas such as Athens, Thessaloniki and many of the greek islands seem to offer favorable conditions for digital nomads to stay and work in Greece.
So, pack your bags, grab your laptop, order a drink, and start working from your sunbed!