Types of Visas in Greece: Terms and Conditions

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides numerous types of visas to suit diverse purposes of entering the country. In this article, we shall describe the requirements and application procedures for the most commonly issued ones. Then, we shall answer some of the questions most frequently asked by potential applicants for Greek visas.

Visa Requirements by Nationality

Before applying for a Greek visa, you should find out whether you need one in the first place. You can consult your travel agent or the nearest Greek Consulate on the matter. Alternatively, you can look it up on the corresponding page in Wikipedia.

To use the page, scroll down the countries listed in alphabetical order and click on the one that issued the passport you intend to use to travel to Greece. Once on the page of your country, find Greece on the list of countries provided. Next to it, you will see:

  • Whether you need a visa and on what terms in case you do

  • The duration of stay allowed for your passport

  • Some additional comments concerning the visa legislation

The number next to the Visa Requirement will link you to the reference source, which is, in most cases, a public document on an official webpage of the country's Department of Immigration or a similar authoritative source.

This page in Wikipedia is quite helpful for the purpose, and the information gets frequently updated as well. However, you should never treat the page as the final authority or an adequate substitute for an official response from the Consulate.

General Requirements for a Greek Schengen Visa

Provided you do need a visa, there will be several options available to you, depending on your purpose of travelling to Greece, but some general rules will apply in any case. To apply for any Schengen visa, the Greek one included, you will have to submit the following documents together with your application:

  1. Your passport with two or more blank pages, which should be issued at least three months before the arrival date and valid for a minimum of three months starting from the intended date of departure from the country.
  2. The copies of your round and return air tickets and hotel reservations or alternative accommodation arrangements prepaid for the entire duration of your stay in the country.
  3. Medical insurance of at least 30,000 euros, which must be valid across the entire Schengen area.
  4. Proof of sufficient financial support for the period specified in your application form.
  5. Bank statements for the previous half a year.
  6. Two passport-size colour photographs (35 x 45) that have been taken within half a year prior to the application date.

All documents must be translated into English or Greek, if necessary, and certified by a notary.

Invitation Letter from Greece

In addition, holders of some passports have to submit an invitation letter issued by a Greek resident (whether a private person or a company) and addressed to the applicant or directly to the Consulate in question. In the letter, the host confirms his consent to take all legal responsibilities for you and provide you with accommodation, if necessary, for the entire duration of your stay in the country.

The invitation letter should include the following data about the host:

  • Name, contact details, date of birth and occupation;

  • Residential address and the type of accommodation;

  • Legal status in the country.

The letter must also include the applicant's name, address, contact details and relationship with the host, as well as the purpose of his visit and the flight itinerary.

Specific Requirements for the US Travellers

If you are a citizen of the United States, you will not need a visa for three months upon the following conditions:

  1. Your passport is valid for at least three months after the intended departure date.
  2. You have a return or an onward ticket.
  3. You can prove sufficient financial resources for the duration of your visit. Generally, any financial means will suit the purpose, cash included. You should have at least 50 euros per day and not less than 300 euros in total.

If you are a US resident, you need a Schengen visa to enter Greece, and all the requirements mentioned in the previous section will apply in your case.

Types of Tourist Visas

The general requirements described in the previous sections will suffice for tourist visa applications in most cases. For more specific purposes, see the corresponding sections below. A Greek tourist visa may be single-, double- or multi-entry and is valid for three months.

If you have been to the country with a tourist visa three times in two consecutive years, you will be eligible to apply for a one-year visa. And, upon meeting specified conditions, its validity may increase to three and five years in your future applications. All tourist visas for longer than three months are automatically multi-entry.

If you want to stay in the country for longer than three months, there will be two additional requirements to meet:

  1. You cannot stay in the country for longer than 90 out of every 180 days.
  2. Even if you do not need a visa, you must obtain a local registration starting from the 91st day of residence in Greece, which is a straightforward procedure in most cases. Your registration will have no expiry date, and it will still be valid after you re-enter the country.

Study Visa

If you intend to enter the country for educational purposes, you must apply for a student visa, and it will be valid for three months. In case your studies are going to take longer than that (as is the case with colleges and universities, for example), you will need a long-term study visa. On top of the standard documentation requirements, you will have to submit the following:

  1. A confirmation that you will have a place to stay in Greece. It may be a contract with your landlord or a student hostel. In the case of a private rental agreement, your landlord will have to send you an invitation letter certified by a notary.
  2. An invitation letter from the educational institution to confirm that you have been accepted and provide general data concerning your study program, such as the department, the degree and the duration of studies.

