Living in Greece

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

Non-EU citizens in Greece with a bebaiosi may travel home through 2015

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Non-EU citizens in Greece with an expired residence permit sticker/card and valid βεβαίωση/bebaiosi/veveosi (blue paper certificate with photo) or first-time Greek permit applicants with only a bebaiosi are permitted to travel to their homeland(s) through December 31, 2015.

In a press release published December 5 in Greek, the Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection announced an open travel period that allows foreigners legally living in Greece to visit their home countries and return to Greece more than once without penalty, as long as they have a valid bebaiosi (Βεβαίωση κατάθεσης αίτησης για έκδοση άδειας διαμονής).

Without a residence permit sticker/card OR a valid bebaiosi (blue paper with photo), a non-EU citizen cannot leave and re-enter Greece. If your current residence/work permit sticker/card or previous year’s bebaiosi will expire while traveling, it is expected you renew and get a new bebaiosi before departing. By law, foreigners must begin renewing a Greek residence permit/bebaiosi 60 days before expiration.

Under normal circumstances, only those with an official permit sticker in their passport or residence card can travel outside Greece without restriction, as explained in “I’m a non-EU citizen in Greece, can I travel whenever I wish?” However, the former Ministry of Citizen Protection under ex-PM Papandreou began granting rights on par with neighboring EU countries from October 2009, and this policy continues under the coalition government that took power June 2012.

Be aware that this privilege grants passage to one’s home country/countries and back to Greece with a bebaiosi. It does NOT give non-EU citizens the right to visit or stay in other non-EU, EU or Schengen countries. Only those with unexpired Greek permit stickers/cards can travel freely.

As a precaution, non-EU citizens may want to print and carry a copy of the official press release for the corresponding period:

Why? Because Greek border police are sometimes misinformed of the law, or know it and refuse passage until a lawyer or journalist intervenes. It is also recommended you make a photocopy of each bebaiosi and keep it in a safe place, in case the original is misplaced, stolen, confiscated or lost. These recommendations are for your safety and security.

The Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection no longer provides the Press Release in English, though the bebaiosi/veveosi is (finally) in English.

  • Travel is restricted between Greece and the country in which you have citizenship and a passport because the document and the laws that govern it are only recognized in Greece.
  • Check if you need a visa: Border authorities of other countries can rightfully deny you entry or exit, and you may need to apply for a visa that would entitle you to travel, transfer/transit through and/or temporarily stay in countries included in your itinerary and then return to Greece. Contact the embassy/consulate serving the relevant country or countries BEFORE you book travel and leave Greece.

*Article last updated December 7, 2014. However, please note that ‘Comments’ reflect the specific cases of commentators (aka, may not apply to you) and laws in force at the time.

How authorities know where you’ve been

Greek border, immigration and policing authorities know where you have traveled by scanning your passport and/or looking through its pages for a stamp.

Each time you leave or enter a country, an electronic record of your crossing is recorded in a computer. If for some reason there is no electronic record, they will look for a stamp. If for some reason there is no stamp, authorities are within their legal right to ask you for proof in the way of air tickets, train receipts or anything else that establishes your record of travel and physical presence in your home country.

If you refuse or cannot prove you have been to your home country, you have broken the law and Greek authorities can lawfully refuse to grant you re-entry to Greece.

What you need

To be granted re-entry to Greece, non-EU citizens residing legally in Greece without an official permit sticker or residence card must have the following documents in accordance with the law, plus a visa or visas to the non-home country/countries visited (if applicable). Select the category applicable to your status.

A. Foreigners with an expired residence permit

1. Valid passport or other travel document recognized by Greece

2. An expired residence/work permit sticker or residence/work card

3. Type ‘A’ Bebaiosi (blue certificate with photo), which denotes that the applicant has already applied and deposited their documents for the renewal of residence permit before its expiry (i.e., Seasonal worker, salaried employee, independent services or consultant, financial independence, family reunification, business owner, spouses of Greek or EU citizens, studies, etc.)

B. First-time applicants of a Greek residence/work permit with only a bebaiosi

In accordance with section 4 of Article 18 of Law 3536/2007 or No. 11702/2006 Joint Ministerial Decision:

1. Valid passport or other travel document recognized by Greece

2. Type ‘A’ Bebaiosi (blue certificate with photo), which denotes that the applicant has applied and deposited their documents for their first residence/work permit or card

C. Aliens issued a temporary order of suspension or suspension issued by the Administrative Court

1. Valid passport or other travel document recognized by Greece

2. Special legal residence certificate issued under the provisions of the No 21535/7.11.2006 KY Apofasis (1677 F.EK. B).

* Please note that the ability to exit and re-enter is not available to holders of special legal residence certificate allocated in accordance with paragraph 6 of No. 21535/7.11.2006 JMD, namely those with restrictive conditions, including a ban on leaving the country.

D. Foreigners in renewal with only a bebaiosi* and no residence permit (sticker or card)

1. Valid passport or other travel document recognized by Greece

2. Type ‘A’ Bebaiosi (blue certificate with photo), which denotes that the applicant has applied and deposited their documents for the residence/work permit.

* Many times, applicants apply for renewal of permits without ever being issued the previous year’s sticker or card, resulting in renewal with last year’s bebaiosi and being given another bebaiosi for the next year. Carry both with you.

About the βεβαίωση/bebaiosi

The βεβαίωση/bebaiosi (blue paper with photo/certificate of receipt) is simply a receipt that denotes papers have been submitted, accepted and are under review for possible issuance of a Greek residence permit. It has a validity of one (1) year from the date of issuance. It is not an official or temporary residence permit or residence certificate.

Forums and other websites call the βεβαίωση/bebaiosi a Greek residence blue card, which is incorrect for two reasons. First, it is not a card. Second, the EU Blue Card is a coveted EU-wide permit/card for highly skilled immigrants under a program that is not being implemented in Greece. Therefore, blue residence cards for Greece do not exist at this time.

The only way you can come to work in Greece is to get a permit by one of the methods explained in, “How non-EU citizens can get a permit to live and work in Greece; or have dual citizenship with an EU country via an ancestor. See “Acquiring EU citizenship via ancestry, marriage or naturalization.”

Note from Author

There are no stated limitations on how long you can remain outside Greece. However, most countries consider that someone is resident if they spend at least six (6) months or 185 days of the year within borders. Also take into account that applying for Greek citizenship as a foreigner requires that you spend no more than 10 continuous months outside Greece in the five (5) years before an application is submitted.

For more information:

Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection
Tel: (210) 6977000
Fax: (210) 6929764


Ελεύθερα τα ταξίδια των νομίμων μεταναστών από και προς τη χώρα τους” – Eleftherotypia
5 November 2009: Δελτίο Τύπου για την έξοδο και επανείσοδο αλλοδαπών στη Χώρα” — Ministry of Citizen Protection
16-11-2010: Press Release of the Hellenic Police Headquarters about the exit and the reentering of foreigners in Greece” — Ministry of Citizen Protection
07-11-2011: Δελτίο Τύπου για την έξοδο και την επανείσοδο αλλοδαπών στη χώρα κατά το διάστημα από 3-11-2011 μέχρι 31-12-2012” — Ministry of Citizen Protection
Press Release in Greek.” for November 2012-December 2013
Έξοδος και επανείσοδος στη χώρα των νόμιμων μεταναστών από 1ης Ιανουαρίου” — Naftemporiki

Related posts

I’m a non-EU citizen in Greece, can I travel whenever I want?
FAQ: Greek residence and work permits
How non-EU citizens can get a permit to move, live and work in Greece


  dwain wrote @ November 21st, 2009 at 07:33

Fantastic and appreciated info, as always! I’m glad the new gov’t is relaxing the rather outdated laws regarding movement in and out of the country. The next step that would be nice would be streamlining and quickening the process of getting the visa from 6 months to something around 3 months.

Kat Reply:

I wish this had been done years ago, so my friends weren’t left heartbroken and without closure in missing their mother’s and grandparents’ funerals. They just wanted to say their last goodbye.

Do you mean visa or permit…or both? I’d like to see permits issued more quickly, not waiting six months to a year or more.

  Tauros wrote @ November 21st, 2009 at 23:17

Hi Kat,

I have completely failed to think of any logical reason that someone with a bebaiosi cannot travel outside the country except to visit their “home country” within the declared timeframes. It makes very little sense for an initial application, and none whatsoever for a renewal. I ask you or anyone else to please advise if you can think of a good reason.

You do say that the Gov’t has shown some indication of changing this law. Let’s hope they do. But no one should hold their breath waiting for it to happen. The country as a whole fears immigration in many respects (how much better they would be if they feared emigration to the same degree…), and I don’t see it
being any big priority. But I suppose, as we’re constantly reminded, we chose to live here!


Kat Reply:

Traveling with a bebaiosi is an issue because it’s only a receipt or acknowledgment that the applicant has deposited his/her papers to be reviewed for possible issuance of a permit. Regardless how English-language media and Embassies interpret the paper, the bebaiosi is not a temporary permit because nothing has been officially approved, and it is not (and cannot be) a visa because: a) Schengen allows 90 days maximum stay in any 180-day period; and b) the bebaiosi and (hopefully) permit is based on his/her original visa; issuing another visa would moot the application for the permit.

