Ultimate Greece Visa Guide - Visa Requirements and Application

Jun 13, 2022

15 min read

If you are traveling to Greece, this easy-to-follow guide will show you how to get your visa in a couple of simple steps. We will also address all of the different options you need to consider before starting your Greek visa application and walk you through the different types of visas available to US citizens. Finally, we'll answer some of the questions that a lot of travelers to Greece tend to have.

In this post we’ll look at:

  • The type of travel document you are traveling with, as different travel documents involve different procedures.

  • The type of Greek visa you need to apply for, as different visas require different additional documents.

  • Where and when do you need to apply for your visa to Greece.

  • How to make an appointment for your Greece visa application.

  • How to fill out the application for your visa to Greece.

  • What are the documents you’ll need for the visa application process.

  • How to submit your Greece visa application.

  • And finally, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

So let’s start with...

How to Get a Greece Visa on Atlys

You can now save over 15 hours, and use Atlys to apply for a visa to Greece in under 5 minutes on Atlys. Download the Atlys app, put in your travel details, and let Atlys handle all the paperwork for you.

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STEP 1: Determine The Type Of Travel Document That You Will Use

Different types of travel documents have different requirements to enter Greece. Simply find the document you’ll be traveling on and follow the steps.

For US Passport Holders

If you are traveling on a US passport, you are allowed to travel to Greece for up to 90 days, visa-free. This is because Greece forms part of the Schengen Visa Area.

The main purpose of such a trip to Greece can be business or tourism and to qualify, you need to have 3 things:

  • A US passport that is valid for at least 3 months after you plan to return to the US

  • A return airline ticket

  • Proof of sufficient funds for the time you’ll spend in Greece

To prove your financial sufficiency you’ll need to have a certain amount of money available. The exact amount needed will be determined by the number of days you’ll stay in Greece.

Pro Tip: To help you calculate the exact amount feel free to check out this page featuring some great tools to help you with your Greek Visa application. As soon as you’ve determined the amount you’ll need, you need to prove that you have that amount available.

To prove that your financial sufficiency you must do one of the following:

  • Provide proof of employment or payslips

  • Provide bank statements for the last three months

  • Have the amount available in Traveler’s cheques or cash

  • Have the amount available on a credit facility

  • Provide a letter proving that a sponsor is willing to cover your expenses while you are visiting Greece.

When a US passport holder arrives at the entry point into Greece, they’ll need to show these documents to the border official. The documents can be photocopies of the originals.

Pro Tip: Make sure you have documents supporting the reason for your trip at hand. For instance, if you are traveling to Greece for tourism, make sure you have an itinerary of your tour.

For Visitors With A US Permanent Residence Card & US Visas (EXCLUDING B1/B2 & Students on an F1 Visa)

If you are traveling to Greece with a foreign passport (I.e. not a US Passport) with a US permanent residence card, or US visa you’ll need to apply for a Greece Schengen Visa.

This Schengen visa must be issued according to the purpose of you visiting Greece. I.e. If traveling for leisure, it will be a Greece Tourist Visa.

In the rest of this post, we’ll focus on completing a Greece Tourist visa application so if you are traveling on a foreign passport with a residence card or a US visa ( except for type B1/B1) you can move on to Step 2.

For Students On A F1 Visa

If you are currently in the US on an F1 visa, your visa application will almost be identical to the process further in this article. The only difference is that you’ll need two extra documents that need to be submitted with the rest of the required documents we discuss further on in this post.

The two documents that Students on an F1 Visa will need are:

  • A Valid I-20 Form. This is a “Certificate of Eligibility Of Nonimmigrant Student Status” and it can be obtained from the institution where you are studying in the US.

  • A letter from the institution where you are studying.

This letter should state three things: 1. that you are in good standing with the institution, 2. your major, and 3. your expected date of graduation.

Include these two documents with the rest of your visa application as described further in this post.

For Travelers With A US B1/B2 Visa

Unfortunately, if you are traveling from the US on a B1/B2 visa, you will not be able to apply for a Greece Schengen Visa in the US. Instead, you’ll need to apply at the embassy or consulate in the country of your passport.

