Eligibility for a travel visa for Greece
Before we go into details on what citizens can visit Greece and what is required to obtain a Greek visa, let us consider what kind of travellers will generally be allowed to enter the country.
A prospective tourist must:
have a good intention to travel;
be able to bear all necessary and unforeseen expenses;
provide reasons for returning to their home country;
exhibit a good character (e.g. provide a clear criminal record);
be in good health;
have a genuine purpose and the proof thereof (e.g., an itinerary).
Provided that you satisfy these criteria and are eager to prove it during a personal visit to a Greek consulate, read on to find out about the visa requirements for this country.
Who needs a tourist visa
At present, citizens of over 90 states can travel to Greece without a visa, and the nationals of other 150 countries must obtain a Schengen visa prior to their visit. This means that citizens of some countries that presently enter Greece without a visa will have to fill in a special application form online ahead of visiting the country. If the ETIAS application is successful, this electronic travel authorization will be linked to a traveller's passport and allow the eligible citizens to travel to Greece and the Schengen zone. It will be valid for 3 years and allow the stays for up to 90 days. The programme is open to travellers with dual citizenship.
Nationals not eligible for ETIAS but who presently travel to Greece visa-free will need to apply for a Schengen visa, which will allow them only to visit Greece but not other EU/EEA states.
Meanwhile, the following requirements are applicable depending on the traveller's country of origin. The majority of people, especially the citizens of most African and Asian countries, Russia, and the CIS countries, will have to apply for a Schengen visa to travel to Greece. Yet, there are certain countries that enjoy visa-free entry.
EU/EEA countries and Switzerland
Currently, citizens of these areas do not need a visa to visit Greece as tourists. Furthermore, if any of these states is a part of the Schengen Zone, their citizens do not need to apply for any kind of visa to travel, study, or work in Greece. They are free to move between the EU states provided they have a valid ID.
The Schengen Zone
Citizens of these countries are exempt from the visa regime and can freely enter Greece.
Citizens of the United States can travel to any Schengen member state, including Greece, without a visa. They can stay in the country for up to 90 days. This does not mean, nevertheless, that no travel documents are required at all.
Where and when to apply
You can check online whether your country belongs to a visa-free zone or not. Now let us look at where you need to go to submit a Greek visa application, and what time period you should allocate to receive your visa on time.
In general, there are 3 options:
A travel agent. You simply provide the documents and let professionals do the job for you.
A local Greek consulate or embassy. This is the most traditional means of getting any type of visa. Its main drawback is the insufficient or vague information about requirements, which unfortunately often results in visas being denied or delayed. If you go down this route, make sure you clarify everything that is unclear prior to submitting an application.
A visa application centre. You may be surprised to know that some embassies actually outsource their visa services to such centres. Bear in mind, though, that, depending on the time you plan to travel, these centres may be overcrowded and overwhelmed with applicants, leading to delays and even possible errors.
Fees and extra expenses
As with most visas, applicants have to pay a service charge and a visa processing fee upon submitting their application. These payments are non-refundable and can be made by card or in cash. Below is a rough estimate of the service tariffs:
Children aged 6 to 12 years: €35;
Children under 6 years of age: free.
As for a Schengen visa fee, it depends on the traveller's country of origin. For example, a traveller from South Africa may pay more or less than a traveller from Russia. To determine the visa fee, contact your local Greek embassy or consulate. Average fees are:
Children aged 6 to 12 years: €40;
Children under 6 years of age: free.
Please bear in mind that neither service charge nor visa fee guarantees permission to enter. None of these can also be refunded if the application is unsuccessful.
Tourist Visa Requirements
In this section, we shall go over the document pack for visa-free travellers. As we said, although they do not require a Schengen visa, they must still provide other documentation to obtain entry to the country.
A valid passport
A valid identification card must satisfy the following criteria:
it is valid for no less than 3 months beyond your intended return to your home country;
it is in good condition (not torn or otherwise spoilt);
it is not past its expiry date (usually 10 years).
