My husband and I are UK citizens wishing to spend 6-12 months in Greece. We arrived on 3rd June 2019, and understand that after 90 days in the country we are required to apply for a residents permit. We don't really want to do that if it is avoidable. My question is, if we leave Greece after 85-89 days of being here, and return 7 days later does the 90 period start again? I have researched this as much as possible - but most answers on the net refer to the 90 days in 180 days schengen rule, which I don't believe applies to us until after Brexit. I would like to know if it is legal to stay here till 31 August (thats 90 days from arrival), travel to the UK for two weeks and then come back for another 90 days. Thanks in advance, Kerry

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    Possible duplicate of How does the Schengen 90/180 rule work? Jul 17, 2019 at 12:12
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    As the UK isn't part of Schengen, that won't change, What you've described wouldn't work with the Schengen 90/180-rule. Under EU rules (which are still relevant for you) you can live in any EU country (the most "interesting" question is where you'll pay tax), I don't believe there's any 90 days rules involved in that. It's also not decided what the rules will be after brexit, so it's not possible to say what will happen afterwards. Jul 17, 2019 at 12:23
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    It is correct that after 90 days an EU/EEA citizen must register with the Greek Department of Aliens and receive a residence certificate. However, this is issued on the same day as the application (likely done at a reasonably sized local police station) and is free of charge. Your plan may be perceived as evading the rules which may not go down well.
    – Richard
    Jul 17, 2019 at 12:28
  • Hi Richard - have you been through the process? It is my understanding that as we are not here to work or study we must show proof of income and suitable health insurance. While it would be annoying to arrange this, I am more worried about a possible requirement of a permanent address as we are currently staying with friends/ using airbnbs. We are definitely trying to evade the rules - but dont want to do anything illegal.
    – Kerry
    Jul 17, 2019 at 12:51
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    @Henrik as your comment implies, but it should perhaps be stated more explicitly, the 90/180 rule does not apply to UK citizens while the UK is in the EU, and if there is an agreed transition period then it will apply during that period. Even there is not, Greece may unilaterally apply a transition period or a "grandfather clause" to those who are in the country when the UK leaves, as some other countries have done. Kerry is right, however, that Greece can require her and her husband to register their presence within three months (not 90 days, but similar).
    – phoog
    Jul 17, 2019 at 13:46

1 Answer 1


I do not know precisely how this works in Greece, but my parents have some similar experience in France. the penalty for failing to register should be fairly light, but the specifics are determined by national law, so they vary from one country to another.

I suspect that you can get away with doing "visa runs" (perhaps "free movement runs" is a better term, as odd as it is) if you won't have a regular home base during your time there, and you might even be able to get away with it if you do have a regular home base. But I would counsel you to consider a couple of points:

  1. If you're not planning to have health insurance, what will you do if one of you falls ill or is injured?
  2. You do not necessarily need to have income; you can also have savings and other assets, which may be easier to show if you are retired, which I guess you are.

If I were you, I would probably try to stay above board and make the application to the Greek authorities.

  • Thanks for your reply. Absolutely we need insurance. At the moment we are on travel insurance - and we do need to have a better policy (I am.looking at IMG global hopper which can provide a substantial amount of cover). It seems a 12 month travel insurance policy like this provides comparable cover to health insurance, but is much cheaper. The idea of "visa runs" comes from the fact we are also australian citizens. We have had friends visit from the UK who have left Australia after 3 months and then come back in. Border control dont like it much after the 3rd time - but its not illegal!
    – Kerry
    Jul 17, 2019 at 16:12
  • @Kerry indeed. Are you on the NHS? I don't know much about EHIC, and I particularly don't know whether it could be used to satisfy the health insurance requirement in Greece, but it's worth looking into.
    – phoog
    Jul 17, 2019 at 16:55
  • We applied for the european health card (using my aunts address in the UK) and got one. It may satisfy the police - but since we have lived in Australia for the last 15 years we would still need decent travel.insurance I think. I think we will have to see what the police say. I cannot find anywhere (and believe me i have tried!) about the legalities of the 3 month "visa run" idea
    – Kerry
    Jul 17, 2019 at 18:50

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