Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Countries that require a visa for Greece

Schengen VisaCitizens from these countries need a visa for Greece

Afghanistan
Albania — Non-biometric passport holders ³
Algeria
Angola
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Belarus
Belize
Benin
Bhutan
Bolivia ¹
Bosnia — Non-biometric passport holders ³
Botswana
Burkina Faso
Burma/Myanmar
Burundi
Cambodia
Cameroon
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Chad
China
Colombia
Comoros
Congo
Cote D’Ivoire
Cuba
Democratic Republic of Congo
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Egypt
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Fiji
Gabon
Gambia
Georgia
Ghana
Grenada
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Guyana
Haiti
India
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Jamaica
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kiribati
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Laos
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
Libya
Madagascar
Malawi
Maldives
Mali
Marshall Islands
Mauritania
Micronesia
Moldova
Mongolia
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Nauru
Nepal
Niger
Nigeria
North Korea
Northern Marianas (islands)
Oman
Pakistan
Palau
Papua New Guinea
Peru
Philippines
Qatar
Russia*
Rwanda
Samoa
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Sierra Leone
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
Sri Lanka
St. Lucia
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Sudan
Suriname
Swaziland
Syria
Tajikistan
Tanzania
Thailand
Timor-Leste
Togo
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Tunisia
Turkey (all citizens except green passport holders from July 28, 2010)²
Turkmenistan
Tuvalu
Uganda
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates**
Uzbekistan
Vanuatu
Vietnam
Yemen
Zambia
Zimbabwe

(1) Visa requirement for Bolivian nationals imposed from April 1, 2007

(2) As of July 28, 2010, Turkish citizens with green passports are permitted to visit Greece in summer without a visa thanks to a bilateral Turkish-Greek agreement signed on May 10, 2010. Visa-free travel from Turkey to Chios, Kastellorizo, Kos, Lesvos, Rhodes and Samos runs from May to October for 2013 (Kathimerini). Previous program ended September 8, 2012; and an understanding was signed to accelerate the liberalization of requirements in March 2013.

(3) Albanian and Bosnian citizens may travel visa-free to Greece, only if they have biometric passports.

*Russia and Greece signed a protocol for a future visa-free regime in December 2012, but it is NOT yet in effect. (With recent events in 2014, it may never be). — GTP, RIA Novosti

**European Parliament unanimously endorsed a proposal to grant UAE citizens visa-free access to most of Europe, but it is not yet in effect. — EuroParl Press Release, The National

***Peru and Colombia were approved by European Parliament to join visa-free list, but it is not yet in effect. — EuroParl Press Release

Article last updated January 2, 2015

Entities

Palestinian Authority
Taiwan — Only Taiwanese with passports containing an ID number may travel visa-free to Greece and Schengen for 90 days in any 180-day period as of January 11, 2011. Everyone else needs a visa.

Those not recognized as British citizens

• British Overseas Territories Citizens Who Do Not Have The Right Of Abode In The United Kingdom
• British Overseas Citizens
• British Subjects Who Do Not Have The Right Of Abode In The United Kingdom
• British Protected Persons

Questions and Answers

Do I need a visa for Greece?

Depends.

If you (the visa applicant) are a citizen of one of the countries and entities listed above, you generally need a visa to enter/exit Greece for any reason (tourist, work, business).

How and where do I get a visa for Greece?

If your country is listed, the visa applicant needs to apply for a visa in person at the Greek consulate or Greek embassy nearest his/her residence. They will assess your status, tell you what papers are needed, and issue you the appropriate visa necessary for your trip or stay in Greece. Some may require a short interview before visa issuance.

Do not take advice from articles written by lawyers, a forum, friend or relative because requirements vary by country/citizenship and individual.

Click “Greek Consulates/Embassies Worldwide” to find out when they’re open and follow the application process. You cannot apply online or by post/mail, and the hiring of a lawyer or third party service is unnecessary and may cause delays or do more harm than good.

How much does a Greek visa cost?

Depends on where you are and what visa you get. Contact the Greek consulate/embassy.

By law and in theory, non-EU/EEA spouses and family members of EU/EEA/Greek citizens are exempt from paying fees. However, the law may not be applied due to issues of transparency, variable knowledge and flexible implementation by Greece and its authorities.

How much money will I need to show?

Some non-EU citizens are required to show 50 euros a day for the length of their stay. Others may be asked for more. There is no set amount, as it varies by applicant, country, status and type of visa.

