Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
How Long Can I Stay in Greece
 
September 2014

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, procedures and fees, lies entirely with the Greek government.  Entry into Greece or any of the other European countries in the Schengen area for short-term tourism, a business trip, or in transit to a non-Schengen destination, requires that the passport be valid for at least three months beyond the intended date of departure.  If the passport does not meet the Schengen requirements, the traveler may be refused boarding by the airline at the point of origin or while transferring planes.  A traveler could also be denied entry upon arrival in the Schengen area.  For this reason, we recommend that U.S. passports have at least six months validity remaining whenever traveling abroad.

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 90 days period run from €600 to €1,200, depending on the length of time the person has remained here illegally.  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 a Schengen country.

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, as of September 2014, 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 EXTENSION PERMITS TO THE 90 DAY VISA

Please note that short-term residence permits 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 an extension is approved, a sticker will be placed in the applicant’s passport.  The fee for the short-term residence permit application is €30.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Short-term extension permits, provided by the Aliens police, 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 before the expiration of the 90 days. EXTENSIONS FOR TOURIST PURPOSES ARE NOT GRANTED.

The following documents must be submitted along with the application and the fee:

  1. A passport bearing the entry stamp into the Schengen Zone;
  2. Two photocopies of the bio data page of the passport along with thepage bearing the entry stamp;
  3. Two passport size photographs of the applicant;
  4. Proof of sufficient finances. (€ 50 per day); Funds can be proved with Western Union exchange receipts and/or ATM receipts. Banks/Tax Identification Number? 
  5. Proof of local residence (hotel certification, rent receipt, etc.); 
  6. Photocopy of the ID (if Greek citizen) or of the residence permit (if alien) of the person who will host the American citizen;
    Photocopy of the ID (if Greek citizen) or of the residence permit (if alien) of the person who will host the American citizen;
  7. Proof of applicant’s travelling insurance which will cover the extension granted to him/her.

Any person who has been granted an extension for a total stay of 6 months may exit and re-enter Greece (or any other Schengen country) as early as the same day.   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

RESIDENCE PERMITS

General guidelines:

  • The validity of all residence permits is not affected by short absences that do not exceed the total of 6 months within a year, nor from longer absences for the fulfilment of military service, serious illness,pregnancy or studies in another member state or third country.
  •  Renewal may be granted provided, that the application for renewal issubmitted two months prior to the expiration of the initial permit.
  •  Applications for renewal can also be submitted up to a month after the expiration of the initial permit, but a penalty of fifty (50) euro is imposed.  Applications submitted later than a month, are not accepted unless the U.S. citizen can prove serious reasons for the delay.  All applications for residence and renewal permits should be submitted to the Decentralized Administration Offices that have jurisdiction over the area of residence of the applicant.  Addresses for the Decentralized Administration Offices in the Athens Metropolitan area are listed on the last page.
  •  NOTE: Any of the below categories of residence permits, requires the submission of different documents.  We suggest that you either communicate with a Greek Diplomatic Mission in the United States, or seek the advice of a local attorney.
  • There are many categories of residence permits. The most common categories of residence permits are mentioned below:  

1. FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT INDIVIDUALS 

U.S. citizens, who derive support and income from abroad, and wish to stay in Greece for two years or more, may apply for the two-year permit provided that, before coming to Greece, they obtain a visa from the Greek Consulate or Embassy that has jurisdiction over the area of their residence.   

For information on the documents required, individuals should check with the closest Greek Mission in the place of residence.  A list of the Greek Missions in the US can be found at:

List of Greek Missions in the U.S.

Upon the individual’s arrival to Greece, he/she needs to apply for the actual residence permit at the Decentralized Administration Office of the area of residence, at least two months prior to the expiration of the entry visa

2.  PROPERTY OWNERS

Under Greece’s immigration law No. 4251/2014, which came into force on June 2014, non-European citizens who are owners of real estate in Greece may obtain a 5-year residence permit which can be renewed two months prior to the expiration of the residence permit. 

NOTE:  For information on the documents required, individuals should check with the closest Greek Mission in the place of residence.  A list of the Greek Missions in the US can be found at:

List of Greek Missions in the U.S.

Upon the individual’s arrival to Greece, he/she needs to apply for the actual residence permit at the Decentralized Administration Office of the area of residence, at least two months prior to the expiration of the entry visa

3.  RESIDENCE PERMIT BASED ON MARRIAGE OF A U.S. CITIZEN TO A GREEK NATIONAL OR A EUROPEAN CITIZEN

A U.S. citizen who arrives in Greece and gets married to a Greek or European citizen within the 90 day period may apply for a 5-year residence permit.