Employment Visa

If you intend to work in Greece, the documents attached to your application for a work visa should include:

  • Your contract of employment;

  • An invitation letter from your employer;

  • All the necessary diplomas and certificates to prove that you may legally seek the specified occupation in the Schengen area. All the documentation must be translated and notarised.

However, once you are in the country, you ought to apply for a work permit, and you must receive it before you start working. You will also have to open an account in a Greek bank (see the following section for more information on the documents required for the purpose) and apply for a Greek Tax Number.

The taxation system is quite complex and may, therefore, be confusing at first. You may safely expect to pay the following taxes, depending on the level of your income.

Salary (in euros per month)

Tax

12K or less

not applicable

12–16K

18%

16–22K

24%

22–26K

26%

26–32K

32%

32–40K

36%

40–60K

38%

60K–100K

40%

100K and above

45%

Visa by Investment

Formally called a Golden visa, it is, in fact, a residence permit granted upon the applicant's investment in the Greek real estate sector. This type of visa is a very convenient way to relocate to the country, and the Greek government does all in its power to ease the application procedure even further to attract foreign direct investments to the private property market.

All you have to do to obtain a golden visa is purchase private property in Greece for at least 250,000 euros. The restrictions on selecting real estate for purchase are minimal. Most of them boil down to prohibitions on buying property near the national borders or next to some significant military objects.

The residence permit thus acquired will have to be renewed every five years. But you do receive your Golden visa for an indefinite period of time, which makes it as good as a permanent residence permit, effectively. The only condition for its renewal is your continuous ownership of the private property in question. In most cases, the application processing takes up to three months in total.

Also, once you live in the country for seven consecutive years, you will be in a position to apply for Greek citizenship. To qualify for that, however, you must stay in Greece for 183 days per year during these seven years. And, all the terms apply to your immediate family as well.

Nevertheless, you will have to be in the country to complete the application procedure, like opening a bank account and purchasing the property, for example. Therefore, you ought to establish which type of visitor visa will be most applicable and convenient in your case and apply for it first.

When you apply for a Golden visa, you will have to submit a letter specifying your reasons and motives for relocating to Greece and attach the following:

  • Your passport or ID;

  • Proof of employment, foreign or Greek, or any other source of income;

  • Marriage and birth certificates to confirm your relationships with your immediate family, if applicable;

  • Confirmation of having a Greek telephone number and an account in a Greek bank;

  • Medical insurance;

  • Your greek tax number;

  • Police clearance;

  • A copy of the purchase contract for your private property in Greece.

All of the above must be translated into Greek as the application processing will take place mainly in the government offices in the country.

Self-Employment Visa

This option is also known as a digital nomad visa. It allows you to reside in Greece legally if you can prove that you have a sufficient and stable income as a remote employee, self-employed or a freelancer and as long as your income does not come from inside the country.

Your self-employment visa will also entitle your immediate family to accompany you for the entire duration of your stay in Greece. Besides, they will be able to stay there even when you are temporarily absent from the country.

The amount currently required for this visa is 3.5K euros per month after the taxes. In addition, you should have 700 euros for your marital partner and 525 euros for each child per month. The self-employment visa is valid for one year, after which you and your family will be eligible to apply for a 24-months temporary residence permit.

You will also have to open an account in a Greek bank and deposit a specified amount of money in it once you are in the country, which is the case with all residence permits in Greece. You will need the following documents for the purpose:

  • Your passport or ID;

  • Proof of a local residential address (any utility bill will do the job);

  • A telephone number registered in Greece;

  • Your Greek tax number;

  • Any confirmation of your foreign income.

Visa for the Financially Independent

Commonly known as a retirement visa, it lets you live in Greece if you can prove your financial self-sufficiency. The difference between self-employment and financial independence visas is that the latter does not require you to confirm any form of employment whatsoever.

Any source of income from across the border will suit the purpose, including your pension fund and whatever lucrative investments you might have. The main thing is that you can prove your financial independence from the Greek federal budget, and you do not intend to seek employment in the country. The currently required amount for this type of visa in Greece is 2,000 euros per month, excluding medical insurance and accommodation expenses.

Just as with the digital nomad visa, your family may stay and travel around the Schengen area with you, provided all the immigration requirements have been fulfilled. Furthermore, all of you will have access to the local schools and medical services, and you will be able to apply for Greek citizenship once you have stayed in the country for a specified number of years.

