Arriving in Greece - Formalities for Entry into Greece
Entry Visa and Residence Permit
U.S. citizens are only required to have a valid passport to stay in Greece for up to 3-months. If you need to stay beyond this 90-day period, you are required to have a special entry visa. An entry visa MUST be obtained prior to your arrival in Greece.
Once in Greece your host institution will assist you in obtaining a Residence Permit in order to reside legally in Greece for the duration of your program. A Residence Permit is required for all grantees and their dependents who wish to reside in Greece legally for a period of over 90 days. All the above will also allow you to freely travel within Europe during your stay and in particular within the the countries which are part of the Schengen Treaty Area.
Please visit www.mfa.gr/usa/en/the-embassy to locate the contact information for the Greek Embassy or Consulate nearest you and inquire about what is needed to obtain a visa for educational and or exchange purposes.
A Note on Packing
When packing your bags for Greece, it would be wise to consider the following. The airlines have become increasingly strict about overweight baggage. Thus, consider carefully what you pack.
If you will be doing research and/or teaching, it is advised that you bring as few books as possible. Books are heavy and thus quickly make your bags overweight. A limited selection of English books are available at large bookstores in Athens and Thessaloniki - though in some areas, particularly law and the sciences, the prices for the books are much higher than in the United States. While you are still in the United States, it is also very easy to overestimate how much you will actually be able to read while in Greece.
Availability of Goods
Most consumer goods that are available in the United States are also available in Greece. It would be wise not to waste weight on consumer items that are heavy or that are readily obtainable in Greece, i.e., shampoo, paper supplies, etc., unless you have very specific needs. However, there are certain important exceptions to this. Pain relievers and contact solution are readily available at pharmacies, but if you have specific preferences, it is advised that you bring them with you from the States. Feel free to bring box labels with you to the pharmacy to ensure you are getting the correct medication.
Please pack clothing for all seasons. Contrary to popular belief, Greece does have winter weather. Winters in Greece are for the most part wet and can get quite cold at times, and interiors are typically less heated than what you may be used to in the U.S. It occasionally snows mainly in the central and northern parts of the country. This means that you will need to pack sweaters and a winter coat. You may purchase these items when you arrive, but keep in mind that winter coats and boots are more expensive in Greece than they are in the United States. Any American label is considerably more expensive.
Also, pack clothing for a variety of occasions from formal to casual. It is also important to keep in mind that Greeks dress more formally than Americans, particularly in Athens. Thus, make sure that your wardrobe consists of more than jeans and tee shirts because not only will you be cold in the winter, but also you may feel a bit out of place.