Student Visa Process for Greece

You are required to obtain a student visa to participate in a program in Greece that is longer than 90 days. It is your responsibility as a student in this program to obtain a student visa before departure. You will work with a regional Greek consulate that corresponds to your local or permanent address (see below).

The consulates issue student visas only for the duration of your period of study in the host country. As such, your visa may be returned to you listing the start date of university classes rather than the start date of the API orientation.


Please DO NOT plan any international travel during the 3 months before the start of your program. Your passport must remain at the consulate while your visa is being processed.


  • If you have a U.S. passport and your API program is 91 days or longer, you MUST obtain a student visa. 
  • If you do not already have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after your planned return date, start the passport renewal process immediately. Expedited processing is recommended. Airlines will not allow you to board your flight if your passport expires within 6 months after your return date.
  • Students need a passport to apply for a visa, so make sure there is plenty of time to apply for both, if necessary! 

Applying for your National Visa

You will work with the consulate for which you are in their jurisdiction.  Go to this link for a list of the Greek Consulates in the US


The consulate often requires original documents. API provides some of the documents. API will be sending the following documents by USPS* to your permanent address unless you indicate otherwise: 

  • API Acceptance Letter
  • API Visa Letter
  • API Housing Letter (if required by the consulate) 
  • Original Letter of Acceptance from the Greek institution
  • Health Insurance Letter

Please note that it can take 2-4 weeks after your forms are completed for your host institution to send your acceptance letter, and an additional 1-2 weeks for API to prepare and mail all your visa letters. Please keep that in mind when making your visa appointment. 

*If you would prefer to have these documents expedited once they are prepared for you after acceptance, please contact your Program Coordinator. We may be able to expedite for an additional fee. 


You should download and print the visa application form from the website of the consulate you will be working with. 


Most consulates require that you appear in person to apply for your student visa and most require an appointment. This may involve extra travel expenses (air, hotel, car, etc.) to the city where the consulate is located. Make your appointment for 60-90 days prior to your departure date and do NOT wait until the last month to do so as it may then be too difficult to get an appointment or insufficient time for the consulate to process your application. 


These are the current steps to apply for a visa. We will provide some information regarding the latest requirements, but this information changes frequently. It is important that you double check what is printed here with the consulate – verify the information on the consulate website or confirm with them via email, fax or phone (see below for contact information). As a reminder, policies may change due to COVID-19. 

  1. Apply for or renew your passport immediately, if necessary! We recommend expediting all applications for the issuance or renewal of your passport. Your passport must be valid at least 6 months after the end of your program. 
  2. Determine which consulate handles students in your jurisdiction. Refer to the list of consulates above and the corresponding states in that jurisdiction. In most cases, you will need to apply to the consulate that serves the region of your permanent address. If permitted by the consulate in question, you may apply in the region where you attend school full-time.
  3. Obtain a visa application and the list of application requirements from the consulate in your region. Most consulates will have this information posted on their website to download. You also can send an email asking for the list.
  4. Determine if the consulate requires that you make an appointment to have your visa processed and how the appointment should be made (online, via email, etc.). If so, make an appointment immediately! Your appointment should be no less than 60 days prior to the program start date. The appointments for some consulates fill very quickly, so it is imperative that you make your appointment NOW! 
  5. Find out if the consulate will mail your passport back to you once they have issued the visa, or if you will have to return to the consulate to pick it up. 
  6. Complete the visa application and begin gathering the required documents. See below for more guidance and follow the instructions very carefully. Consulates are not flexible! 
  7. Check the consulate’s requirement regarding airline reservations. Some consulates require that you show an itinerary with your visa application. 


Visa processing times vary by consulate but can range from 4-8 weeks or longer. When submitting the application, please be sure to keep a copy of the tracking number of the return envelope so that you can track the package later. Greek Consulates do not have an expedited visa processing service. You must apply on time, or you risk not receiving a visa before your program start date. Students whose passports and visas have not been returned to them prior to their scheduled departure date will have to wait for their passport and visa to be returned to them before traveling. They will not receive a discount for missed orientation activities from API. If you do not receive your visa within the consulate’s estimated timeframe, you should start tracking the return envelope to see if it has been sent, and you may want to begin contacting the consulate to check the status. Once issued, the visa is affixed to a page in your passport, and it will list the start and end date of your academic program. 


Students should hold off on any international travel until you receive your visa and passport back. Before deciding to use our group visa service, please note that we are not in control of when Greek consulates return the processed visas. API is given an estimate of the processing time. However, in some cases, the visas may not be returned until close to the program start date. We strongly advise not to book travel until you receive the visas and passports back! Should you have any concerns, we advise you to apply early, independently using the checklist given. 


International students must apply for a residence permit at the Immigration Office of the Greek government within 40 days from the date of arrival in Greece. When students are registered as an alien, an Alien Registration Card is issued, which is needed in a variety of circumstances. Students are legally obliged to have it on their person. Alien registration should be done at the Immigration Office with jurisdiction for the area in which the applicant lives. Those who stay in Greece more than 90 days without being registered will be considered as illegal aliens and punished by law.


  • Passport
  • Application form
  • 1 ID photo (3.5 X 4.5 (cm))
  • Acceptance Letter from Institution in Greece
  • Flight Itinerary
  • Proof of Accommodation
  • Travel Insurance
  • W-2 forms from parents for last two years.  Students who are independent should ask the Consulate what to submit.
  • Bank statements from parents of last three months.  Students who are independent should ask the Consulate what to submit.
  • Medical certificate issued by a recognized state or private institution, showing that the student does not suffer from a disease which may constitute a risk to public health, according to the international data of the World Health Organization(WHO)and the European Union acquis (Sample here)
  • FBI Criminal Record Background Check
  • Signed affidavit from parents taking financial responsibility for student regarding all expenses which he/she will incur during stay in Greece. (sample)
  • Application fee
  • Pre-paid UPS envelope (if you live out of state and want your passport mailed back to you)

International students may be asked for extra documents depending on their nationality and types of their visa from the consulate office.