How Long Can I Stay in Greece
The Embassy has consulted with the Greek Ministries of Interior and Public Order to develop this information. While we have done our best to insure its accuracy, the responsibility for setting immigration policy and procedures lies entirely with the Greek government. Please contact the Greek Diplomatic Missions in the area of your residence in the U.S., or Greek government entities for current and detailed information.
NO VISA REQUIRED FOR VISITS OF 90 DAYS OR LESS
Greece is a member of the Schengen Zone**. A U.S. citizen may remain in any Schengen country (or travel between various Schengen countries) as a tourist for up to 90 days in a six month period, without a visa. Anyone staying in the Schengen zone beyond the 90-day period may be subject to a fine at the time of departure and will be barred from entry into any other Schengen country for 90 days. In Greece, fines for overstaying the three months run from €600 to €1,200, depending on the length of time the person has remained here illegally.
At the time of entry into Greece, a stamp must be placed in the passport showing the date and place of entry. If the first port of entry is another Schengen country, even if you are only transiting that country, the entry stamp should be placed in the passport upon entry into that country. Persons who lack port of entry stamps may be fined upon departure from Greece and are not eligible to request an extension of their stay. In addition we recommend that all travelers hold on to their ticket receipts and boarding passes until they leave Greece.
**The Schengen Countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Liechtenstein.
TYPES OF RESIDENCE PERMITS
I. TEMPORARY RESIDENCE PERMITS
Please note that short-term residence permits (valid from 3-6 months) are issued by the Aliens police office in the area of residency of the individual concerned and ONLY if the individual can show evidence that he/she has a compelling reason to prolong his/her stay in Greece. The application must be submitted at least 15 days before the expiration of the original 90-day period.
If a temporary residence permit is approved, a stamp will be placed in the applicant’s passport. The fee for the short-term residence permit application is €36. EXTENSIONS FOR TOURIST PURPOSES ARE NOT GRANTED.
The following documents must be submitted along with the application and the fee:
- A passport bearing the entry stamp into the Schengen Zone;
- Two photocopies of the bio data page of the passport along with the page bearing the entry stamp;
- Two passport size photographs of the applicant;
- Proof of sufficient finances. (€ 50 per day); Funds can be deposited in a local bank account. Greek bank requirements to open a bank account vary. A local tax number (AFM), or documents to prove permanent residency abroad, may be required by the bank.
- Proof of local residence (hotel certification, rent receipt, etc);
- Photocopy of the ID (if Greek citizen) or of the residence permit (if alien) of the person who will host the American citizen;
- Proof of applicant’s travelling insurance which will cover the extension granted to him/her.
Any person who has been granted a residence permit allowing for a total stay of at least 6 months may exit and re-enter Greece if he/she has remained in Greece for at least 6 months. Persons who have remained in Greece legally for at least 6 months are allowed to leave and re-enter Greece (or any other Schengen country) as early as the same day. Any person departing after a stay of 90 days will have to stay out of the Schengen territory for a period of three months before he/she will be permitted to return to any Schengen country. For any questions concerning short-term residence permits you may call the following aliens’ bureaus in the prefecture of Attica:
Central 24 Petrou Ralli St., Tavros Tel. 210 34 05828-29
Marousi 15 Agiou Orous St., Marousi Tel. 210 68 75176
Elliniko Proin Anatolikos Aerolimenas Athinon Tel. 210 96 01341-96 90293
Aigaleo 21-23 Marmara St., Aigaleo Tel. 210 53 19298
Piraeus 37 Iroon Politehniou Tel. 210 41 28607, 4174855
IMPORTANT NOTE: Short-term residence permits provided by local authorities are valid only within Greece. If the Greek authorities deny a U.S. citizen's request for a permit, he/she must depart the country without any other formalities.
II. “ONE YEAR” RESIDENCE PERMIT
U.S. citizens, who do not work in Greece, derive support and income from abroad and wish to stay in Greece for one year or more, may apply for the one year permit provided that, before coming to Greece, they obtain a visa from the Greek Consulate or Embassy from their country. Renewal may be granted, provided that the application for renewal is submitted two months prior to the expiration of the initial permit.
For information on the documents required, individuals should check with the closest Greek Mission in their place of residence.
The following documents must be submitted to the Decentralized Administration Office of the area of residence, at least two months prior the expiration of the initial legal entry to Greece (addresses and phone numbers of the Decentralized Administration Offices in Athens area are listed on the last page):
- Visa from the Greek Consulate or Embassy
- Two copies of the passport
- Two color photographs
- A 150 euro fee, paid to the Eforia (national tax office).
- A certificate issued by an insurance company stating that the U.S. citizen has full medical coverage (for retired U.S. citizens, a certification for their insurance coverage from any U.S. State Fund is acceptable).
