U.S. and Canadian citizens are admitted into Greece and/or any other of the member states of the Schengen group for a period of 90 days without a visa. However, anyone whose stay involves spending more than 90 days within the Schengen Zone during any given six-month period (180 days) must obtain a visa BEFORE entering any of the relevant countries. The six-month clock starts ticking the moment that one arrives in any one of the Schengen-pact countries and continues until the end of the six-month period. Leaving the Schengen Zone does not re-set the clock. For example, a stay of two months in Athens (Schengen), followed by two months in İstanbul (non-Schengen), followed by two months in Rome (Schengen, again) puts one over the 90-days-in-six-months limit and would necessitate obtaining a visa before one’s first entry, even though neither of the two periods of time spent within the Schengen area exceeded the 90-day limit.
Those entering Greece on a visa MUST OBTAIN A RESIDENCE PERMIT after entering Greece.
What countries are in the Schengen Zone? The Schengen Zone now includes the following 26 countries: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Note about European Union Citizens
A visa and a residence permit are NOT required for EU nationals. EU law, however, mandates that non-Greek EU nationals must register at the local Aliens Bureau (e.g., at a police station) if they intend to remain in Greece for more than 90 days. Pantelis Paschos will assist any members in this process; the procedure is free of charge and individuals will receive a certificate of registration (residence certificate). Non-Greek EU citizens residing in Greece for longer than 90 days could be fined if they do not register. Non EU Citizen spouses of members who are in fact EU Citizen do not need a visa and residence permit--but they can register with their EU-Citizenship-holding spouses upon arrival in Athens; they will need proof of their marriage, which has been authenticated by an "Apostille" (Convention de La Haye du 5 octobre 1961), which can be obtained from your state's Secretary of State's office and from officers of Federal District Courts, before traveling to Greece. For those members with spouses, please contact the Assistant Director directly to confirm the details of this process.
Members of the School who need a visa and a residence permit need to apply for a “Member of a Foreign Archaeological School” visa before entry into Greece. The formalities involved in this process are set forth in a special Law (#4251) of 1 April 2014. This has clarified the residence situation for Members of the School. According to this law, members of the foreign archaeological schools are specifically covered under article 17. Reference to these paragraphs should be made at the time of application for the visa. Tell the consular official that you are applying for a “Member of a Foreign Archaeological School” visa as set forth in article 17 of Law 4251/2014, which can be downloaded here and taken with you for your application.
To apply for a visa, members must submit their application in person at a Greek consulate in the country that they are a resident. For contact information for the Greek consulate for your area of the US, click here. Members are advised to contact their local consulate to schedule an appointment and to confirm the actual fee (and method of payment) of the visa application, as that can vary.
Members can download a sample Greek visa, in order to see the elements required for the residence permit, including the Type of Visa ("D"), Number of Entries ("Multiple"), and Remarks ("Member of a Foreign Archaeological School/ΜΕΛΗ ΞΕΝΩΝ ΑΡΧΑΙΛΟΓΙΚΩΝ ΣΧΟΛΩΝ").
Upon entry into Greece, members will then begin the process of applying for a residence permit. According to Greek law, all those who hold a “Member of a Foreign Archaeological School” visa must also apply for a residence permit, no matter the duration of their stay in Greece.
With the assistance of the Assistant Director and Mr. Pandelis Paschos, members will present the relevant documents, photographs, and fees for a residence permit application (outlined below). Mr. Paschos will then schedule a series of two appointments for members at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Paschos will also accompany members to the Ministry to facilitate the application process. In the first appointment, the application is made, depositing all the necessary documentation. In the second appointment (usually a few weeks after the first), members then pick up their residence permit that is issued as an ID card.
After a member has applied for a residence permit, if he or she chooses to travel outside of the borders of Greece, especially outside of the Schengen Zone, he or she is advised to travel with their βεβαίωση. The βεβαίωση is a document that confirms that one has applied for the residence permit—and will be surrendered when the permit is later retrieved from the Ministry. In lieu of the actual valid residence permit, the βεβαίωση acts as proof of the application process for border authorities. One can obtain their βεβαίωση from Mr. Paschos.
Once obtained, the residence permit supersedes the dates of the visa. Members can also elect to renew their residence permits (full details below). Please contact the Assistant Director with any questions about these processes.
For more information on EU legislation regarding the Schengen Zone, arrival in the Schengen Zone, and the application for the residence permit itself, please see the following website.
Members of the American School should apply for a “Member of a Foreign Archaeological School” visa (outlined above). Members must provide a Greek consulate in the country where the applicant is a resident with the following documents:
a. a passport or other travel document recognized by the Greek state,
b. certification that he/she has been appointed a member of a foreign archaeological school and has obtained housing in Greece, which is issued by the Assistant Director in English and Greek and is different than your acceptance letter to the School,
c. proof of sufficient funds to cover his/her living expenses (e.g. fellowship award letters, bank statements, etc.),
d. a health certificate declaring that the applicant does not suffer from infectious/ communicable diseases. A template, provided by the Visa Section of the Hellenic Republic can be found here,
e. a certificate of insurance covering medical and pharmaceutical expenses, hospitalization, and medical evacuation/repatriation. Click here for current insurance requirements, and
f. a police report (clearance) from one’s country of residence. Most Greek consulates in the States request a FBI Identity History Summary Check. These clearances currently take 14-16 weeks to process, and therefore one should begin this process (being fingerprinted and submitting the fingerprints to the FBI) as soon as possible. You may wish to refer to “FBI-Approved Channelers” to expedite background checks.
