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
Email: pressoffice@yptp.gr

Sources

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

http://bit.ly/GRtravel2010

108 Comments

  Kat wrote @ November 21st, 2011 at 20:18

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 http://www.gcr.gr

  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

Hi

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 astynomia.gr.

  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
sb

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: http://ekloges.ypes.gr/

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

hello;
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

hello
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:
Hi,

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

Comment 2:
Hi,

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:
Hi,

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:
Hi,

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

1:
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?

2:
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

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