Proof of accommodation
No country's officials want their tourists to sleep in the subway. Naturally, they want to know precisely where you are going to stay during your visit. The following may sufficiently prove this:
a hotel reservation;
a print-off from a room booking website (e.g. Airbnb);
a rental agreement;
an invitation from a friend or a family member with whom you are planning to stay on your visit.
Proof of financial independence
This is another mandatory requirement, for staying and travelling in the country may lead to both expected and unforeseen expenses. Officials want to know how you are planning to cover them, so it may be a good idea to enquire about the living costs and calculate your travelling budget. The following can prove your financial sustainability:
recent bank or credit card statements;
payslips from work.
Itinerary and Return Tickets
Travellers are advised to have these two documents to prove the following:
travelling is indeed their sole or primary purpose;
and they definitely plan to return.
We will look at insurance requirements later on, however, be aware that valid medical insurance is obligatory to travel in the EU. Its validity period must be as long as your stay in the country.
Finally, please remember that depending on the time you choose for your trip document requirements and fees may change. Make sure you contact your nearest visa centre or consulate for updates.
Documents for non-exempt countries
Generally, most of the above-mentioned documents are also required for citizens of non-visa-free states who must apply for a Schengen visa. However, certain changes and special conditions are applicable.
A valid passport
In addition to the known requirements, this time a passport must have two blank pages for a visa stamp or sticker.
A Greece Schengen application form
No matter how seasoned a traveller you are, pay attention to the following:
fill out the visa form completely, correctly, and accurately.
A tip: write down all the data you are providing on all forms to make the information consistent.
A Schengen cover letter
In this letter for a tourist visa, you will need to explain why you want to visit the Schengen zone, the places you are going to visit, your accommodation in each of them, etc. You must also provide your travel dates.
Two passport-size photos
These must be no older than 3 months, for details see below.
Previous Visas Copies
This is required for travellers who have obtained Schengen visas before.
The medical or travel insurance must cover the full length of stay. For other conditions, see below.
Proof of financial independence
As above, however, be prepared for additional scrutiny as you are considered a totally "foreign" visitor.
Proof of accommodation
Same as for visa-free entrants.
If you are only travelling to Greece and back, then you need to provide a detailed plan of your activities during your stay. However, you may be entertaining the idea of visiting another Schengen country for which you have a visa. In this case, you will need to show what other places you wish to visit and the purpose thereof.
A return ticket
This will act as proof that you are going to go back to your home country and not to become an asylum seeker or an illegal immigrant.
A clean criminal record
This document provided by your country's officials will demonstrate that you pose no threat to the country or its residents.
Further documents may be required to prove your status, but check with the embassy or consulate for updates.
a valid contract of employment;
an employer's written permission to take a leave from work;
the bank statements for the past 6 months;
an Income Tax Return form;
recent payslips to prove both sufficient funds and employment.
a copy of a business license;
an Income Tax Return;
the bank statements for the past 6 months;
a letter confirming the self-employed status written by a solicitor, an accountant, or another responsible entity.
documents that prove the student's status (e.g., a letter from an educational institution for existing students, or a proof of enrollment at an institution for prospective students);
a proof of sufficient funds, e.g. a work contract or bank statements (for working students) or a letter from a sponsor.
Please note that if a student is sponsored (e.g. by their parents), they will need to provide relevant documents that prove the parents' ability to support them.
Also, if you wish to study at a Greek educational institution, you must apply for a student visa.
documents that prove the retired status;
pension statements for the last 6 months.
Tourist Visa Insurance
Travelling to a foreign country may occasionally result in unforeseen circumstances. In many Schengen countries public healthcare is available, so visitors to Greece must obtain travel insurance prior to their trip. This is done in order to alleviate the burden on the health system in case of unexpected issues.
