Have you been dreaming of a trip to Greece? The country is full of history, culture, and breathtaking scenery, so it's no surprise that millions of people visit every year. Unfortunately, if you're a US citizen traveling from outside Europe, you'll need to apply for a short-term visa first. Luckily the process is pretty simple — and if you're applying in person, it can even be done in just one day.
In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps of applying for a Greece visa for US citizens. We'll discuss how to get your visa, what documents are required, and what other information you'll need. Read on to learn everything you need to know if you want to travel to Greece for an extended period.
What Is a Visa?
A visa is an official document issued by a country that allows a foreign citizen to enter and temporarily stay in the country. The visa will enable you to enter a country and show permission to stay there. You may be asked for proof of this if stopped by law enforcement or immigration officers while traveling in Greece.
Upon arrival at your destination airport, port, or border crossing point, the authorities will check your passport and other travel documents against the information on your visa application form.
If they find that everything matches up, they will stamp it with an entry permit (not a visa) which means that you can now legally remain in Greece for up to 90 days; if you wish to stay longer than 90 days, then this must be arranged before leaving home.
The Greece visa application process for US citizens can be divided into single entry and multiple entry visas.
- Single entry visas allow you to enter one time only on a single trip to Greece. This is ideal if you only want to visit once or don’t plan to return within 12 months of their departure date.
- Multiple entry visas allow you to return as many times within 12 months as you wish with no additional paperwork or fees required by Greek authorities. These are often referred to as "open-ended" because there is no limit on how many times someone could arrive in Greece during that period. However, this visa must be renewed yearly with Greek authorities before reentering their country (unless they have another type).
What Visa Do You Need?
To apply for a Greece visa, you must determine which visa is most appropriate for your travel plans. There are many different types of Greece visas available, including:
- Tourist visa (for short-term visits)
- Business visa (for short-term or long-term stays)
- Family members' visas (for spouses, parents, and children under 18 years of age)
- Student/work permits (for students enrolled at an accredited educational institution or those who an employer has hired)
- Retirement permit (for those who have reached retirement age and wish to live permanently in Greece with their spouse and dependent children under 18 years old).
- Artist visa (for artists who wish to work in Greece for a limited period)
- Diplomatic visa (for diplomats from other countries and their families who are visiting Greece on official business)
- Journalist visas (for journalists who wish to travel around the country).
Knowing which kind of visa type best fits your needs is one of the essential aspects of successfully applying for a visa. Once you know which visa works best for you, the rest of the process will usually fall into place fairly quickly.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for a Greece Visa?
To be eligible for a Greece visa, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Have a valid passport that is valid for at least three months beyond your period of intended stay in Greece.
- Arrive in Greece on a direct flight to Athens or Thessaloniki, or if you are traveling on an international flight into one of these cities and then continuing onward to another destination within Greece.
- Have proof of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in the country (at least €30 per day). This can include credit cards, cash, and bank statements showing liquid assets. Suppose you are staying with friends or family members who have agreed to host you while in Greece. In that case, they will need to provide documentation regarding their ability to support themselves and their guests during your stay together financially.
What Is the Process for Applying for a Short-Term Visa?
A short-term visa is issued by a consulate or embassy and allows you to stay in Greece for an allotted time, usually between one week and six months. When you apply for a visa at the Greek Consulate in an American city like Chicago, they will give you an appointment date based on when you submitted your application.
On your appointment day, bring all the necessary documents with you. The staff will review them and then ask questions about why you want to visit Greece and what type of activities/tours/shopping experiences are planned during your trip. They usually take 20-50 minutes per applicant, depending on how many people are there at once--so try not to be late.
You may also need another form of identification besides just your passport. Check with the document requirements beforehand.
Regarding fees for your visa application, they aren’t usually too expensive. Most prices will be less than $100, but that number can vary depending on how you submit your application. An in-person application is generally a little more expensive but will likely be done quicker.
How Long Will the Application Take?
It will generally take 15 days to process your Greece visa application. Of course, sometimes that's longer, depending on the circumstances. You can apply in person, by mail, at the embassy or consulate, and apply for a visa for 30 days.
If you're applying in person, some things may cause your application to take longer than 15 days:
- If no appointments are available when you arrive, it will be a few weeks before they have room for you. This is why it's essential to call ahead of time to know how many people will be coming and what type of service they need (such as consular processing).
- If there is something unusual about your case or if more information is required (like additional documentation), this will take longer than usual.
Specifics For If Traveling From a Schengen Country
If you are traveling to Greece with a passport from a Schengen country that requires a visa, make sure it's up to date. If your passport is out of date, or if it has been damaged, you may be denied entry into Greece and sent back home.
It is also recommended that you apply for your Greek visa in advance if you travel with a passport from a Schengen country that requires a visa — the earlier, the better. This will allow plenty of time for any potential issues with processing or renewal to be resolved before departure day.
Fundamentally, applying for a short-term visa to Greece is pretty straightforward. You'll need to submit this application along with proof of income and travel insurance, flight and accommodation plans, and proof of your itinerary.
You can apply in person or by mail (but only if you have full travel insurance coverage.) The fees are usually $60 or less, depending on where you apply. If traveling with a passport from a Schengen country that requires a visa, ensure it's up to date.
Planning a visit to Greece can be an enjoyable process. However, when it comes to travel authorizations, learning about the latest EU requirements can be a challenge. ETIAS.COM simplifies learning about these requirements with simple travel assessments as well as information on the latest ETIAS requirements. While we can’t promise a travel experience that will be stress-free, we can assure you that our resources will make it much easier.