Monday, February 8, 2021

Protocol for arrivals at land borders - 8 February 2021 COVID19

 

  • Arrival of persons at the checkpoint.
  • Passport and customs control are carried out.
  • Transfer to the area where screening personnel is located. Travellers are requested to show their QR code either on their mobile phone screen or in print.
  • Screening personnel direct travellers, depending on their QR code, either to the screening area where they will be tested for the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 by a trained health team or to the exit. Upon completion of the screening, tested travellers are also directed towards the exit.
  • The screening results are expected to become available within 24 hours. In case of COVID-19 symptoms, medical advice and/or contact with the National Public Health Organization (EODY) Operations Centre should be immediately sought. Only in case they test positive, the authorities will contact them and proceed with the health protocol in place. Otherwise and after the 7-days self-isolation, they may continue with their holidays, adhering to the general public health safety guidelines.
  • If travellers plan to have multiple stop-overs in Greece, they must declare this and report their initial destination and their travel itinerary for the next 7 days.
  • All travellers entering Greece through any land border station, are obliged to present upon arrival a negative molecular test result (PCR) for COVID-19, performed up to 72 hours before their entry to Greece.
  • Travellers should be laboratory tested with RT-PCR of oropharyngeal or nasopharyngeal swab.
  • Only travellers who carry a certificate of a negative RT-PCR test result will be allowed by the border authorities to enter the country. The certificates should be written in English and bear the name and passport/national ID number of the traveller.
  • The Laboratories that perform the RT-PCR testing should be:
    1. National Reference laboratories
    2. National Public Health Laboratories or
    3. Private laboratories which are accredited from the respective national accreditation authorities (not necessarily specifically for COVID-19).
  • Certificates that do not fulfill the above criteria will not be accepted. Certificate forgery is punished by Greek Law.
  • Travellers will still have to complete and submit their PLF form and may be subject to random testing upon arrival to the Greek border.

All travellers must comply with all of the necessary preventive hygiene measures (use of masks and physical/social distancing) according to local guidance.

Residents from EU+ countries are allowed to travel to Greece. EU+ consists of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland.

Residents of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, UAE and United Kingdom are also allowed to travel to Greece.

Permanent residents of other countries are allowed to travel to Greece only for essential travel.

As of November 11, 2020 all people traveling to Greece from foreign countries will be required to have a negative molecular test result (PCR) for COVID-19, performed up to 72 hours before their entry to Greece. As of November 10, 2020 permanent residents of Greece who travel by air to foreign countries are required to fill in the electronic form PLF (Passenger Locator Form) with their contact details in Greece before their departure from Greece and to show at the border checkpoint the proof of completion of the electronic PLF form that is automatically sent by e-mail to each traveller electronically.

Air borders

Temporary restriction of flight connections with Turkey and Catalonia of Spain are imposed.

Negative COVID -19 PCR test at least 72 hours prior to the travel is necessary for all passengers arriving by air from foreign countries. Greek citizens and holders of permanent residence in Greece and other essential travellers are not exempted from this obligation. As of November 10, 2020 permanent residents of Greece who travel by air to foreign countries are required to fill in the electronic form PLF (Passenger Locator Form) with their contact details in Greece before their departure from Greece and to show at the border checkpoint the proof of completion of the electronic PLF form that is automatically sent by e-mail to each traveller electronically.

Sea Borders

As of November 9, 2020 arrivals by sea by private yachts, cruise ships, ferry ships and any other professional tourist ships, regardless of flag or destination abroad, as well as the disembarkation of passengers from these boats in any way is prohibited.

There is no sea from/to connection with Turkey and Albania (with exemption of cargo ships).

Land Borders

Due to the epidemiological situation in the Balkans and Turkey all the external land Greek borders are open only to “essential travellers” apart from Promachonas BCP in Bulgaria, which is also open to travellers mentioned in the list of countries above.

“Essential travellers” at the land borders: Greek citizens, permanent residents of Greece, transport workers and travelers for essential professional reasons can enter from BCPs Kakavia, Evzoni, Kipi (daily open only 07.00am-11.00am). As of Monday, August 17th at 00.01 (GMT+3) all those entering from BCPs Kakavia Evzoni and Kipi should have the PLF and QR code and additionally hold a negative COVID-19 PCR test 72h prior their arrival.