How long does it take to get a visa for Greece?

Depends. On what?
1)  You — Whether your background is clean, if you meet eligibility, which visa you’re applying for, how well you follow instructions, how thoroughly you provide documentation requested;
2) Them — Whether it’s high season (May-September), number of visa applications being processed, number of staff on hand, working hours, how fast they work. Issuance can take from two to 15 days.

The EU says that Schengen member states should deliver a visa within 15 days, except in rare cases. Non-EU/EEA family members of EU/EEA citizens should be given faster processing.

Is there anything I can do to make the visa process go faster?

If you applied for the visa yourself, no. Just be persistent but not annoying in following up.

If you hired a third party to apply for your visa, yes. You can apply for it yourself.

Can I get a visa to stay longer than 90 days?

No, not for travel purposes. There are no Schengen visas with validity past 90 days because of the 90-day maximum stay in any 180-day period. At the 90-day mark, the law also considers someone to be ‘staying’ in Greece and not ‘visiting’ Greece. In order to stay in Greece, non-EU citizens need a residence permit. See “How Americans and other non-EU citizens can get a permit to stay in Greece.”

Yes, for purposes of study or staying in Greece without working for up to a year. Most often, these are national visas that allow the holder to only travel to/from Greece and no other country.

Why do they refuse visas?

Unfortunately, Greek consulates and embassies are not required to disclose why you are refused a visa. They are only obligated to give a reason if you are Greek origin. The most you can do is apply again in the future and hope for a different answer.

Ukrainians report that it remains difficult for them to secure visas to EU countries. A retired schoolteacher alleges the Greek consul made faces at her and punched the air in “Ukrainians face hurdles going abroad.”

I have a sponsor in Greece, does that help?

No. Greece does not grant visas or permits based solely on sponsors. You must meet other requirements.

Disclosing that you have a Greek boyfriend/girlfriend or the support of his/her family member in Greece may actually work against you because authorities fear you’ll overstay your visa or potentially immigrate. That creates suspicion.

I had a visa for Greece, and now I want another. Can I get one?

Depends.

What does it depend on?
a) Type of visa you were issued previously
b) Length or duration of the visa you were issued
c) How long you stayed in Greece and/or the entire Schengen zone
d) Time that has passed since you were last in Greece or Schengen
e) Reason you were issued the previous visa and also why you need another
f) Your current eligibility.

I advise consulting with the Greek embassy or consulate. Click “Greek Consulates/Embassies Worldwide” to find the one nearest you.

What if my country is not on the list?

Depends.

If your country is on the visa-free travel list and you plan on being here temporarily as only a tourist for up to 90 days in any 180-day period, you do not need a visa. Americans, Canadians, Australians and many others are included on the visa-free travel list. See, “Countries that enjoy visa-free travel to Greece.”

However, if you are a non-EU citizen with plans to study, work in Greece or permanently live in Greece, you may need a special entry, type ‘D’ visa that denotes intention to immigrate or stay an extended period past 90 days. Check with the Greek embassy/consulate nearest you. I also recommend reading, “How American/non-EU citizens can live and work in Greece.” It contains information not available anywhere else.

If you are an EU citizen, you do not need a visa for any reason and are free to move, live and work in Greece and any of the other 26 EU member states. Restrictions for Romanian and Bulgarian citizens have been removed by Greece.

What if I’m married to an EU/EEA or Greek citizen?

Visas (visiting as a tourist, businessman or student and staying temporarily) are determined by the visa applicant’s citizenship and passport status; it does not matter if the visa applicant is married to an EU/EEA citizen or has relatives (sister, brother, father, cousin, etc.) living in Greece or elsewhere in the world. There is an EU directive that grants special privileges to non-EU/EEA spouses and minor children of EU/EEA citizens and says that passage without a visa may be allowed if accompanied by the EU/EEA citizen, but Greece does not follow this directive.

A spouse’s citizenship is primarily relevant if you are applying for a visa or permit to stay, live and work permanently in Greece. In this case, you would need to enter with the visa, then apply for a residence/work permit within 30 days of arrival. However, be aware that many immigrants still come here on a tourist (Schengen/national visa), then apply for the residence permit before the visa expires.

Can I get a residence visa for Greece?

No, because there is no such thing as a residence visa. There are only national and Schengen visas.

