Greece, a crossroads of ancient history and modern charm, offers a mosaic of visa options for travelers, students, and expats alike. Whether you’re drawn by the allure of the Acropolis, the tranquility of the Aegean, or the bustle of Athens, understanding the different types of Greek visas is your key to unlocking these experiences. Don’t Worry! We’ve got you covred!
This guide is crafted to navigate you through the labyrinth of Greek visa options, ensuring your journey to this enchanting land is as smooth as the marble of Parthenon. Let’s set sail on your Greek adventure, starting with the perfect visa.
Let’s dive in!
Expatriates In Greece
Recently, Greece has become a popular destination among expatriates, mainly from Western Europe, who move there to enjoy the country’s good weather, healthy food, and peaceful lifestyle.
Living in Greece as an expat is not always as sunny as visiting the country on holidays. Still, you can live a comfortable and exciting life there, provided you have adjusted to its culture and learned the language.
Greece is one of the most visited countries in Europe, with its blue beaches, historic sites, ancient cities and towns, and about 2,000 fairytale-like islands. During the summer, the number of tourists in Greece is much higher than the number of Greek citizens.
Aside from tourists, a lot of people are recently looking forward to moving to Greece. Despite the economic crisis that hit the country a few years ago, Greece is now getting more stable. Yet, real estate properties are pretty cheap, and so are the living costs.
Living Conditions In Greece
Most expats appreciate living in Greece for the healthy, comfortable, and relaxed lifestyle that the country provides.
The weather is good, warm, and sunny throughout the year. Generally, Greek people are laid-back and peaceful, except when they exhibit political attitudes toward the police. Greek food is delicious and healthy.
The country has a well-developed and affordable infrastructure and public transportation network, and the level of education is very high by international standards.
Besides, there are plenty of national schools where kids can study in their home languages, such as English, German, Russian, or Spanish, to name a few.
Good climate, slow pace of life, and healthy cuisine all contribute to excellent health that the majority of the Greek population enjoys.
Many live past the age of 90, and being older than 100 is rare in some parts of the country. You will not find many Greeks suffering from cardiological problems, and obesity is virtually unheard of.
Moreover, the healthcare system in Greece is comparatively well-developed by international standards.
Most doctors are well-experienced and thoroughly qualified professionals, and many of them have worked overseas. Also, the country has the highest number of doctors per capita among the European nations.
Medical services in Greece are very affordable, and the country has become one of the most popular destinations for medical tourism worldwide.
The main drawbacks are that the medical system in Greece seems to be run by bureaucracy, and most of its government medical services are practically unavailable for expats.
Private clinics are the more realistic options, less affordable if you earn your income inside the country.
Greece is very safe, and violent street crime is virtually non-existent. Big cities and tourist areas are less safe than the suburbs and small island towns.
Still, even in the worst cases, the crime rate is comparatively low, and even Athens compares favorably with big cities in Western Europe and North America.
You are more likely to have trouble with drunk foreigners in the tourist entertainment districts than risk being robbed on the central streets late at night.
However, during political demonstrations in which young Greeks participate, it is better to stay away from the designated areas as they can sometimes become quite violent and involve confrontations with the police.
Cost of Living
Greece is cheap, from food and public transport to private property and general entertainment. Housing, in particular, compares well even with the Southeast Asian countries.
Renting a flat in the center of Athens costs less than in Bangkok, and private property for sale is even cheaper than in Vietnam. Your expenses will depend on whether you live in a city or the country and how close you are to the busy tourist areas.
In Athens, you can rent a one-bedroom flat for about €400 in the city center and about half of that in the suburbia.
Purchasing private property in the capital city will cost anything from €100,000 to €400,000, whereas even €200,000 will be enough to buy a reasonably spacious house in Crete.
Prepare to pay more on the island of Corfu as the place has become a popular destination among ultra-wealthy Europeans.
All in all, you can expect life in Greece to cost about 30% less than in other European countries and about 20% less than in the States.
Job And Career Opportunities For Expats
The country has work opportunities, and Greeks appreciate the international experience.
It is the language barrier that will be the main problem, however. Unless you speak Greek, you will teach English or work in the IT sector.
If you belong to one of the two, consider yourself sorted; otherwise, it is a language school first. On the other hand, it is a good idea anyway: if you have decided to stay in the country, you may start learning the language.