Those entering from Kakavia BCP should additionally self-isolate for 7 days upon their arrival in Greece. There is a daily limit of 750 entries per day in Kakavia.

In the case of Greece-Albania borders this also applies to Albanians citizens of Greek origin (Homogeny).

Employees of international land transport services, regardless of nationality, must, after entering Greece, without undue delay, either transit or head to their destination and then self-isolate for seven (7) days.

There is an exception for members of international or European organizations, regardless of nationality, who enter in order to work in Greece or transit through Greece, should they prove their function with appropriate documentation.

In the case of Greece-North Macedonia borders, there is an additional exception for EULEX staff and their family members that it is allowed to enter for medical reasons in Greek territory (BCP Evzoni).

All visitors from air, land or sea, will be subject to random tests upon arrival. Upon being tested, travellers move to their final destination. In the event of a positive result, they will be contacted and placed on 14-day quarantine, with expenses covered by the Greek state.

Greece at any stage retains the right to modify any of the above in light of changing circumstances. A team within the Infectious Diseases Committee evaluates the epidemiological data on a regular basis and recommends changes to restrictions.


Q: Who will cover expenses in the event of a Covid-19 patient's air transportation and hospitalization?
A: The Greek state will cover expenses related to hospitalization of visitors suffering from Covid-19 symptoms.

Q: What happens if an infection is confirmed at a hotel?
A: In the event of a confirmed infection, close contacts of the case will be transferred to a separate quarantine accommodation at the expense of the Greek state. Remaining guests will continue their holidays.

Q: If someone misses their return flight because of illness or symptoms or misses prepaid accommodation is there a refund policy or other framework that could cover expenses?
A: Greece will cover transfer to hospital and medical costs as well as stay in quarantine hotel if needed. We urge airlines travel agents and hotels to offer maximum flexibility during this time of customer and regulatory uncertainty.

Q: Health Protocols of Hotels. How is protocol compliance ensured? With whom should tourists communicate in case protocols are not followed?
A: The Ministry of Tourism has a plan of audits and we encourage all enterprises to seek third party accreditation. We have also set up a training and information website for employees and owners in order to ensure that the knowledge of the protocols is disseminated in a timely and responsible manner. Finally, we have established steep fines for those neglecting their duties. In case of complaints, visitors can call the four-digit number 1572 of the Ministry Tourism.

Last update: 8 February 2021

COVID-19 Information 2021 Last updated: 2/6/2021 USA passengers


 COVID-19 Information

Last updated: 2/6/2021

*** Effective January 26, all airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel. Alternatively, travelers to the U.S. may provide documentation from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel. Check the CDC website for additional information and Frequently Asked Questions.

Country-Specific Information:

  • The Department of State has issued a Travel Advisory Level 3 for Greece advising U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to Greece due to COVID-19.
  • Greek authorities have confirmed COVID-19 within its borders. As of February 5, 2021, Greece reports 162,107 cases according to the National Public Health Organization (https://eody.gov.gr/).
  • Expanded weekend curfew for Athens, Thessaloniki, Halkidiki, and other “red” areas:  As of February 6, 2021, the nighttime curfew is in effect from 6:00pm to 5:00am on weekends in these “red” areas as mentioned on the Civil Protection website.
  • Greek authorities have reimposed a lockdown continuing until further notice to combat the spread of COVID-19. Authorities announced 24-hour movement restrictions, mandatory seven day quarantine for travelers arriving from abroad, an expanded nighttime curfew, suspension of many business and entertainment operations, prohibition of gatherings, restrictions of restaurant operations to delivery/carry-out only, and restrictions on travel between regions in Greece.  Masks are required everywhere, indoors and outdoors.  Additional information is provided in the “Movement Restrictions” section below and available in Greek at the Civil Protection website.

