Preparation

This guide originally appeared on our forum page on 4th February 2012. The original can be accessed here.

I’m not sure whether this subject may prove too huge for the confines of a forum thread and please do not consider this as a definitive guide, not sure anyone could create one when it comes to moving to Greece!  Shelley and I moved from the UK to Corfu to live, with two children and a dog in January 2012.  We had been planning this move for over three years and it seemed to dominate our lives over the last 12 months.

What follows on this and further threads is our experience both in the UK and on our arrival.  We hope you find them useful and we are glad to help with follow up enquiries.

What to do before considering the move?

Visit the island more than once – out of season with all who are coming, maybe not the dog – we discovered dogs have no national boundaries and as long as you are there they will be fine.
Talk about it lots – with anyone who will listen but especially those you love
Get a unanimous decision from those who will be coming with you – and from those who aren’t if possible

OK you are going to live in Corfu now what?

Many ex-pats will advise renting for a year etc. first*.  Though sound advice we wanted to buy and have a place we could call home.  So as we are all different I will steer clear of this type of advice.  This guide will assume you have left the UK to live in Corfu as a permanent resident 365 days a year.

NB. this list does NOT include the forms you will need to import your car to Corfu, as this will be a separate thread.

THE LIST:

UK Passports – update your passport to ensure you have maximum number of years before expiry
Driving Licence – update your photo licence to ensure maximum years before renewal and paper copy
E111 Health cards – obtain cards as close to date of leaving to ensure maximum coverage
Pet passport – Rabies shot (only single required watch out for dates to coincide with departure), boosters, Micro-chipping
Credit Cards – try to get a credit card that has no fee for foreign use.  Update cards for maximum expiry dates
Royal Mail – forwarding address in uk for redirected mail (up to 12 months available)
Your Health – visit Dentist, GP for all jabs and treatment before you go.  Consider wellman/wellwoman checks for reassurance
Your UK official – get someone who can act on your behalf to receive and forward mail, visit banks, arrange appointments etc
Passport photos – Get at least 8 photos of each adult
Email account – open an email account that is not dependent on UK sign up (BT for example) – we used Gmail
Currency Exchange agent – select a firm to facilitate money transfers to Corfu.  Many available
Greek Lawyer – essential to get an English speaking one and give them power of attorney on one of your visits – to open an account and get greek tax numbers for you
Opticians – get those two for one replacement glasses and if contacts get a years supply
Mobiles – Consider paying for an unlocked I phone.  Your current iphone may not be able to be unlocked in Corfu.  keep your cheap pay as you go phones as they tend to be unlocked and will accept Greek pay as you go sims (Cosmote)
Collect UK plug adaptors –  we took 8 still not enough
Marriage and birth certificates – make sure you have them
P60’s and P45’s – keep them secure, keep old ones
UK birthdays and addresses – update you address book and diary with cannot miss dates

Create a file within which to collect all the documents and photocopies that you will need.  Have one place where it is all kept and out of reach of small hands and dogs!!

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*Note from site owners!

In addition to the above advice we would urge anyone considering relocating to Greece in general based upon holiday experiences to rent first for at least 12 – 18 months. You will soon discover that living in Corfu out of season is a totally different experience – one that many have difficulty coping with. You have been warned!