Travel insurance must satisfy the following criteria:
provide coverage of at least €30,000.
be valid in all 26 Schengen countries;
cover most emergency expenses, including a return to one's home country for medical reasons, urgent treatments, or death.
If you expect to get an extended Schengen visa, you should obtain travel insurance that lasts for 12 months.
Visa Photo Requirements
Photographs are normally submitted as part of any application. However, in the case with visas, there are strict requirements that must be obeyed, otherwise, you risk having your application turned down. The following specifications apply:
photos are 3 months old or less;
size: 35mm wide x 45mm tall;
taken against a white background;
printed on quality glossy paper (not matte);
have no creases or marks;
facial expression is neutral;
the applicant looks straight into the camera;
the face takes up to 80% of the frame;
both eyes are open and not covered by reflective glasses, hair, or glares;
forehead and chin are well visible;
headwear is permitted only for religious purposes and must not cover any part of the face.
Underage Visa Requirements
This section is for those who travel to Greece as a family with small children. First, bear in mind that each child must have their own application, filled in and signed by both parents. Apart from all standard documentation, the following is also mandatory:
an application with both parents' signatures;
a child's birth certificate;
if a child is eligible to travel alone – a notarized parental authorization signed by either both parents or guardians;
if a child is travelling with only one parent – notarized permission from another parent;
if another parent is absent (divorced, dead, ill, etc.) – a relevant official documental proof;
copies of both parents' IDs.
Adult photo requirements apply to children older than 5 years. For younger children, neutral facial expression and a direct look into the camera are not mandatory, and they need not occupy the centre of the photograph. Babies (1 year old or younger) may have their eyes closed in the photo.
Visa Processing Time
Once your application has been submitted, and you paid your fees and attended the interview with the immigration officer, it takes around 15 calendar days to process the documents. The following events may delay the visa being issued:
a peak season when there is a high demand for tourist visas to Greece;
political events or epidemics;
new travel laws and regulations.
Make sure you have collected all necessary documents, carefully fill in your application, and submit it well ahead of your journey, to avoid delays and complications for your travel.
Green Card Holder Requirements
The United States Green Card holders have not yet obtained US citizenship. As a result, they are not eligible for visa exemption if they wish to visit Greece. The visa requirements will depend on their country of origin. For the purposes of this article, we assume that a Green Card holder is not a European citizen. The good news is that, should a visa be required, the holder can apply for it at their nearest Greek embassy or consulate in the USA. There is no need to travel back home to get a visa.
On another hand, if someone is visiting the US as a tourist (on a B1/B2 visa) and wishes to travel to Greece, they must return to their home country to submit a visa application. The Green Card holder's conditions are not applicable in this case.
- To visit Greece for tourism purposes, you need a Greece tourist visa, which is a type of Greek Schengen visa.
- You can apply for a Greece Schengen visa at the nearest Greek embassy or consulate in your country or region.
- The visa application process usually involves submitting all the required documents and supporting documents, such as a visa application form, travel documents, and travel medical insurance with a minimum coverage of 30,000 EUR.
- You also need to pay the visa fees or service fees when you submit your application.
- The Greece visa requirements may vary depending on your nationality, intended visit, financial means, employment status, travel date, and other factors.
- The Greece visa application process may take up to 15 calendar days, and you may need to attend a visa interview or provide biometric data, such as your fingerprints and facial image.
- The Greek Schengen visa sticker will be affixed to your travel document if your application is accepted, and it will show the maximum duration and validity of your visa.
- The Greece Schengen visa allows you to stay in Greece and other Schengen member states for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
- If you plan to stay longer than 90 days, you need to apply for a long-stay visa or a residence permit from the competent Greek authorities.
- To apply for a Greece Schengen visa, you need to complete the Greece visa application form accurately and provide all the necessary information and documents.
- The standard documents required for a Greece tourist visa include a valid travel document, travel medical insurance, sufficient financial means, and a confirmed travel itinerary or reservation.
