Applying to study in Greece involves organising the correct visa, health insurance and qualification documents. This might feel a little overwhelming, but this guide will set things out clearly for you, one step at a time, to take the pressure off!
If you haven’t decided which programmes to apply to yet, take a look at our guide Study in Greece: preparing to apply.
1. Qualifications and equivalence
Every international applicant to Greece has to obtain something called an equivalence certificate. This document is submitted alongside your transcript or certificates from the exams you’ve done in your home country. It shows how your grades compare to those of a Greek student.
In the Greek system, students are given a score of 0 to 20 when they leave secondary school. The minimum you need to get to apply for university is a score of ten. Equivalence certificates are designed to convert your exam results into this Greek grading system. To give you a rough example of how this conversion works, a score of 18 is equivalent to about an A grade at A level, 16 is a B grade, and 14 is a C grade.
You can get an equivalence certificate from the education office of your nearest Greek embassy or consulate. You’ll need to bring a photocopy of your graduation certificate (or at least an official letter from your school or college to prove you’ve completed secondary education). You’ll also need to have this certificate translated at your nearest Greek embassy or consulate, or by a Greek lawyer. There is a small fee for the translation services, which is usually under 20 EUR.
2. Language requirements
A majority of programmes at Greek universities are taught in English and/or Greek, with a small number in French and German.
When you apply for a programme, you’ll need to prove that you're proficient in the language it will be taught in. Programmes taught in Greek will require you to sit a language proficiency test set by the university. Make sure to check the programme website for details of these tests, as each vary. For programmes delivered in English, you’ll have to pass either an IELTS, TOEFL or a C1 Advanced test.
You’ll be exempt from language tests if you’re applying for a programme taught in the official language of your home country, or if you completed the previous stage of your education in the same language. You can find programmes taught in English on Unifrog’s European universities search tool.
Applying to Greek universities involves completing an online application form and then posting your documents to the Hellenic Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs. The online portal is free to use and allows you to apply to as many as 20 different undergraduate programmes at once.
The window for completing the online application form and then sending your documents to the Ministry is only available for about one week every summer. For instance, this period was 18th July 2019 to 24th July 2019 for 2019/20 entry. Make sure you plan ahead and gather all the documents required well in advance (including their translations when relevant) so that you don’t miss this tight window.
After entering your details online, and before the end of the application window, you’ll need to send your documents to the Hellenic Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs by post. These documents include proof of your grades, personal ID and equivalence certificate. Updates on your application can be followed by logging back into the portal with your candidate code.
Don’t let the complexity of this process get you down! You can find a much more detailed overview of this process in our guide Study in Greece: how to navigate the university admissions portal to help you apply - it’s actually simple as long as you’re well prepared.
EU and EEA Students
If you’re from the EU or EEA, you’ll be able to get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which will entitle you to free healthcare in Greece while you’re studying. Your EHIC doesn’t cover non-emergencies or emergency repatriation, so even if you are an EU citizen, you might consider purchasing private insurance as well before you move to Greece.
The UK is in the process of leaving the EU and so the health insurance guidance for UK students is changing - but we’re here to keep you up to date!
The EHIC is soon going to be replaced by a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). It will cover your healthcare insurance in all EU countries (but not in Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein or Switzerland). You can apply for this on the NHS website, free of charge.
If you already have an EHIC, this will be valid in the EU until it expires. Once your EHIC expires, you’ll be able to replace it with a GHIC.
Non EU Students
If you’re a student from outside the EU, you’ll need to have health insurance which covers you above a minimum of 30,000 EUR in medical costs for the time you spend in Greece. This will form part of your visa application.
To start the process of getting health insurance, it’s a good idea to contact your university’s international office, as they’ll be able to direct you to trusted health insurance providers.
5. Visa requirements
EU and EEA Students
If you’re an EU national, or a national from the EEA (European Economic Area), Canada, Croatia, Japan, Moldova, South Korea, Switzerland, the US or Serbia, you do not need a visa to study in Greece. Instead, all you need is a valid passport or national ID card ready to send to the university with your application.
UK and Non EU Students
Students from outside the EU and EEA will need to apply for a student visa (or ‘D-type’ visa) to study in Greece. You must apply for this at your country's Greek consulate or embassy once you’ve received an acceptance letter from your chosen university. Student visas can take up to three months to process, so make sure to get your application in as soon as possible to be ready for the start of your programme. Contact your local Greek consulate or embassy early on to fully understand what you need to apply and to book an in-person appointment.
When applying for your student visa, you’ll normally need to present:
- an original passport from your home country, valid to three months beyond the end of your student visa length
- two recent, identical passport photographs
- an acceptance letter from the university where you’ll be studying
- a medical certificate
- proof of health insurance, with a minimum coverage of 30,000 EUR
- proof of sufficient funds to cover living and tuition costs in Greece
- criminal record certificate
Your proof of sufficient funds could be a signed letter from your parents stating they will cover all living expenses and your repatriation whilst in Greece, a letter confirming a scholarship or grant, or copies of bank statements showing the funds. To get a better idea of the cost of living for a student in Greece, take a look at our guide The cost of studying in Greece.
Once you’ve arrived in Greece, you’ll need to apply for a residence permit with the Migration Department within 40 days. This permit will need to be renewed annually, but your university’s international office will be on hand to help with this.
A handful of Greek universities offer student accommodation near their campuses. There are not a large number of rooms, so check with your university’s international office if you are eligible to reserve one.
A majority of students at Greek universities do not live on-campus, so don’t worry if you have to rent in private student accommodation. These are relatively cheap at around 250-400 EUR per month, particularly if you share with other students. You will also be able to enjoy the student hubs of your city, such as Navarinou Square in Thessaloniki and Kallithea in Athens.
Good stuff from elsewhere
Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Conversion of international grades chart
This chart will give you an idea of how your home country’s grades might be converted into Greek grades for your equivalence document.