A U.S. citizen married to a Greek or EU citizen who resides abroad and wishes to reside in Greece, needs to obtain a visa from the nearest Greek Consulate in the United States. Upon the individual’s arrival to Greece, he/she needs to apply for the actual residence permit at the Decentralized Administration Office of the area of residence, at least two months prior to the expiration of the entry visa. 

NOTE:  For this type of visa, individuals should check with the closest Greek Mission in the place of residence.  

List of Greek Missions in the U.S.

4. 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 this type of visa, individuals should check with the closest Greek Mission in their place of residence.  

List of Greek Missions in the U.S.

4a. STUDENT VISA BASED ON PROFESSIONAL TRAINING

U.S. citizens who wish to attend a vocational training institute, public or private (I.E.K.) are able to enter Greece, if he/she has been accepted to a program that requires regular (physical presence) and not distant learning.  In addition he/she should have certification documenting his/her proficiency in the language that the program is taught. 

For information on the documents required for this type of visa, individuals should check with the closest Greek Mission in their place of residence.  

List of Greek Missions in the U.S.

5.  RESIDENCE AND WORK PERMITS FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED

A U.S. citizen 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 this type of visa, individuals should check with the closest Greek Mission in their place of residence.  

List of Greek Missions in the U.S.

6.  RESIDENCE AND WORK PERMITS FOR EMPLOYMENT IN GREECE

Employment positions for non- European citizens are limited. The number of positions available is determined by the respective ministries in the last quarter of every two years.

The prospective employer in Greece should submit an application to the Decentralized Administration Office in the area of his/her residence. Once the General Secretary of the Decentralized Administration Office approves the application for the employment, it is forwarded to the respective Greek Mission. 

For information on the documents required for this type of visa, individuals should check with the closest Greek Mission in their place of residence. 

List of Greek Missions in the U.S.

Upon arrival to Greece, the individual needs to apply for the actual work/residence permit at the Decentralized Administration Office in his/her area of residence in Greece.

7. ENTRY AND RESIDENCE FOR BOARD MEMBERS, ADMINISTRATORS AND EXECUTIVES

The following individuals are permitted to enter Greece if they have received an entry visa 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; 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.

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.

For information on the documents required for this type of visa, individuals should check with the closest Greek Mission in their place of residence.  

List of Greek Missions in the U.S.

Upon arrival to Greece, the individual needs to apply for actual work/residence permit at the Decentralized Administration Office in his/her area of residence in Greece.

8.  ENTRY AND RESIDENCE PERMIT FOR ATHLETES AND COACHES

U.S. citizen athletes and coaches who have a contract with a recognized athletic union or team 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 

For information on the documents required for this type of visa, individuals should check with the closest Greek Mission in their place of residence.  

List of Greek Missions in the U.S.

Upon arrival to Greece, the athlete and/or coach, needs to apply for actual residence permit at the Decentralized Administration Office in his/her area of residence in Greece.

9.  ENTRY AND RESIDENCE PERMIT FOR VOLUNTARY WORK

A U.S. citizen, who is over 18 years old and has been accepted to a voluntary program with duration over three months, can enter Greece if he/she has received an entry visa for this purpose, from the Greek Consulate that has jurisdiction over the area of his/her residence in the United States. 

For information on the documents required, for this type of visa, individuals should check with the closest Greek Mission in the place of residence. 

List of Greek Missions in the U.S.

Upon the individual’s arrival to Greece, he/she needs to apply for the actual residence permit at the Decentralized Administration Office of the area of residence at least two months prior to the expiration of the entry visa.  

10.  PREREQUISITS FOR ISSUANCE OF RESIDENCE PERMITS OF LONG TERM RESIDENTS

A U.S. citizen who has been residing in Greece legally and continuously for five years may apply for this type of residence permit, if there are no absences of his/her  stay of more than six consecutive months, and do not exceed the  total of ten months in the last five years.  Further, the applicant should prove that he/she has sufficient income for his/her needs as well as for all family members, full medical coverage, sufficient knowledge of the Greek language, history and culture. The duration of residence permit is five years and be renewed for the same period of time.

Detailed information of the documents that need to be submitted can be obtained by the Decentralized Administration Office in the area where the U.S. citizen resides.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

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  IN ATTICA

Directorate of Aliens and Immigration for the City of Athens, 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
Tel. 210-3403330

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, Vouliagmeni

Address: 19 Psaron Street, Pallini.
Tel. 210-6604900

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
Tel. 210-4141600