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International Travel

English

Country Information

Greece

Country Information

Greece
Hellenic Republic
Last Updated: October 13, 2017
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Embassy Messages

Athens

 

Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Six months of remaining validity recommended

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page per stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Not required for stays less than 90 days; visa required for all official and diplomatic passport holders

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

10,000 euros or the equivalent

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

10,000 euros or the equivalent

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Athens

91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue
10160 Athens, Greece
Telephone:
+(30)(210) 721-2951
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +30 210 729-4444 or +30 210 729-4301
Fax: +(30)(210) 724-5313
 

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Thessaloniki
Plateia Commercial Center
43 Tsimiski Street, 7th floor
546 23 Thessaloniki
Greece
Telephone:
+30-231-024-2905
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +30 210 729-4444 or +30 210 729-4301
Fax: +30 231-024-2927


U.S. Consulate General Thessaloniki provides weekly notarial service. U.S. Embassy Athens provides all other regular consular services including U.S. passports, notarials, and reports of birth and death abroad. 

Periodically, Embassy Athens’ consular staff provide regular consular services in Thessaloniki. Please check the U.S. Embassy in Athens’ website for information on the next scheduled visit.

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Greece for information on U.S.-Greece relations. 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Visit the Embassy of Greece website for the most current visa information.

Greece is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S. citizens may enter Greece without a visa for stays of up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.

  • For entry into Greece, your passport should have at least six months of remaining validity.
  • You must arrive in country with proof of sufficient funds and a return airline ticket.
  • U.S. official and diplomatic passport holders must obtain a Schengen visa prior to arrival. If you are traveling on a U.S. official or diplomatic passport, you will not be allowed to enter Greece without a visa.
  • If 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. However, be aware:

  • Greek Immigration officers at ports of entry (land, air, and sea) will not place entry stamps in a passport 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.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction, and customs information on our websites.

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Safety and Security

Terrorism: 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 and can become violent. Stay informed through local news, hotel security, the Embassy website, and the Consular Section’s Facebook page.
  • Transportation sector strikes interrupt traffic, public transportation, taxis, seaports, and airports. Reconfirm domestic and international flights before heading to the airport.
  • Avoid all areas affected by the annual November 17 demonstrations (noted on our website) that week, including the U.S. Embassy.
  • 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.

Crime: Crimes against tourists, such as pick-pocketing and purse-snatching, occur at popular tourist sites, on public transportation (especially the Metro) and in Thessaloniki shopping areas. The Embassy has received reports of alcohol-induced attacks targeting individual tourists at some holiday resorts and bars; one incident was fatal.

Take the following precautions:

  • Be cautious and aware of your surroundings.
  • Use alcohol in moderation and remain in control.
  • Be discreet when discussing plans and organizing belongings upon arrival.
  • Do not leave bags unattended, especially on the Metro and the Athens Airport train.
  • Avoid standing near bus or train doors. Thieves often strike as the doors open then disappear into the crowd.
  • Never leave drinks unattended in bars/clubs.
  • Protect yourself and your money by using well-lit, public ATMs.
  • Be aware of internet scams with online thieves posing as loved ones or romantic interests.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime: Report crime to the local police and, if you require assistance, 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 crimes.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • 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 U.S.
  • 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 in certain cases of destitution
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

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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. Possession of a U.S. passport will not prevent you from being arrested, prosecuted, or jailed.

  • 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 police may arrest or detain you.
  • Carry your passport or some form of photo identification at all times. Police may detain you for questioning if you don’t have proper identification with you.

Some crimes are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpagefor further information.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

Greek Antiquities: Customs authorities strictly regulate the export of Greek antiquities, including rocks from archaeology sites. Do not remove anything, no matter how small, from archaeological or historical sites. Do not purchase protected antiquities and carry a receipt for any purchases.

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 or posess U.S. or third country’s passport.
  • Authorities can prevent you from leaving Greece until you complete your military obligations. Contact the Greek embassy or nearest Greek consulate with questions.
  • enerally, 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 experiences both tremors and earthquakes. The Greek Government has produced an earthquake-safety pamphlet for tourists and visitors.

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 the Department of State's 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. Local law also requires access to buildings, sidewalks, and public transportation, however, application and enforcement of these laws is lacking.