Therefore, unless the applicant’s original visa is still valid, he/she technically has no official, legal status in Greece or anywhere. If he/she leaves the country for any reason, Greece has no obligation to grant re-entry because all they have an expired visa (no permission to enter Greece or any country) and no residence permit (no permission to live in Greece or anywhere). One’s homeland is an exception, of course, because the applicant has citizenship there.

The reason the Greek government of past and present has given some importance to the bebaiosi is because it takes so long to issue a permit.
— By law, a first-time applicant should begin submitting papers within 30 days of arrival. If the visa is valid for a remaining 60 days, and the permit only took 90 days to issue, the most an applicant with only a bebaiosi could wait to leave the country is 30 days. No big deal.
— By law, a renewal applicant should begin submitting papers at least 60 days before the permit’s expiration. If the expiring permit has validity for 60 days, and the new permit took only 90 days to be issued, the most an applicant with only a bebaiosi could wait to leave the country is 30 days. Again, no big deal.

But in reality, a person could wait up to a year or more to have a Greek permit issued, so there’s more than 30 days at stake. A person is then ‘sentenced’ to remain inside Greece’s borders while time passes, forgoing holidays, births, deaths, traveling for business or pleasure. Life.

  Tauros wrote @ November 23rd, 2009 at 21:44

Hi Kat,
Understand that the bebaiosi is only a receipt for what appeared to be a properly completed application for residence at the time it was submitted , including that they legally entered the country. But per Greek law, “Third-country nationals who have promptly submitted an application for the issuance or renewal of a residence permit with all required documentation and have received the certificate of deposit referred to in the preceding paragraph shall be considered as legally residing in the country until the administration decides on their request.” (Greek law 3386/05 {last amended 23Sep2009} Art 11, par. 4; the English version as published on several GR Gov’t web sites)

So what I fail to see is, why if a person legally resides in Greece they cannot depart the country and return as long as an adverse decision has not been made on their application? The answer seems to be implicitly admitted in the recent decision to grant a 13 ½ month window for “bebaiosi-holders” to depart/return.

As to where they travel, that should be up to those countries. I would argue that at the point they are granted the right to legally reside in Greece, whether it be through a bebaiosi or residence permit, they are not up against the “Schengen clock” for their time in Greece after issuance of the relevant authorization to remain there, given that Greece has granted them the right to reside in a (specific) Schengen country for an undefined period. But if for the sake of argument that’s a factor to another Schengen country besides Greece, that should still have no bearing on travel to one (of the large majority) of non-Schengen countries in the world. (In practice of course, one runs the risk of being “invited” for an interview in Greece and missing it due to their absence, which will effectively cause their application to be cancelled. But that’s in the category of adverse decision – for failure to appear for interview – and not for absence from the country per se.)

Finally, I understand that the above argument is not how the (majority of) Greek authorities will likely view the situation; I just don’t understand the why. And I have to say that this latest step by the government-in-power is a very big step forward. My biggest hope is that they continue to make significant progress towards more reasonable policies pertaining to all the many immigration/residency issues here; Greece will be much the better for it.


Kat Reply:


As you rightly said, Greek law deems someone as legally residing in Greece if they submitted their papers for review and are awaiting a decision. So in essence, they shouldn’t need special permission to be outside the country for any reason. But, in the eyes of Greek authorities, there is a fine line between “residing legally on a pending application” and “being a fully approved official permit holder.” I’m sure you know what I’m talking about when I refer to fine lines.

Non-EU spouses and children are supposed to have equal rights to an EU resident according to an EU directive, but in Greece this is only in theory. What is written and what is implemented or enforced are not always the same thing.

I cannot comment on what you said about Schengen because I do not have intimate knowledge of all Schengen members’ laws and regulations for those waiting for a permit. It could be that they are the same as Greece.

Why is Greece so afraid of letting people with bebaiosis travel and/or leave and re-enter the country? Honestly, I can’t think of a logical reason. It’s not breaching security, and there are no risks I can think of. The real risk is taken by the immigrant, i.e., Whether Greece lets them back in.

  tmr wrote @ November 24th, 2009 at 22:07

I am a first time applicant for residence permit. I’ve read that this law applies to the first-time applicants as well, but I’m in doubt because in the google-translated version of the press release it mentions some paragraph numbers.

In my ΚΑΤΗΓΟΡΙΑ ΑΔΕΙΑΣ it is written: ” ΣΠΟΥΔΕΣ ΣΕ ΕΡΓΑΣΤΗΠΙΑ ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΩΝ ΣΠΟΥΔΩΝ (N. 3386/05, αρθρο 30, παρ. 3)

Could you please shed some light on this issue?

Kat Reply:

There’s a typo in your Greek portion; it should say ΕΡΓΑΣΤΗΡΙΑ. In any case, I don’t see the confusion. The press release says “the relevant provision of 3386/05,” and your category falls in the same (3386/05) so that applies to you. It doesn’t matter what article or paragraph.

  Silvia wrote @ December 5th, 2009 at 19:48

I don’t know if this is the right place for my comment, but I just wanted to say thank YOU for your great website and all the useful info you are giving.

Also I wanted to share my experience with waiting my residence permit/card. It took more than a year and a half to get it. It was such a long period that I started thinking the bebaiosi they gave me the first time was the final permit ;)

Kat Reply:

Thank you for you kind compliment and for stopping in to share your story. Indeed, this is the case for the majority of people.

In the past, the bebaiosi didn’t look so official and couldn’t be mistaken for a permit. It used to be a irregularly cut, badly photocopied, handwritten document with a stapled photo. Some passport control officials in other countries wondered if it was real or if I’d made it myself.

  JustYen wrote @ December 10th, 2009 at 21:45

Hi Kat, First of all, I want to thank you so much for your wonderful site, I know a lot of people tell you this, but I want to let you know how helpful and informative you site has become to me, now that my boyfriend and I are planning to move to Greece, again Thank you so very much.

The reason I am writing to you, and I am sorry this is a bit off-topic, but I was searching on your site about this specific topic is not found anywhere. We are moving to Greece with our beloved pet. I been trying to get some info about bringing our Suzi with us, but there is no much info in the net about bringing dogs to Greece. I know is crazy, but I just can’t leave behind my dog here in Miami. Are Greek laws as strict as they are in England about pets? The Greek consulate here has not been of much help either.
Thank you so much, and a virtual big hug from Florida ;-).

Kat Reply:

Hi Yen, that’s true. There is currently no article on my website covering bringing pets to Greece, though one will be offered in the future. My experience is limited because I have no pets, so I’ll need to collect real-life stories from people who did this to supplement official bureaucracy. The best source I can give you right now is an article from the U.S. Embassy in Athens called, “Bringing pets to Greece.”

It is not as strict as the UK. I also recommend calling the airline you choose, as each has its own rules and fees. Thank you for saying hello and look forward to having you stop in again. :)

  mak wrote @ December 21st, 2009 at 16:04

I keep on asking myself and my Greek friends in Africa why it’s so difficult to get or renew a residence permit in Greece, even when the person provides all the required documents when due. Some will wait six months, some wait two years to get the same permit, some say it depends on who handles your file. I believe only sensitive people should be employed to work at sensitive offices like the periferia.

Kat Reply:

I agree with your last statement, but the reason behind this inefficiency is more complex and goes way beyond insensitive employees. We can only hope that things will change in the future.

  The Scorpion wrote @ December 23rd, 2009 at 18:22

I brought my Cat to Greece in 2004. The Greek consulate in Los Angeles advised me to get a current health certificate (must be within a certain number of days days prior to departure–not sure exactly how long), plus i had to have a chip implanted in her because of supposed Euro laws. When I arrived at the Athens Airport, the customs guy looked at my cat, said “What’s this”, and I said “Patriotisa” (compatriot–because she was born in Greece), and he just laughed and looked briefly at the Greek consulate’s stamp on her health certificate, and waved us thru…. As Kat says, results may vary–but that’s my Cat story.

  aly wrote @ January 23rd, 2010 at 00:56

i am confused . my question is i am married to a greek woman i have the bebaiosi can i go back to my country then come back to greece with the bebaiosi only and my passport or do i need another visa or what , i did read the article but i am so confused , i called at the dimos they said it is ok . so what is the truth ?

Kat Reply:

Doesn’t matter who you are married to. All that matters is you have an unexpired bebaiosi and an unexpired passport during the time you’re traveling. If you have those two things, you are free to leave and come back from now until December 31, 2010. The dimos and I are saying the same thing. I don’t see the confusion.

There’s no way you could apply for another visa.

  Ernest wrote @ February 8th, 2010 at 16:44

Thank you very much for all that you have been doing for us, the non- eu citizens in greece.

My question is my brother left about a month ago for our home country (Ghana) after the law was made that those with bebaiosi can travel ’til the end of December 31 2010. He already applied for his residence permit and is waiting for his sticker. Still waiting for his sticker he decided to go with his bebaiosi to his mother`s funeral and return a month later.