COVID-19 Testing

  • Are PCR and/or antigen tests available for U.S. citizens in Greece? Yes
  • If so, are test results reliably available within 72 hours? Yes
  • COVID-19 tests are available at many major hospitals in Greece, as well as the Athens Eleftherios Venizelos Airport (at Arrivals level between entrances 2-3). Testing is paid by the individual being tested.  The cost for COVID-19 PCR tests is capped at 60 euros.  Patients needing COVID-19 tests or exhibiting possible symptoms may contact the COVID-19 hotline at 1135 for guidance on testing and referral for medical care.  Travelers are recommended to contact testing centers in advance for appointments and not expect to be able to test and receive results the day of travel.
  • Test results may be delivered by e-mail or in hard copy provided in person; consult with the testing facility regarding the method results are communicated for your specific circumstance.
  • For information on limited humanitarian exemptions, please review the following page: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-testing-required-us-entry.html.  If you review the information at the preceding link and believe you qualify for a humanitarian exemption despite widespread availability of testing in Greece, use the contact information at the bottom of this page to make your request.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information:

  • Has the government of Greece approved a COVID-19 vaccine for use? Yes
  • The United States Government does not plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to private U.S. citizens overseas. Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.
  • The Greek Ministry of Health has developed a priority system for COVID-19 vaccination and system for appointments, available on the Greek government webpage at https://emvolio.gov.gr/.  The Greek government is working on COVID-19 vaccination guidelines for people residing in Greece that do not have AMKA (Greek public health care coverage).  Once finalized, the information will also be uploaded on the Greek government webpage at https://emvolio.gov.gr/.  Individuals without AMKA who believe they qualify for the current phase of vaccination in Greece (currently those age 80 and above) may enter their personal data at https://emvolio.gov.gr/aitisi to request consideration for a vaccination appointment.
  • Information from the CDC regarding COVID-19 vaccination.

Entry and Exit Requirements:

  • Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? No
    • Greece will currently only allow EU citizens, EU residents, and residents of certain other specific countries to enter. The United States is not one of those countries.  U.S. citizens traveling to Greece will not be permitted to enter unless they meet one of only a few narrow exceptions detailed in the Greek Embassy’s information on entrance into the European Union/Schengen Area.  There is no projected date when entry will be permitted.  A long visit in a third country will not help you get around EU restrictions.
    • If you do not meet the conditions or exceptions mentioned above but believe your circumstances merit entry to Greece, or if you need clarification, contact the closest Greek Embassy or consulate prior to travel.  The U.S. Embassy in Athens cannot give you permission to enter Greece or request exceptions to EU travel restrictions.
    • If you are in the EU on a military base, you must check the EUCOM travel policy and with your unit commander prior to official or personal travel to Greece.  The Embassy’s consular section cannot authorize or confirm your ability to enter Greece.  If authorized by your command to travel, you MUST complete the online Passenger Locator Form (PLF) 48 hours before entering Greece, regardless of purpose of travel.
    • All travelers who are eligible to enter Greece must complete the online Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 48 hours before entering Greece.  See the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs post on procedures for international arrivals.  Travelers with connecting flights to Greece report overnight delays for failing to fill out the PLF prior to travel.
    • All Greek citizens and permanent residents must now submit a PLF prior to departure as well.
    • Once you start filling out the PLF form, you are given the option to select arrival or departure.  For any questions regarding this form, the Greek Government has instituted a PLF Hot Line at +30-215-560-5151, available Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm in English and Greek.
  • Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? Yes
    • All travelers entering Greece are now required to present a negative molecular test result (PCR test) for COVID-19, performed up to 72 hours before their entry to Greece. Refer to travel.gov.gr for detailed information on PCR test requirements for entry to Greece.
  • Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? Yes
    • All visitors from air, land or sea, will be subject to random tests upon arrival. Upon being tested, travelers move to their final destination. In the event of a positive result, they will be contacted and placed on 14-day quarantine, with expenses covered by the Greek state.
    • Ferry operators and airlines require travelers to complete a health status questionnaire, submit to a temperature check, and wear a mask.  The health form is available here in English and Greek, and provided by transportation operator on site.
  • For information on requesting extension of 90 day visa free travel or obtaining residence permits for U.S. citizens in Greece, please see the corresponding pages on this website.