  • 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.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Most public medical facilities in Greece offer adequate care, although the prolonged economic crisis has degraded the quality of services in many. Some private hospitals have affiliations with U.S. facilities and provide high-quality care. Many doctors have trained in the United States or elsewhere in Europe.

  • Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most overseas providers only accept cash payments.  See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
  • We strongly encourage purchasing supplemental insurance for medical evacuation.
  • The U.S. government does not pay medical bills, and U.S. Medicare does not pay medical costs overseas.
  • Public medical clinics may lack resources. Staff may speak little or no English.
  • Private hospitals usually require proof of adequate insurance or cash before admitting a patient. Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals.
  • Generally, in public hospitals only minimal nursing staff is available overnight in non-emergency wards. 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.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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Travel and 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:

  • Drive defensively.
  • Expect heavy traffic, obscured traffic signs, and vehicles traveling at high speeds. Driving at night, in inclement weather, and on mountain roads can be particularly hazardous.
  • Local law requires all motorcylists to wear a helmet.
  • 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. Your insurance company may not cover two-wheel or ATV rentals. Most insurance companies require you that have both your valid U.S. license and an international driver’s permit (IDP) for coverage in Greece.

Traffic Laws:

  • Talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal. The police check cell phone call records when investigating accidents.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal, and police conduct random alcohol testing.
  • You must carry a valid U.S. license and 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.

See our road safety page for more information, including information on IDPs. Visit the website of the Greek National Tourist Office.      

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, or have not validated your ticket, you could be fined up to 60 times the basic fare.

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.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Germany should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website  select “broadcast warnings”.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Athens

91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue
10160 Athens, Greece
Telephone:
+(30)(210) 721-2951
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +30 210 729-4444 or +30 210 729-4301
Fax: +(30)(210) 724-5313
 

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Thessaloniki
Plateia Commercial Center
43 Tsimiski Street, 7th floor
546 23 Thessaloniki
Greece
Telephone:
+30-231-024-2905
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +30 210 729-4444 or +30 210 729-4301
Fax: +30 231-024-2927


U.S. Consulate General Thessaloniki provides weekly notarial service. U.S. Embassy Athens provides all other regular consular services including U.S. passports, notarials, and reports of birth and death abroad. 

Periodically, Embassy Athens’ consular staff provide regular consular services in Thessaloniki. Please check the U.S. Embassy in Athens’ website for information on the next scheduled visit.

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General Information

Greece and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since June 1, 1993.

For information concerning travel to Greece, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Greece.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Greece.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Fax: 202-485-6221
Website

The Greek Central Authority (GCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Justice.  The Ministry of Justice has an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applicationsThe Ministry of Justice forwards completed Hague applications to the Legal Council of the State, which in turn will assign the case to a legal representative.  Parents or legal guardians and other parties (e.g., the child) have the right to their own legal counsel.  The GCA can be reached at:

The Greek Central Authority
Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights
96 Mesogeion Avenue
11527 Athens
Greece
Telephone: 011 [30] (210) 776-7312
Fax: 011 [30] (210) 776-7499

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Greece, the USCA encourages a parent or legal guardian to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at the Department of State website and contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the GCA.  It is extremely important that each document written in English be translated into Greek.  Please note, however, that certified translations are not necessary.  Any competent person or organization may translate the documents.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the GCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. 

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Greece central authorities.  Attorney fees, if necessary, are the responsibility of the applicant parent.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Greece.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Greece.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Retaining an Attorney

In a Hague Abduction Convention case, left-behind parents may qualify for a public prosecutor, at no charge, if the left-behind parent meets certain financial requirements.  Left-behind parents who do not meet these financial requirements are responsible for retaining their own attorney in Greece at their own expense.  When working with a public prosecutor, it is important to note that this individual does not represent the left-behind parent or legal guardian who submitted the Hague Abduction Convention application; instead, the legal representative represents Greece and submits the request for return on behalf of the Greek Minister of Justice.  A privately hired attorney should contact the GCA as soon as possible after the Hague Abduction Convention application has been filed with the Greek Central Authority.

The U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney.The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Mediation may be available for both abduction and access cases. Although the GCA does not provide mediation services directly, there are registered attorneys who act as mediators and offer mediation services in every Greek Bar Association.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country.  It is important for parents to understand that, although a left behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.   For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney when planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Greece is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Hague countries is done in accordance with the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations, as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Greece.