On his bebaiosi there is no expiry date so on his way back, his passport together with his bebaiosi was seized by immigration officers in Ghana saying that there is no expiry date on his bebaiosi, so they will never allow him to go back.

He is confused now and all explanation to let him come back has proved futile and all that they are saying is they need a document that shows that there is no expiry date on the bebaiosi.

Please, can you do anything about this for me. This happened only three days ago. Please help because he needs to come back and start his work. If there is any letter that can be sent to him to prove to Ghanian immigration officers which can allow him to return to Greece safely. Counting on your co-operation. Thank you.

Kat Reply:

Hi Ernest,

It’s true that the bebaiosi does not have an expiration date; it only has an issuance date and does not explain anywhere that it is good for one year. Therefore, officials in other countries have no way of knowing Greece’s laws or how to interpret the document.

There are only two ways to possibly fix this:

1) Because you are in Greece, you can go to the municipality (dimos office) where his bebaiosi was issued and tell them the situation, ask them to make a copy of the correct law pertaining to the bebaiosi’s “expiration” after one year from issuance and/or draft a letter with your brother’s name to explain this. They should have a copy of his bebaiosi on file in a binder or be able to send for his folder.

Because the letter will be in Greek, you would need to take it to the Translation Office in Athens and have it officially translated for Ghanian officials. You can then send it directly to your brother.

2) Alternatively, you could involve the Ghanian Embassy and ask them to help. Embassy officials are not required to intervene pertaining to issues with its citizens and Greek laws, but your brother’s case involves Ghanian officials and therefore qualifies under their jurisdiction.

However, my impression is this would add an extra layer of bureaucracy and delay the process in #1, and time is something that your brother does not have as he may lose his job. And if he loses his job, he will lose his permit.

I’m sorry that your first comment was because your brother is in trouble. But in any case, thank you for your kind words and I hope you’ll stop in again.

  Daniel wrote @ March 23rd, 2010 at 15:34

Hello Kat,
First of all, thanks a lot for all the help you provide to us via this website, it is amazing how unorganized the laws and public offices are in Greece, nobody know (or cares) to tell you what you must do to make things right.

I am from Mexico, I currently am in Athens with a Student Permit, waiting for it anyway, I have given all my papers, I have the blue photo ID paper but still waiting for the sticker. I have booked tickets to go back home for about a month in June (June 11 to July 18 to be exact), but I didn’t know we had a specifc period of time to go outside the country with this.

my question is, if my sticker is not ready by the time I travel, when is the time they usually allow us to travel back home? do you think I’ll have any problem?

I gave all my papers in Sept 2009, in feb I went to get an update and they told me everything was ok, just still waiting, in March I went and they told me I need another health insurance, which I should be giving these days and hopefully won’t take another 6 months for them to update me.

Thanks a lot!

Kat Reply:

Hi Daniel,

I remember you. Thanks for coming back.

I’m a bit confused as to why you’re asking these questions because the article above already answers them, so perhaps you didn’t read or understand it. The article says:

1) You do not need a permit sticker to travel according to the press release
2) You can travel with a valid bebaiosi (blue paper with photo), as long as it’s valid
3) You can travel to your homeland until December 31, 2010
4) Print out the press release and carry it, just in case.

So why would you have any problem?

  Daniel wrote @ March 24th, 2010 at 12:49

Kat, I’m very sorry, when you posted Nov 2009 to Dec 2010 my mind understood Dec 2009 thinking it was a Xmas Grace period kind of thing, I’m actually very surprised they did it for that long the time. But very happy to hear it though =p

Sorry again and thanks for the info!

Kat Reply:

Ah ha! I see the confusion now. I’m sorry too! I understand your shock (haha) and how you thought that way because past administrations only granted weeks-long windows during which non-EU citizens could leave.

I loved my time in Mexico, especially traveling in those little buses that pick you up on the side of the road and diving in Akumal, Puerto Morelos and Cozumel. One of the most amazing and heartbreaking times of my life. Have a nice trip! :)

  Margaret wrote @ May 20th, 2010 at 00:55

Hello, thank you for your incredibly useful site.

I moved to Greece in late December. Before I left the States, I began the application process for a residence permit for financially independent persons for myself and my child. Five months into my stay, I am still awaiting confirmation that my application will be approved.

My child attends school here, but will return to the States with me this summer. She may or may not return at the end of the summer for school in Greece. (There is a chance she will attend in the States where her father lives. We haven’t made this decision yet.)

I have several questions:

1. One, if I have not yet received our permits by the time we leave, will i have any trouble returning? As it stands now, I intend to return in the fall for a period of time, either in September with my child or on my own by mid-October.

2. If I’ve not yet received our permits by the time we leave, will I need to return specifically to complete the application process?

3. Our dimos only issued a blue paper/bebaiosi for me. Should I request one for her, too, for our travels home?

4. If our permit is denied for some reason, what are the ramifications? Do you see any other possibilities for problems with my situation?

5. You say, “As a precaution, non-EU citizens may want to print and carry a copy of the official “Press Release in Greek.” Why? Because border police are sometimes misinformed of the law, or know it and refuse passage until a lawyer or journalist intervenes.” Do you mean it is possible for a US citizen to be denied the right to travel home, or that we could be denied entry upon trying to return to Greece? I hope, if either, the latter. The idea of being held at the Athens airport with my child is nightmarish!

6. If my child travels to the US this summer on the blue bebaiosi but doesn’t return until after the deadline of December 31st, will there be any ramifications. (When I return in the fall, my intention is to complete both of our permit applications, not just mine.)

Again, my thanks for your help. I’m amazed by the extent of your knowledge and research!

Kat Reply:

I consolidated separate comments into one, then numbered your questions.

As I say in “FAQ: Greek work and residence permits,” it is very typical to wait up to a year for an initial permit sticker to be issued. They say 60-90 days, but this has never happened to me in 12 years and I don’t know any non-EU citizen who received it this quickly the first time without utilizing connections.

1. As I say in the article above, traveling with the bebaiosi is fine. Why would you have a problem returning in September or October? I state things how they’re written. If you’re looking for further confirmation/affirmation, please ask Greek authorities.
2. No. But you should check on its status before leaving. In all likelihood, no one will contact you if something is wrong or even when it’s ready. I say this in ‘FAQ’ also.
3. She should have her own bebaiosi, and I understood from your comment that she does.
4. Unfortunately, I do not represent Greek authorities and cannot foretell the future. If you fulfilled all the requirements, why would you be denied? If you are denied, they tell you why, and you fix it. If you cannot fix it, you leave Greece.
5. Denied re-entry to Greece. It’s not illegal to leave the country.
6. Again, I cannot foretell the future; and asking the ministry to make a decision on something that’s seven months away is completely against how things are done here. At this time, the ministry is allowing travel to one’s homeland until December 31, 2010. They will announce a decision for the period after that, whenever they’re ready.

If your child stays in the USA and does not return to Greece, simply inform the dimos and they’ll cancel the file. There’s no harm in changing your mind.

  jamal wrote @ June 3rd, 2010 at 19:27

i was wondering , i have two nationalities. can i travel to both of my countries with the blue paper?

Kat Reply:

Hello, that’s an excellent question. The law says you are entitled to visit your homeland, so you are permitted to visit whichever countries fit this description.

  Liudmila wrote @ June 30th, 2010 at 14:01

Thank you very much for your website and information you provide.

My husband and I are Russian citizens. My husband works in Greece. We applied for a renewal of a residence permit recently and received a blue paper from Greek authorities. In August we are planning to travel to the United States (for which we have visas), and I’m sure that permits won’t be ready by the time of our travel. I understand that if we leave Greece without a permit, we will have to apply for Greek visa in US in order to re-enter Greece. This is not a problem. My main concern is if we can LEAVE Greece with the blue form. I am afraid that the officer at the airport can start asking why, having the blue form, we’re flying to the US instead of Russia (my homeland).

Thank you very much,

Kat Reply:

A good question.

Greek authorities will warn you that you may not be able to return if you leave, but they cannot block you from leaving even if they know you’re departing to a country other than your homeland. I’ve never heard of anyone being fined or having their passport flagged, and it isn’t written anywhere that they can detain you because you are in a legal resident/work status. Therefore, it’s your choice to leave and solve potential problems arising from that decision.

The main concern with the bebaiosi (blue paper) is being able to re-enter Greece, and you already know what to do to address that.

  Lala wrote @ November 9th, 2010 at 22:17

Dear Kat,

Two months ago I was flying with bebaiosi to my non-EU homeland with transit through Romania (airport zone only). Do you think me travelling through another EU state should be a matter of concern now? I am going back to Greece in a couple days, using the same route. I will appreciate your answer.

Thank you for the article. This is actually the only appropriate source that I found.

Best regards,


Kat Reply:

Hi Lala,

The bebaiosi is good for travel to your homeland and whatever transit countries you need to pass through to get there and come back to Greece. There should be no problem, as this is lawfully allowed. You need only be concerned if you were traveling to or staying in a non-homeland country and not just passing through.