- You may also need to provide additional supporting documents, such as an employment contract, pension statement, bank statement, marriage certificate, birth certificate, reference letter, or covering letter.
- The Greece embassy or consulate may ask you questions related to your intended visit, employment, travel history, financial situation, or other requirements during the visa interview.
- You should prepare for your visa appointment by reviewing the Greece visa application process, the visa requirements, and the necessary documents, and by providing honest and complete answers to the visa officer's questions.
- You should also be informed about the public health regulations and the risks of COVID-19 in Greece and other European Union countries, and you may need to show proof of vaccination, recovery, or negative test results.
- You should check the visa processing time and schedule your appointment and travel date accordingly, and you should also confirm the visa fees, service fees, and any other costs or paperwork involved.
- You should consult the Greece visa guidelines and regulations, as well as the Schengen visa code, to ensure that you qualify for the visa and comply with the rules and restrictions.
- You should also confirm the visa validity and the dates of departure and return, and you should inform the Greece embassy or consulate if any changes occur.
- If you are a UK citizen, you may need to apply for a Greece Schengen visa if you plan to stay in the Schengen area for more than 90 days in any 180-day period, and you may also need to apply for a visa if you transit through Greece or other Schengen countries.
- If you travel with family members or minors, you may need to provide notarized parental authorization or other documents, and you should check the visa requirements for each member separately.
- If you have had previous visas or lodged in other Schengen countries, you should provide proof of your travel history and comply with the visa regulations.
- If you have medical reasons or require emergency hospital treatment during your stay in Greece, you should ensure that your travel medical insurance covers such expenses and that you have access to appropriate medical facilities.
- If you travel for business purposes, you may need to provide additional documents, such as a business license or employment contract, and you should check the visa requirements for business visas or official delegations.
- If you transit through a Schengen country or need to enter Greece for airport transit, you may need to apply for an airport transit visa or a short-stay visa, depending on the length and purpose of your transit.
- You should also confirm the visa requirements for other countries you plan to visit during your trip to Greece, such as Vatican City, San Marino, or other Western civilization destinations.
- To apply for a Greece Schengen visa, you can submit your application online or in person, and you can also use the services of a global visa center or a courier to collect and deliver your application file.
- You should ensure that your travel document has at least two blank visa pages and that your recent photograph meets the visa photo specifications, such as size, background, and facial expression.
- You should also provide a cover letter that explains the purpose and itinerary of your trip to Greece and the Schengen area, and that confirms your financial means and support.
- You should confirm that your travel medical insurance is accepted by the Greek and Schengen authorities and that it covers the minimum requirements for emergency medical treatment, hospitalization, repatriation, and death.
- You should also confirm that you have sufficient financial means to support yourself during your stay in Greece and the Schengen area, and that you can prove it with a bank statement or other financial documents.
- You should consult the competent Greek authorities or the nearest Greek embassy or consulate for any additional information or advice related to your Greece visa application process or your travel to Greece.
- Please note that this list is not exhaustive and that the Greece visa requirements and regulations may change or vary depending on your specific case or circumstances. Therefore, you should always consult the official sources and the competent authorities for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are you planning a trip to Greece in 2023?
If you are a foreign national, you may be wondering if you need a visa to enter Greece for tourism. In this article, we will answer all your questions about tourist visas to Greece, including who needs one, how to obtain it, and how long you can stay in the country.
Who needs a tourist visa to visit Greece?
Foreign nationals from countries outside the European Union (EU) and the Schengen area, including India, Pakistan, Nigeria, South Africa, Philippines, and others, generally require a visa to enter Greece for tourism. However, citizens of certain countries, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, do not need a visa to enter Greece as tourists for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
Do I need a visa to go to Athens or Santorini?
No matter which destination you choose to visit in Greece, the visa requirements are the same. If you are a foreign national from a country that requires a visa to enter Greece, you will need to obtain one regardless of your destination.
How long can you stay in Greece without a visa?
