Living in Greece without Registration Certificate, help/advice needed.

Temporary Forum - Please keep it CIVIL and ON TOPIC regarding updates/ news / concerns on British living / travelling in the EU.
Straycat_67
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Location: UK & Athens/Magnesia

Living in Greece without Registration Certificate, help/advice needed.

Postby Straycat_67 » Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:36 am

Hi all,

Appreciate if someone can help answer my queries especially with the potential Brexit looming.

We (British Nationals, semi retired & self sufficient financially) have been living in Greece (8 months Greece / 4 months UK of every year) for 5 plus years, own properties in Greece, Greek Bank account, Greek AFM's, AMPKA, Annual Tax returns etc...

Unfortunately no one had ever informed us that we must apply for a Registration certificate, even after having multitudes of interaction with the tax office, notaries, lawyers, accountant etc.. no one ever brought up the need of a certificate! Because of the Brexit scenario we decided to look into how we can secure or personal status in Greece long term, based on the fact that 90 days out of 180 days is not really a suitable long term option.

It was only by accident from reading the forum threads we became a little concerned, all be it confused. From what I've read it seems the process to gain a Permanent Residents Certificate/Permit first involves applying for and holding a Registration Certificate, is this true?

Are we likely to get in to trouble for never having sought a Registration Certificate if we now apply at our Local Police Station?

Can we apply for the Registration Cert now, then a few weeks later apply for the Permanent Residents Cert/Permit based on our above scenario or?

We just want to secure our right to stay in Greece for a continuous period of more than 180 days per year and would appreciate some guidance as to how best approach this. Fortunately my partner speaks a decent level of Greek, plus we do have a decent amount of local Greeks to lend a hand if needs be, but it would be nice to hear what you guys think we should do to help gain Permanent residency certificates.

Thanks in advance!
David & Jo

ronjet
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Re: Living in Greece without Registration Certificate, help/advice needed.

Postby ronjet » Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:57 am

You can apply for the beige registration now but wont get a blue one permanent residency until 5years later. Having said that know one really knows what will be appropriate after Brexit ..

YoMo2
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Re: Living in Greece without Registration Certificate, help/advice needed.

Postby YoMo2 » Fri Mar 08, 2019 9:06 am

The Greek gov web site with advice on Brexit specifically states that a beige certificate will allow you to apply for residence after Brexit. Obviously a blue will also do. Link elsewhere on the forum.

Andrew

Kilkis
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Re: Living in Greece without Registration Certificate, help/advice needed.

Postby Kilkis » Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:41 am

No, you should not get into trouble for not having applied for a registration certificate before. The officer might ask why you didn't and might moan a bit. That is what happened to me when I applied 8 years after living and working in Greece continuously. I simply told him that I had never been asked for one and didn't know I was supposed to have one. I only needed one then in order to exchange my UK driving licence for a Greek one. Equally the officer might ask why you want one at all. That happened to a friend of mine who I was helping to register. I simply said, "Because it is a legal requirement to have one". I got a long cold stare and then she started the process. If questioned I would say that you didn't know you were supposed to have one but now you do and it could be important to be registered because of Brexit.

While there is nothing in the EU Directive that defines exactly how a member state should assess how long somebody has been in the country, Greece seems to work purely on the basis of the registration certificates. Once you stay here more than 3 months you are supposed to get a Registration Certificate. This certificate is beige, certifies that you have registered that you have lived in Greece for over 3 months and does not expire. Once you have been here more than 5 years you have the right to apply for a Permanent Registration Certificate but there is no compulsion to do so. This certificate is blue and certifies that you have the right to remain here permanently. Greece seem only to issue the Permanent Registration Certificate once you have held the initial, i.e. beige, Registration Certificate for 5 years and do not seem prepared to accept other evidence. Thus you will need to get a beige one as quickly as possible but you will not then be able to get a blue one immediately.

Depending on exactly what agreement is reached, either the EU Withdrawal Agreement or a UK-Greece bilateral agreement, the beige certificate should be enough to allow you to remain. Everything seems to be based around whether you are legally resident on the date the UK leaves the EU or, in the case of the EU Withdrawal Agreement, at the end of the transition period. Here legally translates as registered. I would take with you any documents that do demonstrate that you have been here long term. They might not help but they cannot do any harm.

