Living in Greece

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

Countries that enjoy visa-free travel to Greece

EU/Schengen passport control – enet.gr

All citizens from EU and Schengen countries enjoy travel to Greece without a visa, plus certain non-EU citizens from countries with which Greece has signed an agreement.

Visas are determined by your passport and your citizenship only. Marriage to an EU/Greek citizen and/or the passport of your spouse does not matter; blood relationships also do not matter.

Travelers should have a passport or other travel document valid for at least three (3) months past the intended departure date.

All citizens from these countries do not need a visa to visit or travel to Greece.

*Article last updated January 2, 2015. However, answers in Comments reflect a person’s specific case and whatever laws were in effect at the time.

Schengen member states as of January 2015

Citizens of 26 Schengen member states do not need a visa.

Austria
Belgium
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France and Monaco
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Italy
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland

EU countries

Citizens from these EU countries that are not part of Schengen may also visit Greece without a visa.

Bulgaria
Croatia as of July 1, 2013
Cyprus
Ireland
Romania
United Kingdom

Non-EU Countries

Citizens of the following non-EU countries can travel to Greece without first getting a Schengen or national visa from the Greek consulate/embassy and can stay a maximum of 90 days within any 180-day period as a tourist. During this time, (s)he is not permitted to work in Greece or any EU/Schengen country without first securing a work permit; and (s)he is not permitted to stay longer than 90 days in any 180-day period without first applying for a residence permit.

If you are not a citizen from one of these countries with the proper passport, and you do not have a residence permit from the EU or Schengen countries listed in previous sections, stop now. You need a visa.

Albania (biometric passport holders, as of December 15, 2010) *There are reports of discrimination at the border.
Andorra
Antigua and Barbuda (added May 29, 2009)
Argentina
Australia
Bahamas (added May 29, 2009)
Barbados (added May 29, 2009)
Bolivia
Bosnia (biometric passport holders, as of December 15, 2010)
Brazil
Brunei
Canada
Chile
Costa Rica
Croatia
El Salvador
Guatemala
Holy See (State of the Vatican)
Honduras
Hong Kong (blue and red passports)
Israel
Japan
Macao (holders of Região Administrativa Especial de Macau)
Macedonia/FYROM (as of December 19, 2009; reports of discrimination at land border)
Malaysia
Mauritius (added May 29, 2009)
Mexico
Moldova (biometric passport holders, as of April 27, 2014)
Monaco
Montenegro (biometric passport holders, as of December 19, 2009)
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Panama
Paraguay
St. Kitts and Nevis (added May 29, 2009)
San Marino
Serbia (biometric passport holders, as of December 19, 2009)
Seychelles (added May 29, 2009)
Singapore
South Korea
Taiwan (only holders of passports containing an ID number as of January 11, 2011)
Turkey (Green passports only, as of July 28, 2010; certain persons who are members of associations and sports clubs. Visa-free travel for Turkish citizens was discussed in March 2013, but nothing approved.)
United States
Uruguay
Venezuela

Turkish citizens may also visit the islands of Chios, Kastellorizo, Kos, Lesvos, Rhodes and Samos for 15 days without a visa between May and October for 2013 (Kathimerini, Agelioforos). Pilot program in 2012 ended September 8. Many travelers said that the “visa-free” process was highly bureaucratic and the same as applying for a Schengen visa (Today’s Zaman).

Future visa-waiver candidates

The European Union has proposed that the following nations enter visa-free status in the future.

China                           Saint Lucia
Colombia                     Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Dominica                       Samoa
Grenada                         Solomon Islands
Kiribati           Timor-Leste
Marshall Islands                   Tonga
Micronesa                          Trinidad and Tobago
Nauru                          Tuvalu
Palau                            United Arab Emirates
Peru                         Vanuatu
Russia

As of last update, citizens from these countries still need a visa and should apply at the relevant consulate/embassy. Citizens should not depend on news sources that report hopes, votes, agreements and approvals, which is the not the same as official real-life implementation.

Frequently asked questions

1. If you have a residence/work permit 

In general, non-EU citizens of any nationality with a valid, unexpired residence/work permit/card or permission to stay in an EU or Schengen member state listed above can travel to Greece without a visa for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

You are encouraged to contact local authorities — usually the interior ministry, border agency or immigration center — about what your 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 is not one country, and it is impossible to know the different and ever-changing laws governing hundreds of permits and visas issued in 27 separate countries and what rights are granted to those who hold them.