Are there Greek marriage or fiancee visas?

No. Greece does not have a fiancé(e) or spouse visa program; an engagement is treated the same as being single. There are only two types of visas for Greece: Schengen and national. The Greek consulate/embassy nearest you handles applications and determines your eligibility and need for visas and permits.

If you do not know the difference between a visa and a permit, see “What is the difference between a visa and a permit?

What if I have a residence permit?

Depends.

If you have plans to travel, visit and stay temporarily in Greece, a valid, unexpired residence/work permit/card or permission to stay issued by an EU/EEA or Schengen member state allows you to stay without a visa for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. However, you are encouraged to contact the governmental or ministerial arm that issued the permit — usually the interior ministry, border agency or immigration center — about what this residency/work permit entitles you to do; and/or the Greek embassy/consulate of your current country of residence to confirm if you need a visa to visit Greece. Why confirm? Because people in online forums make mistakes, the EU/EEA is not one country, and it is impossible to know the different and ever-changing laws governing hundreds of visas and permits issued in 28 separate countries and what rights are granted to those who hold them.

If you have plans to move and live permanently in Greece, or stay past 90 days in any 180-day period, it is possible you need both a visa and new residency permit because Greek laws are different from your current country of residence. Check with the Greek consulate/embassy for your specific case. The only time this does not apply is if you have the special long-term EU-wide permit granted to unmarried non-EU citizens who have been living and working in the EU for more than five (5) years, and have free movement privileges. A description is available at, “Long-term EU-wide residence/work permit for Greece.”

Sources

EU Europa Portal
Countries requiring or not a visa” — Ministry of Foreign Affairs
EU abolishes entry visas for Macedonia (FYROM), Montenegro and Serbia” – Deutsche Welle
Documents you need to travel” — EU
Schengen visas an obstacle for tourists to Greece” — MINA
Travel visa for Turks considered by European Court of Justice” — Der Spiegel

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95 Comments

  ashish wrote @ September 10th, 2007 at 18:30

visa required for an indian girl married to greece citizen.

Kat Reply:

Is that a question or a statement? If it’s a question, the answer is in the 2nd or 3rd paragraph, depending on what kind of visa you need.

  sean james wrote @ April 13th, 2008 at 23:14

my friend wants to come to corfu and is unsure how to do so i need to find out why,where and how to get a visa

she lives in trinidad and tobago thanx very much

Kat Reply:

As I say in the article, she must contact and go to the Greek Consulate or Greek embassy in her homeland to apply for a visa.

  Fadi wrote @ June 26th, 2008 at 17:49

Hi again kat.
Thank you for this site. i have a question please. i came to Greece in sept. 2007 on a student visa and i applied for my resident permit and they gave me a blue paper. I finished 2 semester and go back home in 9-May-2008 without getting the real permit.

Now I want to go back to Greece so I went to the embassy to apply for either tourist visa or national visa and they refused my application calming that since I have a permit ready there which was issued in early this month after I left I cannot apply for visa. So I asked them what to do, they said I have to send my passport to be stamped from Greece and this is the only way to go and complete my studies there. I told my friend to ask the municipality if he can do that they said no I have to be there. I told that to the embassy but they refused to help. They are saying that I’v should left before 31-May-2008 (allow period) and now I am stuck and don’t know what to do.

Do you have any advice? Or what can I do now.

Kat Reply:

“They are saying that I’v should left before 31-May-2008″ — Do you mean “should NOT have left?” I also don’t know what you mean by, “send my passport to be stamped from Greece.”

You are getting advice from the embassy and the municipality, and this is the right thing to do. What they say is correct. If there is a valid residence permit, you cannot get a visa. It doesn’t matter if you have it or not. And of course a friend is not allowed to pick it up for you, since you must give back the bebaiosi and sign a document saying you received the residence permit sticker or card. A lawyer can pick it up for you, but you must sign a document (dilosi) here at a Greek police station to assign them this right, then pay. As you are not in GR, I have no answers for you and I am not an attorney. This is typical Greek bureaucracy.

  George wrote @ September 16th, 2008 at 03:26

Hallo! i am a Greek citizen and my girlfriend is a philippino citizen and lives in the philippines.What is the easyest way for the girl to get a visa and come in Greece ? Is there not something like a viancee visa so she can come here and if she like it here we can marry and stay forever here ?
Do you have any advice?
Thanks

Kat Reply:

Answers are already provided in the article. Please read it again.

  nathan wrote @ September 28th, 2008 at 02:02

I was a U.S. permanent resident deported to Colombia South America.Now in Colombia as a Colombian Citizen what are my chances on flying to Greece for a weeks tourist vacation ?