Warwick

PS Read through this page.

Straycat_67
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Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2015 12:56 am
Location: UK & Athens/Magnesia

Re: Living in Greece without Registration Certificate, help/advice needed.

Postby Straycat_67 » Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:05 pm

Thanks for your replies. Appreciate the time spent.

We do understand the Greek system (or lack of system) to a degree :) My partner having a Greek Father is a lot more understanding than me, I used to fight the system and pull my hair out, I've learn't to shrug my shoulders now and just go with the flow! lol

I guess we are just really frustrated with the current state of play re the potential Brexit and our own personal loss of "Freedom of Movement", especially as we have invested in having 2 homes in Greece. Yes we still have a property in the UK but for the past 5 years we have spent greater than 6 months a year in Greece and it leaves us frustrated/nervous/anxious as to where it's going to leave us post 29th March or beyond.

How can UK Nationals that have residences (purchased properties) in Greece be told you can only spend 90 days of any 180 day period in them, it seems madness.

Yes, we are in a minority, because we are neither at pension age nor work, but are at a transition stage in lives where we choose to be financially self sufficient. We drive our UK registered car from the UK to Greece approx every April/May and drive back circa December/Jan, I know what some of you will say, but that's what we do, it's never been a problem to date.

Cheers Warwick, we will grab the Registration Cert upon our return there next month and see how it goes from there. We were/are hoping that the substantial proof to show we have been residing the majority of time in Greece may help us remain for more than 90 days at a time, Greek AFM's (had for 15+ years, no idea how we ended up with Greek ones lol), ownership of Greek properties (in fact this goes back 15 years, but weren't "permanent" back then), bank accounts for 20 years, tax returns, bills galore, KEP, Accountants, Tax office, Notary, Lawyer, they all know us well! lol

Anyway, see how all this plays out!

Cheers
David

Kilkis
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Re: Living in Greece without Registration Certificate, help/advice needed.

Postby Kilkis » Fri Mar 08, 2019 5:59 pm

Be aware that if there is a no-deal Brexit it is possible, but not certain, that next month might be too late. It will depend on what any bilateral deal includes.

Warwick

Maud
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Re: Living in Greece without Registration Certificate, help/advice needed.

Postby Maud » Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:23 am

You are very lucky straycat-67 to get away with keeping a U.K. registered car in Greece from April/May until Dec/Jan. Have you ever been stopped and questioned about it? We are very careful not to overstay the six months.....as are other friends from the U.K. who spend six months at their island home. They also have an apartment in Athens, but fly out to that in the winter. They know people who have been fined for having a vehicle registered in the U.K. but kept in Greece for more than six months. I would be interested to know if you have ever had a problem?

Straycat_67
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Re: Living in Greece without Registration Certificate, help/advice needed.

Postby Straycat_67 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:43 am

Maud wrote: I would be interested to know if you have ever had a problem?


No problems so far. We have use of a Greek plated car whilst in Athens, so alternate between that and our UK plated car. We find it necessary to drive from the UK to Greece every year because of the amount of time we're away, lots to take (personal items, food products we cant readily buy in Greece, plus bits and bob's for the 2 properties we have.

I know we run the risk, but it's a calculated risk we take and because we only drive the UK car maybe once or twice per week whilst there it's not as exposed as using it daily. The fact we're based in Athens probably helps with the UK car not being easily noticed as much as someone based on an island, so many foreign plated cars in the areas of Athens we frequent/live.

Who knows, this may even be the last year we take it, depending on the Brexit outcome! The car is the least of the worry, the worry is having a 2nd life over in Greece, with 2 properties, money tied up in the bank under capital controls and the very real prospect of only being allowed to visit 90 day in every 6 months!

Mixos
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Re: Living in Greece without Registration Certificate, help/advice needed.

Postby Mixos » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:53 am

I know at least one person (and there must be many more) who has driven a UK registered vehicle in Crete for at least 10 years, with only the occasional short drive back to England, and has, so far, "got away with it." Furthermore, his house is completely illegal and his philosophy is to live "below the radar" for as long as possible. How much longer this will be possible after March 29th remains to be seen.