Thank you so much for introducing yourself, your question and your kind words. Have a nice trip. :)

  Vish wrote @ November 19th, 2010 at 17:45

Hi Kat,

This might be of interest to non-EU nationals:
Press Release of the Hellenic Police Headquarters about the exit and the reentering of foreigners in Greece during the period from 01-01-2011 until 31-12-2011


Note from Kat: Hi Vish, thank you so much for reminding me to update the article. I’ve been too busy these last days, and I appreciate you helping me out.

  sanjay wrote @ December 14th, 2010 at 13:50

i am a non-eu citizen and i live 11 years in greece. i have bebaioshi and i dont know how to check my statues that my paper is ready or not. i mean any website or any phone so i can talk and ask my statuus? and what’s the rule of ten years, do i get permanent residence or i have to be same all the time? me.

Kat Reply:

Answers to your questions are already covered by articles on this website. Please search more carefully next time.

The answer about checking status on your Greek residence/work permit is covered in “FAQ: Greek work and/or residence permit.”

If you are not married to a Greek or other EU citizen, the only way you can acquire permanent residence is explained in “Long-term permanent EU-wide residency/work permits in Greece.” Follow the instructions.

Or you can stop the need for a Greek residence permit by applying for Greek citizenship via naturalization, as explained in “Greek citizenship via naturalization.” See if you are eligible, get all of your documents and certificates, follow the instructions. It takes much more than just living legally in Greece.

  Rosha wrote @ January 8th, 2011 at 23:03

I am Erasmus student from Non-EU country (Asia) in Athens. I want to go to Italy to attend conference in January 18 2011. But the problem is I have blue bebeiosi with photograph not a sticker. without sticker it is not allowed to go to other EU countries. So, what I have to do for the sticker? My bebeiosi was issued on 26th october 2010.

Regards, Rosha

Kat Reply:

As it says in the article, you are only allowed to travel to your home country with a Greek bebaiosi (blue paper with photo). You are not permitted to go anywhere else, and you risk being denied re-entry to Greece if you ignore the law.

There is nothing you can do to get your sticker faster. All you can do is follow-up on it, as explained in “FAQ: Greek work/residence permits.

  Viktor wrote @ January 14th, 2011 at 01:50

If someone with a valid bebaiosi travels to another country from the homeland (during his/her visit to homecountry), how do GR authorities find out that it actually happened? Do they look carefully through the passport for stamps for the period of your absence, or is there computerized system showing travel information? If for example I have to make a short trip to UK or US for important reasons, while I don’t have time to get another visa to Greece.

Is there anyone who had this situation?

Kat Reply:

Please take a look at the section, “How authorities know where you’ve been.”

You cannot be issued another visa to Greece while waiting for a Greek residence permit to be issued because your residence permit application was made (and will be approved/denied) based on the original visa.

  Shamshair wrote @ September 2nd, 2011 at 13:46


I have got married with a Greek lady and have got “Blue Card certificate with my Picture on”. Would like to verify if I can travel from / to Greece to / from my homeland Pakistan. Also, please let me know the procedure and time required to get “Permanent Residence” of Greece, on marriage basis.

Kat Reply:

Note that the bebaiosi is not a blue card. It is a certificate that confirms you applied for a residence/work permit in Greece. That’s all.

As it says above, you are allowed travel to/from your homeland until December 31, 2011, though I don’t see the point of asking for verification since you already left Greece and are in Pakistan now. Word of friendly advice, get answers BEFORE taking action or one day you’ll find yourself in trouble.

Marrying a Greek citizen does not guarantee legal residency. You must first pass an interview and be approved for a permit, which could take 3-6 months or more for a decision to be made. You can read more at, “FAQ: Greek permits.”

  Joanne wrote @ September 2nd, 2011 at 21:15

Hi, and once again thank you for all your information, hard work and organization.
Q: If a non-EU person were to travel back to his/her home county and return to Greece while being in possesion of a valid bebaiosi, what would happen if they were summoned for his/her interview while they were gone to their home country?

Kat Reply:

It is assumed that since the applicant now lives in Greece and is applying for issuance of a permit granting legal residency, he/she and the spouse are expected to be here for the interview. If you don’t show up on the date and time sent to you by registered letter, the application is denied and you’ll be informed of alternative courses of action should you want to appeal. You could try to reschedule, but they’ll want you to have a good reason supported by evidence, i.e. medical emergency, death of close relative, etc.

  Joanne wrote @ September 7th, 2011 at 11:34

Does that mean since it takes anywhere from 5 months to 2 years to get an interview scheduled, the only time we can safely travel to/from the States (without risking having the interview set up while we’re gone) is for the first 4 months?

Do you know how far ahead of the interview do they “typically” send the letter or make the phone call that the interview has been scheduled? I’m wondering if the interview is scheduled while we’re gone, if there’s enough time to change airline ticket dates and get back in time for the interview.

Kat Reply:

As I say in “FAQ: Greek residence/work permits,” non-EU family members of Greek/EU spouses are expedited as priority cases with the majority receiving notice within 90 days of application or shortly thereafter. I only know of one case that took 11 months, and this was because the Greek citizenship law was being changed and included modifications to long-term permits (though in the end it was negligible). The public sector will often blame factors unrelated to real reasons for delays.

You will not get a phone call. The registered letter comes directly from the Perifereia and typically gives you less than a month’s notice, but this depends on how fast or slow the post office delivers the letter, not necessarily when it’s printed or sent. I’ve seen cases where the letter was dated months before, mailed the week after and not delivered until two days before the appointment. Edo Ellada.

I assume you took the “two years” from reading Mak’s comment. That doesn’t apply to your case because he’s not connected to a Greek/EU citizen.

Also, the ability to leave Greece and visit one’s homeland is a privilege. I understand you may not appreciate that, but I and hundreds of thousands of others were required to stay in Greece until the issuance of our permit and only granted restrictive leave during Christmas and Easter with last-minute notice that made it impossible for us to get reasonably priced air tickets, make plans or attend funerals/weddings of loved ones. If we tried to leave, we were denied re-entry to Greece. No priority or special treatment even for those married to Greeks.

The ability to travel to one’s homeland year round with only a bebaiosi only came about in November 2009 after Papandreou was elected.

  sanjay wrote @ November 4th, 2011 at 14:51

Thanks a lot, as I got my answer 19 December from you and it really helped me a lot.

Today I wans to share a few things about my permit.

First I came to Greece in 2000 and married a Greek citizen. After 4.5 years we took divorce. At that time I don’t know much about any law how it works and nobody guide me.

I took a 5-year permit and I felt I will go after five years to renew my permit. After completing 5 years I went to review my permit, but the dimos told me that I am illegal because I did not inform them about my divorce.

So after they told me that I have to pay new ensima 1050 euros approximately and be legal so I paid this amount and got a one-year residence permit in my passport. After the 2nd year I went to renew my permit they told me that I cannot have a business in my name (but my business start in 2003 when I was married) as they told me that I have to put 60000 euros in my bank account and I did this and I give them proof after they told me that I ave to use in my shop this money I did not got clear answer from them and tell you the truth I did not understand well also. So they told me after 4 months that I have to close my business and be an employee so I went to a lawyer and I explain all my problem and she told me that we apply dilosi to court so I can win the time.

Today I am almost 2.5 years complete but I don’t have clear answer in between I get one-year permit so I can go and come back to Greese. It’s white paper A4 size and they wrote No. is N.3386/05 K.Y.A 21535/7-11-2006 I think its law no. Well my QWE is as I complete 12 years in Greese and the last 9 years I pay Teve and regular I pay taxes and pay QPA as I earn every year 18 to 20 thousand year and I pay the taxes on my earning but I still now I don’t have my regular paper as I ask my lawyer they told me I have to wait till court give me the answer I don’t know how long I have to wait to get my legal paper and do I eligible to apply 10-years long permit? P guide me I am little confuse as my Greek is not good so I will not go for citizenship but I want to go for long time residence permit so what shell I do.

I realy appresiate ur help way you write its realy help a lot. I wish from my hear all the best in ur jurney.

Kat Reply:

Greece is not at fault. When you are a foreigner in a foreign country, it is your responsibility to learn or inquire about the laws. Ignorance and not knowing the local language are not legitimate reasons. You have not been here for 12 years if you arrived in 2000, you do not qualify for a 5-year or 10-year permit, and my opinion is you have been illegal since 2006 and the lawyers you hired are lying to you to take your money.

Based on your follow-up comments demanding free advice within 72 hours, I do not wish to help you and recommend you contact the Greek Ombudsman. Good luck.

  tamini wrote @ November 17th, 2011 at 21:43

i just go through the pages and i like to tell you so many thanks for solving lots of other people unknown problems. anyway i like to ask you i am here for six years and from the first year i got blue bebaiosi paper from dimos and luckily after six months they had issued me sticker but after that when i go to renew my sticker they told me to wait for new law and given me bebaiosi still i cannot renew my resident permit. for six years i have a same boss with ika and everything.

and last year i hire one lawyer and i got one white paper and she told me i can renew this paper after one year but yesterday, dimos told me that i cannot renew my paper something is there with my paper. i really got shocked when i heard this. i call my lawyer and she says she will investigate it. do you think can she do something for me because soon i like to go to see my daughter like every year. please tell me what can i do. thank you so much for reading my pages. god bless you.