Note: Greece is not generally considered a country of origin in intercountry adoption. There are few children eligible for adoption in Greece. U.S. prospective adoptive parents residing in Greece are cautioned that while Greek domestic adoption procedures may allow birth mothers to relinquish their parental rights to a child prior to giving birth, such consents are not consistent with the Hague Convention.

In addition, children born to mothers who relinquish their rights prior to birth may not acquire Greek citizenship, even if the child is born in Greece.

In limited circumstances, U.S. prospective adoptive parents may pursue a domestic adoption in Greece. They are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Athens or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for more information on the Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative (immediate relative) process in Convention countries.

Special transition provisions apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008. Learn more.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to the U.S. requirements, Greece requires prospective adoptive parents to meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Greece:

  • Residency: You must be a resident of Greece to adopt a child from any of the governmental institutions and orphanages in Greece which care for orphaned or abandoned children. Exceptions for prospective adoptive parents who do not reside in Greece will be made only for children with health problems (as determined by the accredited public welfare service) living in Greek institutions.
  • Age of Adopting Parents: You must be between the ages of 30 and 60 in order to adopt a child. At least one of the adoptive parents must be at least 18 years older, but not more than 50 years older, than the adopted child. Only minors can be adopted, except in the case of step-parent adoption. The legal process of adoption cannot be initiated before the child is three months old; however, biological parents give the child to prospective adoptive parents immediately after birth in almost all cases of independent adoptions.
  • Marriage: Prospective adoptive parents may be married or single. At this time, Greek Family Law does not allow or recognize same-sex marriage.
  • Income: Prospective adoptive parents must provide evidence of financial stability.
  • Other: There is no requirement that a prospective adoptive parent be a member of a particular church or religion in order to adopt a child in Greece.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Greece is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Greece must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Greece have determined that placement of the child within Greece has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests. In addition to Greece’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of Convention adoptee to be eligible for an immigrant visa that will allow you to bring him or her to the United States.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Relinquishment: Relinquishment requires the consent of both biological parents or legal guardians and a court decision.
  • Abandonment: In the case of abandonment, the court process replaces the consent of biological parents and facilitates procedures between the adoptive parents and the interested party, providing a judicial guarantee
  • Age of Adoptive Child: Only minors (children under 18 years of age) can be adopted, except in the case of step-parent adoption.
  • Sibling Adoptions: The court takes into consideration the perspectives of the children of the adopting family.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Medical reports are needed in addition to all other documents required by the court. The relevant Ministries and courts process applications of prospective adoptive parents in chronological order. However, they give priority to those willing to adopt a child with special physical or psychological needs, as determined by a public sector doctor.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: Due to a limited number of children available for adoption and a large number of prospective adoptive parents, the waiting period to finalize an adoption is approximately five years for a child living in an institution. For children with health problems, the waiting period usually takes up to three years. An attorney is necessary in order to present the case in court and finalize the adoption. Court decisions concerning adoption cases usually take from one to six months before a final decision is made.
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How to Adopt

WARNING: Greece is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Greece before a U.S. consular officer issues an “Article 5 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.

Although there are no private adoption agencies in Greece, children may be adopted with the involvement of an attorney or a notary who will act as a facilitator. Such private adoptions are for in-country, and not intercountry purposes. If you intend to move with your adopted child to the United States, or outside of Greece, you should not engage in a private adoption, but should follow the Convention process. Whether or not a child is adopted through one of the government-run institutions and orphanages, or privately, a lawyer is required.

Greece’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Welfare

Note: If any of the following occurred prior to April 1, 2008 (the date on which the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force with respect to the United States), the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption: 1) you filed a Form I-600A identifying Greece as the country where you intended to adopt; 2) you filed a Form I-600; or, 3) the adoption was completed. Under these circumstances, your adopted child’s visa application could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. For more information, read about Transition Cases. Similarly, if the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force in Greece after April 1, 2008, and you have an approved, unexpired Form I-600A or filed a Form I-600 before the entry into force date in Greece, your adoption may be considered a transition case. Please contact adoptionusca@state.gov with the details of the case if this situation applies to you.

The Process

Because Greece is party to The Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Greece must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.