N.B. An Encyclical (3497.3/19/A.S. 1057 of 26 April 2006) issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (C4 Directorate for Justice, Home Affairs and Schengen) for the use of consular authorities charged with issuing these entry visas has slightly modified the list previously in effect. In particular, item “e” above now specifically calls for “travel insurance which covers any expenses necessary for repatriation of the applicant for medical emergencies.”
Acquiring the relevant documentation and the actual visa application process take a certain amount of time, so members are advised to begin the process as early as possible. The fees for the visa application can range between $150-250; however, members should contact their local consulate for exact fees associated with the application.
The visa will be affixed into your passport. Members will be required to leave their passports at the consulate as the visa application is processed. To retrieve their passport, members can either return to the consulate, or elect to provide a pre-paid envelope (e.g., FedEx) for the consulate to send your passport to your home address. Members should confirm with the consulate about these details in their initial inquiries, as each consulate can operate differently.
DO NOT PROCRASTINATE!
WITHOUT A VISA, ONE CANNOT OBTAIN A RESIDENCE PERMIT! MEMBERS ENTERING GREECE ON A VISA ARE REQUIRED TO OBTAIN A RESIDENCE PERMIT.
Members bringing spouses or family members
Members who plan bring family members are advised that all members of the family will need to obtain visas. Minors will be issued 'family' visas associated with the member's visa (which must be a "Member of a Foreign Archaeological School" visa as outlined above). Those on 'family' visas MUST bring original copies of their marriage certificate (for spouses on a 'family' visa) and their children’s birth certificates. All these documents need to be authenticated by an “Apostille” (Convention de La Haye du 5 octobre 1961). This certificate may be obtained from your state’s Secretary of State’s office and from officers of Federal District Courts. For members bringing families, please contact the Assistant Director directly regarding the specific situation. (For those with certificates from Canada, there is a different form of Apostille that is issued in Canada. Please contact the Assistant Director about this process.)
Upon arrival in Greece, the documentation which you need to present for the residence permit application consists of:
a. Passport with the relevant visa,
b. Insurance: a brief letter on insurance company letterhead (NOT from a University or travel agent) certifying that the holder is covered for outpatient medical expenses, hospitalization, and medical evacuation/repatriation for the duration of his/her stay in Greece (Click here for current insurance requirements), which will subsequently be translated into Greek,
c. five passport-sized photographs to be taken in Greece,
d. a fee (during the 2017-2018 Academic Year, the fee was 240€, which included the translation of the Insurance Letter and Birth Certificate),
e. Birth Certificate: Starting in August 2017, when applying for a residence permit, members must provide proof of their CITY of birth. Those who hold passports that list the city of birth (e.g., Canadians) do not have to provide a birth certificate. For those holding US Passports, in particular, must bring an original copy of their birth certificate that states the city of birth, and the certificate must be authenticated by an Apostille from the Secretary of State where the member was born. For more on Apostilles, see the Hague Convention website. For more information on the Secretaries of State in the US, please see the following website. This process can take some time, so please do not procrastinate in obtaining the birth certificate with an Apostille. (Apostilles are generally separate documents attached to the certificates, and they are different than a raised seal on a birth certificate.) Please note that once the certificate is deposited in the Ministry for the residence permit it will not be returned to the member at the end of their stay in Greece; members are advised to obtain a new original copy of their birth certificates from their Vital Records Office for the purpose of the residence permit application.
Upon arrival in Athens, members should proceed to the Assistant Director as soon as possible to begin the residence permit application process. The Athens staff will provide assistance in making sure all documents are sufficient for the Ministry officials for the application.
If your name on your birth certificate has changed for whatever reason (e.g., marriage; taken a new name), you will need to bring the proper documentation to verify that change. If this applies to you, please contact the Assistant Director to get advice on the best way to proceed.
There currently are no health screenings required upon arrival in Greece. In the past, members had to be screened for tuberculosis; the requirement has since been abolished.
Once a residence permit has been issued (or applied for), any change in the holder’s (applicant’s) status (new passport, marriage to a citizen of a European Union member state, change of address, birth of children, etc.) must be reported to the authorities within the space of one month.
It is the responsibility of the residence permit holder to contact Pandelis Paschos within 20 days of any such change so that the proper documents can be filled. Failure to comply with this regulation will result in a fine of €250.
Residence permits are typically valid for one year, and they must be renewed if a member remains in Greece beyond the expiration date on a permit. Please notify Pandelis Paschos two and a half months prior to the permit’s expiration if you wish to renew your residence permit. Members can renew up to three years. The fee for a one year renewal is currently €150. For an additional €50 fee, applications may be submitted after the aforementioned two month period and up to one month following a permit’s expiration. Please see Article 11 and 92 of Law 3386/2005 for more details.
As of November 2021, the procedure for the renewal of residence permits has changed, as the process now involves the online submission of some documentation.
The new outline of the process is the following:
1) Members schedule a meeting with Pantelis Paschos and come to the School with the following:
- old residence permit
- letter attesting health insurance coverage
School staff will provide additional documents and help with the online submission of these documents.
NB: Greek law requires members to be physically present in Greece when submitting their application and filing the documents.
2) After reviewing the documents, Greek authorities will then notify the Member and schedule for them an appointment in order to take their biometrics.
NB: Due to the backlog caused by COVID, the Ministry currently estimates a wait of 2-3 months between electronic submission and the first appointment. The waiting period should be drastically reduced as soon as things go back to normal.
3) When the permit is ready, Members will be notified and will be able to schedule an appointment to pick up their permit.