Greece Visas, Permits and Immigration

by Jose Marc Castro on August 11, 2009

VISAgreece200Greek citizens need a passport to travel outside the boundaries of Greece. Greek citizens can also use their identity card or ID whenever they are traveling within the Schengen Area. Since 26 August 2006, a type of passport called “biometric passport” has been available. A type of microchip is embedded on the passport. This microchip contains the necessary personal information of the passport holder.

Greek Passport

This passport is valid for 5 years. It costs a non-refundable $4.65. Prices depend on the age of the passport holder.

Greek Visa

Foreign nationals with the right to study and stay in Greece for a duration of not more than 90 days without holding a visa are citizens of:

•    Australia;
•    European Union member states;
•    Israel;
•    Canada;
•    New Zealand;
•    Japan;
•    Norway;
•    United States of America;
•    Iceland; and
•    Switzerland.

All citizens of countries excluded from the list above need to obtain a visa for tourism, business, or migration purposes in Greece.

Greece has long been a member of the Schengen Region Agreement. Children and Spouses of European Union nationals will get their visas free whenever the original copy of the marriage certificate and the spouse’s passport are submitted. Covered by this policy are some citizens of other countries.

Greek Visa Costs

The prices of visa processing fees vary with purpose. Tourist, Business, Student and Transit visas cost 60 Euros while others cost 37.50 Euros.

Visa Validity

The validity of a Greek visa depends on its type. There are visas that last for 3 months or 90 days within a 6-month period. There are also visas that can be extended for up to 3 years, while some are only valid for weeks.

Useful Information

a.    If you consider the option of working in Greece, you may want to apply for a new visa since the Greek government obliges applicant’s to obtain a separate working visa.

b.    Tourists visiting a country in the Schengen Area must file an application at the Embassy or Consulate of the Schengen country. Tourists must state that they have chosen this particular Schengen country as their main destination or the first country they will enter if they don’t have a main destination.

c.       Foreign nationals arriving and departing from Greece on chartered flights are in great risk of getting the return part of their tickets cancelled by Greek authorities once they stay longer or in another state.

Greek Immigration Policy

Schengen Agreement

This agreement consists of two 1985 agreements between European states. It also deals with the elimination of a systematic border control among the involved countries. The Treaty of Amsterdam ratified the 2 agreements and made it into the so-called “Law of the European Union”.

Greek authorities issued a policy concerning illegal immigrants entering Greece. The commitments and obligations of this policy are to promote the economic and social solution of immigrants. Like other European Union members, Greek authorities have tried twice to legalize this immigration policy in 1997 and 2001. The legalization of this policy provides benefits to both Greeks and immigrants.

The myth about Schengen visas was discussed in a post at the Greece Expat Forum last August 13, 2009:

First of all, there is no such thing as a “long-stay Schengen” visa. A Schengen visa is the three month tourist visa, or in your case the rough equivalent to the US VWP (visa waiver program) scheme where you are allowed 3 months in the Schengen area without having to apply for a visa.

Your research is correct. Don’t listen to your fiancé’s assurances. (Not to “diss” him, but you’ll find most people know little or nothing about the immigration laws of their own country and just assume they can get a friend or spouse in with no difficulty. Been there, done that – have the scars…)

What you should do is to contact the consulate of Greece in the US and find out what sort of “fiancé” visa they have and how to apply for it. The other option is to apply for a long-stay visa for Greece (which allows you to visit other countries in the Schengen area while you’re resident in Greece) – but very often, they will require that you have a job lined up with an employer to sponsor your application.

Ultimately you’re probably going to have to do the FBI check – and at least if you do it while in the US, you can probably get the local police department to do the fingerprints for you, maybe even for free. If you have to get the fingerprints done at the US Embassy in Greece, it’ll cost you (was 35€ at the Paris consulate a few years ago).

I’ve been in the situation of being illegal in a European country – after marrying one of the locals! It’s not fun, though it’s not that difficult to get away with. I had the advantage that I was following bad advice from the consulate, and had no intention of breaking the law. If you just go to Greece and overstay your visa, you won’t have that advantage.

Greek Immigration Laws

The legislative agenda regulating specific characteristics of Greek immigration legislations was adjusted in January 2007. The Greek general confederation of labor considers the legislations despite the broader criteria in granting residence permits under the new legislation.

In January 2007, an adjustment to the immigration law #3386-2005 provided social and residence inclusion of 3rd country nationals in Greek territory. The new legislative intervention by the Public Administration and the Ministry of the Interior and Decentralization attempts to enhance and correct the shortcomings and omissions noted throughout the first 16 months that Law #3386-2005 was in effect. The inter-ministerial committee of Greece monitors the new policy.

This is also the first time that the Greek government established an international committee for social insertion of immigrants. Members of the committee include representatives of parliamentary parties, local government, academic community, and social partners. It creates an idea of an expansion with the inter-ministerial committee monitoring immigration policies while taking care of refugees. These issues were based on a multi-disciplinary perspective. The measures must be taken into account for the sake of issues related to immigration. The Greek Immigration Office has done continuous efforts to make this country a free place for immigrants.

Main Amendments

For immigrant workers originating from non European Union member states, the Greek government amended certain significant changes regarding the renewal of residence permits. For those working as private nurses, domestic employees, and construction workers, the obligation to supply an employment contract when renewing a residence permit has been abolished because of the new laws.

All immigrants working as paid employees officially have the right to buy insurance stamps to make up the required amount for renewing various residence permits. There is a limit with the amount of insurance stamps for workers. The worker’s allowable limit is set at 20% of the total number needed annually.

At present, immigrants can also take up a political position in the region other than where the original residence permit was issued. This can be done a year after the original residence permit has been granted.

Hundreds of migrants were not able to get residence permits under the original provision of law #3386-2005. Discussions about this particular issue were done to verify entry eligibility in Greece. This verification process was extended before the end of December in 2004.

A provision under non-European immigrants allows entry into Greece apart from stamped passports and visas. It now includes public documents before immigrants can obtain new residence permits.

Greek Immigration Restrictions

Henley and Partners Greek Immigration Study

According to the Henley and Partners study, Greece has an Index of One Hundred-Twenty Henley Visa Restrictions. This means Greek nationals will enjoy a 120-country and territory access without a required visa. This can only be used for short-term tourist visits. Greece is the 9th country in terms of international travel liberty.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

nuvam December 9, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Hello there I am from Nepal and have Greek wife.I have Nepali passport and have Greek resident card . Do I need visa to go to other EU countries ?And what about to visit Canada and America? Do I need to apply for visa?

Will be waiting for your reply.
Thank you


karam April 9, 2013 at 5:06 pm

my son has greek pasport.and we all [family]want to go canada from greece.becoz here in no work for fullfill y family husbend has 20 years of experience of flower farming can any body tell me can we move canada ,,,,and what tell me requirments….


eliza October 10, 2014 at 7:24 am

Hello, I have indian normal passpimort, age 20. Passport valid for next 10 years. Want to take migration in Greece in 2015, please inform me what I have to for that. Waiting for your reply.


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