Kat Reply:

I’d like to help you, but you didn’t provide enough information to understand your situation.

What I do know. It is completely acceptable to renew with your bebaiosi if you have not received your residence permit sticker or card, as I say in “FAQ: Greek work and/or residence permits.” Sometimes it’s true that the law is being changed, but it should not prevent civil servants at the dimos from accepting applications. It is also your job to check back and try to submit the application again and again and again.

On the whole, I do not recommend lawyers to take care of residence permits because they usually know nothing, take money from vulnerable foreigners, give them false hope and no good results in the end. There’s no way for me to know whether she can do anything for you because I don’t know her or details about your case, i.e., when you last held a valid bebaiosi, what “white paper’ she gave you, and what status you currently have and why. Ask the lawyer for a solution or seek out the Greek Ombudsman, who handles cases like this for free.

  adam wrote @ November 20th, 2011 at 03:07

provided that you have valid visa you can go to your home country and apply for schengen visa and you can go back to Greece without a problem. The information is not completed but you can still apply for Visa when you are outside Greece and come back to Greece without a problem.

I study in UK and work in Greece and I have no restriction anytime I pass whether with veveosi or Resident permit, and every time my data are scanned and Border police in Greece asking me that I was in UK or I m going to UK. apart from that I have got confirmation from dimos that only with VISA you can travel, and because UK have become my usual place Im allowed in that category as well. But be aware Amsterdam and Italy will keep you half an hour with veveosi.

  Tania wrote @ November 21st, 2011 at 17:02

Thanks again, a million times for this website. I wish I had seen the information on this page earlier, as I recently traveled on my bebaiosi without realizing I didn’t have the right.

I had no idea what risk I was taking by showing it at the border. I wasn’t traveling back home to the US; I was accompanying my (non-Greek EU citizen) husband on a business trip. In case this information helps anyone with questions about Schengen travel, I wanted to give my experience.

We first traveled from Greece to locations within the Schengen zone, Germany and Sweden, and in accordance with EU law there were no internal border checks between these countries. But then we went to the UK, which is not part of Schengen. I had an exit check at Stockholm, where there was some confusion about my passport stamps, since I had been in longer than allowed as a tourist, so I presented my bebaiosi and explained I lived in Greece. The official asked when the permission expired and I replied that I thought maybe it was five years. (I mistook my bebaiosi for my temporary residence card, since the police did not explain and our Greek friends said that’s what it was. I only found out here.) She let me through with no further questions after I shrugged and said, “Greek documents!” That was lucky. Then coming back to Greece from the UK was a Schengen area entry, so there was a serious border check at the Athens airport, at which they allowed only one person at a time. My husband went through first. Then I did.

There was a long discussion, in which the immigration officer called over a supervisor. I handed them my bebaiosi and explained I lived in Greece. This caused more consternation. At last they asked me if I worked in Greece. I explained I did not, but my husband did. They let me through, but now I realize they were not required to and I was lucky twice. I won’t risk it again until I get my real sticker in the passport. Which I didn’t know existed until I saw it on this site.

By EU law there are not supposed to be any internal border checks in the Schengen area, and people of all nationalities are supposed to have free movement once inside.

In my experience, which includes several entries to Greece via other Schengen states over the past few years, Greece follows these rules (amazing but true). So you can probably get away with traveling for brief periods within Schengen. What is hard to remember is that the UK and a few other European countries are not part of Schengen, and some members of Schengen are not part of the EU. When you leave and enter the Schengen area, there are border checks where you can be refused.

Kat Reply:

A few comments and clarifications, in case anyone reads your comment and misinterprets what happened and why.

First, you could have asked Greek authorities to explain the paper to you when it was issued.

Second, asking everyday Greeks to explain bureaucracy completed by non-Greeks will net you: a) The wrong answer, usually because they don’t know, won’t say they don’t know and make one up (98 percent of the time); b) blank stares (1 percent); c) the right answer, usually because they’re married to a non-Greek and had to do it themselves (1 percent). My knowledge about Greek bureaucracy came about because I got tired of hearing (a) and wasting time.

Third, non-EU citizens are allowed to go through with their EU spouses in the EU/Schengen line in some situations, but not always. A non-EU citizen should be able to pass border checks with the correct visas and papers without the presence of an EU spouse.

Fourth, there are no internal border checks in Schengen when moving between one Schengen country to another, but some countries are bringing them back, as explained in “List of Schengen countries” (an article linked above and available on this website since 2007).

Fifth, what you say about all nationalities having free movement once inside Schengen is not true. Non-EU citizens only have free movement or stay privileges in Schengen for up to 90 days in any 180-day period with a sticker-free visa or visa sticker, as explained in “Countries that enjoy visa-free travel to Greece” and “Countries that need a visa for Greece.”

Beyond the validity of a visa or 90 days, whichever is relevant, non-EU citizens need a permit extension under extenuating circumstances or they can be fined for overstaying or refused entry/exit, as explained in “Overstaying a visa in Greece“; or they need a residence permit, as explained in “How non-EU citizens can move, live and work in Greece.”

You were not bothered on past visits to EU countries because you are American and were under the 90-day rule. You were questioned this time because you are beyond the 90 days, and Greece (notoriously) does not issue interim documents that meet EU standards or grant rights on par with other EU countries, while the official residence/work permit is under review.

Further, a country’s national laws and regulations can legally override policies set forth by the EU, as determined by Article 5 of European Parliament and Council of Europe Directive 2004/38C. So quoting EU law is not necessarily useful, unless a civil or social injustice can be proven.

*I removed the link you gave because the information is outdated and therefore misleading.

  Sincap wrote @ March 2nd, 2012 at 07:32

Your comment was moved to, “FAQ: Greek residence/work permits.”

  abdoulie wrote @ March 5th, 2012 at 14:52

Comment 1:

Thanks for the site an what an excellent thought of creating this.
Anyway I have question concerning the bebaiosi traveling.

I have applied for a permit first time an was issue with a white paper receite which say that my application has been recieve and will be going under reveiw.

I am student in a greek university but entered here without a visa just resently made this application for a special permit.

My question is why the white bebaiosi and not the blue one with a picture? And will be able to travel to my country for visit before the permit comes out?

Comment 2:

I want to ask you about the bebaiosi free travel back home. I have applied for a resident and they have given me a white bebaiosi which says that they have receive my application and will look into it for a decision of a permit.
I am a student in a greek university and just wonder if you have
ever here or see this white bebaiosi and why are they did not give me the blue bebaoisi instead?

Kat Reply:

Two days earlier, you left a comment as ‘Omar’ and said you have a red paper. In this comment, you now say you applied for a residence permit. I do not see how this is possible, especially since you entered Greece without a visa. I do not know what you mean by a “special permit,” what documents you submitted to get it, or under what conditions you were allowed to apply.

You have a white bebaiosi because you didn’t apply for normal residence/work permit. Therefore you are not entitled to the same rights granted by a blue bebaiosi.

To have your questions answered, you need to come back and give me more information, visit the office where you applied for the “special permit” or contact Greek Council of Refugees at

  Jeffrey wrote @ April 3rd, 2012 at 21:09

Can i travel if i have a ειδικι βεβαιοσι νομιμης διαμονης?

Kat Reply:

What you’re asking me to do is similar to a doctor diagnosing patients over the phone without doing an examination.

I can’t give an accurate answer without seeing it, so my best guess is no. You can find out for sure by asking the office that issued you the bebaiosi. That’s how I get my information.

  sb wrote @ April 30th, 2012 at 23:02


I have a question. Does police have right to stop anyone and ask to show passport? Do we need to carry passport all the time with us? Which law or act says this and which act permits police to take us to police station for lack of passport on person.

Kat Reply:

All residents and visitors to Greece should carry some form of identification at all times; and non-EU citizens should have their bebaiosi or residence permit card/sticker. It’s a basic law that applies in countries worldwide.

You’re free to not carry identification or can refuse to show it to law enforcement when asked. However, suspicion and insubordination will then give police reason to temporarily detain you while your identity is being verified. If you are cooperative, they have no reason to detain you.

You can look up relevant laws at

  sb wrote @ May 12th, 2012 at 17:56

I live in Katerini and bit disturbed with this Golden Dawn attacks news. Do you think this is limited to Athens only and as we live in Katerini a small town, we should not be bothered about it? Do you know if they got any votes from Katerini?
Thanks much

Kat Reply:

Golden Dawn received votes from people of all ages, income status and professions everywhere, so I don’t know why you think this could only concern Athens. There has always been racism and anti-immigrant sentiment in Greece, just not as overt.

You could more easily find out if they got votes in Katerini since you live there; I do not. You could also look through election results:

  Mendi wrote @ June 6th, 2012 at 19:48

I am a non-EU citizen and holder of the Alien’s Resident permit (white booklet) valid for 2 years issued by the Greek immigration police officials (Hellenic Ministry of public Order). So i wish to know if i can travel with the permit out of and back to Greece.