Whatever course of action you choose, make sure you do it legally and comply with all the regulations. The Greek Department of Immigration and Tax Revenues will not be as laid-back as you might expect them to be.
Visas In Greece
Greece, the cradle of democracy and Western civilization, today known as the Hellenic Republic, is one of the sunniest countries in the world.
With more than 2,000 islands, a lot of beaches, rich varieties of wildlife, rich ancient and modern architecture, and delicious cuisine, this is one must-visit country in every person’s life.
And this is precisely why Greece is the European destination that has seen the most significant visitor increase within the last decade.
It is estimated that from around 15 million tourists visiting Greece in 2010, the numbers in 2018 are even higher than 32 million.
As a member state of the Schengen Zone’s everyday travel area, Greece has permitted foreigners to enter its territory for tourism and business purposes with a Greek Schengen Visa since 2000, when it joined the Schengen Area as a Member of the European Union.
Who Needs A Schengen Visa To Enter Greece?
You will need a short-stay visa to enter Greece and any other member country of the Schengen zone if you belong to one of the following categories:
- You are a citizen of a developing nation with which the Schengen member states have yet to conclude a visa liberalization agreement.
- You are the national of a third country that has signed a visa liberalization agreement with the Schengen states, but you were previously rejected from entering Greece or any other Schengen country.
What Documents Are Required For A Greece Schengen Visa Application?
According to Greece visa requirements, you will need to submit some statutory documents as part of your short-term Greek Visa application at the Greek embassy/consulate. These documents are listed and explained below:
- Greek Visa Application Form: Complete the visa application form with all required information, print it, and sign it.
- Two Passport Photos: The photos should be identical to the photograph requirements for the Greek Schengen visa application set by the Schengen visa regulation.
- Your Valid Passport: Before applying for a short-stay visa to Greece, make sure your passport complies with the passport criteria set by the Schengen states. Your passport should have at least two blank pages, three more months of validity beyond your planned stay in the Schengen, and must be issued within the last 10 years.
- Copies of your previous visas (if applicable).
- Schengen Travel Health Insurance: Purchase health insurance valid for Greece and the whole territory of the Schengen Area, with a minimum coverage of €30,000 for medical emergencies.
- Round-Trip Flight Itinerary: A document that shows you have a booked flight to enter and leave Greece. This document should specify flight numbers, dates, and your name and surname.
- Proof Of Accommodation: I.e., a hotel reservation in Greece.
- Proof Of Sufficient Financial Means For The Period Of Stay In Greece: Travelers to Greece are obliged to attest possessing an amount of 50€ per each day they plan on spending in Greece. A reduction to 50% of the regular amount applies to minors.
- A Cover Letter: A personal letter in which you explain why you are applying to visit Greece, how long you plan to stay, when you will leave, and other details.
- Proof Of Civil Status: This could be a marriage certificate, birth certificate of children, death certificate of spouse, etc.
Greek Visa Requirements Based On Your Employment Status
In addition, you will need to provide the embassy/consulate with documents that prove you meet Belgium visa requirements based on your employment status:
- Employment contract.
- Current bank statement of the latest 6 months.
- Leave permission from the employer.
- Income Tax Return (ITR) form.
- A copy of your business license.
- Company bank statement for the last 6 months.
- Income Tax Return (ITR).
If a student
- Proof of enrollment.
- No objection certificate from school or university.
- Pension statement of the last 6 months.
- Proof of regular income generated by property for the last 6 months.
Greek Visa Requirements For Minors
Minors applying to get a short-stay visa to Greece or parents applying for their minor child to get a visa will need to complete the following additional Greek Visa Requirements in their application file:
- Birth certificate of the minor traveling to Greece.
- Both parents signed the Greece application form.
- Family court order. In cases where only one parent has full custody over the child.
- Certified copies of ID/passport of both parents
- If the minor will be traveling alone with another person:
- An original copy of the accompanying person’s passport page containing the holder’s data, expiry date, a recent photograph, and a valid visa copy.
- A notarized parental authorization to travel to Greece, signed by both parents/guardians
How Long Does It Take To Get A Greek Visa?
The processing time for a Greece short-stay visa may take up to 15 days. Depending on your specific situation, this period may be extended up to 30 days.
Exceptional cases may take up to 60 days, especially when the Greek embassies may have to consult with other Schengen embassies/consulates on your case.
