GreeceOfficial Name: Hellenic Republic
6 months recommended
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
1 page per stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Not required for stays less than 90 days; required for all official and diplomatic passport holders
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
10,000 euro or the equivalent
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
10,000 Euros or equivalent
Embassies and Consulates
91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue
10160 Athens, Greece
Telephone: +(30)(210) 721-2951
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(30)(210) 729-4444 or
Fax: +(30)(210) 724-5313
U.S. Consulate General Thessaloniki
Plateia Commercial Center
43 Tsimiski Street, 7th floor
546 23 Thessaloniki
Telephone: +(30)(2310) 242-905
Emergency After-Hours Telephone:+(30)(210) 729-4444 or
Fax: +(30)(2310) 242-927
All regular consular services for U.S. citizens, including passports, notarials, and reports of birth and death abroad, are provided at the U.S. Embassy in Athens. There are limited periodic appointment opportunities throughout the year in Thessaloniki for routine consular services. Please check the U.S. Embassy in Athens’ website periodically for information on the next consular outreach trip to the U.S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki.
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Greece for information on U.S.-Greece relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
Visit the Embassy of Greece website for the most current visa information.
- Passport should be valid for at least six months.
- You need proof of sufficient funds and a return airline ticket.
- You may enter Greece for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa.
- U.S. Official and Diplomatic passport holders must obtain a Schengen visa prior to arrival. You will not be allowed to enter Greece without a visa.
- If you are traveling on official military orders, review the guidance in the Department of Defense Foreign Clearance Guide.
If you are a U.S. citizen born in the Republic of Macedonia, your U.S. passport should be recognized as a valid travel document. Be aware:
- Greek Immigration Officers at all ports of entry (land, air, and sea) will not place entry stamps in passports listing the traveler’s place of birth as Macedonia or the Republic of Macedonia.
- You will be asked to complete a short form on which the entry stamp will be placed.
- Keep the form with your passport while you are in Greece and present it upon departure.
HIV/AIDS Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Greece.
Safety and Security
Greece has been the scene of domestic terrorist incidents as recently as 2015. Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possibly near term attacks in Europe. All European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations. Greece’s open borders with other Schengen zone countries, as well as its long coastline and many islands, could permit terrorist groups to enter or transit the country with anonymity. You should remain vigilant and exercise caution.
Strikes and Demonstrations:
- Domestic strikes, demonstrations, and work stoppages are common throughout Greece.
- Even demonstrations and strikes intending to be peaceful can become violent,
- Stay informed about demonstrations from local news sources and hotel security.
- You can find information regarding demonstrations on the Embassy website and on our Consular Section Facebook page.
- Strikes in the transportation sector can affect traffic and public transportation, including taxis, seaports, and airports. Reconfirm domestic and international flights before heading to the airport.
- Demonstrations also occur annually on November 17, the anniversary of the 1973 student uprising against the military regime in power at the time.
- Anarchists and criminals have used university campuses as refuges. Demonstrators frequently congregate in the Polytechnic University area; Exarchia, Omonia, and Syntagma Squares in Athens; and at Aristotle Square, Aristotle University, and the Kamara area in Thessaloniki.
- Violent anarchist groups have joined public demonstrations to clash with police and vandalize public and private property.
Harassment of U.S. Citizens and Violent Crime: U.S. citizens have reported unprovoked harassment and violent attacks against persons who appear to be foreign migrants.
- U.S. citizens of African, Asian, Hispanic, or Middle Eastern descent are at most risk.
- Exercise caution, especially in the immediate vicinity of Omonia and Exarchia Squares in Athens after dark.
- Greek authorities have detained African-American U.S. citizens during sweeps for illegal immigrants in Athens.
Exercise caution when attending Greek Orthodox Easter celebrations that occur at midnight on Holy Saturday. Spectators have suffered severe, sometimes fatal injuries as a result of fireworks, many of which are homemade and illegal.
Crime: Crimes against tourists (such as pick-pocketing and purse-snatching) occur at popular tourist sites and on public transportation—especially the Metro—and in some shopping areas in and around Thessaloniki.
You should take the following precautions:
- Do not leave bags unattended, especially on the Metro and on the train to and from the Athens Airport.
- Be discreet when discussing plans and organizing your belongings upon arrival.
- Thieves are active on public transportation. Avoid standing near the doors on public transportation, as thieves will often strike just as the train/bus doors open and then dash onto the platform and disappear into the crowd.
- Be aware of high-crime locations, including Omonia, Vathi, and Kolokotroni Squares in Athens.
- Never agree to go to a bar or club with someone you have just met on the street. The clubs near Glyfada Square are associated with a signficant organized-crime network. Avoid those clubs if you get a hard-sell pitch for business, which might be a set-up for crime.
- Never leave your drink unattended in a bar or club. Drink alcohol in moderation and stay in control.
- Protect yourself and your money at automated teller machines (ATM). Only use ATMs located inside a bank or hotel. Do not use ATMs located in dark or isolated areas.
- Grandparent Scams - Thieves target elderly citizens in the United States to convince them to wire money to assist a relative (often a grandchild) in distress overseas. Review our financial scams page for the full picture on this and many other scams.
