A state’s visa policy outlines the limitations and specifications for foreign nationals who wish to visit, enter, and remain in the nation. The type of visa needed for Greece depends on the visitor’s nationality, the reason for the trip, and how long they plan to remain there. The need for a Schengen visa, also known as a Greek embassy visa or Type C visa for a short stay, will vary depending on the passport (nationality) of the visitor. This type of visa requires an applicant to fill out an application form and get approval from a Greek diplomatic mission abroad before traveling to Greece.
Greece visa policy is such that some nationals are exempt from requiring visas to enter the Schengen area by air, land, or sea for up to ninety days within one hundred and eighty days. On the other hand, a visa is required for entry into Greece for nationals of a select number of countries. The visa regulations for the Schengen area (including Greece) are a part of the larger policy for freedom, security, and justice in the European Union.
The Schengen area is made up of the twenty-three EU member states as well as the four EFTA-member, non-EU countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The required visa type, whether a tourist, business, work or another type of Greek visa, must typically be chosen by the applicant traveling to the Hellenic Republic (the official name of Greece).
Travelers belonging to the group of visa-required countries need a Greek visa for vacation, tourism, and sightseeing purposes.
Greece follows the same visa regulations as the other nations that have ratified the Schengen Agreement for passport-free travel as a member of the European Schengen Area.
To stay in Greece for more than three months (more than 90 days), travelers must apply for a long-stay visa, unless they are from the following nations:
Since joining the Schengen Area in 2000 as a member of the European Union, Greece has been a member state of the Schengen Zone, a common travel region. Greece allows foreigners (those belonging to visa-required countries) to enter its jurisdiction for tourism and commercial purposes with a Greek Schengen Visa. On the other hand, citizens of the EU single market countries are entitled to travel to and reside in each other’s countries (including Greece) and are not subject to visa restrictions.
Depending on the nationality and purpose of stay, applicants can submit a visa application for either a short-stay visa for Greece (Type C) or a long-stay visa (Type D).
A Type C short-stay Schengen visa for Greece is for individuals from visa-required nations who intend to travel to the nation and stay in the Schengen region for up to ninety days over a one-hundred-and-eighty-day period. The motive for the trip could be for work, vacation, a family visit, study or cultural purposes, sports, medical reasons, airport transit, etc.
Currently, a visa application can be submitted six (6) months before the anticipated visit date and no later than fifteen (15) calendar days before that date.
A National visa - Type D Visa is a permit issued by the relevant Greek authorities allowing foreign nationals to enter and remain on Greek soil for a duration longer than ninety days and up to one year. A long stay "D" visa entitles the holder to entry and residence in Greece for a period beyond three months. It may be given for many reasons, including jobs, education, academic research, involvement in cultural and scientific activities, family reunions, and religious purposes.
National visa holders are required to apply for a residence permit in Greece as soon as they enter the country. The applicant is required to submit an application for a visa for a continued stay in Greece together with any necessary supporting documentation. The Greek consular post or diplomatic Mission in whose jurisdiction the applicant is physically located is the competent authority for issuing a national visa.
Often, national visas for Greece are awarded for activities like volunteer work, temporary employment for artists and tour guides, and residence for self-sufficient people and digital nomads. Then, regardless of the category of national visa to be awarded, applicants must appear in person before the Greek consular post or diplomatic Mission in the country in which they have legal residency to be interrogated to determine their reason for entering and staying in the Hellenic Republic.
For stays up to 90 days, Americans do not need a visa for Greece. However, before traveling to Greece, American applicants may need to apply for a visa at a Greek Embassy or Consulate if they plan to stay there for more than ninety days in a one-hundred-and-eighty-day period.
Property owners, students, employees, athletes, coaches, and others may be granted long-stay visas for Greece. For more information, applicants should get in touch with the Greek Mission located closest to the region where they reside. Holders with official or diplomatic U.S. passports must get a visa before traveling to Greece. They are advised to consult the Department of Defense Clearance Handbook if such applicants are traveling under formal military instructions.
There are numerous types of residence permits issued for Greece. U.S. citizens typically need to apply for a visa at the Greek Consulate or Embassy that oversees the region where they will be residing abroad. Before their visa expires after they arrive in Greece, they need to submit an application for a residence permit at the Decentralized Administration Office of the intended neighborhood. Those individuals from the United States who are married to Europeans can apply for a Greek permit for residency.
Travelers should be aware of the difference between a visa and a permit. Those applying for a Greek visa must be aware that a permit allows them to live and work in the country, whereas a visa allows them to travel to the nation for a specific purpose. According to a few reports, a visa and permit are not considered separate documents in the Hellenic Republic. Those traveling for work on a visa and may need to extend their stay must also apply for a residence permit.
According to Schengen regulations, a visa application may take up to fifteen working days to process after the Greek Embassy receives it and deems it admissible. This time is measured from the day the application was received. In specific circumstances, such as when the extra review of the application is required, that window may be extended up to a maximum of forty-five calendar days.
Travelers should be aware that although the Consul’s decision on the visa application will be made within a week, it may take a few days for it to reach the Greek Embassy, depending on where the applicant submitted the visa application.
A citizen of the United States or individuals from visa-exempt nations are not required to get a visa to visit any Schengen nation, including Greece, for up to ninety days within a one-hundred-and-eighty-day span. Thus, anyone who stays in the Schengen region for longer than the allotted ninety days may be fined at the time of departure and will be denied admission into any other Schengen nation for ninety days.
Fines for exceeding the ninety-day visa-free period in Greece range from six hundred Euros (639.79 USD) to twelve hundred Euros (1279.58 USD). Travelers should contact the local Aliens Bureau at least two weeks before the date they need to depart in order to request an extension of stay if they are unable to leave within the ninety-day window and need more time.
The Greek government considers each application individually and normally does not grant extensions for tourism-related reasons. No embassy is permitted to submit a request for an extension on its applicant’s behalf or make an attempt to sway the application review process.
As per the Greece visa policy, travelers from visa-exempt nations are required to carry their passport, which is valid for at least six months and an ID card when they arrive at the Hellenic Republic. Applicants from visa-required countries must schedule an appointment for an in-person interview at the closest Greek embassy to apply for a Schengen visa.
Applicants must fill out the Greek visa application form and provide supporting materials, including a passport with a minimum remaining validity of six months, a travel schedule, travel insurance, information on their lodging, and their tickets. Thereon, based on the applicant’s requirements and the intended use of the trip, the visa will be issued by the embassy. This visa can be valid for a variety of activities, including labor, business, study, travel, transit, and health.
It is preferable to apply for a Schengen visa in advance because the Greek visa application process generally takes a significantly longer time. Travelers are advised to apply far in advance because April to July sees the highest volume of visa applications. They can submit their visa application for Greece up to six months before their intended trip (or up to nine months if they are seafarers who want to carry out their duties).
If the application is submitted less than fifteen days before the trip begins, or if there are any other delays brought on by unavoidable circumstances, the Greek Embassy disclaims all responsibility and liability for any losses incurred. Without prior notice, nations in the Schengen Zone, such as Greece, may reintroduce temporary internal or external border controls.
While entering or departing the Schengen region or moving among Schengen nations, including the Hellenic Republic, American nationals are advised to always be in possession of a valid U.S. passport and adhere to the visa policy of Greece. Travelers from visa-exempt nations would require an ETIAS for Greece by 2024.