- A health certificate issued by a Greek State Hospital, in accordance with international standards established by the World Health Organization, stating that the U.S. citizen is not suffering from any communicable disease. (The applicant must pay for all tests and examinations).
- Evidence proving that the applicant has the financial resources to live in Greece, without working (e.g. receipt for pension from abroad, bank statement, etc). The required amount is at least 2,000 euro and in the case of family members, it’s increased by 20% for the spouse and 15%for each child.
After the Immigration Committee reviews the application, the applicant will be interviewed. The Secretary General of the Periphery (Region) will determine whether or not a residence permit will be granted.
Bearers of the “one year” residence permit may travel outside of Greece and return without a problem as long as the trip/s takes place within the one-year validity of the permit.
III. RESIDENCE PERMIT BASED ON THE MARRIAGE OF A U.S. CITIZEN TO A GREEK NATIONAL OR A EUROPEAN CITIZEN
A U.S. citizen who is married to a Greek or European citizen may apply for a 5-year residence permit, while legally in Greece (within the initial 3 month free stay). This 5-year permit also allows the applicant to work. An application for extension must be made two months prior to the expiration of the initial permit. Applications are submitted to the Decentralized Administration Office of the area of residence of the individual concerned.
IV. RESIDENCE PERMIT FOR STUDIES (student visa)
The entry of a U. S. citizen into Greece for studies in institutes recognized by the Greek government is permitted if he/she obtains a visa for entry from a Greek Embassy or Consulate prior to arrival in Greece. This includes graduate, post-graduate and medical studies. For information on the documents required for a student visa, individuals should check with the closest Greek Mission in their place of residence.
Upon arrival to Greece, the student must take the documents he/she received from the Embassy or Consulate in the U.S. and apply for student residence permit at the Decentralized Administration Office in his/her area of residence in Greece (addresses and phone numbers for the Decentralized Administration Offices in Athens area are listed on the last page). The student must provide the following documents:
- Two copies of the US Passport;
- Two color photographs;
- 150 euro fee paid to the Eforia (National Tax Office);
- Certification of registration with the school;
- Proof of sufficient funds for the duration of studies;
- A certificate of health issued by a local state hospital, along with proof of state or private insurance coverage for medical and hospital expenses (all expenses for examinations and tests are incurred by the student);
- Written consent of the parents or legal guardians, in case student is under 18 yrs old;
U.S. citizens who wish to attend a professional training institute, public or private (I.E.K.), may do so by following the same steps for the issuance of student visas described above. The entry of the alien is permitted if the alien is accepted and a relevant statement of acceptance is granted by the Organization of Professional Education and Training (O.E.E.K.)
V. RESIDENCE AND WORK PERMITS FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED
An American who wishes to operate his/her own business in Greece must prove that he/she has sufficient funds to operate the business and that the business would contribute to the development of the national economy.
For information on the documents required for the visa, individuals should check with the closest Greek Mission in their place of residence.
The Greek Consulate will forward the application with the supporting documents to the Aliens and Immigration authorities in Greece in the district where the American intends to settle and operate the business. When permission is approved, it will be returned to the Greek Consulate in the U.S., which will notify the individual concerned to submit additional documentation in order to provide him/her with a permit to enter Greece for the exercise of an independent financial activity:
When the U.S. citizen arrives to Greece, he/she must provide the following documents to the Decentralized Administration Office in his/her place of residence (addresses and phone numbers for the Decentralized Administration Offices in Athens area are listed on the last page):
- Two copies of the US Passport;
- Two color photographs;
- 150 euro fee paid at the Eforia (National Tax Office);
- Photocopy of the bank book showing a deposit of 60, 000 euro in the name of the US citizen
- A Notarized copy of the economic study providing information about the activities, the type of investment, the equipment, the technology to be used, the anticipated value of the sales, as well as the reasons for which the US citizen decided to form the particular investment in Greece;
- Proof that he/she has full medical insurance coverage valid in Greece
- Health certificate issued by a local state hospital stating that he/she is healthy (The applicant incurs all expenses for any examinations and tests.)
The residence permit is valid for one year and the permit may be renewed for another two years. The renewal will be granted provided that the specific financial activity is ongoing, the applicant has fulfilled all tax and insurance obligations, and the application for the renewal is submitted to the Decentralized Administration Office in his/her area of residence at least two months prior to the expiration of the permit (addresses and phone numbers for the Athens area are listed on the last page).
VI. RESIDENCE AND WORK PERMITS FOR PRIVATE FIRMS
Work permits are granted to foreigners who live abroad only in those cases where there are not enough local residents to cover all vacancies.
Every year the Greek Manpower Office (OAED) notifies Greek diplomatic missions and employment agencies abroad about current manpower needs and vacancies that may be filled by foreigners.
The Greek Missions send the names of people who have submitted applications to the Greek Manpower Office (OAED).