If you are a citizen of the United States, Canada, Australia, or the United Kingdom, you can stay in Greece without a visa for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. However, if you are a foreign national from a country outside the EU and the Schengen area, you will need to apply for a tourist visa before your trip. The length of your stay will depend on the visa type and the duration granted by the Greek authorities.
What is the best time to visit Greece?
The best time to visit Greece is during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) and fall (September to November), when the weather is pleasant, and the crowds are smaller than in the peak summer season. However, if you plan to visit the Greek islands, it is better to go during the summer season (June to August) when the weather is warm and sunny, and the beaches are inviting.
How to obtain a tourist visa to Greece?
To obtain a tourist visa to Greece, you will need to contact the Greek embassy or consulate located in your home country. You can also apply for a visa through a visa application center, such as VFS Global, Teleperformance, or AVS. You will need to provide a completed application form, a valid passport, passport-sized photographs, and supporting documents such as flight tickets, travel itinerary, proof of accommodation, and proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay in Greece.
How much does a tourist visa to Greece cost?
The cost of a tourist visa to Greece varies depending on your nationality, the visa type, and the duration of your stay. As of today, the visa fee for a single-entry tourist visa is 60 euros for nationals of countries that require a visa, such as India, Pakistan, Nigeria, and South Africa. However, the visa fee for citizens of the United States, Canada, and Australia is currently waived.
What are the visa requirements for dual nationals?
If you hold dual nationality, one of which is Greek, you can enter Greece using your Greek passport without needing a visa. However, if you hold dual nationality and neither of your passports is Greek, you will need to obtain a tourist visa to enter Greece.
What are the visa requirements for permanent residents?
If you are a permanent resident of a country that requires a visa to enter Greece, you will need to obtain a tourist visa before your trip, regardless of your nationality. However, if you are a permanent resident of the EU or the Schengen area, you can enter Greece using your residence permit.
What are the visa requirements for Canadian citizens traveling to Greece?
Canadian citizens can travel to Greece without a visa for up to 90 days within a 180-day period for tourism or business purposes. However, they must have a valid passport that is valid for at least three months beyond their intended departure date from Greece.
Do Australian citizens need a visa to visit Greece?
Australian citizens can visit Greece for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. They only need a valid passport that is valid for at least three months beyond their intended departure date from Greece.
What is the best time to visit Greece?
The best time to visit Greece is during the shoulder seasons of late April to early June and September to October. The weather is mild, and the crowds are thinner than during the peak season of July and August.
Can Indian citizens travel to Greece without a visa?
Indian citizens need to obtain a Schengen visa to visit Greece. They must apply for the visa at the Greek embassy or consulate in India or through the VFS Global visa application center.
Can US citizens travel to Greece without a visa?
Yes, US citizens can travel to Greece for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. However, they must have a valid passport that is valid for at least three months beyond their intended departure date from Greece.
How long can a visitor stay in Greece without a visa?
Visitors from the EU, the US, Canada, Australia, and other countries can stay in Greece for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa.
What is the currency used in Greece?
The currency used in Greece is the Euro.
What are some of the top tourist destinations in Greece?
Some of the top tourist destinations in Greece include Athens, Santorini, Crete, Mykonos, and Corfu.
What are the current COVID-19 restrictions and rules for traveling to Greece?
The current COVID-19 restrictions and rules for traveling to Greece vary depending on the traveler's country of origin and vaccination status. It is recommended to check the official Greek government website or the embassy in your country for the latest updates before traveling.
Is it safe to travel to Greece?
Greece is generally considered a safe country for tourists. However, visitors should still take the necessary precautions and be aware of their surroundings, especially in crowded tourist areas.
What are the requirements for permanent residents or green card holders traveling to Greece?
Permanent residents or green card holders traveling to Greece must follow the same visa requirements as citizens of their country of origin. They may also need to apply for a Schengen visa depending on their citizenship.