After your arrival

First things to do

Obtaining a Greek cell-phone number

It is useful to have a Greek cell-phone number (it’s necessary in order to obtain residence status like AFM and Bank account). You could use your EU cell-phone in Greece until you get settled and buy a local provider’s SIM card from a local store, if you plan to use it for more than emergencies. 

Mobile telephones in Greece use the same GSM system as most EU countries, Asia and Australia. This means that you can use your European cell-phone in Greece without a problem. However, for a regular use the charges will be much higher, unless you have roaming services, i.e. company services that can be used in other countries. USA and Japan cell-phones are not compatible with the EU network. 

For a Greek cell-phone number, you can visit a local service provider store with your passport and ask for a SIM Card for your cellular phone. The brands in Greece are: Cosmote, Vodafone, Nova, Q-Telecom. You will also need to verify ownership of the number, which is also done in the store. Another chain of stores that offers services from multiple provides is Germanos and has wide presence.   

Online request for a sim card is also available for delivery by post, though you will need a Greek address and an available Greek cell number to verify the order.

Getting a tax identification number (AFM) 

An AFM is a number that identifies individuals and legal entities in Greece. The “Arithmos Forologikou Mitroou”, or AFM, is a fiscal number that is used throughout Greece to pay taxes, work and study. To achieve an AFM in Greece one needs to have an official acceptance for collaboration / contract, valis passport, Visa for entering Greece and application document issued by the particular service. 

For more information please check: 

Opening a bank account 

In order to open a bank account in Greece it is necessary to have an official letter of acceptance /contract issued by the host / employee, AFM, valid passport, Residence proof (renting contract , electrical bill, phone bill) and Greek phone number. 

For more information please check: 

Residence permit 

Regardless of visa papers, every visitor should also apply for a residence permit, apart from tourist visits up to three months (90 days). Your application will be checked and processed on the local centre of permits. 

Rethymno local centre of permits

For Rethymno, the address is here: Apolloniatou 6, tel: +30 28310-20543 

Heraklion local centre of permits

For Heraklion, the address is here: Elefthernis & Suvritou 2, Heraklion, GR-71305, tel: +30 2810 264153 

The permits authority will guide you on the requested process depending on your visa and visiting status. However, the most usual steps are the following: 

  • Issue a permit fee ticket (called para’volo in Greek) 

You can do this online, through this webpage:  

or by visiting the Municipality customer service center (called KEP). 

Rethymno location:  

Heraklion location:  

In most cases the ticket of administrative fees is of the code 2107 and the amount should be 150€. 

  • Pay for the ticket at the nearest bank (in Greek: tra’peza) or post office, or through e-banking. 

Airports and ports

Plan your travel

The island of Crete has two airports and three ports. Airports are most common for international travellers, while ports are helpful for people visiting with ferry boats from Athens. 


Heraklion airport (HER) named “Nikos Kazantzakis”


Non official Heraklion ‘Nikos Kazantzakis’ airport


Chania airport (CHQ) named “Ioannis Daskalogiannis”

Welcome Office of University of Crete