Interested prospective employers have to choose the person(s) who best qualifies for the vacant position(s) from the names on the list. The employer who is responsible for initiating the procedure to apply for a work permit must send supporting documents to the Greek Mission in the US.
When the American citizen is called by the Greek Mission, to sign the employment contract, he/she should submit documents in order to apply for the specific visa. For information on the documents required for this employment visa, individuals should check with the closest Greek Mission in their place of residence.
When approval has been granted, upon arrival to Greece, the U.S. citizen should apply for a residence permit at the Decentralized Administration Office in their area of residence in Greece (addresses and phone numbers for the Decentralized Administration Offices in Athens area are listed on the last page). The following criteria must be met:
- Two copies of the US passport;
- Two color photographs;
- Notarized employment contract;
- Proof that he/she has full medical insurance coverage valid in Greece;
- Health certificate issued by a local state hospital stating that he/she is healthy (The applicant incurs all expenses for any examinations and tests);
- 150 euro fee paid at the Eforia (National Tax Office).
A residence permit for the purpose of employment is valid for one year. It may be renewed annually. The application for renewal must be submitted two months before the expiration of the previous permit. Under new regulations, the alien is permitted to change to another employer while he/she is the bearer of a “work permit”. Any change of the employee’s status should be reported to the Nomarchy.
ENTRY AND RESIDENCE FOR BOARD MEMBERS, ADMINISTRATORS AND EXECUTIVES
The following individuals are permitted to enter Greece if they have received an entry permit from the Greek Consulate that has jurisdiction over the area of their residence in the United States:
Board members, administrators, and high ranking executives (general managers and directors) of subsidiary companies and branches of foreign companies legally operating in Greece; law 89 companies; technicians employed by industries; and foreigners from third countries who are employed in companies established in another European country and are attached to those companies’ subsidiaries or branches in Greece.
For information on the documents required in order to apply for an entry permit for one of the above categories, individuals should check with the closest Greek Mission in their place of residence.
When the U.S. citizen arrives in Greece he/she should apply at the Directorate of Aliens and Migration of the Ministry of Interior, Public Directorate and Decentralization. For information on the documents required, individuals should contact the above directorate, at: firstname.lastname@example.org , tel. +30 213-136-1239 or +30 213-136-1242.
The residence permit issued in this case would be valid for one year and may be renewed for the same period of time indefinitely, provided that the application for renewal is submitted at least two months prior to the expiration of the residence permit.
Family members of American citizens working in Greece under the above category may accompany them. A separate residence permit will be issued for each family member. Those permits will expire at the same time as the one issued to the American working in Greece.
Any alien remaining in Greece on a residence and/or work permit, must report to the local competent authority any change concerning his/her residence, family status, loss or renewal of his/her passport or travel document, loss of his/her residence permit, or change of his/her occupation or his employer. Failure to meet any of the above regulations would result to a fine of €200 or more.
ADDRESSES AND PHONE NUMBERS
FOR DECENTRALIZED ADMINISTRATION OFFICES
Directorate of Aliens and Immigration, for the City of Athens, having jurisdiction over the area of the City of Athens.
Address: Salaminias 2 & Petrou Ralli, Tavros,
Directorate of Aliens and Immigration, Central Sector and West Attica, having jurisdiction over the area of: Philadelphia, Halkidona, Galatsi, Zografou, Kaisariani, Vyrona, Ilioupoli, Dafni, Ymitos, Egaleo, Peristeri, Petroupoli, Haidari, Agia Varvara, Ilion, Agioi Anargyroi, Kamatero, Aspropyrgos, Elefsina, Magoula, Mandra, Vilia, Inoi, Erythron, Megara, Neas Peramou, Filis, Ano Liosia, Zefiri.
Address: Salaminias 2 & Petrou Ralli, Tavros
Directorate of Aliens and Immigration, North Sector and East Attica, having jurisdiction over the areas of: Penteli, Kifisia, Nea Erythrea, Metamorfosi, Lykovrysi, Pefki, Marousi, Filithei, Psychiko, Papagou, Holargos, Irakleio, Nea Ionia, Vrilisia, Agia Paraskevi, Halandri, Oropos, Marathonas, Rafina, Pikermi, Dionysos, Aharnai, Pallini, Paiania, Spata, Artemida, Koropi, Markopoulo, Lavreotiki, Saronikou, Vari, Voula, Bouliagmeni
Address: 19 Psaron Street, Pallini.
Directorate of Aliens and Immigration, South Sector, Piraeus and Islands, having jurisdiction over the area of: Glyfada, Helleniko, Argyroupoli, Alimos, Nea Smyrni, Moshato, Tavros, Kallithea, Paleo Faliro, Agio Dimitrios, Piraeus, Keratsini, Drapetsona, Nikaia, Renti, Koridallos, Perama, Salamina, Egina, Agistri, Troizinia, Methana, Poros, Ydra, Spetses.
Address: 5 Agiou Dionysiou Street, Piraeus