Are you an American or British traveller thinking of visiting Greece in the foreseeable future? Know everything there is about the ETIAS Visa Waiver. This Southern European gem of a country includes highlights such as the Acropolis, of Athens many other UNESCO World Heritage sites, and beautiful islands like Santorini.
Whether you’re coming here to surround yourself in Ancient Greek culture, sit back and relax on a golden beach by the Aegean Sea, or try local foods like pastitsio (Greek lasagna), you’ll have a fantastic trip.
At present, if you’re travelling here with a US or UK passport, then you’re free to enter Greece or any other country in the 26-member Schengen Zone without a visa.
Notably, though, from late 2022 onwards, the visa requirements to enter Greece and the rest of the Schengen Area look set to change, when the European Union (EU) introduces the digital ETIAS visa waiver.
On this page, we explain both the existing visa regulations to visit Greece, and all about the forthcoming ETIAS. As such, you’ll know exactly how long you can stay in Athens, Thessaloniki or Patras, and how to obtain the new travel permit. Read on to learn more!
What Are the Current Visa Regulations to Visit Greece?
At present, if you’re from the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, or any of 56 other countries, then you’re visa-exempt to visit Greece. You can stay for up to 90 days in a 180-day period.
This means, for example, that if you come to explore over the summer for three months, from June to August, then the next time you could visit would be at the start of the next 180-day period, three months later, in December.
To visit, you require just a passport that’s valid for at least six months from when you arrive.
What Is the ETIAS Visa Waiver?
From late 2022 onwards, though, the EU will introduce what’s called the ETIAS visa waiver. In particular, all the nationalities that are currently visa-exempt for Greece, including Americans and Brits, will require one, according to this page on Byevisa.com.
To explain, ETIAS stands for ‘European Travel Information and Authorisation System’, and this is the EU’s upcoming system to better monitor who’s coming and going. The system will be similar to the USA’s ESTA waiver program or Canada’s Electronic Travel Authorization, and as such will be entirely online.
What Reasons Can I Visit Greece for with an ETIAS, and for How Long?
The ETIAS visa waiver will permit you to enter Greece for reasons including tourism, business trips, medical visits, or transit. Fortunately, once the EU’s new waiver comes into force, you’ll be able to stay for the same amount of time as under current rules, namely 90 days per 180-day period.
Moreover, each ETIAS visa waiver will be valid for three years from the date of issue and allows multiple entries. As such, you won’t have to apply for a new one each time you plan to visit Crete, Rhodes, Naxos, Mykonos, or any of the other beautiful Greek islands.
Which Nationalities Will Be Eligible for the ETIAS Visa Waiver?
As we mention, you’ll need an ETIAS if you’re currently exempt from needing a visa for Greece. This includes passport holders from the USA, UK, Australia, Canada and 56 other countries. Here’s the full list of nations whose citizens will need the EU’s new travel permit:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Brunei Darussalam
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- Federated States of Micronesia
- Hong Kong
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Solomon Islands
- South Korea
- Timor Leste
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
If your country isn’t included in the list above, then you’ll need a Schengen Visa for Greece and most of Europe, as is already the case under current regulations. We explain more about the Schengen Visa further down this page.
How Can I Apply for the ETIAS Visa Waiver?
To apply for the ETIAS visa waiver, you’ll only require a passport that’s valid for at least six months after your arrival date. Then, you’ll make your application from any internet-connected device. You’ll just have to enter some personal information and the details of your trip, plus answer the EU’s health and security questions.
It’s thought that the process will take around 10 minutes, and approval should be virtually instantaneous in the majority of cases. Furthermore, once your ETIAS is approved, it will be sent to your email inbox, so there’s no need for you to go to an embassy to pick up a paper document, unlike with a traditional visa.
Do I Need to Take the ETIAS with Me on My Trip?
When you receive your ETIAS visa waiver, you won’t have to print a copy to take with you. This is because the travel document is electronically linked to your passport.
As such, when you go to catch your flight to Greece, you need only take your passport as normal. Then, when the check-in staff scan your passport, they’ll see that you’re authorised to visit. So this saves you from having to carry any extra paperwork as part of your trip.
How Much Will the ETIAS Visa Waiver Cost?
It’s thought that the ETIAS will cost €7 per person. All travellers to Greece will require one, including children or retired travellers. On the bright side, those under 18 or over 70 are exempt from paying the fee.
Furthermore, if you’re already in Greece enjoying yourself and your existing ETIAS is set to expire, you can apply for a new travel permit from where you are, without returning home. To do so, your current visa waiver must have less than 120 days validity remaining, and you simply do so online.
How Can I Visit Greece if I’m Not Eligible for the ETIAS Visa Waiver?
Notably, only the citizens of countries who are currently visa-exempt for the Schengen Zone will have to apply for an ETIAS once it comes into force. On the other hand, if you’re from another nation, such as India, Indonesia, or the Philippines, then you must continue to apply for a Schengen Visa.
Similar to the ETIAS, the Schengen Visa allows you to visit for up to 90 days per trip. To apply, you’ll have to visit the nearest Greek embassy, and bring supporting documents including your passport with six months validity remaining and health insurance.
Keep the ETIAS in Mind for Your Next Trips to Greece
To summarise, it’s useful to be aware of these upcoming changes to the visa regulations for Greece and the rest of the Schengen Area. Fortunately, with the ETIAS visa waiver, you’ll be allowed to visit for the same amount of time as under current rules. You’ll simply have to apply for an entry pass in advance, and this will take around 10 minutes.
As such, whether you plan to explore Greece’s famed Monasteries of Meteora or go on a Greek yoga retreat, you can continue to do so at your leisure!
Also, read 12 Top Things to Do in Macedonia, Greece.