  1. Choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider
  2. Apply to USCIS to be found eligible to adopt
  3. Be matched with a child by authorities in Greece
  4. Apply to USCIS for the child to be found eligible for immigration to the United States and receive U.S. agreement to proceed with the adoption
  5. Adopt (or Gain Legal Custody) of child in Greece
  6. Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for your child and bring your child home

1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider

The recommended first step in adopting a child from Greece is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide services to U.S. citizens in Convention cases. Only accredited or approved adoption services providers may provide adoption services between the United States and Greece. The U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider will act as the primary provider in your case. The primary adoption service provider is responsible for ensuring that all adoption services in the case are done in accordance with the Hague Adoption Convention and U.S. laws and regulations. Learn more about Agency Accreditation.

2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Eligible to Adopt

After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt by the responsible U.S. government agency, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), by submitting Form I-800A. Read more about Eligibility Requirements.

Once USCIS determines that you are “eligible” and “suited” to adopt by approving the Form I-800A, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Welfare in Greece as part of your adoption dossier. Greece’s Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Welfare reviews your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Greek law.

3. Be Matched with a Child in Greece

If both the United States and Greece determine that you are eligible to adopt, and the central authority for adoptions has determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Welfare in Greece may provide you with a referral for a child. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of a specific child in Greece. The Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Welfare in Greece will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs and provide a permanent home for a particular child. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Welfare in Greece. Learn more about this critical decision.

4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption

After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States (Form I-800). USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child meets the definition of a Convention Adoptee and will be eligible to enter the United States and reside permanently as an immigrant.

After provisional approval of Form I-800, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece, is responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Greece. A consular officer will review the Form I-800 and the visa application for possible visa ineligibilities and advise you of options for the waiver of any noted ineligibilities.

WARNING: The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5 Letter”) to Greece’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Greece where all Convention requirements are met and the consular officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform Greece’s Central Authority that the parents are eligible and suited to adopt, that all indications are that the child may enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.

Do not attempt to adopt or obtain custody of a child in Greece before a U.S. consular officer issues the Article 5 Letter in any adoption case.

Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

5. Adopt (or Gain Legal Custody) of a Child in Greece

Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Greece, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Greece.

The process for finalizing adoption or gaining legal custody in Greece generally includes the following:

  • Role of Adoption Authority: According to Greek Law, 2447/1996, all petitions submitted to local orphanages by the prospective adoptive parents are followed by an extensive and thorough field investigation performed by local social services, which are supervised by the Greek Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Welfare. When the investigation is over, the case file is forwarded to the local institution’s committee.

    The local institution’s committee approves or disapproves the petition of the prospective parents. This committee then matches prospective adoptive parents with children, taking into account the specific needs of specific children and the corresponding ability of prospective parents to meet those needs.

    If the child is 12 years or older and has no emotional or mental condition impairing judgment, the court takes the child’s wishes into consideration. In addition, the court takes into consideration the perspectives of the children of the adopting family. Because of the relatively small number of adoptions in Greece, this matching process can be detailed and precise. Adoptive parents’ applications are processed by the local institutions strictly in chronological order; however, priority is given to persons willing to adopt a child with special physical or psychological needs.

    If the petition is approved, the case file is forwarded to the appropriate court for endorsement.

    For private adoptions within Greece, the social service arm of the respective prefecture (nomarchy) of the area where the parents reside can also initiate the process. In either case, the prefecture’s public welfare service or ISS will conduct the field investigation. The law requires that a home study be conducted by local social services, prior to the court hearing, so that the family and the social status of the adoptive parents can be determined.

    There is a 15-20 day fostering period for children living in institutions.

  • Role of the Court: A court decision must be issued following the field investigation by the relevant social service. The majority of adoption mediators ensure that biological parents do not know the details of the adoptive parents, to exclude the possibility of blackmail attempt or other unlawful action.

    The documents that comprise the legal file submitted to the court in order to issue a final decision for the adoption are:

    • Field investigation report by the social service;
    • Marriage certificate;
    • Penal record;
    • Family status certificate;
    • Written consent of biological parent(s);
    • Proof of financial stability of prospective adoptive parents;
    • Proof of residence of adoptive parents;
    • Medical examination of the adoptive parents (excluding those with chronic diseases).

