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Visas, Residency, Immigration and Documentation

Greece - Visas, Residency, Immigration and Documentation

EU citizens

EU citizens wishing to stay in Greece for more than three months are officially required to obtain a residence permit. In practice immigration no longer stamp EU passports on entry into Greece so they have no way of telling how long you have been in the country, however a residence permit is required in certain circumstances (such as registering a car) so it is worth obtaining one if you intend to live in Greece.

Application must be made in person at the Aliens Bureau in Athens (173 Alexandras Ave) or at the nearest police station in other locations.

Documents required:

- Copy of passport
- 4 photographs
- You may be asked to show a bankbook to prove you can support yourself
- If employed, a letter from your employer

Non- EU citizens

Passports of non EU Nationals must be valid for at least three months after the period of intended stay.

Non-EU citizens may enter and remain in Greece for up to 3 months.

Visas are required for certain nationals; see the Hellenic Ministry visa information at http://www.mfa.gr/english/foreign_policy/eu/visa_inf.html

For those non EU Nationals who do not require a visa (including US, Canadian and Australian nationals) a stamp is placed in the passport at the time of entry into the country showing the date and place of entry.

For visits over 3 months, application must be made to the authorities for a residence permit and/or a work permit, but they are not granted easily.

Non EU Nationals who overstay the 3 month period will be fined on departure from Greece, and may face deportation. Fines can be steep.

Added March 2007 by Charlotte:
Your info on getting a residence permit makes it sound easy. It took us 16 visits to the police station to get ours and the documentation they required was endless, including a translation into Greek of my contract of employment (I was at the time on an EU research programme from the UK), and Greek private health insurance - which can cost a lot. (Not IKA or an E111. I was covered under my UK contract but they wouldn't accept that either).
Also, while many people do not bother to get a residence permit, it is required for any large purchases, such as a house and (to our surprise) a car, so it's wise to get it sorted asap and allow loads of time to get through the process (in our case, 4 months!) It's possible the whole thing is more streamlined in Athens, where they see more foreigners. In our police station, they didn't even have the right forms, which slowed the whole thing down a lot. If your Greek is anything other than fluent, taking a friend along to help is also a good idea.

Information courtesy of Carol Palioudaki, author of The Cool Guide to Living in Crete, available at www.livingincrete.net

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