Victims of Crime: Report crime to the local police and contact the U.S. Embassy at (+30) 210-720-2414 or the Emergency after-hours telephone : (+30)210-729-4444. Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States.
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical
- support in certain cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier for the Embassy to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department's travel website for Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. In Greece:
- Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs could land you immediately in jail.
- You are not allowed to photograph military installations. If you do, police may arrest you.
- Mace or pepper-spray canisters are illegal in Greece. Such items will be confiscated and may result in detention and arrest.
- If you violate regulations on Greek antiquities, you could face a large fine or even a prison sentence.
- Carry your passport or some form of photo identification at all. Police may detain you for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Greek Antiquities: Customs authorities strictly regulate the export of Greek antiquities, including rocks from archaeology sites. Make sure you are not purchasing a restricted antiquity and carry a receipt for anything you buy.
Military Service for Dual Nationals:
- Greek males between 19 and 45 are required to perform military service.
- If the Greek government considers you to be a Greek citizen, you may be required to fulfill this obligation, whether or not you consider yourself Greek and even if you have a U.S. or other passport.
- Authorities can prevent you from leaving the country until you complete your military obligations.
- Contact the Greek embassy or nearest Greek consulate with any questions about military service.
- Generally, required military service will not affect your U.S. citizenship, but contact the U.S. Embassy in Athens if you have questions.
Natural Disasters: Follow the instructions of local authorities. Contact the General Secretariat for Civil Protection, which responds to emergencies, at 210-335-9900 for more information. Operators speak English.
Forest fires are common, especially during the dry summer months.
Greece also experiences both tremors and earthquakes. The Greek Government has produced an earthquake-safety pamphlet for tourists and visitors. Detailed information on Greece's earthquake fault lines is available from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Greece. LGBTI individuals in Greece are protected by anti-discrimination laws and gender identity is among the grounds covered by laws against hate speech. At the same time, however, non-governmental organizations report that social discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is widespread in Greece. See our LGBTI travel information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Individuals with disabilities will find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. Greek law prohibits discrimination against person with physical or intellectual disabilities. While local law also requires access to buildings, sidewalks, and public transportation, application and enforcement of these laws is a work in progress.
- Handicapped parking spaces and sidewalk ramps are often occupied or blocked by parked vehicles.
- Narrow sidewalks often have broken paving stones, large holes, and are obstructed by trees and street signs.
- Buildings with ramp entries might not have accessible elevators or bathrooms.
- A small, but growing, percentage of public buildings (primarily in Athens) have full accessibility. Some buildings and intersections include accommodations for visually-impaired travelers.
- The Athens Metro and Athens International Airport are fully accessible with ramps and elevators.
- Ask your hotel about accessibility before booking.
The Deputy Ombudsman for Social Welfare handles complaints related to persons with disabilities, especially those related to employment, social security, and transportation.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for women travelers.
Most public medical facilities in Greece offer adequate care. Some private hospitals have affiliations with U.S. facilities and provide high-quality care. Many of their staff doctors have trained in the United States or elsewhere in Europe.
- Public medical clinics may lack resources. Staff may speak little or no English.
- The patient is responsible for all costs of transferring to or between hospitals.
- Private hospitals usually require proof of adequate insurance or cash before admitting a patient.
- Generally, in public hosptials only minimal nursing staff is available overnight on non-emergency wards. You should consider hiring a private nurse or having family spend the night with the patient, especially a minor child.
- Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.
- Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
- We do not pay medical bills. U.S. Medicare does not pay medical costs overseas.
- You should consider supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Travel & Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety: Greece has one of the highest traffic fatality rates in the European Union. Exercise extreme caution as both a driver and a pedestrian, and follow these tips:
- Be prepared to drive defensively.
- Expect heavy traffic, poor roads, obscured traffic signs, and vehicles traveling at high speeds. Driving at night, in inclement weather, and on mountain roads can be particularly hazardous.
- Be careful while riding a motorbike and wear a helmet, even if locals aren’t. It’s the law!
- Check for motorbikes between lanes and on either side of you.
- Don’t rely on lane markings. On many two-lane highways, slower traffic will drive on the shoulder and cars will pass straddling the center, double yellow line.
- Review your insurance coverage before renting. Small motorbike and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) rental firms frequently carry no insurance and require customers to cover the cost of all damages to their vehicles. Some insurance companies do not cover two-wheel or ATV rentals. Most insurance companies will not cover you in Greece for any vehicle unless you have both your valid U.S. license and an interational driver’s permit (IDP) from AAA or the National Automobile Club.
- Talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal; the police check cell phone call records when investigating accidents.
- Driving while under the influence of a alcohol is illegal and police conduct random testing. Don’t risk it.
- You must carry a valid U.S. license as well as an international driver’s permit (IDP). If you don’t, police may detain you and you may face high fines. You generally must get the IDP before leaving the United States from either AAA or the National Automobile Club.
- A Greek license is required if you stay more than 185 days in Greece. Contact the Regional Office of Transportation and Communications for more information.
Public Transportation: Make sure you have the correct ticket and you’ve validated it properly before boarding a bus or train. Inspectors randomly board public transportation to check for tickets. If you have no ticket or the wrong ticket, you may receive a fine up to 60 times the basic fare. If you pay the fine on the spot or within 10 days, it could be reduced.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Greece’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Greece’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.