2. If your country is not on the list

If your country is not on any of the lists above and you do not live in the EU with a residence/stay permit, you are required to go to the Greek consulate/embassy and apply for a non-immigrant Schengen or national visa that grants you entry, so a sticker or vignette may be placed in your passport. You must inquire directly with official staff regarding:
a) If you need an appointment,
b) opening hours,
c) documents you need to bring,
d) fees (if applicable); spouses and children of EU citizens should not be charged fees)

Click, “Greek Consulates/Embassies Worldwide” to find the one nearest you or call information or look in the phone directory.

3. If you are married or related to a Greek or EU citizen

The citizenship of your spouse, parent or child has no bearing on your travel visa status. It only matters what citizenship, passport and residency/stay permit you have and what they entitle you to do.

  • If you are a non-EU citizen living in the EU, you should have a residence/stay permit. See the above section, “If you have a residence/work permit.”
  • If you are a non-EU citizen living outside the EU and your country is not on the “Non-EU Countries” list, the citizenship of your spouse or blood relative does not grant special privileges or make you exempt from securing a visa for travel and temporary visits to the EU as a student, businessman or tourist. It only decreases the number of documents required and exempts you from paying a fee if you are the non-EU spouse or minor child of an EU citizen.

There is no such thing as a fiance(e) or spouse visa for Greece.

4. Staying longer than 90 days in Greece

EU citizens staying longer than 90 days in Greece are required to register at an alien’s bureau in cities or the local police department in rural areas to secure a permanent residence certificate. Croatian citizens need a residence/work permit to enter the labor market in Greece through July 2015.

Non-EU citizens with plans to immigrate permanently to Greece or work in Greece must consult with the Greek consulate/embassy in their current country of residence to understand if a special ‘D’ visa is needed — do not rely on a friend, relative or forum, or you may receive improper advice, enter an illegal status, be fined, jailed and/or forcibly deported to your homeland. Upon landing in Greece, you are required to apply for a work and/or residence permit within 30 days.

If you intend to work illegally in Greece or do not have an avenue to get a permit, which is explained in “How non-EU citizens can get a permit to move, live and work in Greece,” please see “Overstaying a 90-day visa in Greece” to understand possible penalties.

Sources

Visa requirements for nationals of non-EU member countries” — EU portal
EU abolishes entry visas for Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia” – Deutsche Welle
Albanians, Bosnians celebrate visa-free travel to Greece and Schengen” — Reuters
EU looks at lifting visa for Chinese, Russians” — AFP
Visitors from Turkey may visit Greek islands visa-free under pilot program” — AMNA
Turkish visitors can acquire visas at ports” — Greek News Agenda
Visitors from Turkey can visit Greek islands” — Kyiv Post
EC proposes visa-free travel for citizens of 16 island nations” — European Commission Press Release
Russia, EU move toward visa-free travel” — Reuters

Related posts

Non-EU travelers need 50 euros a day
How Americans/non-EU citizens can move, live and work in Greece
Summer jobs in Greece

Photo from greekconsulate.org

73 Comments

  Viktor wrote @ July 5th, 2009 at 08:35

Hello ! i’m non-EU citizen have 2 weeks Greece Schengen travel visa and have plan to sail from Turkey to first anchor Limnos. Where can i find passport control office to stamp “entry” ? the last Greece anchor plan Samos, the same question – where can i find to stamp “exit” ?

many thanks for any advice about passport control for non-EU sailing around Greek islands.

best regards, Viktor

Kat Reply:

Hi Viktor. This is an excellent question, and thank you for asking. As I understand, you need to fly a courtesy Greek flag and ‘Q’ flag until Port Authorities in Limnos (port of entry) come board and check the ship’s papers and your passport. They’ll issue a Transit Log that allows you to sail in Greek waters, and it may be inspected by Port Authorities in other places you land. However, Immigration will not stamp passports on entry to Greece or on exit when abroad a private boat/yacht.

  dennis wrote @ July 17th, 2009 at 16:49

please can somebody in serbia and montenegro travel to greece without visa?

Kat Reply:

Do you see Serbia and Montenegro on the visa-free list? No. Then the answer is no. Please read more carefully or future questions will be deleted per my policy.

  Constantine wrote @ July 24th, 2009 at 19:55

The section “If you are married to a Greek or EU citizen” is incomplete – it’s worth mentioning that being married to an EU citizen gives you the right to preferential treatment in getting tourist visas for visits up to 90 days. Spouses of EU citizens can get tourist visas for free, without the need of presenting an itinerary or proof of funds. Depending on the consulate involved, you may not need to have a health insurance as well.