    In abandonment cases, a court process replaces the consent of biological parents and facilitates procedures between the adoptive parents and the interested party. Specifically, the consent of parents for adoption of their child is replaced with a court decision if:

    1. Parents are unknown or the child is abandoned;
    2. Both parents have been denied parental responsibility or are in a situation where they have been forbidden to exercise parental control regarding their ability to consent to adoption of the child;
    3. Parents’ residence is unknown;
    4. The child is protected by a recognized social organization, if he/she has been removed from the parent’s custody and the parents refuse to give consent; or the child is delivered with the consent of parents to a (foster) family for care and upbringing, with the intent to adopt, and the child has been integrated into that family for at least a year, and the parents later refuse to give consent.
  • Role of Adoption Agencies: There are no private adoption agencies in Greece. Whether an individual adopts a child from one of the government-run institutions and orphanages, or privately, a lawyer is required.
  • Time Frame: Due to the limited number of children available for adoption, and the large number of prospective adoptive parents, the waiting period to finalize an adoption is approximately five years for a child living in an institution. An attorney is required in order to present the case to court and finalize the adoption. Court decisions concerning adoption cases usually take from one to six months before a final decision is issued. For children with health problems, it usually takes up to three years. The timeframe for private adoptions varies.
  • Adoption Application: An application signed by the adoptive parents is submitted to the institution.
  • Adoption Fees: In the adoption services contract that adoptive parents sign at the beginning of the adoption process, the parents’ accredited U.S. agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to the adoption process.

    Prospective adoptive parents must obtain a “revenue stamp” (Greek Government fee) before a child is released by a local institution. Court and attorney fees are approximately 1,000 Euros for adoption of children living in local institutions. Fees may change. Be aware that fees and expenses for private adoptions can be substantial.

    In the adoption services contract that adoptive parents sign at the beginning of the adoption process, the agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to the adoption process.

  • Documents Required: In the case of an intercountry adoption, the International Social Service in Athens or the local prefecture require the following documents from prospective adoptive parents in order to proceed with a field investigation:

    • An application to show their interest to adopt a child, notarized by the Greek police if they are in Greece, or sent through their International Social Services office from the United States;
    • Certified copies of birth certificates;
    • Certified copy of their marriage certificate;
    • Medical certificates concerning the general health condition, and separate certificates concerning the mental health of the adoptive parents;
    • Evidence of the financial stability of the adoptive parents; and
    • Penal records of both adoptive parents. A "penal record" is a document that Greek citizens can obtain from the appropriate area judicial authority regard to their "conviction free" background. It has been the Embassy's experience that U.S. citizens, whenever required, can submit to the Greek authorities an FBI record, which is considered to serve the same purpose.

    Note: Additional documents may be requested.
  • Authentication of Documents: The United States and Greece are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention. U.S. public documents may be authenticated with an Apostille by the appropriate U.S. Competent Authority.

6. Obtain an Immigrant Visa for your Child and Bring Your Child Home

Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate
If you have finalized the adoption in Greece, you will first need to apply for a birth certificate for your child so that you can later apply for a passport.

Upon finalization of the adoption, the court will change the child’s surname to that of the adoptive parent. The court may also allow the adoptive parent, upon application, to add or change the given name that the child had before the adoption, and to change the place of birth, if this is in the interest of the child.

The court will issue a decision on any changes made on the name of the adopted child based on the primary birth certificate. This certificate is then presented to the Greek registry office (Lixiarhion). The new birth certificate will contain the name of the adoptive parent(s) as the parents, with no reference to the biological parents, and it will also reflect any name or place of birth changes approved by the court, with no reference to the court decision. This is done because of the strict privacy laws in Greece, which state that the adoption of minors must be kept secret. The adopted child only has the right to be informed by the adoptive parents and the Greek competent authorities on the particulars regarding his/her natural parents, once he/she has reached the age of 18. Before that time, the adoption cannot legally be divulged to the adopted child.

Greek Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Greece.

Prospective adoptive parents can visit this website for information on obtaining a Greek passport for their child.

U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to finalize your application for a U.S. visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S. Embassy for final review of the case, issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Certificate, final approval of Form I-800, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the consular officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: An adoption will need to be completed following your child’s entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting. Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

POST-ADOPTION/POST-PLACEMENT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

Greece requires at least one post-adoption report submitted yearly for a time period of three years following the adoption.

