Since my first trip to Greece, I dreamed of moving there. But like in many European countries, it is hard for a person from the United States to move to Greece. At the time, I was still working in Qatar and had no idea how I could move to Greece without a job or speaking Greek. I started to do research and realized that Greece has a National Visa. This is informally known as a long-stay visa in Greece and many other European countries.
Each country has rules about issuing a long-stay or national visa. It was unclear on the Greece website what the requirements were, and I couldn’t find any articles about it. The rules changed even after I inquired the first time, so I hope this article will help someone else with the Greece National Visa process. Please keep in mind that I am from the US, and the rules might be different in another country.
For the Greece National Visa, you must apply in your home country before you enter Greece. You must apply for the visa in the United States at your designated consulate or embassy location; click here for the list. Once you find your consulate, call them to ask what the required documents are. The list on the website is not current at the time of writing this post. Next, begin to gather all the documents you need. Only once you are confident you have all the documents you need, call back to the consulate to make the appointment.
Keep in mind that many of the consulates are small, and the visa department may only be one person, as is the case in the Houston consulate. When I called at the end of May, I could only get an appointment at the end of July! During this call, I was told I needed one more document.
You will present all your documents at the appointment and will most likely have a short interview. At the Houston consulate, I was emailed when my visa was approved. If you live close by, you may be able to pick up your passport from the consulate with the visa. Otherwise, you will need to provide a pre-paid envelope to the consulate. I recommend getting one with insurance in case your passport is lost, and you will need to replace it. It will also provide tracking.
This is the list of documents I was told I needed. Keep in mind that this list can change and may differ for each consulate.
- Passport with at least six months of validity past the end date of your visa
- Birth certificate – official copy from the past six months
- Apostille of the birth certificate – this needs to be done in the state the birth certificate was issued
- Proof of income of at least €2000 a month or equivalent in your currency
- Health insurance valid in Greece
- FBI Background check or your country’s equivalent
- Health certificate from your doctor – have it printed on letterhead if they don’t have a stamp
- Visa Application with a passport photo
- Visa fee, which was about $200
Other Things to Know
Please note that this is not necessarily a valid option for digital nomads or people looking for a job in Greece. I applied as a financially independent person as you cannot be working in Greece. I have plenty of savings to cover the required income for the visa.
Once you are in Greece, you must apply for a residence permit with its own requirements. Please read my whole blog post on the Greece Resident Permit application process.
Please let me know what questions you have about applying for a Greece National Visa, and I will try to help.