 Movement Restrictions:

  • Is a curfew in place? Yes
    • A nationwide lockdown is in effect 24 hours per day.  A nighttime curfew is additionally in effect from 9:00pm to 5:00am throughout the country.  As of February 6, 2021, the weekend curfew is expanded in Athens, Thessaloniki, and Halkidiki, in effect from 6:00pm to 5:00am.
    • In general, travel outside the home should be avoided, but is permitted for work and for the following reasons between the hours of 5:00am and 9:00pm (5:00am and 6:00pm in “red” areas, on weekends in Athens, Thessaloniki, and Halkidiki):
    1. For health reasons;
    2. To buy essential supplies if delivery is not possible in time;
    3. Essential banking or urgent appointments for public services (e.g., electricity);
    4. To help people in need. Transfer to/from workplace of a spouse or first-degree relative. Transfer of a minor to/from school (with a certificate from the school);
    5. Attending a ceremony (e.g., funeral). Travel to exercise visitation rights;
    6. Movements near one’s residence for physical exercise, or care of pets or strays
  • If you must travel outside the home for one of the first six reasons listed above, you must send an SMS message to the number 13033 prior to going outside. The message should include the number of the reason for the movements (1-6, as above).
  • Movements for work are permitted with a certificate issued by the employer (no SMS needed).
  • The nighttime curfew between 9:00pm and 5:00am (6:00pm and 5:00am in “red” areas) restricts movements only to work (with certificate), health (SMS Option 1), and walking a pet close to home (SMS Option 6).
  • Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? Yes
    • As of November 7, 2020,  travel between other regions in Greece is allowed only for health reasons, business, family reunification, or to return to one’s place of permanent residence and requires declaration as described at forma.gov.gr/en.  International flights to/from Athens are expected to continue and U.S. citizens wishing to return to the United States will be able to do so.  Travel may be restricted further with little or no advance notice to/from areas with active COVID-19 outbreaks.

Quarantine Information:

  • Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? Yes
    • US citizens residing in the United States are banned from entering Greece per details above under Entry and Exit Requirements.
    • All travelers entering Greece through February 8, 2021 are subject to a mandatory seven-day preventive quarantine, as announced January 8, 2021.  In addition, travelers who entered Greece from the United Kingdom must take a PCR test at the end of the quarantine period with negative results in order to be released from preventive quarantine, according to the airport website.  Travelers are advised to check with Greek authorities regarding any quarantine restrictions in effect at the time of entry into Greece.
    • On July 9, 2020, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted procedures for international arrivals.  See the airport website for additional details.  If you are tested for COVID-19, you are permitted to travel to your final destination where you must self quarantine for 24 hours (or longer as described above).  If positive, you will be notified and quarantined for 14 days.  If negative, you will not be notified.

Transportation Options:

  • Are commercial flights operating? Yes
    • The Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos is open and operational; however, there are no direct flights between the United States and Greece at this time.  Many airlines currently operate flights departing Greece from which travelers can connect to flights to the United States.  Flights from Turkey are currently banned.
  • Is public transportation operating? Yes
    • Masks are required while using public transportation and taxis. Taxis are limited to one passenger, except for minor children.

Fines for Non-Compliance:

  • The fine for not wearing a mask in areas where it is required, not maintaining required social distancing, and/or violating the movement restrictions is 300 euros.  The fine for non-compliance with mandatory quarantine is 5000 euros, in addition to possible arrest.

Consular Operations:

  • In keeping with restrictions announced by the Greek government, appointments at the U.S. Embassy in Athens for routine U.S. citizen services are limited, including passport processingreports of birth abroadnotary actionsvoting assistance, and federal benefits assistance.  U.S. citizens should see the corresponding pages on this website to make appointments for these services.  We will continue to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens.
  • Embassy Athens is currently processing limited categories of non-immigrant visa and immigrant visa applications. At this time, we are prioritizing services for citizens and residents of Greece. More information is available in the Embassy’s recent notice regarding limited visa services.
  • All consular services have been suspended at the U.S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki as of November 3, 2020.

Local Resources:

  • Assistance:
  • U.S. Embassy Athens, Greece
  • +30 210-721-2951
  • AthensAmericanCitizenServices@state.gov