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Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport
U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Greece
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Greece, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip
Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State. Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Greece, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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After Adoption

POST-ADOPTION RESOURCES

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Greece
Vasilissis Sophias 91
101 60 Athens, Greece
Tel: 210-7202452
Fax: 210-7253025
Email: athensconsul@state.gov
Internet: gr.usembassy.gov

Greek Adoption Authority
Department of Adoptions, Fosterages, Central Authority for Inter-Country Adoptions
Directorate of Family Protection (D22)
General Directorate of Welfare
General Secretariat of Welfare
Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Social Solidarity
Postal Address: 29 Stadiou, Athens 101 10, Greece
Tel: 210-5281182-3, 210-5281273
Fax: 210-5281199
Email: kady@yeka.gr
Website: http://www.ypakp.gr

Embassy of Greece
2217 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: 202-939-1300
Fax: 202-234-2803
Email: gremb.was@mfa.gr
Internet: http://www.greekembassy.org

Greece also has Consulates in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Tampa. For detailed contact information, please visit the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
Email: AdoptionUSCA@state.gov
Internet: adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet: uscis.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-800A or I-800 petition:
National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email: NBC.Adoptions@DHS.gov

 

 

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 120 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 120 Months
E-1 2 None Multiple 60 Months
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-6 10 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO-7 1 None Multiple 24 Months
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents
  • The date and place of birth on your passport must read exactly as registered on your birth certificate.
  • Each person immigrating, regardless of age, requires a separate visa. Therefore, you must be prepared to pay in cash a variable fee mentioned on our forms in United States currency or the equivalent in local currency.
Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

A birth certificate or death certificate is obtainable from the local City Hall (Dimarhio). A birth or death registration (Lixiarhiki Praxi Genniseos or Thanatou) is also available from the Registrar's office (Lixiarhio).

In rare cases, it may be impossible to obtain a birth certificate because records have been destroyed or the government will not issue one. In such cases, you should obtain a statement to that effect from the civil registrar's office and proceed to obtain secondary evidence of birth. A baptismal certificate may be submitted for consideration provided it contains the date and place of the applicant's birth and information concerning parentage, provided the baptism took place shortly after birth. Should a baptismal certificate be unobtainable, a close relative, preferably the applicant's mother, should prepare a notarized statement giving the place and date of the applicant's birth, the names of both parents, and the maiden name of the mother. The statement must be executed before an official authorized to administer oaths or affirmations. In such cases, please bring any secondary evidence you might have concerning your birth.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates

The marriage certificate (Lixiarhiki Praxi Gamou) is issued by the local Registrar's office (Lixiarhio). You can reach the Athens City Hall offices at: 2103241816 and 2103240668. For marriages that took place abroad the address of the special Registrar's office of Athens is: Mitropoleos 60, 105 55 Athens, tel: 2103240737, 2103212308, 2103240344.

Divorce Certificates

The divorce certificate (Diazefktirio) is obtainable from the Greek First Instance Court (Protodikio) of the place where the decision took place. The Protodikio for the Athens area is located at Palea Ktiria Sholis Evelpidon, Athens. Tel: 2108841618. Information for mutual consent divorces can be obtained at: tel: 2108822549.

If the marriage was performed according to the Christian Orthodox religion, the court decree is presented to the Greek Church authorities (Mitropolis) for the final pronouncement of the dissolution of the marriage. Both the court decree and the certificate of divorce from the Mitropolis are required as primary evidence of divorce in Greece. If the marriage took place in a civil ceremony, then the court decree together with the divorce certificate issued by the local City Hall (Dimarhio) are required as evidence of the divorce. (If applicants want to have their final divorce certificates they also need to have official resignation of all legal means).

Adoption Certificates

Please check back for update.

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Identity Card

Please check back for update.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Penal Records

The Penal Record for Judicial Use (Piniko Mitroo gia Dikastiki Hrisi) is provided for Greek and non-Greek nationals residing Greece, as well as to Greek citizens living outside of Greece. This version is preferable to the Penal Record for General Use (Piniko Mitroo gia Geniki Hrisi), because it is more comprehensive and often contains records for convictions that have been administratively deleted from the General Use version.

Penal Records for Judicial Use

Greeks born in Athens can apply for a Penal Record for Judicial Use at the Bureau of Penal Records (Ipiresia Pinikou Mitroou) of the Ministry of Justice, Leoforos Alexandras & Degleri 2, Athens tel. 2108701231 or through KEP (Center of Citizen Information Service) at: 2108701202. Greeks born and residing in Greece, but outside of Athens, should apply for a Penal Record for Judicial at the Public Prosecutor’s Office (Isangelia) of the appropriate district administration.