So for instance, if you are a South African currently in the US on a visitor’s visa (B1/B2), you’ll need to apply for your Greek Schengen Visa at the Greek embassy in South Africa.

Now that you’ve determined what process best fits your travel document, you can move on to...

STEP 2: Determine The Type Of Visa You’ll Need To Visit Greece

As with any other visa, a visa to Greece will be issued for a specific purpose. To avoid complications that could cause your application to be denied you should always be as forthcoming as possible when applying for your Visa to Greece.

In the following section, we’ll look at the types of visas available when traveling to Greece, as well as extra supporting documents that will be needed when applying for these visas. These extra documents will need to be added to the required documents that we discuss in Step 5.

We’ll start with the most popular reason for a trip to Greece…

Greece Tourist Visa

You’ll need to apply for this visa if leisure or tourism is the main purpose of your trip to Greece. If you have any other reason for visiting Greece aside from leisure and tourism, that other reason will most likely be the main purpose of your trip.

For instance, if you plan on visiting Greece to see the sights, but you also have a business meeting scheduled, then your purpose is no longer tourism, but business and you should apply for a business visa.

If you are sure that leisure and tourism is the only purpose of your visit, you should apply for a Greece tourist visa. This means you will need the following documents to go with the rest of the required documents:

  • A Bank statement showing the last 6 months of transactions.

  • Two copies of your passport

  • If you are visiting friends or family members you’ll need an invitation letter from them.

The Invitation letter must be written by the friend or family member and must state that you are the person’s friend or relative and indicate the specific time when you’ll be visiting them. A supporting letter must accompany this invitation letter and in it, you must supply proof of the relationship, as well as indicating the purpose and duration of the trip, as well as your financial status.

Business Visa For Greece

If you are traveling to Greece with the main intent of conducting business, you must apply for a Greece Business visa. To apply for a business visa to Greece you’ll need the following additional documents:

  • An invitation letter from the person or company that you’ll be visiting while in Greece. This letter must state your relationship with the person or company visited, the dates that the visit is set to take place, and what you’ll be doing while in Greece.

  • You must also attach a supporting letter to this invitation letter. The supporting letter must be from your employer and it must state that you are an employee of the company. It must also include the specifications of your job ‒ jor position at the company, dates of employment, salary, and the reason why you need to leave the US to travel to Greece.

Pro Tip: Attach a full itinerary to the invitation letter that details all of the meetings and business that will be undertaken while in Greece.

  • If there were any previous interactions between the involved companies, proof of such interactions must also be included.

  • A document stating that either the applicant’s company or the company inviting the applicant will be responsible for their expenses while in Greece

  • An original certified copy of the Memorandum and Article Of Association, Trade License, and partnership documents.

  • A Bank Statement of the applicant’s company’s last 6 months.

If you need to reside in Greece for longer than the 90 days allotted, you must apply for a Greece National Type D visa.

If you are traveling to Greece in order to make an investment as part of the Greece Golden Visa program, we recommend that you choose a Greece National Type D Visa to ensure you do not need to reapply during this lengthy procedure. For more information on Greece Golden Visa, check out our detailed guide on the subject.

Greece Study Visa

While referred to as a study visa, this visa should be applied for when you intend to study, train, perform research or take part in an internship in Greece. To apply for this visa you’ll need the following additional documents:

  • A document proving that you have been enrolled or accepted at the institution or program in Greece.

  • A detailed history of courses that you have completed.

  • Proof of sustenance while in Greece. This could be in the form of a scholarship, a bank statement, or a credit card. For more information, you should contact your nearest Greek Consulate.

Cultural Visa To Greece

As with the study visa, the Greece cultural visa is not only for people visiting Greece for cultural exchange purposes. It’s also for visitors partaking in sporting events, religious activities, and film crews. To apply for a Greece cultural visa you’ll need the following additional documents:

  • An invitation letter from the authority that is inviting you. This letter must provide details on the event that will be held, the purpose of the person attending the event, and a report on the coverage of that person’s expenses.

  • The duration of the stay in Greece must also be indicated.

