Last Updated : 4 Sept 2023
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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...
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Different types of travel documents have different requirements to enter Greece. Simply find the document you’ll be traveling on and follow the steps.
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.
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/B2) you can move on to Step 2.
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.
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...
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Now it’s time to complete the Schengen Visa Application Form. You can learn more on how to do it here.
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.
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.
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.
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.