Keltz
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Re: Living in Greece without Registration Certificate, help/advice needed.

Postby Keltz » Sun Mar 10, 2019 10:33 am

Thing is, if you have a fatal accident, it is very likely that the Greek police will lock you up whether it is your fault or not. The third party insurance would also be able to take you to court for damages as an overstay car is illegal therefore not insured.

Kilkis
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Re: Living in Greece without Registration Certificate, help/advice needed.

Postby Kilkis » Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:56 pm

I know personally of a Greek, who had previously worked in London, and who brought his UK car back with him when he returned to live in Greece. I would often pass it on an evening walk. Every six months he would get a friend at a port to issue him a bit of paper saying the car had only just come into the country. He parked it openly, on the road, on UK plates, only a few hundred metres from the main police station so I guess he probably had a friend in there too. This was on mainland Greece not on Crete.

I was told that several ex-pats in the Apokoronas area have driven UK registered cars here for years without them ever leaving the country. If they were going into Chania they would wait at Kalami Parking for a long line of cars to pass and tag on the end. The philosophy was that if there was a police stop, which there sometimes is on the section from Kalami to the main Souda junction, they were more likely to pull over cars near the front of the line than ones at the end. I don't know if the story is apocryphal or not.

In almost 22 years living in Greece I have been stopped twice by the police in random checks, i.e. nothing to do with a motoring offence, once in northern Greece and once on Crete. I was asked for all my documentation and they did a check around the car before sending me on my way. If that is typical then the risk of being caught with a UK registered car that has overstayed seems to be very low. I agree with Keltz, though, that if something goes wrong then the consequences could be pretty serious.

We all tend to base our decisions on everything being normal but sometimes you have to plan for the abnormal as well. I only ever have third party car insurance so if I had an accident I would have to pay for any repairs myself. From a cost point of view you could argue that I don't really need car insurance. Certainly it is the law but, until recently when the police got technology that enabled them to check if you were insured, the chances of being caught are very low. Despite that I would never drive without insurance because of the, hopefully, very small risk of injuring or killing someone in an accident. It is not the risk of being caught under normal circumstances that deters me but the risk of what happens in an abnormal situation. I am also by nature law abiding although no angel.

Warwick

Jeffstclair
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Re: Living in Greece without Registration Certificate, help/advice needed.

Postby Jeffstclair » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:17 pm

Yes the no MOT and no road tax means No insurance ... not a good thing to do ....

GlennB
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Re: Living in Greece without Registration Certificate, help/advice needed.

Postby GlennB » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:13 pm

Mixos wrote:I know at least one person (and there must be many more) who has driven a UK registered vehicle in Crete for at least 10 years, with only the occasional short drive back to England, and has, so far, "got away with it."


I've heard of it, but it strikes me as nuts. When we moved to Greece I drove down in our Brit car with the important basic stuff while MrsB jogged along behind bringing the pets. After 4 months the m.o.t. was about to expire and the road tax and insurance weren't far behind. When I sold it for spares and bought a Greek car two local expat friends wondered why, as " there's no chance of being nicked for it" and "the worst that can happen is that the car gets impounded". They didn't seem to recognise that in the case of a serious accident I'd be hung out to dry. Stupid stupid stupid.

bobscott
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Re: Living in Greece without Registration Certificate, help/advice needed.

Postby bobscott » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:45 pm

About 15 years or so ago, a squad of cops from I think Iraklio descended on Almyrida and caused a lot of grief amongst Brit expats who had lived here for some time but never registered their cars. Confiscations etc were enforced. Not happened since, to my knowledge. Moral: if you want to take the risk go for it Otherwise bite the bullet. Bob.
Yesterday today was tomorrow. Don't dilly dally!

Maud
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Re: Living in Greece without Registration Certificate, help/advice needed.

Postby Maud » Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:12 pm

We would not risk it. I would not want to be driving vehicle that wasn’t ‘legal’ for the roads. I was just curious, as when we book in on the ferries Italy/Greece/Italy, it amazes me how much information the new computerised systems seem to have these days!

The same goes for the 90 days if we ‘crash out’ with Brexit. It will also affect our lifestyle Straycat. - It is a problem for a number of friends of ours who divide their time between the U.K. and Greece.


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