Moreover, you can legally own a business in Greece upon the sole condition that your company does not provide you with official employment. And, if you invest a specified amount in the Greek economy or real estate, you may stay outside the country for an unlimited number of days per year at your convenience.

Application Process

The most confusing part of the process is to figure out which type of visa will suit your purposes best. You can browse the internet for more information, consult the Consulate or let your travel agent do the job.

Next comes the most exhausting part, namely collecting all the necessary documentation, having it translated, if necessary, and apostilled or certified by a notary.

When you finally have all the required papers in order, submit your visa application, either online or at the nearest Greek Consulate, depending on your particular circumstances. Make sure to do that at least three weeks before you intend to travel to Greece, but not longer than three months in advance.

If your application is accepted, you will receive an invitation to the Consulate for an interview. The officer will ask you to state your case and justify your reasons for visiting the country. The best strategy is to be as open and direct as possible.

If it goes well, all you have to do is pay the fees and wait for their approval. In most cases, a successful outcome of the interview means that you will, most probably, get your visa in the end.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long may I stay in Greece without a visa?

Whether you need a visa in Greece and how long you can stay there without one depends on your nationality. The terms vary for holders of different passports, but in most cases, if you do not need a visa, you may stay in the country for 90 days.

You can learn more about it at the nearest Greek Consulate or on the official webpage of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

How can I apply for a Greek visa online?

There are numerous travel agencies and visa application centres on the internet on which you can fill out and submit an application form online. Alternatively, you can do it directly on the online application page of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

However, you will still have to appear in the specified Greek Consular section in person on the date they assign for you in their confirmation letter to fulfil all the application requirements and pay the fees. And make sure you do not miss the appointment, for otherwise, you may have trouble trying to arrange another one.

How can I get a Greek visa for a school excursion?

Technically, there is no distinct category of visas for this particular purpose, and you will have to apply for a general tourist visa instead. See the corresponding section of the article above for more information on the requirements and application procedures relevant to the case.

The applications will only be accepted if the excursion package has been paid for in full amount. Moreover, you ought to be aware of some specific conditions concerning underage applicants.

  • All children under the age of 12 apply for visas free of charge; otherwise, the fee is 35 euros per applicant, 70 euros for an express application. Apart from that, the application procedure is the same as for adults.
  • Furthermore, all underage applicants of 12 years and older will have to submit their biometric data at the visa application centre or the Greek Consulate.
  • Besides, you will, most probably, have to obtain formal permission from the child's parents or caretakers stipulating that they are aware of the dates and itinerary and have no objections to letting the child go on the excursion under your supervision. The letter of permission will have to be translated into Greek and certified by a notary.

Can I visit Greece with my British visa?

The United Kingdom has never been part of the Schengen area, even prior to its withdrawal from the European Union on 31 January 2020. Therefore, you will have to apply for a visa to one of the member states of the Schengen Agreement if you intend to include it in your itinerary, and you will, most likely, have to do it in your home country.

Which visa do I need if I want to move to Greece?

You will have to apply for a residence permit instead of a visa if you intend to reside in the country, either temporarily or permanently. There are several options available for that purpose. See the sections on the golden and retirement visas above for more information.

What does the National Identity Number refer to in the application form for a Greek visa?

Some countries use ID numbers to identify their citizens, and Greece is one of them. If you are a national of a country that uses the internal passport system, enter your passport number instead. If there is a separate entry for a passport number in the application form, write "not applicable" next to the Identity Number.

However, Greece actually has a complex system of ID numbers. Thus, the National Identity Number may also refer to either the Tax Identity Number or the Social Security Number, both of which you have to apply for if you intend to seek employment or reside permanently in the country. In theory, they might want you to enter one of those in your application form, depending on what type of visa you need in your case.

You will do well to consult the personnel of the Consulate or your travel agent on the matter to make sure you fill out your application form correctly.

How long will it take for a Greek Consulate to process my visa application?

It varies a lot across countries and Consulates, depending on their particular procedures and the traffic of applications. It may be as quick as three days if you are lucky, or it may take up to ten workdays during the high season. Therefore, you should give it about two weeks, to be on the safe side.

Final Word

Selecting the most appropriate visa and collecting all the required documentation may seem like a confusing and daunting task, and in most cases, it really is. Nevertheless, you can always involve your travel agent in the process.

And, do not hesitate to ask for an appointment at the nearest Greek Consulate and make all necessary enquiries there. The Consular officer will answer all your questions and suggest an optimal procedure for your particular purposes.

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