This section includes detailed information on Schengen visas for foreigners wishing to visit Greece and, by extension, the Schengen Area (visa requirements by country of origin, Greek or foreign Authorities that issue visas for Greece abroad). With regard to Schengen visas, you will find a description of the types of Schengen visa issued, the Schengen institutional framework (in particular, the Schengen Borders Code), as well as procedural issues concerning the issuing of Schengen visas.
The Schengen acquis is a set of rules and legislation, integrated into European Union Law, which regulate the abolishment of border controls at the internal borders within the Schengen Area, as well as the strengthening of border controls at the external borders.
Europe without borders
The Schengen area guarantees unrestricted travel within a territory of 26 countries, home to more than 400 million citizens. Currently, the Schengen area consists of 26 European countries (of which 22 are EU states): Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden, along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
Being part of the area without internal border controls means that these countries:
• do not carry out border checks at their internal borders (i.e. borders between two Schengen states);
• carry out harmonised controls, based on clearly defined criteria, at their external borders (i.e. borders between a Schengen state and a non-Schengen state).
As a result, both EU citizens and non-EU nationals may freely travel within the Schengen area and are checked only when crossing the external border.
Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom are EU states that are not, or not yet, part of the Schengen area. This means that a flight from one of these states to a Schengen state is regarded as an external flight and is subject to border checks.
The Visa Information System (VIS) is a system for the exchange of visa data between Schengen States. The implementation of the VIS is a key element of the common visa policy, which together with other policies allows the European Union to establish an area of freedom, security and justice.
The main objectives of the VIS are to facilitate visa application procedures, to facilitate checks at external borders and to enhance security. The VIS facilitates the exchange of data between Schengen States on visa applications in order to ease procedures, prevent “visa shopping” and assist in the fight against fraud.