  • A travel itinerary for the applicant must be provided.

  • In the case of a film crew, all of the names of the crew must be included.

Greece Visa For Medical Purposes

In some situations, visitors will need to travel to Greece to receive medical attention. This is usually for a planned procedure or to visit a specialist. An emergency operation is not included here, as it will be handled differently.

In the case of a planned procedure or when visiting a specialist in Greece, the traveler would require a Greek Visa for medical purposes. To apply for this visa the applicant will need the following additional documents:

  • A letter of attestation from a hospital or doctor in Greece. This letter should confirm the date of your appointment as well as shed light on your medical situation.

  • A local medical report should be issued to support the letter of attestation.

  • Payment receipts of the medical fees must be included.

Once you’ve determined what type of visa to apply for you can move on to the next step

STEP 3: Determine Where And When You’ll Need To Apply For Your Greece Visa

Firstly, let's start with when to apply. As with any travel destination, there are certain times during the year when Greece proves more and less popular.

When To Apply For Your Visa To Greece.

Summer remains a popular time to visit Greece and plain loads of tourists flock to the Aegean sea in this time. If you are applying for a Visa during this time, expect the consulate to be busier.

The least busy time to explore Greece is during May, September, and October. Apply during these months to avoid the queues at the embassy and the Acropolis.

Pro Tip For more information on the best time to visit Greece you can read our detailed guide on the matter.

Tips To Keep In Mind When Applying For Your Visa To The Hellenic Republic Of Greece

Either way, whether you choose peak or off-season you’ll have to keep the following in mind:

  • The earliest that you can apply for your visa to Greece is 6 months before your date of departure.

  • The latest that you can apply for your visa to Greece is 15 working days, ie. Monday to Friday, before your date of departure.

  • The recommended time to apply for your visa to Greece is 21 working days before your departure, which basically means that it’s a month before your trip to Greece.

Where To Apply For Your Visa To Greece

Now that you know when to apply, let’s look at where you should apply. To apply, you’ll need to make an appointment at one of the consulates listed below. To make things easier for yourself you should choose the one closest to you unless you really like cross-country road trips.

Currently, because of the COVID19 pandemic, the Consulate General Of Greece in New York is best equipped to handle electronic appointments. For more information on the New York consulate general and how to apply for your visa electronically check out this handy guide.

Now on to the next step, getting an appointment for your Greece Visa

STEP 4: Make An Appointment For Your Greece Visa Application

Making an appointment to apply for a visa to Greece has always been one of the major pain points. These days, it’s almost impossible to make an appointment. Almost…

The consular services of Greece are dealing with a massive backlog of visa applications and they are not accepting in-person bookings.

This means that you’ll need to get on a waiting list. In truth, it’s gotten to a point where there’s a waiting list for the waiting list. This process to get on the waiting list can take anywhere between 2 or 3 months!

The simple fact of the matter is, the consular services of Greece are currently not accepting any appointments. We have a couple of ways around this obstacle. To learn more, simply read our dedicated guide on How To Get A Greece Schengen Visa Appointment.

Else, you can try some of the following tactics to get your name on the list:

  • Email the consulate every day until you are included on the waiting list. Remember, the waiting list will most likely take 2-3 months.

-Call the consulate every day at 2:30 pm. Persistence is key, but after a couple of weeks of calling you might wear them down and get somewhere.

After you make an appointment, learn how to prevent common mistakes.

STEP 5: Fill Out The Greece Visa Application Form

Now it’s time to complete the Schengen Visa Application Form. You can learn more on how to do it here.

STEP 6: Gather All The Required Documents For Your Greece Visa Application

Congratulations, you now have the first document that you’ll need for your visa application. Let’s look at the rest of the visa requirements. The visa requirements vary based on what visa you're applying for but at a minimum, these documents are always required.

  • A completed application form for Greece

  • A valid passport. For a passport to be deemed valid it needs to have been issued within the previous 10 years, and be valid for at least 3 months after you’ve exited the Schengen area.

  • A Valid resident card, or a valid US Visa - excluding B1/B2 visas

  • Two identical photographs, one which needs to be glued to the application form. Photos that have been stabled will not be accepted. For more information on Schengen Visa Photos check out this quick guide.