Kat Reply:

As I say in the article above, you need to go to the Greek embassy or consulate nearest you and apply for a visa. I am not a visa issuing authority and cannot advise you. I am simply giving you the knowledge to help yourself.

  A Abraha wrote @ January 6th, 2009 at 22:20

I have applied in greece embassy in Eritrea for tourist visa on september04,2008. Unfortunatly the embassy has refused my tourist visa to Greece.Yes I have submitted all the necessary documents required by the embassy with sufficient financial documents.So I really want to know why my visa is refused?

Yours,
AKILE

Kat Reply:

There’s no way I can know why, as I don’t work for them and cannot examine your file. There are many reasons to refuse a visa, and the Greek Embassy is not obligated to give you one if you are not of Greek origin. Still, you might want to call them and ask, if you haven’t already.

  john wrote @ February 1st, 2009 at 15:32

Hi,
My wife and I are Canadian citizens who have lived and worked in Switzerland for eight years. We have Canadian passports, and Swiss residency permits, called B permits. Last year, we adopted a little girl from Russia. She now lives with us in Switzerland. She has a Russian passport, and a Swiss B residency permit. We would like to take a family holiday in Greece. As a resident of Switzerland, does my daughter need a visitors visa or some other kind of document to enter Greece?

Kat Reply:

Excellent question. If you or any non-EU citizen has a residence permit from Switzerland (which has a bilateral agreement with the EU) or one of the EU or EEA countries, you do not need a visa to travel to Greece or any other country in the EU or Schengen. Possession of the permit means you have already been granted permit to live legally, and are therefore entitled to rights and privileges on par with other EEA and EU residents.

Have a nice time!

  M Sydney wrote @ February 23rd, 2009 at 11:24

Hello,

I’m planning on coming to Greece later this year (as an Australian citizen), to marry my fiancee … What’s the best process in terms of applying for a residency permit? Is it best done from here before I leave, or once I land? What will I need for my claim?

Great site by the way!

Kat Reply:

Bring an original long version birth certificate with apostille applied; you’ll need that to get married. The answers to your other questions are contained in, “How a non-EU citizen can move, live and work in Greece” and “Countries that enjoy visa-free entry to Greece” — both articles are listed above in the 5th question. Please read and search more carefully next time. We’ll see you over here!

  Diph Schitt wrote @ February 26th, 2009 at 19:11

Hi kat,

I’m too lazy to read your site. Can you please just email me all the info and then I’ll decide what I’d like to read later at my leisure.

Oh, great site by the way (hope this compliment helps you decide to repeat yourself and give me the info blindly).

😉

  Pravish wrote @ March 12th, 2009 at 19:09

Hi am a Mauritian citizen living in ireland as a student visa.will a need a visa to visit Greece?and also when is the visa excemption for mauritius to enter eu be in force??

Kat Reply:

Visa-free travel for Mauritian citizens had not come into effect on the date of your comment, and the EU did not announce a date in the press release. However, Mauritius indeed entered the waiver program on May 29, 2009.

About your student visa, you need to ask Irish authorities about what your visa entitles you to do. Ireland and Greece are both in the EU, but each country retains its separate laws, permits and visas. You also did not provide enough information to make it possible for me to help you. Good luck.

  chia wrote @ March 16th, 2009 at 20:38

I have a flight booked to Athens on 19th March and we just found out that my boyfriend’s passport is expiring next week! He is an American citizen and we both live in Switzerland (with Swiss B-permits). We probably will not be able to get a passport renewal in time (we are trying at the embassy tomorrow but chances are slim). Would it actually be possible to fly to Greece and enter/exit with only his B-permit? His passport is valid flying in, but not flying back to Switzerland! (Flight tickets are non-refundable, non-changeable, damn Swiss air economy tickets).

Your advice/thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Kat Reply:

There’s no way a passport can be renewed and issued overseas by the U.S. passport authority in three days. Even with expedited handling and an extra processing fee, it takes one-two weeks minimum since this is not a life-death emergency.

