How to get free health care and medicine in Greece

You asked Refugee.Info: I don't have an AMKA. Can I still go to the doctor in Greece?

Under Greek law, everyone must have a social security number, or "AMKA," to access medical care.

But as an asylum-seeker, you may have to wait a long time to get an AMKA. In February 2016, to address the problem, the Greek government passed a law creating a new card, called the "KYPA," that gives foreigners without AMKAs access to medical services.

However, no KYPA cards have been issued yet.

Because of the delay, in May 2016 the Greek government told public hospitals and medical facilities to temporarily serve all asylum-seekers and refugees, even those without an AMKA.

That means that right now, people in Greece who don't yet have an AMKA have the right to access the medical care and medication they need.

But as you may know, even though you have the right to medical care, staff at hospitals and other medical facilities will still ask to see your AMKA.

You should try to get an AMKA as soon as possible. Read on to find out how to get an AMKA — and what to do if you can't.


Getting an AMKA

To get an AMKA, you must visit a KEP office. Photo: Dimosio.gr

What is the AMKA for?

The AMKA is the Greek social security number. You must have an AMKA to work or to get insurance for yourself and your family.

Once you have an AMKA, you will need it to access health care.

Where do I get an AMKA?

You get an AMKA by visiting the closest KEP office to where you live.

KEP (ΚΕΠ, in Greek) means “citizens service center.” You can find the closest KEP office by searching this database.

Do I need to have an appointment?

No, you do not need an appointment. Most KEP offices are open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Which documents do I need in order to get an AMKA?

KEP offices in Greece do not have a uniform, official rule for which documents you need to get an AMKA.

You should bring every document you have to the KEP office.

KEP officers we spoke to in multiple offices around Athens told us that usually, KEP officers will ask to see your:

  • Full Registration card or
  • travel document, if you have one

Note: If you have a residence permit, but no travel document, a KEP officer may tell you that you do not have enough documentation to get an AMKA.

KEP officers may make this mistake because they do not know that residence permits are official ID cards.

If you have a residence permit but no travel document, you should insist that your residence permit is your official ID card and is as valid as any Greek ID card.

Refugee.Info is working to inform KEPs that residence permits are official ID cards.

Do I need anything else?

Yes. You also need proof of address. To prove your address, you can fill out a form stating your address in Greece.

What is the form stating my address in Greece? You can see and download the official Greek-language form here.

  • It is best to fill out the form before you go to the KEP office, but do not sign it until you are in front of a KEP officer. The form must be signed at the KEP office.
  • If you don’t speak Greek, ask a Greek speaker to help you fill out the form. You can see an English translation of the form here.

Photo: IRC / Tara Todras-Whitehill

I have my Full Registration card. Can I get an AMKA for my children and other family members?

Yes. To get an AMKA for your children, bring their Full Registration cards and all other documents they have.

To get an AMKA for your spouse or any other close relative who is 18 or older, it is much easier if they come with you to the KEP office to ask for their own AMKAs.

If your adult relative can’t come with you, you need to bring:

  • Every document your family member has
  • A letter your family member wrote that:

    • says you can represent them at a KEP office, specifically to get them an AMKA
    • was signed and officially stamped in a police or KEP office

    Find an editable sample of this letter here. Find an English translation of the letter here.

I am pre-registered with the Greek Asylum Service, but I haven’t had my Full Registration appointment yet. Can I get an AMKA?

The AMKA is not meant for pre-registered asylum-seekers.

However, since KEP offices do not have clear, uniform guidance on which documents you need to get an AMKA, we suggest taking all your documents to the nearest KEP office and asking for an AMKA there.

Note: If you need legal advice, you should contact one of the NGOs that provide legal services.


If you can’t get an AMKA

Evangelismos Athens General Hospital is one of the largest public hospitals in Greece.

I can't get an AMKA yet. How can I access health care?

Although you do not have an AMKA, and Greece still has not issued any medical cards for foreigners, or “KYPAs," you can access medical care under the emergency guidance issued in May 2016.

The emergency guidance instructs all Greek public hospitals and other medical facilities to serve all asylum-seekers, recognized refugees and other people benefiting from international protection.

Under the guidance, you have the right to any medical services or medications you need, free of charge.

What if I am refused medical services?

You should insist that under the emergency guidance, you have the legal right to be treated the same as any uninsured person who belongs to a vulnerable social group in Greece.

If someone refuses you medical care, you can show them this official document explaining the emergency guidance to prove you have a right to health services. The important parts are highlighted.

We suggest you save a link to this document on your phone.

You can also show them the legal citation for the important parts of the official document, which is: "Circular no.A3γ/Γ.Π.οικ.39364 οf 31.05.2016 (Para. 13 & 15)."

If I can't get an AMKA, can I get medication for psychiatric health problems?

Yes, under the emergency guidance you can get these medications for free.

In Greece, psychiatric medications are part of a special category called "psychiatric and neurological medications." This category has special rules.

If you need psychiatric and neurological medications, you need a prescription signed by a psychiatrist or neurologist working for a Greek public hospital.

If you have a prescription signed by a psychiatrist or neurologist working for a Greek public hospital, you can get psychiatric and neurological medications at:

  • pharmacies inside a Greek public hospital
  • pharmacies that have contracts with EOPYY, the National Organization for Provision of Health Services

Most pharmacies in Greece have a contract with EOPYY. Any pharmacy with a sign that says “Συνταγές ΕΟΠΥΥ” has a contract with EOPYY. If the pharmacy does not have this sign, you can go in and ask.

Do any humanitarian organizations provide free medical services in Greece?

Yes. Visit our Service Map to find humanitarian organizations' services and other medical services near you.

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