Overview of Travelling to the UK from Greece
Greeks represent a fairly significant amount of the UK’s foreign-born national population, with well over 60,000 Greek-born residents currently in the UK.
The majority of these Greek population centres are located around London, with Hyde Park, Regents Park, and Kensington and Chelsea being particularly notable for Greek communities. These areas are also known for housing Cypriot and Turkish communities alongside Greek ones also.
Outside of London, Sunderland, Manchester and Birmingham have strong ties to the Greek expat community in the UK.
Greek students also make up a large percentage of the UK’s international student base, with just under 10,000 students studying in the UK in 2022.
There are a range of options available for Greeks who wish to travel to the UK, including visas for temporary stays, and longer-term stays that can lead to permanent settlement (known as indefinite leave to remain) in the UK. These include study visas, work visas, and visas for when you already have family in the UK.
UK Student Visa for Greeks
The UK Student visa is a popular visa that will allow Greek citizens to come and study in the UK.
This visa is suitable for any Greek citizens who wish to study in any of the UK’s higher or further education institutions for more than 6 months at a time.
In order to be eligible, you are required to have an offer of a place from a licensed, Home Office-approved student sponsor.
You must also have at least enough money to support yourself financially during your time in the UK, as well as meet the minimum English language requirements.
The Student visa will allow you to work while you study in the UK, although the number of hours you’ll be allowed to work will depend on what you’re studying, and what time of the year you’ll plan to be working.
This visa will not directly allow you to permanently settle in the UK. However, you may apply for a Graduate visa after your studies finish, which will allow you to stay and work in the UK for another 2 years.
After this visa expires, you may then switch to another visa that will allow you to apply for indefinite leave to remain.
UK Work Visas for Greeks
If you’d like to come to the UK on a longer-term basis in order to work, then you may wish to apply for one of the UK’s work visas instead.
One of these is the Skilled Worker visa, which is the UK’s general work visa for skilled professionals. This visa will allow you to settle in the UK long-term, as long as you have a valid job offer from an approved employer who will be able to sponsor you while in the UK.
Other work visas include the Scale-Up Worker visa, which will allow you to work with a rapidly-growing UK-based business; the Health and Care Worker visa, for those who wish to work in approved health and care industries; and the Minister of Religion visa, for those who wish to work in a religious faith community, such as a Greek Orthodox church in the UK.
Many of these visas will have certain eligibility criteria you must meet, such as meeting minimum financial and English language requirements. Note that you may also have to give details of your job and the employer who’s sponsoring you, if relevant to your visa’s conditions.
Many UK work visas will allow you to apply for indefinite leave to remain after spending a certain period of qualifying time in the UK.
UK Family Visas for Greeks
One of the popular ways to travel to the UK in order to settle is applying for a Family visa.
This will allow you to travel to the UK to settle with an eligible family member who is already a British or Irish citizen, or someone with settled status (such as through the EU Settlement Scheme).
Eligible family members you can join in the UK include the following:
- Spouse or partner
- Fiance or proposed civil partner
- Relative who’ll provide long-term care for you
Note that there are different eligibility requirements you must meet depending on which family member you are applying for.
For example, if you’re applying as a fiance or proposed civil partner, you will only be granted a short period of leave in the UK (usually up to 6 months), during which you must either get married or enter into a civil partnership. After this occurs, you may be eligible to apply to stay in the UK long-term as a spouse or civil partner.
Additionally, if you’re applying as a parent to join your child in the UK, you must prove that you’ll have sole or shared responsibility for your child and that you’ll take an active role in their upbringing.
The Family visa will normally allow you to settle in the UK long-term either by allowing you to apply for indefinite leave to remain after a certain time, or by immediately granting you permanent right of abode in the UK.
How Can IAS Help?
The process of travelling to a different country can be a long and arduous one, and it’s recommended that you obtain all the relevant help and assistance you need in order to make the experience as stress-free as possible.
If you could use additional assistance in your travels, whether you’re visiting the UK short-term or looking to settle permanently, IAS can help.
We offer full and comprehensive immigration advice and logistics services for people who wish to come to the UK. Whatever the reason for your visit and how long you intend to stay, our legal team are on hand to provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to make the process a successful one.
Whether you need expert assistance from a legal professional with your visa application, advice on the best way to organise transport and logistics for your personal belongings in Greece, or up-to-date advice on UK COVID-19 restrictions and entry requirements, we can help.
Last modified on July 17th, 2023 at 7:35 am
Need help with an immigration issue? Book a one-to-one advice session with one of our legal caseworkers.
We can complete your visa application on your behalf, taking the stress and hassle out of the process.
Fast Track Package
Need to submit an application quickly? We can help you complete and send it off in as little as 24 hours.
Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal with our legal support and guidance.
The Advice Package
With our Advice Package, you can book a one-to-one session with one of our legal team and receive bespoke advice tailored for your situation. We will review your case and give you expert advice on how best to proceed with your immigration matter. Reach out to a member of our team and book your session today.
The Application Package
Our Application Package is designed to help relieve the stress of immigration applications. One of our legal caseworkers will help you throughout the entire process, including establishing your eligibility for your chosen route, completing your application form to the highest standards and organising your documents. We will then submit it and monitor its status on your behalf.
The Fast Track Package
Our premium Fast Track Package is ideal if you need to submit an application quickly, such as if you need to meet a tight deadline. Our lawyers will work closely with you to see that your application is completed to the highest standards and ensure you get your application in on time, helping to take the stress and pressure off you.
The Appeal Package
Visa appeals can be a stressful process, especially if you’re relying on a specific visa to be approved. Our legal team can help you navigate the whole process and maximise your chances of a successful appeal, working alongside you to reach a favourable result. We can also represent you in immigration-related hearings and tribunals.
The main deadline for the EU Settlement Scheme was on 30 June 2021, and most applicants will no longer be able to apply.
However, you may still be eligible to apply for the scheme if one of the following situations applies to you:
- You have a Greek (or other EU) family member who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020
- You’re exempt from immigration control, or you stopped being exempt from immigration control after 30 June 2021
- You’re already in the UK with limited leave to enter or remain in the UK (such as if you’re here on a work or study visa) which expires after 30 June 2021
- You’re a family member of a British citizen who you lived with in the EU (only if you lived with them in that country by 30 December 2020 and then returned to the UK with them)
You may also still be eligible to apply if you have ‘reasonable grounds’ for not applying before the main deadline, such as if you were in an abusive or controlling relationship, or you had a serious medical condition that prevented you from applying.
If you only wish to visit the UK for a short-term visit, you will not need to apply for a visa.
While in the UK, you will be able to sightsee, engage in tourism, volunteer up to 30 days with a registered charity, or study, alongside other permitted activities.
You will not be able to do paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person, or claim public funds at all while in the UK as a visitor.
Note that you will only be able to stay in the UK for up to 6 months at a time, after which you will have to travel back to Greece or onwards to another country.
There are a number of clubs, organisations and groups dedicated to supporting the Greek community in the UK. These include the The Hellenic Centre and Greeklist, which include directories, events and courses to promote Greek culture and foster relationships in the UK.
A comprehensive list of organisations can be found on the Embassy of Greece website.
The UK has many Greek Orthodox churches, with over 20 located in London alone, and many more across the rest of the UK.
Most notably, Saint Sophia Cathedral in Bayswater, London, is considered to be the main Greek Orthodox church in the UK.