Swiss airports were scheduled to end Schengen border checks on March 1, 2009, so it’s possible your boyfriend will not be checked coming into Greece, which is also in Schengen, or going out. However, I recommend you inquire at the U.S. Embassy because it is technically illegal to travel without a valid form of ID/passport. In fact, Swiss authorities should not have issued him a permit for a validity longer than his passport, i.e., they should have either forced him to renew his passport before issuing the permit, or shortened the length of the permit to match his passport.

Though you may not have the same type of ticket, Swiss Air does have economy tickets available that can be changed for 50 euros. I know this because I’ve flown with them for 9 years and have exercised this option. So “damning” them is unjustified — it’s a matter of the choice you made, rather than the airline’s availability. Have a nice trip!

  angel wrote @ August 5th, 2009 at 15:26

Hi Kat, thank you so much for the website, its really informative. Just wanted some clarification on one subject:

I am Greek and my boyfriend is South African. We both live in the UK, not married, but he has the residence permit for 5 years as a family member of an EEA national (UK gave him that permit as we have been together for more than 2 years, as unmarried partners). The greek consulate here in UK told us that he doesnt need a visa to enter greece, but how long can he stay in greece as a tourist? more than 90days?

thanks in advance

Kat Reply:

Hi Angel, that’s right. Because he has a permit for the UK, he is not required to get a visa to visit Greece as a tourist and can be in the entire Schengen zone for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. These answers are in the article above, but I was perfectly fine to repeat this information because you were polite and offered me valuable info in return. Have a nice trip!

  Elli wrote @ September 5th, 2009 at 13:30

Hello Kat,

I assure you that i have read your wonderful web-site top to bottom and back to front. I am just a bit confused about 1 thing and have no idea about another.

I am a Canadian citizen and my boyfriend is Greek. We have been together for 5 years and were originally getting married in August of 2010. We have decided to move up the wedding date and will be getting married in 7 weeks so that we don’t have to continually split our times back and forth and are looking to settle down in 1 country (we have been lucky as we have worked on ships together most of this time).

I have all the necessary paperwork. Long form birth certificate on its way to Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be stamped as well as the paper that says that i am free to marry abroad also known in some countries as ‘non-impediment to marry’. I will have these translated when i arrive in Greece. I will make sure that i have an entry stamp in my passport as well. And of course the ad in 2 newspapers stating our intent to marry.

Question #1: I understand even from my cruise ship days that i do not need a Schengen Visa. But do i need any other type of visa prior to my arrival. I know the steps that i will take to register our marriage and everything else after but just need to know if once we are married will they say that i am missing some kind of visa.

Question #2: This one might be a stretch for me to ask your help answering….can i enter the country on a one-way plane ticket since my intent is to stay or must i have a return ticket that shows a departure out prior to my 90 days. I could not enter the USA one-way with intent to marry. Period. I would just like to know if from your knowledge this will be problematic. I will be honest…i have found a one-way ticket that is $900 cheaper than a return flight one. Money is tight and if it is legal then i will do it. It it may cause me any sort of problems then it would not be worst any sort of risk.

I thank you so very much for any help you can give me and apologize in advance if i missed something in your articles along the way.

Elli

Kat Reply:

I have an article pertaining to visa and permits for non-EU citizens marrying in Greece, but it’s password protected due to several plagiarism incidents and commentators asking the same questions. You didn’t miss anything, and I appreciate you taking the time to look. Hopefully, it was a somewhat helpful learning experience and not a waste of time.

I hope by ‘stamp’ you mean an apostille attached to your birth certificate. You only need to have proof of one marriage announcement in Greek from a local newspaper in Greece, but you’ll need two originals of that announcement (one for City Hall, one for your files); they don’t accept photocopies.

Answers to your questions:
1) A person can only have one valid visa at a time, so the answer is ‘no.’ You’re Canadian, so you have a visa-free Schengen for 90 days in any 180-day period. If you haven’t used all 90 days in the past 180 days, you’re fine; that’s enough. If you already used all 90 days in the past 180 days, then you need to ask the Greek Consulate/Embassy what can be done.
2) Since you have intent to marry within a short time after arrival in Greece, you can absolutely have a one-way ticket because you’ll apply for your permit to stay here legally as the spouse of a Greek citizen. No one is going to ask you to show a return ticket anywhere during the process. So go ahead and save some money!

I just wanted to say thank-you so very much for your quick response! You really are a very special person!

Thank you again!

Sorry, comments are closed at this time.