Friday, July 17, 2009

Temporary Residency Permit for Greece

Upon the advice of a friend, I contacted the American Citizens Services branch of the American Embassy in Athens to double check on what my options are for legitimately extending my stay here in Greece beyond the 90 days allowed. I had been told by the Greek consulate in D.C. that I would need to contact the appropriate local authorities once here and request the extension. I had also read somewhere and been told by my landlord that all I needed to do was take a trip abroad to someplace like Italy and make sure my passport is stamped by the country I visit, ensuring that my 90 day period would "reset" at that point. I'm glad I asked, because here is the response I received from the embassy:

The first option you were given is not correct since the law says that you can only remain in any Schengen country for three months in a six month period. If you leave the country, you won’t be allowed entry for another three months.

Extensions on tourist status can only be given by the Aliens Police (Bureau) in the area where you temporarily reside. For your convenience, we’re attaching the relevant handout on residence permits.

Please note that the stamp you were given in Munich is your entry into the Schengen zone and movement within it is free. We suggest that keep your ticket and boarding pass, showing your trip to Greece, until your return to the US.

The attachment goes on to explain that illegal extensions beyond 90 days will result in fines ranging from 600 to 1200 euros, depending upon the length of time over-stayed.

It also states that the fee for extending for over 90 days and up to 6 months is 464 euros.

Sooooo....I guess I need to either delve into what I assume will be a very frustrating and costly process of trying to get "legit", or decide to stay well under the radar until my six months is up and then just resign myself to the possibility of a fine upon exit. The latter option would also negate the possibility of any trips abroad to any of the other Schengen countries.

A third option that I think should be adequate would be to take a trip home to the US before my first 90 days is up, thereby getting removing me from the Schengen zone and starting my 90 days over upon return.

Something to ponder while at the beach today...

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