Delays in Greece’s short-stay visa processing may also occur when another country is responsible for processing visas to Greece on behalf of the Hellenic Republic.
To ensure you will get your Greek short-stay visa on time, you should lodge your application as soon as possible, though at least three months before you travel to Greece.
How Much Does It Cost To Apply For A Greek Visa?
The costs for a Greek Schengen Visa are as follows:
- Greek visas for adult travelers – €80
- Greek visas for children (6 – 12 years) – €40
- Greek visas for children (under 6 years) – Free of Charge
In addition, according to the applicant’s nationality, the purpose of the visit to Greece, and some other factors, some categories of applicants are exempt from paying the Greek Visa fee, and others need to pay a lower amount.
How Long Can You Stay In Greece Without A Visa?
If you are a citizen of a visa-exempt country, you can enter and remain in Greece for up to 90 days in six months. If you wish to stay longer than 90 days, again depending on your nationality, you will need to take the following actions:
- EU/EEA national – register at the relevant Greek authorities within 3 months of arrival.
- Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of South Korea, the United States of America national – apply for a residence permit within three months of arrival.
- A national of any of the rest of the visa-exempt countries – apply for a long-stay visa from your country of residence.
If you are the national of a country that has not signed a visa-free agreement with Greece and the other Schengen members, you must obtain a visa before heading to Greece or any other Schengen member country, even for short-term visits.
Can You Extend My Schengen Visa In Greece?
Yes, you can extend your Greek Schengen visa, but only in exceptional cases where new facts and special reasons arise after entry in Greece, i.e., humanitarian reasons or force majeure.
There are eight immigration offices in major cities where you can submit your application for an extension.
- Athens APD
- Piraeus APD
- North-Eastern Attica APD
- South-Eastern Attica APD
- Western Attica APD
- Lavrion APD
- Eastern Thessaloniki APD
- Western Thessaloniki APD
Can Your Greek Schengen Visa Be Revoked?
Yes, your Greece visa can be revoked in case the competent Greek authorities conclude that the conditions for issuing the visa are no longer met.
Please note that failure of the visa holder to provide the border officer with the entry requirements may also lead to a decision to annul or revoke the visa, though not automatically.
Most Favored Cities By Expats In Greece
Many beautiful cities and islands offer good living conditions in Greece, and the choice will depend on your personal preferences. What follows is a list of places that receive particularly positive feedback from expats.
Like any country’s capital city, Athens has become home to a large percentage of expats and immigrants.
Life is noticeably more expensive there, and the crime rate is higher, too, just as in any big city. On the other hand, the city is still cheap and safe by international standards.
Athens offers an infinite variety of historical sights, cultural venues, and a comparatively vibrant and diverse lifestyle. Besides, job opportunities are significantly better there, too, since Athens is the region’s central financial and economic hub.
Unlike Athens, the small island of Santorini offers a perfect escape from the hectic pace and noise of civilization.
It is a stunning island with black sand, rocky mountains, and crystal-clear waters. The local community of just over 15,000 people lives a slow and quiet life and enjoys some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.
By far the most favored destination by expats and travelers alike, Crete has become Greece’s second most significant place after Athens.
It has everything you might need: a quiet retreat on a sandy beach, a breathtaking trek in the highest mountains in Greece, or a vibrant life in the country’s second-largest urban community.
Another lovely blend of wild nature and modern civilization, Corfu is becoming increasingly more expensive, especially in its real estate sector, becoming a second home to some of the wealthiest people in Europe.
Remote beaches, grand art museums, prehistoric mountain caves, and some of the best universities in Greece tastefully co-exist on the small island of Corfu.
The island is probably not the best place if you seek a very inexpensive life, but Corfu is worth considering if affordability is not your prime concern. It is advisable to purchase property there as soon as possible, as its prices in Corfu continue to rise.
Our voyage through the diverse world of Greek visas now draws to a close, leaving you equipped to choose the right path for your Grecian journey. Whether it’s for a short sojourn, a scholarly quest, or a longer stay under the Mediterranean sun, each visa is a ticket to a unique facet of Greece’s endless charm.
So, prepare your documents, and let the winds of Hellenic hospitality guide you to an experience that’s as timeless as the myths of Olympus.
But wait! There’s lot more that you might be interested in following: