Is Schengen visa required for Greece is a question many first-time travelers to Greece may likely ask, and the answer is in the affirmative. Greece is a member of the Schengen zone, so visitors from non visa exempt countries will need a Schengen visa to enter the country. In fact, Greece has been issuing this visa since 2000 and accepts Schengen visas issued by other countries in the zone after signing the Schengen Agreement.
Is Schengen Visa Required For Greece?
A Schengen visa is required for Greece only if your nationality does not qualify you for visa-free travel. There are 63 countries on the visa free list of Schengen nations whose citizens do not need visas if they are coming for short visits. These countries are made up of first and second-world countries, most of which are in North America, a few in South America, Middle Eastern, and some Asian countries.
On the other hand, the non visa free country list contains Russia, India, China, Africa, and a few South American and Asian countries. Nationals from these countries will need a visa to Greece for short trips.
What Is A Schengen Visa For?
Schengen visas are for shirt trips that will not last more than 90 days. Most users of Schengen visas use it for tourism, but it is not uncommon to find business visitors and official government representatives, and diplomats use it for traveling. Persons coming to Greece for medical care may also use it, and so can persons coming for a short study course that will not last beyond three months.
Visitors should know that this visa is not work, so holders are not eligible for work. According to EU law, it doesn’t grant the visitor a work permit, so working with it is a crime.
How Long Does The Visa Last?
Once the Greek embassy issues the visa, it begins to count down to the expiry date. This visa is valid for 180 days and will expire whether you use it or not. Holders can only stay in the country for 90 days and not a day more.
How To Apply For This Visa
While applicants from a few countries may apply for it online, the Greek embassy is the only option for most. You will have to book an appointment with the embassy in your country, book the appointment with them and submit all your documents to the visa officer on the interview day. Most interviews last 15 minutes or less, and the officer will ask random questions about the trip, where you hope to stay, why you want to travel, and when you plan to return to your home country. Only applicants who meet the requirements eventually get the visa.
Greece Schengen Visa Documentary Requirements
Here are the documentary requirements for a Greek Schengen Visa
Completed application form
Two identical photographs
Round trip itinerary
Two reserved flight tickets
Proof of accommodation
Invitation letter, where applicable
Proof of financial means
Travel medical insurance
Kindly note that the documents that will be demanded of you will depend on your nationality and the purpose of your trip. Also, minors also have to submit an application form and free documents, which must be provided by their parents or legal guardian. The form must also be completed and signed by their guardian or parent.
What Do Travelers From Visa Free Countries Need To Enter Greece?
At the start of this post, we pointed out that not all visitors needed visas to enter Greece because of their nationality. If you are from a visa free country, you only need a valid passport, a two way flight ticket, and a few other documents to enter the country; however, this is set to change by 2024 as you and all other visitors from eligible countries will need a special document called an ETIAS visa waiver.
ETIAS is a new initiative launched by the European Commission to protect European countries from criminal elements. It serves the same purpose as the United States ESTA vetting program. ETIAS will be tested for the last six months of the year, during which eligible travelers will be encouraged to apply for it, but they will still be allowed to travel without it. However, starting in 2024, it will become mandatory.
Etias will allow visa free visitors to stay in Greece for 90 days, just like the Schengen visa, and they can visit multiple countries in the Schengen zone. Note that this visa waiver is not a work visa, so doesn’t grant the holder a work permit.
Now that you know the difference between the visa and ETIAS, you should be in a better position to answer the question is Schengen visa required for Greece? If you need a visa, it is best to start the process early.