Full country name: Hellenic Republic
Area: total: 131,940 sq km
Land: 130,800 sq km
Water: 1,140 sq km
Capital City: Athens
People: Greek 98%, other 2%
Religion: Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%
Government: parliamentary democracy
GDP: $213.6 billion
GDP per capita: $20,000
Annual Growth: 4.7%
Major Industries: tourism; food and tobacco processing, textiles; chemicals, metal products; mining, petroleum
Major Trading Partners: Germany 12.6%, Italy 10.5%, UK 7%, US 6.5%, Greece 6.2%, Cyprus 4.8%, France 4.2%, Turkey 4%
Member of EU: yes
Member of NATO: yes
Location: Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey
Land boundaries: total: 1,228 km
Border countries: Albania 282 km, Bulgaria 494 km, Turkey 206 km, Macedonia 246 km
Coastline: 13,676 km
Climate: temperate; mild, wet winters; hot, dry summersTerrain: mostly mountains with ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands
– lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
– highest point: Mount Olympus 2,917 m
ARRIVING IN GREECE
EU nationals, Schengen Area nationals, USA and Canadian nationals enter the country without a visa. For other countries please, check the current travel regime that applies to you with the Greek embassy/consulate in your country.
The currency in Greece is the Euro. A Euro consists of 100 cents. Exchange bureaus and banks are plentiful and generally offer fair rates. Banking hours are 8:00 AM to 14:00 PM on weekdays. ATMs are quite widespread especially in cities, and most international cards can be used. Paying with credit cards is fairly easy, and most of the stores accept them.
HOUSING IN GREECE
Accommodation is mostly in apartment buildings. Detached and semi-detached houses are also available, mainly in the suburbs. Commuting means 25 – 30 kilometers from suburbia to downtown. Rents are moderate, but increasing. The highest are in the capital city of Athens and surrounding suburbs, especially the northern and south-eastern. Furnished and unfurnished flats are available both for short and long term. Bear in mind that legal proceedings and liabilities may differ from those at home. You should take independent legal advice when signing contracts and buying real estate.
TRAVELING IN GREECE
The main international gateway to Greece is the Athens airport. Other major ports of entry are Piraeus, Patra and Igoumenitsa. Greece has an extensive, although obsolete railway system. There are trains to almost every town in the country, and fares are quite reasonable. Semi public bus lines link the major cities. Though roads are not always in good condition recently the government is repairing them or creating new ones. Speed limits are 50 km/h in cities, and between 90 and 120 km/h on intercity roads. Foreigners are expected to carry the driving license they have obtained in their home country. Gas stations are plentiful, and fuel is slightly cheaper than in most European countries. In order to reach the numerous islands of Greece (more than 1200) one can use ferry lines that depending on the routes offer frequent and convenient service. Ferries can vary from state of the art catamarans and fast ferries to conventional ferries. National airplane routes are also available from/to major cities and islands.
Foreigners must obtain a work permit and a residence permit. They must also be registered with the tax office.
Individuals are subject to income tax at progressive rates, from 0% to a maximum 45%. Individuals are taxed on either their declared or estimated income, whichever is higher. Estimated income is determined on the basis of living expenses, ownership and acquisition of assets. The main factors in imputing income include:
engine size of motor vehicles
cost of maintaining household staff
purchase of real estate
cost of operating pleasure boats, and
repayment of loans or credit.
The tax year ends on December 31. Filing is generally due between March and May, depending on the official announcement by the Ministry of Finance. Income tax may be paid in three equal installments. If tax is paid in one lump sum, a 5% discount is given. Permanent residents of Greece are liable to income tax on their international income, whether earned in or remitted to Greece or not. If tax has been paid in another country on income not sourced in Greece, that tax may be deducted up to the amount of tax payable in Greece on the same income. Temporary residents of Greece are taxed only on income earned and sourced in Greece.
ELECTRICITY \\ GAS
Power is single phase, 220-240 volts, 50Hz. Some electrical appliances will need transformers/adapters if not provided with built-in switches. There is no central gas supply system in Greece. However, it expected to be applied in limited areas soon. Gas is available in most areas, but by delivery of gas barrels.
MAIL AND COMMUNICATIONS
The Greek Post (ELTA) are generally reliable, but sending valuables or sensitive materials is not recommended. There are a number of private courier services, both local and international, which deliver countrywide. Fees are reasonable. The Greek Telecommunications Organization (OTE) is the sole provider of fixed telephone lines. Some individual service providers offer alternative fixed telephony. There are four GSM operators – Vodafone, Cosmote, TIM and Q operating at GSM 900/1800 frequencies. In general GSM networks cover almost 100 % of the territory of Greece. International calls can be made trough all operators directly by dialing “00″ followed by the country and area codes, and the telephone number. Independent VoIP operators offer lower cost International calls.
Quality of access to the Internet will depend largely on your location. In the capital Athens, and in larger cities Internet connectivity can be obtained through broadband, ADSL, ISDN, and dial-up. In smaller towns and villages Internet may be available only via dial-up.
Business hours are generally 09:00 to 21:00, Mondays to Fridays. On Saturdays most shops are open until 16.00. In major cities there are several non-stop retailers, shops, department stores and drugstores. Most towns have dedicated streets with all kinds of shops. Food and drink is generally purchased from supermarkets, but there is also a wide variety of smaller shops and delicatessen. In general all major megastores and international brands, as well as well known Greek brands are found in the major cities.
Visas are not necessary for Australian, British, Canadian, Japanese, United States, and EU-member citizens for stays of up to three months. Applications to prolong a stay beyond three months should be filed with the Aliens Bureau or the local police at least 20 days prior to the end of the three months. There is no charge for visas issued to EU member nationals. Citizens of countries who must have visas for any visit to Greece must apply in person at the nearest Greek Consulate. A visa application and other documentation must be presented and fees are charged; allow approximately five business days for processing.
Aliens planing to stay longer than 6 months have to apply for residence permit. Allied offers invigoration assistance to companies and individuals. Contact us.
Fire Service: 199
Ambulance Service: 166
Government run hospitals offer healthcare to locals and foreigners. A number of private clinics and hospitals are also available. Should you need a dentist, contacting a private dental office or clinic is recommendable. Quality of dental services in private clinics is good to excellent, and prices are reasonable.
IMPORT OF GOODS/HHE
Your local Allied Pickfords Office will organize all aspects of the packing and shipping of your goods and effects to Greece. This includes advising you what documents have to be obtained, assistance with Customs clearance and final delivery to your door. If delivery has to be delayed, then Allied Pickfords can arrange temporary storage in our warehouses.
ANIMALS AND PETS
Most pets, including dogs, cats, birds etc., can be brought if an original signed and stamped veterinary health certificate is presented, stating that the animal has been vaccinated against rabies not more than 1 year before arrival. Pets have go through medical check-up with local veterinary.authorities at Port of Entry.