Greece is an exciting place to move to. As Greece is a member of the European Union, becoming a resident of Greece grants you opportunities throughout the continent. It also means that you should employ a professional international moving company to Greece, like SDC International Shipping, to ensure that you meet Greek and EU rules and regulations.
International Household Moving to Greece
Greece is the cradle of Western civilization. Officially known as the Hellenic Republic, it is steeped in history and one of the most toured locations in the world. Are you a Greek citizen returning home with your family? Are you an American looking to retire in a sunny climate with beautiful beaches, living close to warm waters and beautiful views, and yet never far from the mountains? Your relatives will look forward to visiting you in Greece. Though a long economic crisis is not completely over, it is recovering and Greece is an attractive location for many Americans who want to relocate.
Most Greek homes are relatively spacious and should be able to accommodate all of your belongings, presuming you are looking for something more or less comparable to what you are leaving in the United States. You should be able to bring most of your furniture with you.
SDC specializes in international household moving to Greece, we’ve moved clients to locations throughout the country. Knowing exactly how to move your household to Greece, our movers will make efforts to both protect your belongings and to save space on your shipment, something that will save you budget space. If you are taking a table, its legs or stands will be removed and wrapped for protection. Beds will be taken apart in the US and reassembled in your Greek home. To minimize the damage to wood furniture from little bangs along the way is usually wrapped, each piece utilizing methods appropriate for it.
Personal effects that you have acquired over your years in America should come with you to your new home. If you have delicate items, SDC’s professional packing service is a better choice than packing by yourself. Things that are packed by the owner can’t be insured against damage. If you will be sending mirrors and framed artwork, our movers will bring special boxes. Crates will be built to a custom size for particularly valuable possessions or unusually shaped items that require special protection.
Don’t forget to fill your container with equipment for your leisure activities. A peninsula between the Ionian, Aegean and Mediterranean seas, with thousands of islands in each, Greece has one of the longest coastlines in the world. Fishing, scuba diving, boating, jet skiing, windsurfing, etc. are par for the course so stock up on equipment for these activities before you move. Snow skiing is also available in Greece and neighboring countries, so if you enjoy that activity, put your skis in the container.
International Car Shipping to Greece
When moving to Greece, you should bring your car with you in most cases. Greece considers automobiles a part of the household, so you can import them without having to pay import duties or VAT. However, you will need to get a permit from the closest Greek consulate before sending it. Cars must be at least six months old to qualify for tax free import. Cars that are newer than this will be subject to 24% VAT. The vehicle’s title and registration should be in the name of the person receiving the shipment. [These will need to be provided to SDC before your vehicle is transferred for shipping.] You will need to obtain your Greek residency before obtaining your local vehicle license plates.
Motorcycles can also be imported to Greece. If they are under 50cc like lots of urban scooters, they are considered household goods and can be sent easily along with the remainder of your shipment. If you are sending a full sized motorcycle, sometimes it makes more sense to send it separately, sometimes not.
Greek Customs and Regulations
Greece is a European Union member, and customs and regulations in the country are governed mainly by the official European Customs Union policy. This website provides current official policies of ICIS (Greek customs authority), unfortunately, it is not available in English. It is always a good idea to call the closest Greek consulate for clarifications of any specific questions you have.
If you are relocating to Greece, you need to check the specific import and customs regulations. When importing used goods to Greece, there should be few problems for the most part. And as long as what you are shipping is legal and belongs to you, it should not be difficult to import your goods. A necessary step will be the creation of an accurate list of the goods in your shipment. This list will be prepared for you when you use SDC International Shipping’s professional packing services. However, you as the sender are still ultimately responsible for the accuracy of the inventory. This list will also be used for your shipment insurance if you choose to purchase it, so verify it.
Most new goods will be taxed at the standard 24% VAT rate. Do not bring anything prohibited in Greece like drugs, pornography. Alcohol should not be shipped.
Greek and EU health and safety regulations regulate chemicals commonly found in new commercial wood products in the US. If you are using new wood in pallets or crating, they likely contain mold inhibiting chemicals or humidity preventing measures. These will need to be declared and conform to the regulations. SDC International Shipping is an international shipper and all of the packaging materials are suitable for international shipments. Do not use readily available pallets.
If you are sending a commercial shipment to Greece for the first time, or if your shipment contains commercial goods in addition to personal belongings, you will need to register for an EORI number (Economic Operators Registration and Identification). If you have been issued an EORI from another EU member that will be valid, but if this is your first time, start on this website.
Moving to Greece Checklist
All packed and ready to go? While you are waiting for SDC International Shipping to come load your personal belongings, it is time to double check that you have prepared everything you need:
- Do you speak Greek? If not, it’s a great idea to start learning. You can get by with English, but you need to know Greek.
- If you are a returning citizen, please provide a residence abroad document from the closest Greek consulate.
- If you are an immigrant, please provide a work or residence visa. See this site for information about immigration visas in English.
- Get your driver’s license transferred to a Greek one.
- Prepare your medical records and consider translating them into Greek
International Shipping Options
Greece invented shipping. Since before the times of Alexander the Great, shipping has been the lifeblood of Greece. Along with tourism, sea shipping is the saving grace that saw Greece through economic hard times. As Broadway is to musicals, Piraeus is to shipping.
Naturally, it should come as no surprise that the preferred method of shipment to Greece is via the ocean.
Depending upon the size of your shipment, we will send your shipment either via a full container load (FCL) or a partial container load (LCL). For small, urgent shipments, we also employ air cargo. This method is typically employed by businesses that send small shipments that can’t wait. Shipment times to Greece from the US are 5 – 10 weeks, depending upon the pickup location and method, but the cost of air shipment is prohibitive for households.
Your relocation specialist will work with you to plan the best international shipping options. If you require it, we can also store your cargo in our storage warehouse, the first month is complementary to clients sending international shipments.