Non-EU Citizens Moving to Greece
Understand the visas and permits you will need if you are from a non-EU country...
Americans, Canadians, Australians and citizens of certain other non-EU countries may visit Greece without a visa, as long as the visit does not exceed 90 days in a 180 day period. All other non-EU citizens need a visa to enter Greece.
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs lists which country nationals require a visa to visit Greece
Note: Any non-EU national arriving in Greece with the intention of staying longer than 90 days, whether to study, live or work, must apply for the appropriate long-stay visa at the Greek Consulate General or Embassy in their country of residence before leaving for Greece.
General information on short- and long-stay visas, and when what type is required, is available from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Non-EU nationals who need a visa to travel to Greece must apply for this at the Greek Consulate General or Embassy in their country of residence. Visas have a maximum validity of 90 days.
The following documents are required:
- A visa application form (available from the Greek Consulate)
- Passport (valid for at least 3 months)
- Two passport photos
- Work permit (if applying for a work visa)
- Travel / Medical insurance
- Police report from their home country
There are two types of visas issued: a Schengen visa or a national visa.
Schengen visa: The Schengen visa is valid for a short visit to Greece, as well as any of the other European countries which have signed the Schengen agreement. Schengen visas are valid for a total of 90 days in any 180 day period. This visa is issued to tourists and does not allow the holder to apply for a residency permit.
- More information on the Schengen rules including a short-stay calculator and clearer guidelines on the 90 day rule can be found on the Europa website
National visa (short- and long-stay): A national visa is only valid for Greece. Travel to the other Schengen countries is not permitted. There are several types of national visas, depending on whether the foreign national wants to travel, study, work in, or immigrate to Greece. The visa types include the study visa, work or type D visa, tourist visa and stay visa.
Residence and Work Permits for Non-EU Nationals
Non-EU nationals planning to live and work in Greece must apply for the appropriate permit from the Greek Consulate in their country of origin or residence before arriving in Greece.
Foreign nationals who want to stay in Greece for a period over 90 days will need a Residence Permit (Αδεια παραμονής / Adia Paramonis). Permission to work is granted with certain Residence Permits, therefore a separate work permit is not required.
The application should be made within the first 2 months, although it is recommended that it be done on arrival in case of delays.
Applications for Residence Permits need to be made at the municipality office/town hall (????????? / Dimarchio) or the local Aliens bureau (these are found at police stations with a foreigners department).
Documents required include:
- Visa from a Greek Consulate or Embassy
- Copy of passport
- Two passport-sized photos
- Proof of medical insurance
- Health certificate from a Greek public hospital, proving that no contagious diseases are present (all fees are paid by the applicant). A template for a medical certificate can be downloaded from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website
- Proof of local residence
- Proof of sufficient financial resources to live in Greece
- Proof of payment of the required fee to the national tax office (Eforia)
- Employment contract (if applicable)
All documents must be in Greek. Official foreign documents, such as birth or marriage certificates, must be translated by a lawyer, the Greek Foreign Ministry’s Department of Translation (Μεταφραστική Υπηρεσία / Metafrastiki Ipirresia) or certified translator.
The Immigration Committee (Επιτροπή Μετανάστευσης / Epitropi Metanastefsis) reviews the application and interviews the applicant. The local Secretary General (γενικός γραμματέας/ Genikos Grammateas) decides whether or not to grant the permit.
Once the application has been submitted, the applicant receives a blue form (bebaiosi) as receipt that the application is being processed. The applicant may begin working at this time.
Executives transferred to Greece can generally expect to receive their residence/work permit in approximately one month. Non-executive applicants can expect to wait considerably longer.
Resident permits are initially valid for one year. After this period, it can be renewed if the application for renewal is submitted two months prior to the expiration of the initial permit. After five years continuous residence, permanent residence for family members or a long-term EU-wide permit can be applied for, however the Greek government has been very slow to issue these.