If not what are the possibilites for me travel out and be back in Greece with such a permit.

Kat Reply:

You did not provide enough information for me to help you. Inquire with the local municipality about what the white booklet entitles you to do.

  bodiulalam wrote @ August 26th, 2012 at 18:39

i am bangladeshi live in greece. i have work and residence permit (stiker sticker) before 2006. now i have no job about one year for economic crisis in greece. i need european work permit (blue card) go to another country for work. 19/11/2011 i went to germany for work. here i find a job but here local minucipoletymunicipality (ausland) tolk to me you have no permitionpermission for work only visit 90 days. mafter i back to greece and go to dimos ask need for european work permit how can apply. dimus said you need greek leanguselanguage certificat after you appling. at time i go to school for leanguselanguage cours but this shoolschool is close .i ask that if i go to another country for job why need greek leanguselanguage . today i searssearch internet here write blue card is blokblocked in greece. why …..why?

Kat Reply:

When you wrote on July 31 with the same question, I already told you how to get the EU-wide permit, including how to get the Greek-language certificate in “Long-term EU-wide permits for Greece.” Therefore, it should not have been a surprise when the dimos told you about the requirements, which are determined by Greek law. It is not necessary to understand the logic of laws or like them, but you need to follow them to get the special EU-wide permit.

In “Free Greek language lessons,” I say that classes are often full, plus it’s summer so (of course) schools are closed from June to September.

All other Greek permits are only for Greece — this has always been true, and it was your responsibility to understand (or ask about) this either during the years you lived here before going to Germany.

The EU Blue Card is different from the EU-wide permit. It is not issued or recognized by Greece and many other EU member states because of high unemployment, and this has always been true since 2009. The EU cannot force Greece to use the Blue Card until 2016.

  Niv wrote @ October 21st, 2012 at 23:27

Many thanks for your much needed informative website.
I came to athens in 2011 and was successful in obtaining my permanent resident permit i.e the sticker on my passport page. However since it was issued for the first time , the permanent work and resident permit is valid for 1 year after which it needs to be renewed.
Currently it is under renewal process. I have obtained the blue certificate i.e temporary work permit.
I have to go to italy for personal work. Can you advise if I can apply for a schengen visa from the embassy of italy in athens because:
1. My permanent resident permit has expired and the renewal is under process.
2. As I have the blue card, I can only enter / exit from homeland greece.
3. So in order to visit Italy or other schengen area I need a schengen visa. Can I apply for a tourist schengen visa at the embassy of Italy.
Please advise if there is any alternate as it is really important for me to attend my personal matters in Italy.Thank you in advance.

Kat Reply:

You did not have a permanent resident permit. A permanent resident permit is valid for 10 years. You have a one-year permit sticker.

You do not have a temporary work permit. You do not have a blue card. See section, “About the βεβαίωση/bebaiosi.”

The question you’re asking is already answered in the article above. Quoted from the last two sentences of the first section: “…travel is restricted between the country you have citizenship (and a passport), border authorities of other countries may deny you entry or exit, and you may need to apply for a visa before traveling. Check with the embassy/consulate serving the country you wish to visit.” Call the Italian embassy in Athens. All best.

  Sriram wrote @ November 5th, 2012 at 17:38

Comment 1:

Do you have any news if the open travel period is going to be extended beyond 31 Dec 2012?

Comment 2:

Just saw the extension for open travel period for 2013. It was announced today.

Kat Reply:

Answer 1:
That’s a good question, as it’s around the time they normally make an announcement.

However, I’ve been checking every day since last week and so far see nothing. I’ll update when/if it happens. The government in power has more pressing issues on its hands, namely securing bailout money before funds run out in a few days.

Answer 2:
That’s funny. I checked this morning and there was nothing, then came home from work to see your note. Thanks so much! I’m updating now, along with three other articles.

  Harjit wrote @ November 26th, 2012 at 21:15

Your question was moved to “Long-term EU-wide residency/work permits for Greece.”

  Phillip wrote @ December 4th, 2012 at 18:55

thanks for the info, Kat. been waiting for my permit renewal for 1 year 2 months now, good to know that the bebaiosi suffices!

  zzhe wrote @ December 6th, 2012 at 11:03

i would like to ask one question:
i have a resident permit which expires 20/01/2013.
i left from Greece to my homecoutry in 03/11/2012.
i already have a bebaiosi until 20/09/2013.
i was planing return to greece before the permit expires,the return was 14/01/2013,since now i see the annoucement that grants bebaiosi to reentry greece i would to spend more time in my country . But also i noticed that in the annoucement grants the entry only for the period from 09/11/2012 to 31/12/2013.
So can i reentry in greece for example in 30/01/2013 with just a bebaiosi or should i return before the permit expires because i left 03/11/2012 which is not included in the period that says in the annoucement?

Kat Reply:

You can re-enter with an unexpired permit or a valid bebaiosi.

  Sriram wrote @ March 17th, 2013 at 18:52

Question 1:

I have applied for my first residence permit and have been issued with a bebaiosi. I need to travel to UK and US on business and have a visa for both countries.

Can I travel to these countries with only a bebaiosi to return to Greece or am I required to have the residence permit before I can travel to other countries apart from my homeland.

Question 2:

To add to my previous comment, I applied for the residence permit for the first time in October 2012 (I hold an Indian passport). I got a bebaiosi which is valid till October 2013. The residence permit has not been issued yet.

I need to travel on official business to attend meetings in the UK and US. I do have valid visas for both these countries. My concern is can I travel out of Greece with only a bebaiosi and come back even though it is not to my home country.

Kat Reply:

Answer 1:
You didn’t provide enough information for me to help you. However, the answer is in the first section of the above article.

Answer 2:
See answer 1.

  george wrote @ March 22nd, 2013 at 11:37

my question is in on the way back to greece….leaving my home country will I have a problem with the authorities allowing me on the plain plane with the valid bebaiosi? I know that its it’s in english but still do you think i will have to translate it to my home country language? and also on transit… again will i have a problem getting on the plain plane do I have again to translate it to the language of the transit country? did any body use the bebaiosi coming back to greece through transit? did they have any problems exiting there their country?

thank you for your reply.
I just want to mention that always on departure from home country to greece and from transit airports authorities are asking to see your visa or adia paramonis prior to departure,if none is available they do not allow you on the plane,however, since the bebaiosi is in english i will not have problems as i was informed.

thanks again

Kat Reply:

You don’t need to show the bebaiosi to authorities in your home country since it’s assumed you have a passport and citizens can come/go as they please in their own country, and showing it on departure depends on if you have permission to travel. There’s no way I or anyone can know if you’ll have trouble because you didn’t say what country/countries you’re visiting or what passport/visas you have — it’s like asking a doctor to diagnose you over the phone without telling him the symptoms. It doesn’t need to be translated if authorities read English. Transit countries allow people to pass even if they can’t read it because the final destination country is responsible for checking papers and will turn them back, if necessary.

Right, as the article says, the bebaiosi is in English. But authorities in countries around the world have no clue what the bebaiosi entitles people to do, which is why the press release is needed as an explanation. Only Greek authorities know. This is why I said transit countries usually allow people to pass even if they don’t understand it; it’s because they know the destination country will deal with turning back people without proper permission. I never said they don’t check, and I never said you would have problems.

  Ly wrote @ May 8th, 2013 at 16:30

Hallo, I m from Zimbabwe i have a blue paper as a mother of greek citizen which expires in 21/10/2013, i m going with my son to zimbabwe to get a new passport and get the necessary marriage papers. Greek dad is going to stay here.


Am i allowed to reenter Greece (i m transiting through Frankfurt) with the blue vavaiosi and a new passport (The vavaiosi has the old passport number).

Kat Reply:

German authorities will allow you to pass. The concern is Greek authorities.

By law you’re obliged to report a change in ID to the tax office, grafeio allodapon, bank, cell phone provider and other relevant institutions. I realize you’re renewing your passport outside Greece and not at an embassy/consulate, and it’s not possible to update your records without first reentering. They should allow you to pass as long as you keep the old passport with you, since the bebaiosi (veveosi) is unexpired and valid. Also bring the old passport with you when reporting a change in ID at the above-mentioned places in Greece; they’re going to ask, plus all your papers must match to get married.

Have a safe trip.

  Lel wrote @ May 10th, 2013 at 13:27

Thanks so much for all the useful information! May I ask a question:
I am a Russian citizen and a wife of a Greek citizen and have a blue veveosi (in Greek only, btw) which I obtained in November, 2012. My visa expires on May 14, 2013 but I absolutely have to travel to Uzbekistan (May 16), it is an urgent trip due to my grandfather health issues. Uzbekistan IS my home country, I was born and raised there, but some years ago I obtained a Russian passport, so I am not Uzbek citizen any more. I will be traveling with my toddler, who is a Greek citizen. Our itinerary is Athens > Istanbul > Tashkent and Tashkent > Istanbul > Athens. I know it is dumb but I didn’t think I would have any problems, but it turns out I will.

