Residence Permit Regulations, Visas, and Insurance Requirements
Who needs a Residence Permit?
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 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.
What countries are in the Schengen Zone? The Schengen Zone now includes the following 25 countries: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
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.
Applying for the relevant Visa
The formalities involved in this process are set forth in a special Law (#3386) of 23 August, 2005. 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 23 and spouses and family members under article 54. 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 visa as a Member of a Foreign Archaeological School as set forth in article 23 of Law 3386/2005.
A foreigner who wishes to come into Greece as a member of a foreign archaeological school must provide a Greek consulate in the country where the applicant is a citizen 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,
c. proof of sufficient funds to cover his/her living expenses,
d. a statement which shows that the applicant has obtained housing,
e. a health certificate declaring that the applicant does not suffer from infectious/ communicable diseases,
f. a certificate of insurance covering medical and pharmaceutical expenses, hospitalization, and medical evacuation/repatriation. Click here for current insurance requirements, and
g. a police report (clearance) from one’s country of residence. Most Greek consulates in the States have begun to demand an FBI clearance report. These clearances are taking increasingly long periods of time 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 that has been recently announced on the FBI website. The consulate should accept the FBI-approved channeler service but check first with the regional Greek consulate office to make sure it is acceptable.
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 “f” 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, and the whole process involves the payment of something like US$150 in fees. Some consulates also require an interview and an actual visit to the consulate to present the documentation and pay the fee.
DO NOT PROCRASTINATE!
WITHOUT A VISA, ONE CANNOT OBTAIN A RESIDENCE PERMIT!
We have been advised that for Members who will be coming to Athens with their families, only the Member and his/her spouse and any children 14 years of age or older need visas. Children under the age of 14 can be granted residence permits on the basis of their parents’ residence permits, but will need to produce documentary evidence of their immunization history. However, families should be forewarned that they will need to bring along copies of both their marriage license 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.
N.B. The visa itself will be pasted into your passport. New European legislation within the Schengen zone
Upon arrival in Greece, the documentation which one needs 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), and
c. five passport-sized photographs.
The first step in the process is a visit to a Greek state hospital here in Athens for a chest x-ray and a “Mantou” test for tuberculosis. Anyone who, for medical reasons, cannot do either of these should bring along a statement from his/her family doctor to this effect.
Holders of passports issued by member states of the European Union (and their spouses) do not need these visas to get a residence permit. Spouses, however, need to have proof of their marriage - certified by an attached “Apostille” (Convention de La Haye du 5 octobre 1961). (see above.)
N.B. 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, the School’s Administrative Assistant within 20 days of any such change so that the proper documents can be filed. Failure to comply with this regulation will result in a fine of 250 euros.
American or Canadian citizens do not need a visa if their stay in Greece (and any other Schengen pact country or combination of countries) is for a period of 90 days or less within any given six-month period.
Renewal of a Residence Permit
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. 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.
Submitting and Picking Up the Residence Permit (for initial applications and renewals)
When submitting the residence permit application in Athens, a member, accompanied by Pantelis Paschos, must hand deliver the paperwork at the appropriate Greek Ministry. Once the residence permit is ready to be issued and pasted into your passport (often several months after the application), the member must either 1) return to the Ministry with Pantelis Paschos or 2) visit a local police station to authorize Pantelis Paschos to retrieve the residence permit on your behalf.