Kat Reply:

It is not incomplete. By law, EU directive and in theory, spouses of EU citizens should enjoy preferential treatment. However, in reality this is not necessarily true, and I can give at least two dozen examples in my circle alone where that was not the case.

In short, “it depends” on several factors like many things concerning Greece. This is one reason I encourage people to check directly with the Greek Consulate or Embassy, and I point out that “results may vary” in my Warning and Disclaimer.

  Margaret wrote @ August 9th, 2009 at 08:40

Please note that the Bahamas was added to the visa-free list effective 2009.

Kat Reply:

You’re right. A number of countries were added on May 29, 2009 to the Schengen visa-waiver list, and I amended all relevant articles accordingly. Thank you for pointing it out.

  patricia wrote @ January 22nd, 2010 at 20:37

Somos chilenos e iremos de vacaciones y tb pasaremos por Grecia unos días ,donde me dirijo para obtener la visa turística en el aeropuerto de Atenas ?,gracias

We are Chileans who will be going on vacation in Greece for a few days, where can I obtain a tourist visa in the Athens airport? Thank you.

Kat Reply:

No necesita la visa turística para Grecia. Disfrute sus vacaciones!

You do not need a tourist visa for Greece. Enjoy your vacation!

  Nancy wrote @ December 1st, 2010 at 12:16

I have a student visa for a whole year in greece, it is different from my friends who only get for three months. I will stay in greece about four months to finish my classes, so should I apply for a residence permit?

Kat Reply:

The student visa entitles you to live in Greece, without applying for a residence permit. If it is a multiple-entry visa, then you can travel outside and re-enter for as many times as it lists. However, if it is a single-entry visa and you plan on traveling and re-entering Greece a second or third time time, then you need to apply for a residence permit.

You would also need to apply for Greek residence permit if you plan on working in Greece. A student visa entitles you to a residence permit allowing you to work part time for up to 6 months. But if you have no plans to work here, no need to apply for a permit. Just enjoy yourself.

Thank you for your question. It was a good one.

  Nancy wrote @ December 22nd, 2010 at 15:49

Thanks for your answer! One more question, my student visa is D type, I think it is not schengen, because I cannot find “schengen”, so can I travel around?

Kat Reply:

It should say clearly if it is Schengen.

If it is not a Schengen visa, then it is a national D visa that only allows you to travel to/from/within Greece. Therefore, you must secure visas from the consulate or embassy representing the country to which you would like to travel. For example, if you wish to travel to Italy, you must go to the Italian embassy/consulate in Greece and apply for a visa.

  Nancy wrote @ January 16th, 2011 at 18:45

Hi Kat – at the risk of getting yelled at – honest – I have read and re-read your fantastic articles – but still need clarification on a Schengen question. Forgive me – but you have a remarkable gift for being crystal clear and writing on arcane laws in a digestible way. As you and I both know, if I ask the Greek consulates, I will get various answers – your answers are clearer and more reliable.

I am a Canadian citizen (retired/independent means). I go to Greece annually – from 1 to 3 months at a time (for 25 yrs now). Last year, I started the process to buy land and am in the process for getting approved for that by the Grk govt. I am going to spend 76 days in Crete this winter. Feb 17 to May 4. I may want to come back in October to oversee the building progress. My confusion is over whether I have to stay out 90 days or 180 days. By October, 180 days will not have passed – does that mean I only have 14 days on that original 90 that started in February? Or will I be Ok. I am entering and exiting the Zone through Frankfurt.

thanks….

Kat Reply:

Hi Nancy,

Please understand that I am firm with people who have plagiarized, slandered, threatened or heckled me previously — usually for not being Greek — and (ironically) used my information. And even then, I’m still nice. My policy says I delete redundant questions, but I often show forgiveness, publish them anyway and repeat myself. I may soon enforce the policy as written because I cannot continue to stay up until 3 a.m. to help people. It’s not necessary to compliment me to receive help.

The Schengen rule is a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. The 180 days starts on the day you enter the Schengen zone. Assuming your Frankfurt layover is not the day before on February 16, your 180 days starts running on February 17. That means you can stay in Schengen (including Greece) for a maximum of 90 days until August 17, which is 180 days from February 17. You’re in the clear.