Btw, my husband called Schengen Visa Department of MFA (I think) and Athens airport to ask if there will be any problems and they said no and I am good to go. But I still don’t believe I’ll be able to travel freely.
What is the worst case scenario for me? Is there anything I could do now? Maybe I could reapply for a Greek visa in Tashkent? They don’t have Greek embassy there but I could apply through Italian.

Your advice is much, much appreciated! Thank you!

I wrote you on May 10th regarding traveling to Uzbekistan through Turkey with a russian passport. I just wanted to thank you for your thorough response and say that I managed to go to Uzbekistan and back with no problem, no questions asked. We also traveled to Russia in August – again, no questions asked. I was just showing them my passport with expired visa and veveosi.

Of course, I don’t want anyone to think that it’s ok to travel breaking the law, I just wanted to share my personal experience. I guess, I was just lucky.

Thank you so much for this website!

Kat Reply:

I’m always happy to answer questions from polite, gracious people who made an effort to find answers and give sufficient background.

I’ve never encountered or heard of this specific situation in 14 years, so I cannot advise from first-hand experience. If Greek police/border authorities follow the law ‘as is,’ the bebaiosi/veveosi only allows passage to the country in which you can prove you are a citizen. However, because implementation of the law varies in Greece, there’s no way to know in advance how they will interpret your case and take action (or not).

It’s good that your husband called MFA and the airport (if he spoke directly to border/passport authorities), but it’s the Interior Ministry or Ministry of Citizen Protection that has jurisdiction over the bebaiosi/veveosi and decides what non-EU citizens can/can’t do.

Under normal circumstances when a non-EU citizen with a bebaiosi/veveosi is traveling to a country in which they do not have citizenship/passport, he/she must get a visa from that country’s embassy/consulate BEFORE departing Greece. So in your case that would be Uzbekistan.

Please contact the Ministry of Citizen Protection, the dimos or allodapon grafeio that issued your bebaiosi, and the Uzbek Consulate General to check if you need a visa, as I personally do not know the answer. This way all your bases are covered.

I hope everything works out, and you can concentrate on being with your grandfather. Wishing you all the best.

Hello again. It’s hard to say if you were lucky or even did anything wrong because I don’t know how Greek border authorities interpreted the law. The main thing is you were able to see relatives and re-enter Greece with no problem.

Thank you for coming back to let me know what happened. It helps me gauge what’s happening in real life and use the knowledge to assist others. All best.

  AM wrote @ May 24th, 2013 at 22:00

I was a student in Greece, my University asked for the residence permit to be expired in Feb.2013 and the sticker was issued in Mar.2013 but I didn’t go to take it since I want to stay more and my bebaiosi will expire in Sep. 2013, Is it allowed to stay with the bebaiosi?

Another question please, If i want to travel to another country (not my homeland and not a schengen country) given that I won’t come back to Greece after, Is this allowed too?

Thank you very much for this useful info website.

Kat Reply:

No. Bebaiosi is only valid if no permit sticker has been issued. Yours was issued. If you do not have an unexpired permit sticker for Greece, you are now an illegal resident and subject to fines upon leaving the country as stated in “FAQ: Greek work/and or residence permits.”

Depends. If you want to visit a country that isn’t your own, you need to check their visa requirements. If you decide to just show up, border authorities may deny you entry. The world is not visa-free.

  larry wrote @ June 27th, 2013 at 22:27

Question 1:
Hello sir. I have one problem I’m now living in Egypt and I have blue paper vivosi veveosi which will be expire in sept 2013.please can I go back with the viviosi veveosi although I’m not a citizen of Egypt. im a Ghanian citizen. and also I have enter Egypt with valid visa. is there problem for when going back to Greece. thank you.

Question 2:
Thank you very much.and another question is there is no any problem in staying long out of Greece with bebaiosi when reach the airport. will they ask you why did you keep long in coming back.and also will they ask you why you didn’t travel to your homeland directly.please I need an answer for this.

Question 3:
Hello.thank again.please my question is how long can stay with the bebaosi out side Greece till the coming back to Greece. this is an question I can see most people do question you some hard answer but you reply them with possitve why me. thanks.

Kat Reply:

Answer 1:
As it says in the article above, there is nothing wrong with re-entering Greece from a country that is: a) your home country with a valid bebaiosi; or b) a country that granted you a visa for the purpose of your stay, as long as it’s not expired.

Unfortunately, you did not provide enough information for me to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ regarding your individual case. You can ask the Ministry of Citizen Protection, using contact info given above.

Kat is a woman’s name (Kathryn, Katerina), so I am not a ‘sir.’

Answer 2 & 3:
As I said in Answer 1, you did not provide enough information for me to help you, so it’s impossible to answer any of your questions. You need to contact the Ministry of Citizen Protection directly.

Other people I answered gave enough info; you did not.

  Mary wrote @ September 5th, 2013 at 10:06


I am from Seychelles which i dont need a visa to any of the european countries at the moment i am in Sweden with a vevaiosi. I’ve not been stamped in to Sweden cause i still had a valid permit from Greece when i came. Can i still go back to Greece with the vevaiosi?

Kat Reply:

Citizens of Seychelles do not need a visa to visit European countries in the Schengen zone as a tourist for 90 days in any 180-day period. However, this is not apply to you as you are living in Greece as a resident and (as the title says) the bebaiosi only allows the holder to travel home and back, not to other countries.

If Greek authorities enforce the law as written, the answer is no. However, as the law is variably enforced, there’s no way to know in advance whether they will turn you away or permit you to enter.

  Janet wrote @ October 8th, 2013 at 18:57

Question 1:
Please could you help me with a question. My permit has not yet been reissued, still holding the blue vevaiosi. I understand that one can travel to their homeland and return (mine being South Africa) with that document. I really want to go to the UK and USA. My thoughts are to go first to S. Africa – stay a few days, then fly to UK and USA (have the visas) then fly back to S. Africa, stay a few days and then return to Greece. So therefore leaving to and returning from my own country. Do you think I could do things this way? Please help with an answer. I have waited more than a year and had to renew my vevaiosi. I am thinking of just taking a chance and just doing it. But then on the other hand, I own a house and live here and don’t want to be refused re-entry. But just want to visit my family in UK and USA. Would really appreciate hearing from you. Best regards, Janet

Question 2:
Thank you so much for your reply – I really appreciate it. I understand therefore that it’s acceptable to do a trip to UK and USA (I have the visas for these countries) as long as I leave Greece and go home to S. Africa and return to Greece from S. Africa with my blue vevaiosi? I will only be away for a month. I don’t think one is allowed to apply for a visa for Greece while renewing their Res permit. This is my 5th renewal – and just updated the vevaiosi because the permit still has not been issued. So it seems that I could do it this way. Legally?

Question 3:
Many thanks for replying. I hope you won’t mind if I ask just one more question. The date for re-entry into Greece with the blue bebaiosi is stated as 31st Dec 2013. Do you know if this will be extented to some time in 2014 and if so, where will I see it announced. I promise not to bother you again and take up your time.
Regards Janet

Question 4:
So sorry to bother you again.’s me Janet with the South African passport trying to find a way to go directly to the UK (I have a visa to enter UK). I have still not received my sticker in my passport but have recently updated my blue bebaiosi.
My confusion is with reading the lines that say : If you have a bebaiosi and need to travel to a country that’s not your homeland, you need to apply for a visa at the Embassy/Consulate serving the country you wish to visit.
Since I do have the visa for UK, would I be able to do this?
Or, would I have to depart from Greece to S.A. And then return from S.A to Greece. I would do the trip to UK from S.A. And back again and then back to Greece. It’s just such an expense that I am trying to avoid if I can.
It just doesn’t seem to be very clear, or perhaps Its just wishful thinking on my part. Please help me understand it. Many thanks I would really appreciate it.

Regards, Janet

Kat Reply:

Answer 1:
It’s not unusual to wait more than a year to be issued a permit sticker. Mine has only been issued twice before expiration in 15 years living here and (ironically) I was issued the wrong one both times.

You can travel from Greece to the UK and U.S. directly by applying for and securing visas at the relevant embassies here, then apply for visas at the Greek embassy while in the U.S. and UK to re-enter Greece, without first flying to S. Africa. You can also do it the way you proposed. It’s up to you.

Answer 2:
Who said applying for a Schengen visa to Greece isn’t permitted while in possession of a bebaiosi and waiting for a permit sticker to be issued? Not authorities and not non-EU readers (above) who successfully did it before you.

The bebaiosi is irrelevant and doesn’t need to be shown at border crossings if you have visas to enter/exit the non-“home” countries you’re visiting or re-entering Greece from a non-“home” country. Only Greece recognizes this document (other countries don’t know what it is or what it entitles the holder to do, as I state in the article), and showing the bebaiosi to Greek authorities will only cause trouble if you’re arriving from a country other than the one you have a passport.

If you wish to interpret the law that suits planning a trip the way you originally suggested, it’s up to you. But it’s not necessary.

Answer 3:
Based on past behavior, the Greek government announces its decision to extend in November and I will update this article accordingly, with a link to the press release. I’ve done this every year since 2009.