  • Bank and credit card statements for the last three months. This is to prove your financial sustainability. To calculate the amount of money you should have available you can use our very own funds calculator.

  • A W-2 form. This is a wage and tax statement, and you can obtain it from your employer.

  • A travel itinerary. If the thought of you planning out an entire itinerary causes you to break out in a cold sweat, don’t worry, we’ve got a travel tool that will create your entire itinerary for you.

  • Travel Insurance. In order to travel in a Schengen area country you need to have minimum travel insurance cover of €30000.00

  • Hotel Reservations To get your hotel reservations quick and easy you can use Atlys.

STEP 7: Attend The Visa Application Interview And Submit Your Application

If you’ve followed all of the steps, you’ll now have an appointment at the Greece Consulate of your choosing, as well as all of the documents for your application. All you need to do now is to attend the appointment where you will have an interview.

Some Useful Tips For Your Greece Visa Application Interview

For your interview, make sure you’re on time, first impressions, and all that. You’ll meet with a visa consular and you’ll need to hand them all of your documents. They will then conduct a 15-minute interview with you. During this interview answer as truthfully as you can, and do not deviate from the details that you’ve provided in your documents.

Written By: Jakus Eloff
Fact Checked By: Richard Nathan

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need To Complete A PLF (Passenger Locator Form) To Travel to Greece?

At the time of writing, yes. Every passenger or traveler who is eligible to travel to Greece will need to complete a passenger locator form. You’ll need to complete and submit it at least 48 hours before traveling to Greece.

You’ll need to register on the website, and then follow the step-by-step instructions. If you need any help with completing the Passenger Locator Form you should check out our PLF Guide. In it, we’ll go through each and every step required to complete the form in detail.

What is The Best Time To Travel To Greece?

Firstly, it depends on what you want to experience while you are visiting the jewel of the Aegean. Secondly, the best time to visit Greece will be influenced by the places in Greece that you are planning to visit.

The Greek mainland has loads to offer throughout the year, while some of the Islands are closed for travel during the winter months. Each and every island has its own micro-climate, which further complicates the situation. The weather in Athens can be markedly different from the weather in Santorini, for instance. The best would be to read our dedicated guide on the subject, The Best Time To Visit Greece, and plan accordingly.

What Should I Know Before Visiting Greece?

A lot. While Greece is a relatively small country, about a fifth the size of Texas, the number of places to visit, and things to do are staggering. Add to that the fact that Greece is a culinary dream and the list of things you’ll need to know and remember while in Greece gets very long.

To help you make sense of this amazing destination, and to ensure that you don’t miss out on anything, we’ve compiled a couple of in-depth lists. If you want to know what dishes to try, check out our list of the Best Dishes To Try In Greece.

If you would rather focus on collecting memories, you should read our guide on the Best Things to Do While In Greece. If, however, you wish just to make sense of the rich history and traditions of Greece, you should try our in-depth guide to Greek customs & helpful phrases. Please rest assured that our articles are meticulously researched and we strive to offer the best content available.

What If I Need To Stay In Greece For Longer Than 90 Days?

If you need to stay in Greece, or any other Schengen Area Country, for longer than the normal short-term visa (90 days) you’ll have to apply for a Greece National Visa. This visa is also sometimes called a long-stay visa. Officially it’s referred to as a Greece D-Visa, and the application process is a little bit different from the Greece Schengen Visa. It is, however, the ideal travel document if your duration of stay exceeds 90 days. For more information on this, check out our guide on How To Apply For A Greece National Visa.

What is A Greece Golden Visa, and How do I Qualify for it?

A Greece golden visa is a residence-by-investment visa. It is issued to individuals who make a significant contribution to the Greek economy.

There are a couple of ways to qualify for this visa, but the most common one would be to invest in real estate. The investment must be more than a quarter of a million euros.

To qualify for this type of visa you’ll also need to fit the following specifications:

  • Older than 18.

  • No criminal record in the country where you live.

  • Have obtained health insurance from a Greek insurance company.

