Greece is a truly unique location. Despite its small size, the country enjoys a particularly pristine and diverse natural environment that offers everything from scenic island getaways to cozy mountain retreats.
The country’s stunning topography provides the backdrop for an unequalled array of recreational opportunities. This, combined with a spirited lifestyle that blends the Mediterranean’s ancient and modern culture, makes Greece a simply extraordinary place to be—and a wonderful place to call home.
As the birthplace of Western civilization, Greece’s cultural legacy lives on in the modern Greek society. While countless archeological sites and museums—including the new Acropolis Museum—offer visitors a chance to experience Greek history up close and personal, the country’s deep heritage is also felt in the spectacular concert halls, in the summertime open-air theaters, and in the bustling neighborhood art galleries throughout Athens. Greece is today, as it has been for thousands of years, an inspiring place to be.
Greece offers the visitor and resident unlimited opportunities to explore the very roots of Western civilization. Throughout the country, there are hundreds of museums, archaeological sites, and monuments that detail the rise of art, architecture, crafts, design, ideas and thought.
Greece is a Member State of the European Union and ratified the Schengen Treaty in 1997. Citizens of EU States and other countries that have ratified the Schengen Treaty have the right to travel freely in Greece and the rest of Schengen Area on presentation of their ID card or passport.
The entry and residence of foreigners in Greece for migration reasons are determined by Law 3386/2005 “on the entry, residence and social integration of third-country nationals in Greece” (GOVERNMENT GAZETTE OF THE HELLENIC REPUBLIC, ISSUE A/23.08.2005, pg. 3329), and the amendments determined by the following Laws: 3448/2006, 3536/2007, 3613/2007, 3731/2008, 3801/2009, 3838/2010, 3846/2010, 3807/2010, 3875/2010, 3879/2010, 3900/2010, 3907/2011 and 4018/2011.
Third-country citizens entering Greece are required to have a valid passport or other travel documents recognized by international treaties. In the event that applicable international treaties, Community law, or national regulations require, these documents must include a visa. The visa is granted by the Greek consular authority in the residence of the third-country citizen, after taking into consideration criteria such as public order, security and public health. Visas are categorized as Schengen short-stay visas and national long-stay visas.
Third-country citizens who are not required to have a visa are allowed to enter and stay in Greece for three months in total, or cumulatively within a six month period since the date of their first entry.
Beginning October 11, 2011, the new Schengen Visa Information System (VIS) came into operation. The VIS allows States in the Schengen Area to exchange data on the issuance of travel documents, and connects the consulates of the countries outside the EU with all the border control posts of the Schengen Member States.
The main objective of VIS is the simplification and the strengthening of security regarding the issuance of visas, as well as the facilitation of control at external Schengen borders. As a Schengen instrument, VIS applies to all Member States of the Schengen Area. However, it will take time until all consulates and delegated authorities of the Member States log on to the system.
VIS began with the countries of North Africa and will gradually expand to the Middle East (Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria) as well as to Gulf countries (Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen). Within a period of two years the connection of all consulates of the Schengen countries with VIS will be established.
EU STATES THAT BELONG TO THE SCHENGEN AREA: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Estonia, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland
EU STATES THAT DO NOT BELONG TO THE SCHENGEN AREA: Bulgaria, Ireland, United Kingdom, Cyprus, Romania
THIRD COUNTRIES THAT BELONG TO THE SCHENGEN AREA: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein (does not yet apply the Schengen acquis)
THIRD COUNTRIES, THE CITIZENS OF WHICH DO NOT NEED A VISA FOR GREECE AND THE REST OF THE SCHENGEN AREA: Greece and the rest of the Schengen States that fully apply the provisions of the Schengen Treaty and the relevant Community acquis regarding short-term visas (residency up to 90 days per semester [180 days] in the Schengen area) do not require visas for the holders of ordinary passports of the following countries: Holy See (Vatican City), San Marino, Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Venezuela, Brazil, Guatemala, El Salvador, USA, Japan, Israel, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Barbados , Bahamas, Brunei, New Zealand, Nicaragua, South Korea, Honduras, Uruguay, Panama, Paraguay, Seychelles, Singapore, Chile.