Steps to Establishing a Company in Greece: A Basic Guide

Embarking on the entrepreneurial journey of establishing a company in Greece can be an exciting venture. Known for its rich history, strategic location, and vibrant culture, Greece offers a unique landscape for businesses. However, navigating the process of setting up a company in this beautiful country requires understanding the legal framework, fulfilling the necessary formalities, and adhering to the local business customs. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the steps involved in establishing a company in Greece, offering insights and practical tips to ensure a smooth process.

Understanding the Greek Business Environment

Greece’s economy offers diverse opportunities, particularly in sectors like tourism, shipping, agriculture, and technology. Recent reforms have aimed to make the country more business-friendly, although it’s essential to remain aware of the bureaucratic challenges that may arise.

Key Considerations Before Starting

  • Choose the Right Business Structure: Greece offers several business structures, including sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation (EPE or AE). Your choice will affect your liability, tax obligations, and operational flexibility.
  • Develop a Business Plan: A solid business plan is crucial, outlining your business idea, market analysis, funding strategy, and long-term objectives.
  • Understand the Legal Requirements: Familiarize yourself with the Greek legal system regarding business operations, especially in your specific industry.
  • Consider the Location: The geographical location of your business in Greece can significantly impact its success, especially if it’s in sectors like tourism or retail.

Steps to Establishing Your Company in Greece

1. Legal Entity Registration

The first step is to register your legal entity with the Greek Chamber of Commerce. This involves choosing your company name, defining your business activities, and submitting the necessary documentation, which may vary based on the type of business structure you choose.

2. Tax Registration

Once your company is registered, you must obtain a tax identification number (AFM) from the Greek tax authorities. This number is crucial for all your business transactions, tax filings, and dealings with the Greek government.

3. Social Security Registration

Registering with the IKA (Social Security Institute) is mandatory for you and any employees you may have. This ensures that social security contributions are duly made, covering health insurance, pension, and other social benefits.

4. Opening a Corporate Bank Account

A corporate bank account is essential for managing your company’s finances. This requires the company’s legal documents, tax identification number, and identification documents for the company’s principals. Major banks in Greece include National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank, and Eurobank.

5. Obtain Necessary Licenses and Permits

Depending on your business activity, specific licenses or permits may be required. These can range from health and safety permits to industry-specific licenses. Check with the relevant local and national authorities to ensure compliance.

6. Register for VAT

If your company’s activities are subject to VAT, you must register with the tax authorities. Understanding the VAT rates and regulations is crucial for proper invoicing and accounting.

Additional Tips for a Smooth Process

  • Seek Local Expertise: Consulting with a local lawyer or accountant who understands the Greek business environment can provide invaluable insights and help navigate the bureaucratic landscape.
  • Stay Informed: Keep abreast of any changes in the Greek business laws and regulations that might affect your company.
  • Embrace the Culture: Understanding and respecting Greek business culture and practices can enhance your interactions and negotiations with local partners, suppliers, and authorities.

Further Resources

  • Invest in Greece Agency: Offers comprehensive information and support for foreign investors looking to establish a business in Greece.
  • Enterprise Greece: Provides resources and assistance for starting and operating a business in Greece, including details on the investment climate, sectors, and opportunities.
  • Greek Chamber of Commerce: A valuable source of information on business registration, networking opportunities, and local business practices.


Starting a company in Greece holds promising potential, thanks to the country’s strategic location, rich cultural heritage, and ongoing efforts to improve the business environment. By carefully selecting your business structure, understanding the legal requirements, and engaging with the local business community, you can lay a solid foundation for your venture. Remember, thorough preparation, local insights, and adaptability are key to navigating the process successfully and ensuring the long-term success of your business in Greece.

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