By the time you come back in October, the maximum 90 days in any 180-day period will not be a factor. It would only be a factor if you came back before August 17. So if you arrive on October 1, you can stay another 90 days until approximately April 1 2012, which is 180 days from October 1.

Can you see how the maximum 90 days in any 180-day period works? It’s not a matter of staying out for 90 days or 180 days. It’s a matter of how many of those 90 days was used in any 180-day period.

The itinerary you have planned will not cause you to overstay your visa in Greece, so enjoy your trip and best of luck with the house. Hope to see you here again! 🙂

  Rhonda wrote @ March 14th, 2011 at 12:34

My son is travelling on an Australian passport, he has spent almost 3 months in Norway. He has been told he has to leave for 3 months before he can return to any of the Schengen countries. Is this correct, is there any way he can return any earlier if he wants?

Kat Reply:

Hi Rhonda, this is true.

As I detail above, Australian passport holders can be in Schengen for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. So if he’s been in Norway for 90 days, he needs to leave Schengen for 90 days before he can return. The only way around this would have been to apply for and be issued a long-stay visa before he departed Australia and/or qualified for a residence permit in Norway or another Schengen country to stay longer.

If he tries to come back sooner, he will almost certainly be denied entry.

He could stay longer than 90 days, but he’ll be fined for overstaying his visa upon leaving Norway/Schengen and penalties are quite steep, plus possible blacklisting up to five years.

  Keynan wrote @ March 19th, 2011 at 13:01

I’m holding a somali passport and have a resident permit in bosnia, so can i visit in holland without visa, or i need to apply visa schengen?

please advice.

Kat Reply:

In order to travel visa-free to The Netherlands (or, as you called it, Holland), you must be a citizen and have a passport from one of the Schengen, EU or non-EU countries listed above; or have a residence permit from one of the Schengen or EU countries listed above.

Somali and Bosnia are on none of these lists. Therefore, you need to go to the nearest Dutch embassy/consulate and apply for a visa.

  Eloise wrote @ April 8th, 2011 at 23:15

Hi, I have two questions.

1) I am a South African passport holder with” indefinite leave to remain in the UK” (married to a British citizen) do I need a visa to visit Greece for a 2 week holiday? Is this the same as an unexpired residence permit?

2) If I do require a visa, am I able to get it before I book my holiday?

Thank you

Kat Reply:

Under ‘Glossary‘ and ‘Completing application SET(M) as the husband/wife of a UK citizen‘ at the UK Border Agency, it says indefinite leave to remain (ILR) is “permission to stay permanently (settle) in the United Kingdom, free from immigration control.”

Under ‘Travelling Abroad,’ it says “you are free to travel abroad and return, provided you can show the immigration officer evidence in your passport or travel document that you have indefinite leave to remain.”

Then under ‘Visas for Foreign Citizens‘ at the Greek Embassy in the UK, it says “Family members of EU/EEA/CH nationals who are holders of the relevant British residence documentation (photo) do NOT require a visa in order to enter Greece, under the condition they are accompanied by the EU citizen or they are going to join him/her.” Please click the link I gave, look at the photo and check through the list of answers to frequently asked questions. I suspect you do not need a visa for Greece, but I cannot see what residence document you have.

I found these answers with a simple Google search, even though I am not living in the UK or the spouse of a UK citizen. Take advantage of the UK’s ample resources and helpful Contact offices.

Have a nice trip!

  Alp wrote @ April 15th, 2011 at 12:22

Hi, I am holding a Turkish passport and I have a long-term residence permit for Romania, which is in EU but still non-Schengen. Does this residence permit allow me to visit Greece without visa? thank you in advance for your advice.

Kat Reply:

The answer to your question is in the article above under ‘If you have a residence/work permit.’

You provided insufficient info for me to help further, I know nothing about Romanian work permits, and I do not speak/read Romanian. Through a simple Google search, I found the Interior Ministry of Romania and a link on this page: http://www.mai.gov.ro/engleza/index02.htm#util

…which led me to this page about permits. Look under ‘Cetateni non-EU’: http://ori.mai.gov.ro/

Contact local authorities for more information about what rights you have been granted with the permit.

  eufenil wrote @ May 6th, 2011 at 23:28

hi,
My husband and I are planning to visit greece for 1 week this coming summer. He is a cypriot but i’m from philippines, do i still need to secure a tourist visa to enter and visit greece for 1 week?

Sorry, comments are closed at this time.