Passport, Visa & Permits to Athens


Visitors to Greece from EEA countries and Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Uruguay, the USA and Venezuela don’t require a visa to enter Greece as a tourist for up to 90 days. All other nationalities require a visa to visit Greece, although the list of countries requiring visas is liable to change at short notice and therefore you should check with the Greek embassy in your home country. As a non-EEA visitor a three-month tourist visa will cost around US$20. You should also have a return ticket and proof of accommodation, health insurance and financial resources. Note that Greece will refuse entry to any foreigners, whatever their nationality, whose passport indicates that they’ve visited Northern Cyprus since November 1993. If you plan to travel to Greece overland (via Bulgaria, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Romania, Serbia or Montenegro), you should check visa regulations for these countries (some require transit visas, usually obtainable at the border).

Note that if you're a non-EEA national you must ensure that you have your passport stamped upon entering Greece so that when you leave it’s clear that you haven’t overstayed the 90-day limit. If you remain in Greece for longer than 90 days without extending your visa (see Visa Extensions below) you’re liable to pay a fine and may be temporarily banned from re-entering Greece. As a non-EEA national you may be able to obtain a three-month extension to a tourist visa but this is not easy. Applications should be made to a local police station at least two weeks before your tourist visa or 90-day stay expires.

If you’re a non-EEA national it isn’t possible to enter Greece as a tourist and change your status to that of an employee, student or resident. You must return to your country of residence and apply for a long-stay visa. Non-EEA nationals should make sure their passport is valid for at least three months after they plan to leave Greece. A non-EEA national usually requires a visa to work, study or live in Greece.

European Economic Area (EEA) nationals who plan to remain longer than three months a year and work, must apply for a residence permit. Application for permits must be made to the local police or at the Aliens’ Bureau.

Allow plenty of time when making applications, Greek bureaucracy is slow. EEA residence permits are valid for five years, while residence and work permits for non-EEA nationals are valid for one year and may be renewed for up to five years, after which an application to extend a permit is necessary.

You are legally required to carry your passport or residence permit while in Greece. Failure to produce your identification papers when requested by the police or other officials may result in you being taken to a police station and interrogated.

Note that permit infringements are taken very seriously by the authorities and there are penalties for breaches of regulations, including fines and even deportation.

Update 31/12/2008


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