A different cabinet is in power. I cannot predict the future.

As stated previously, you can enter Greece without showing the bebaiosi or worrying about the ministry’s current re-entry date or future announcement if you have a visa.

You’re not bothering me. There just seems to be a gap in communication. All best.

Answer 4:
To repeat, you’re not bothering me. However, you’re asking the same questions in a slightly different way, and my answers are straightforward and remain the same.

— If you want to travel to/from South Africa, you can do this with your passport and bebaiosi through 2014.
— If you want to go to another country and do not have a full permit sticker, you are obliged to check if South African citizens need a visa to travel to that country. If yes, you apply for and get a visa, and you go. The bebaiosi is irrelevant if you have a visa. I’ve said this three times with only slightly different wording.

Please inquire with the consulate/embassy, Greek authorities or border agency if you have further questions. All best.

  joseph wrote @ October 24th, 2013 at 03:02

Your comment/question was transferred to, “How to get a visa and residence permit for Greece.”

  Peter wrote @ November 17th, 2013 at 01:38

I would like to share our experience of our recent travel to US.

We have bebeosi as our resident permits haven’t arrived yet and needed to travel to US. We chose an Al-Italia flight from Athens via Rome and then to New York. Al-Italia guys didn’t allow us to board the flight at Athen because we were told that the bebeosi would not let us enter or get out of Rome. Even though there was only 3 hours gap between our Rome to New York flight, our travel did not fit into ‘transit’ category since leaving Athen to Rome there would not be any passport control. The passport control would only happen at Rome and Italy would not recognize our bebeosi.

Since they did not allow us to board the flight we had to cancel it at the last moment. Suffer a cancellation fees of over $1000, Choose another flight at last moment that went thru London which obviously cost us lot more than if had booked earlier.

Lesson learnt: Neither can you enter to any European country (Except Greece) or exit from it on just bebeosi. You can’t even be in transit in any European country on bebeosi. If you plan to have a travel to EU country make sure to get a Schengen visa.

Kat Reply:

Thank you for taking the time to share your story.

As I say in the article, the bebaiosi is not a universally recognized document. Therefore, only Greece knows what it is and what it entitles the holder to do.

The ‘Lesson learnt’ section is wisdom that cannot be applied to all travelers, since I and plenty of other non-EU citizens have traveled and transited through EU/Schengen airports without incident. Some do indeed need Schengen visas; some do not — this is why I advise people to consult authorities and/or embassies before booking.

To understand why this happened to you, we need to know what passport you used and how long you stayed in the U.S.

  Milos wrote @ November 21st, 2013 at 20:31


I am from Serbia and I entered Greece on Sep 1st, 2013, based on a Visa D, issued in Belgrade, lasting until Feb 28th, 2014. I think my visa is national type (printed: Hellas), it is multiple entry and for duration/days it says only XX (although in Greek embassy in Belgrade they claim it is only for 90 days!?). I got my veveosi (blue paper with photo) on Oct 30th, 2013 (couldn’t get all papers earlier).

Now I am wondering if I will have problems at the boarder if I go to my home country (Serbia) on Nov 29th, 2013 and come back to Greece on Jan 5th, 2014. Would I be able to exit safely, and the re-enter Greece based only on veveosi, since most likely I will not get the card/sticker before I come back? Mostly I am affraid by the 90 in 180 days rule, does this apply for me with veveosi and this visa?

I know about the press release from Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection about being able to travel to homeland until Dec 31th, 2013. Do you expect the extension of this to 2014, or should I better come back to Greece before the end of this year?

Sorry to bother you with the same things for the N-th time, I have read this page in detail, but I want to ask once again to confirm.

Kindest regards,

Kat Reply:

I can only give answers based on the info you provided. If there is something more/less, there’s no way to confirm how this influences your case and further questions should be directed at Greek authorities (dimos/allodapon office, police or border agency).

You have two ways to leave/enter Greece from Nov. 29-Jan. 5:
a) D visa, which you say is good for multiple entries and valid ’til Feb. 28, 2014, regardless of the bebaiosi. If you have absolute proof that it’s valid through this date, contradicting what the Greek embassy says, then the 90 days in any 180-day period doesn’t matter.
b) Bebaiosi, if the government extends it.

On whether the gov’t will extend it for 2014, see the answer I gave Janet on October 9 under Answer 3.

How to plan your trip is your choice and responsibility.

  Lheyo wrote @ November 26th, 2013 at 17:53

Is the law for bebiosi to travel to our own country already renewed for year 2014? Any update please because i am a travel agent and many are asking me all the same questions? Thanks and good day!

Kat Reply:

You already asked this question on a different post, as did two commentators above you, and I already gave an answer. Future redundant questions will be deleted.

  Zhanar wrote @ December 19th, 2013 at 10:52

Can you please advise me about blue paper.
I have blue paper which is valid till 01/10/2014 but I haven’t received my sticker,
I am going to leave Greece based on blue paper only and I wonder if I will be able to come back and which countries allow to enter Greece and accept blue paper as valid,

Thank you in advance and regards,

Good day,

Thanks for quick reply and feedback,

As far as I was informed Russia accepts blue paper and allows to re-enter to Greece based on the valid blue paper. Could you please inform about it or mention the source where it can be found,

Thanks in advance and regards,


Hi again,
But my blue paper is not about to be expired as it is valid till 01.10.2014 and I will get my residence only within 3-4 months. And I have no direct flight to my country and it is possible to fly only through Germany, Russia or Turkey. And I could not find info if non EU residence with valid blue paper can re enter to Greece in case she or he has no possibility to fly directly to home country and only through transit countries such Germany, Russia or Turkey. If those countries accept or not blue paper?


Kat Reply:

All details about the blue paper and what it entitles you to do are disclosed in the article above.

If you haven’t received your permit sticker and the blue paper is set to expire, you are obliged to renew and submit new documents to apply for a new blue paper. You should start this process 60 days before expiration. This is explained in the article above in section ‘What you need’ letter D; and in “FAQ: Greek work and/or residence permits.”

All best.

As I said in the first sentence of the first answer, it’s already in the article above. Please take the time to read it.

*Future redundant questions will be deleted or not answered.

  Tringa wrote @ March 7th, 2014 at 20:56

Hi, can you please tell me how long it takes for us foreigners students in Thessaloniki to take residence permit, they told me in one or two months, but it has been three months now. I have to travel to France, can I travel with blue certificate.

Kat Reply:

Please see,’When will my permit sticker or card be ready?’ at FAQ: Greek work and/or residence permits.

As it says in the title and first section of the article, the blue certificate allows holders to travel to home countries. As it says in the article, you are required to get a visa if you wish to travel elsewhere.

  uzzal pal wrote @ July 14th, 2014 at 15:07

i was resident parmit in greece 2005-2012, after again i renew r p and i get blue bebaisai with it was expire.i have problem i stay my home land. plz advise me how to renew beabisai and go to greece .
thanking yoj

Kat Reply:

You cannot renew any paper that is expired. Further, you must have a visa to reenter, plus be living in Greece and have a valid reason to be here to apply for a bebaiosi or permit. You can read, “How non-EU citizens can get a permit to move, live and work in Greece” for more information.

Kat is a woman’s name. Therefore, I am not a sir.

  Austine wrote @ July 16th, 2014 at 17:55

Good afternoon am very happy and glad for your enlightment.Please my question is: can some one who have alien’s residence permit of 2 years go to visit africa or other european countries and come back?

Kat Reply:

Your question is already answered in the article above. Thank you.

  Mireille wrote @ December 5th, 2014 at 17:18

Hello , hope you are still answering questions. I have an issue. My son is a student at AUEB doing his Msc in Finance. He only got so far the blue paper and no sticker in his passport. He has double nationality Canadian and Lebanese though he is using the Canadian passport in Greece. you said he ‘s allowed to go home for Christmas and re enter Greece to pursue his studies
Can he come to Lebanon because this is where we are living for now. How can he explain to the authorities he is both Lebanese and Canadian and home right now is where the family is in Lebanon. would appreciate very much your response I will also ask you a phone number he can contact so he can fix the situation . Thank you

Kat Reply:

As I told Jamal who asked the same question, the law says homeland. So people are allowed to visit whichever country/countries fit that description. There’s nothing to fix.

Since the bebaiosi was issued with his Canadian passport, he needs to use that one. But if there’s any issue during flight check-in (i.e., needing a visa for Lebanon), or questions from Greek authorities when he re-enters Greece with his Canadian passport, then he can show his Lebanese passport as proof he’s a dual citizen. I don’t recommend presenting both passports without being asked, as it will only cause unwarranted suspicion and confusion.

  Sriram wrote @ December 6th, 2014 at 21:07


Travel period on bebaoisi extended till 31 Dec 2015. Official press release is here

Kat Reply:

Hi Sriam, nice to see you again. Thank you so much for the link! :) I saw the announcement but didn’t have time to update ’til now. It was very thoughtful of you to come to the site and help, as you have since 2012. Wishing you all the best!

  tot wrote @ January 14th, 2015 at 11:03

Your question was moved to “FAQ: Greek work and/or residence permits.”

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