Greece is one of the most traveled countries in the EU, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been some impediments that are very necessary for the health and safety of the tourists and all the visitors. Greek Ministry of Tourism has ensured to provide ease in immigration and travel procedures for tourism, however, the persisting pandemic of COVID-19 calls for certain measures adding to safety and health. Greece opened its borders for all travelers on 14 May 2021, conditional to some additional travel protocols for health and safety.
Basic Entry Policy for Greece
To apply for the visa for Greece, you must have a passport that is valid for a minimum of 6 x months from the time of application. Greek overseas diplomatic office in the home country will issue the visa (Schengen Visa) after following a certain procedure. You are good to travel to Greece in case you have a Schengen Visa for entry into any Schengen country. As a traveler you can stay in the EU / Schengen area for up to 90 days within 180 days of an allotted visa by any Schengen Country or Authority.
Passenger Locator Form
All the travelers will need to fill in the Greece Passenger Locator Form (PLF) 24 hours before arriving in Greece. The form requires basic data and information about the travelers including the name, contact number and email, address during your stay in Greece, symptoms you suffered recently, vaccination details, agreement to abide by the Greece heath safety protocols during the stay and the details of all the family members traveling together. An automatic QR code will be generated which you will be required to produce to the immigration. Preferably each member of the group shall have his / her QR code. You may be denied getting onboard at the departure airport in case you do not possess the PLF email.
Types of Visas for Traveling to Greece
Travelers must be wise enough to select the correct type of visa required when filling up the documents. A multiple-entry Schengen visa will let you stay in Greece for 90 days after the day of entry each time, till the date of expiry of the visa. Multiple-Entry visas can be 1 year, 3 years, or 5-year multiple entry visas. While applying for these visas, you must know that these are known as Greece Family Reunification Visa, Employment Visa and Student Visa. After filling the form for the required visa, schedule a Visa Appointment by visiting the Visa Office in person or at places you will do that online.
Policy for Schengen Residents
Greek tourist policy at the present allows travelers from around 90 countries to enter Greece without a visa. All the countries that have signed the Schengen Agreement for passport-free travel, possess similar visa policies. Greek visa policy and entry policy may vary depending upon the nationality of the visitor and the type of visa required. Schengen residents do not need a visa and can stay in Greece for unlimited time by just possessing the National ID of an EU country.
Greece Residence Permit
If you intend moving to Greece for a period of year or exceeding it, you must apply for Greek Residence Permit. For this additional step, you will submit your documents again after filling the online Residence Permit form / application.
COVID-19 Safety Protocols for Entering Greece
- Each passenger will be required to show a PCR certificate of test conducted within the last 72 hours.
- A negative antigen certificate taken within the last 48 hours may also be produced in case of non-availability of the PCR certificate.
- Proof of negative test is exempted for those who have been vaccinated and 14 days have elapsed since then.
- Proof of negative test is exempted for those who have been tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 2 to 9 months. Antigen test results would be required to prove it.
- A random PCR test can be conducted for any traveler who has entered Greece irrespective of possession of all the certificates mentioned earlier. In case of disagreement and non-cooperation, government authorities hold the right to deport you.
- Non-EU residents must ensure direct flights to Greece to avoid unnecessary troubles. In case of unavoidable circumstances, travelers are advised to know and abide by the rules and laws governing the transit country, especially with regards to COVID – 19.
- In cases where the passengers are tested positive, all the expanses occurring for the accommodation provided for mandatory quarantine will be borne by the Greece State authorities.
- All attraction places, especially the historical archeological sites which normally get overcrowded, have been limited for certain strength to ensure health and safety measures. All tourists must abide by the restrictions.
Entry Protocols at Land Borders
Land entry is also bound by rules for the safety of travelers and the locals. The Greek land borders use multiple lanes for entry procedures for citizens of EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals. At arrival, first of all, passengers are to provide with the result of the COVID-19 test conducted within the last 72 hours of arrival or you may be asked to undergo a rapid COVID test. In case of positive results, mandatory quarantine will be imposed upon you. In addition to other documents, you may also be required to provide a return ticket and enough travel money as proof of your intended return. PLF is mandatory to be produced to the authorities at the land border.
Which Borders are Open for Entry?
Before planning a land trip to Greece, you must check in advance for all the borders which are open for entry, else you may lose time and energy. All the borders allowing entry into Greece remain open for a limited period. Any entry required out of the designated time will require a genuine cause supported by valid documents. Border entry is open at Evzones crossing point if you arrive from Macedonia and Promachonas, Ormenio and nimfea crossing point in case of arrival from Bulgaria.