For more details on how to apply and the types of investments that are available to you, you can read our How To Apply For A Greece Golden Visa.

How Can I Get A Schengen Visa Appointment During Covid19?

To get a Schengen Visa to Greece, you’ll first need to make an appointment. However, due to COVID19, the consulates in the US aren’t accepting any face-to-face appointments. This situation is exacerbated even more due to a massive backlog of appointments.

So even when you get an appointment, the processing time means you’ll have to wait way longer than usual, sometimes up to 6 months. At Atlys we’ve found a workaround solution that can cut down this timeframe drastically. If you want more information, check out our guide on the matter.

Do I Need Travel Insurance and Medical Insurance To Visit Greece?

Travel Insurance - Yes.

Medical Insurance - No

Travel insurance is compulsory if you want to visit Greece. It does not matter what type of visa you are traveling to Greece on, you are going to need travel insurance. The specifications of the insurance are:

  • A minimum coverage of EUR 30,000 per person traveling.

  • The insurance should be valid in all of the Schengen States.

  • The insurance should cover medical expenses and any expenses relating to repatriating a person for medical reasons or death.

  • For visitors on a Greece National Visa (Greece Visa Type D) the period covered should be for the entire duration of their stay in Greece. However, it is advisable to have it last for 1 year. This will cut out any needless back and forth between yourself and the Greek authorities.

What Qualifies as Proof Of Accommodation For a Visa to Greece?

Proof of accommodation is a tentative itinerary showing your flight tickets as well as hotel accommodation. However, it might not always be smart to make these bookings before you’ve received your Visa.

That’s why we’ve created tools that will generate these bookings for you so that you can submit them with your application. The best part is, the flights and accommodation tools generate are bookable, so once you have confirmation of your visa approval you can simply book them.

What Does Member State Mean On The Schengen Visa Application?

The term “member state” on the Schengen visa application simply refers to the Schengen Area country where you will spend the most time during your trip. It is also referred to as the Main Destination.

For example, if you are visiting Greece and Italy, but you are spending 7 days in Greece and 6 in Italy, then Greece will be the member state.

For more information on completing your Schengen Visa Application, you should read our guide on the matter. In it, we’ll walk you through every aspect of the application form and ensure that you do not make a mistake.

How Do I Apply For Permanent Residency In Greece?

There is more than one way to obtain a residence permit for Greece. The most well-known option is the investment-for-residence-visa, but this is a costly option that not everyone can consider.

Another option is following the path of naturalization, which is much less costly, but it does involve a rather rigorous process. In short, you’ll need to live in Greece for the majority of a year, i.e. at least 183 days, for 5 consecutive years.

If you meet all of the immigration requirements you’ll be able to apply for permanent residency after the 5 years period, and full Greek citizenship after 10 years. For more info on this protracted process, you can read our guide on “How to Apply For Permanent Residency in Greece.”

Can I Leave The Schengen Area And Return With The Same Visa?

Only if you’ve applied for a multiple-entry visa. If you have a single-entry visa and you leave the Schengen area of countries, you’ll need to reapply for another visa to do so. With a multiple-entry visa you’ll be able to leave Greece, and the Schengen Zone, and return without a problem, for the duration that your multiple-entry is valid.

Does my Child Require a Schengen Visa & How Do I Apply For A Schengen Visa For A Minor?

Yes, your child requires a Schengen Visa. In addition to the standard required documents, this application will also need to have the following documents:

  • Application form, signed by both parents or guardians

  • The minor’s birth certificate

  • If the minor is traveling alone, a notarized parental authorization letter is required that has been signed by both parents

  • A reference letter from the minor’s school.

What Must I Do If I’m Unable To Attend The Schengen Visa Application Interview?

If for whatever reason you are unable to attend your Schengen Application Interview you need to inform the Consular office where your appointment is scheduled. This notification needs to be at least 48 hours before your scheduled appointment. If you fail to do so, the interview and the application will be canceled and you’ll have to apply again.

Is Greece Open During COVID-19?

For the latest COVID-19 restrictions, check out the Atlys COVID-19 Explorer.

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