Greece may have long been on your bucket list but you're unsure if you need a visa to explore this history-rich Mediterranean nation’s mountainous mainland, countless islands and vibrant cities.

For many visitors, a valid passport is sufficient but, for others, a visa application needs to be made a few months in advance to ensure your entry goes without a hitch.

Here’s our guide to navigating the requirements of your trip to Greece, whether that means traveling visa-free or doing the paperwork required to obtain a visa. That way, you can get yourself organized and then set about planning your grand Greek getaway, just like you’ve always dreamed.

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Visa-free travel to Greece

Greece is a member of the EU and Europe’s 27-member border-free Schengen Zone, which allows citizens to travel between member countries visa-free. Citizens of EU countries that are not members of the zone, as well as EEA countries, also don’t require a visa to move within the bloc.

Furthermore, citizens of more than 60 countries are permitted to travel to Greece visa-free for a total of 90 days within a 180-day period. These nations include the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Singapore, as well as certain South American countries. Firstly, ensure your passport is valid for a minimum of three months after your departure date. You may be asked to provide documentation outlining the reason for your visit and confirming your departure date. Check the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs website to see if your country qualifies for visa-free travel.

Keep in mind that you are permitted to travel within Schengen Zone countries for a maximum of 90 days. That is, if you plan on traveling to Italy or France, you need to take into account the number of days you’ll be spending in each country and tally up the total.

There’s no need to stay in the Schengen area for a consecutive 90 days – you can move in and out as you wish, for a maximum of 90 days throughout the 180 day period. It’s easy enough to gauge the length of your Schengen-wide stay with online calculators designed for this purpose. Beware though, if you stay longer than 90 days, authorities in Greece or other Schengen area countries may deport you or prohibit you from re-entering the bloc.

Meanwhile, the EU is expected to introduce its ETIAS visa waiver program in 2024. If you hold a non-EU passport, you’ll need to apply online for pre-authorization, along the lines of the USA’s ESTA scheme. Costing around €7, the process should be quick and painless.

Children and their parents are walking on the beach and carrying parasol and other beach stuff
Greece is the perfect family holiday destination © Getty Images

Applying for a visa to visit Greece

If you hold a passport from another country, then you’ll need to apply for a short-stay Schengen tourist visa to visit Greece and any other Schengen area states for a maximum of 90 days in any 180 day period. Among the non-EU countries and entities whose citizens require this visa are China, Indonesia, South Africa, Kenya and Lebanon. 

Apply for a visa at the nearest Greek consulate in your country of origin up to six months ahead of a planned visit. In most cases, you will be required to appear in person. You will need to provide a recent passport-sized photograph and evidence of medical insurance for the duration of your trip. Additionally, you may be asked to present proof of accommodation and means of support during your visit, among other documentation. Your passport must have an expiry date of at least three months after your intended departure. Schengen visas cost €80 for any applicant over 12, €40 for children aged between 6 and 12, and there is no charge for children under 6. Tourist visas are normally valid for six months and extensions are only possible in exceptional circumstances.

If your country does not have Greek consular representation, check this list on the ministry website to see which Schengen area country accepts visa applications from your country of origin. Global Visa Center World handles visa applications from certain countries, including India, the Philippines and Vietnam and you may be able to apply online. You may be eligible for a fast-track visa procedure if you are a family member of an EU or EEA citizen. It usually takes the consulate 15 calendar days to make a decision on a visa application, but it can take up to two months. Visa extensions are rarely granted and applications must be made before the visa expires.

Beautiful young woman working on the laptop in a beach bar in Nea Flogita, Greece.
The Greek government is working hard to attract digital nomads to its shores © urbazon / Getty Images

I’m a digital nomad. Can I obtain a visa to stay longer in Greece?

Greece is doing all it can to attract digital nomads, offering 12-month visas, two-year residence permits and a 50% tax break for a maximum of seven years. If you’re a remote worker, freelancer or entrepreneur from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you can apply for a long-term visa, also known as a national D-type visa, to stay in Greece for up to 12 months.

Apply for this visa at the Greek consulate in your country of residence. You will need to provide proof that you are either self-employed or work for a company or organization outside of Greece. Visa holders are not allowed to work for a Greece-based employer and must prove that they earn a monthly minimum of €3,500 post-tax to cover living expenses during their stay. After the first year, they are eligible to apply for a renewable two-year digital nomad residence permit.

This article was first published June 2021 and updated July 2023

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