Non-Greek applicants residing in Greece and foreign-born Greek applicants should apply in person for a Penal Record for Judicial Use to the Bureau of Penal Records for Foreigners (Ipiresia Pinikou Mitroou allodapon), Mesogion 96, 101 79 Athens, Greece, tel. 210776-7300, 210776-7185, 210776-7186, & 210776-7043.

Greek applicants residing outside of Greece should apply for a Penal Record for Judicial Use at the Greek embassy or consulate in their place of residence. They will need to include in their written application full details of their identity and former residence in Greece.

The Greek authorities will not provide a Penal Record for Judicial Use to applicants directly. Rather, they will forward any such police certificate to the U.S. Embassy in Athens or to the Greek embassy or consulate where the request was filed, for processing.

Penal Records for General Use

Non-Greek citizens residing abroad cannot apply for a Penal Record for Judicial Use. Rather, such applicants will need to apply (or have someone apply on their behalf) for a Penal Record for General Use. They can do this in person at the Bureau of Penal Records for Foreigners (Ipiresia Pinikou Mitroou allodapon), Mesogion 96, 101 79 Athens, Greece, tel. 210776-7300, 210776-7185, 210776-7186, & 210776-7043.

Greek Penal Records for General Use will be provided directly to the applicant.

Court Records

Court records are available from the Convicting Court and can be sent directly to the applicants. Applicants should provide the court with the case number shown in the penal record.

Military Records

A military record type "A" (Pistopiitiko Stratologikis Katastaseos Typou "A") is available to Greek males who are eighteen years of age or older and who have completed their military service. Those who have been exempted from service or who have had their military duty deferred may obtain the Type "B" (Typou B') Pistopiitiko Stratologikis Katastaseos giving the reason for exemption or deferral. The military records are available as follows:

Applicants should apply to the recruiting office ("Stratologiko Grafio") where they are registered. They can trace their recruiting office through the local Town Council Registry Office (Mitroa Arrenon tou Dimou). For further information please contact the "Citizen Information Services" ("Tilefono exipiretiseos tou Politi") on the four-digit telephone number 1502. For general information please call 1564 (Citizen Information Services of the Ministry of Interior).

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Passports

Greek passports issued prior to January 1, 2006 are no longer valid for travel. All passports issued after January 1, 2006 are valid until their listed expiration date.

A Greek passport issued to a minor with “Avaptisto” (meaning not baptized) as the given name may be accepted for an applicant provided the applicant is 12 months old or younger and does not have another given name.  Applicants who are older than 12 months or who have been baptized must have a new passport issued in a given name other than “Avaptisto”.  

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Athens (Embassy)

Mailing Address:
APO AE 09842

Street Address:
Vasilissis Sophias 91
101 60 Athens, Greece

Tel: (30) (210) 7212-951-8

Thessaloniki (Consulate General)

Street Address:
Commercial Center "Platia"
43 Tsimiski Street
7th Floor
546 23 Thessaloniki, Greece

E-Mail: athensconsul@state.gov

Tel:(30) (2310) 242-905-12

Fax:2310-242927

Visa Services

All categories for all of Greece.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 939-1300 (202) 939-1324

Atlanta, GA (404) 261-3391 (404) 261-3313 (404) 262- 2798

Boston, MA (617) 523-0100 (617) 523-0511

Chicago, IL (312) 335-3915 (312) 335-3958

Houston, TX (713) 840-7522 (713) 840-0614

Los Angeles, CA (310) 826-5555 (310) 826-8670

New York, NY (212) 988-5500 (212) 734-8492

San Francisco, CA (415) 775-2102 (415) 776-6815

Tampa, FL (813) 865-0200/04 (813) 865-0206

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Athens
91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue
10160 Athens, Greece
Telephone
+(30)(210) 721-2951
Emergency
+(30)(210) 729-4444
Fax
+(30)(210) 724-5313
Greece Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Country Information

Greece
Hellenic Republic
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Embassy Messages

Athens

 

Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Six months of remaining validity recommended

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page per stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Not required for stays less than 90 days; visa required for all official and diplomatic passport holders

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

10,000 euros or the equivalent

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

10,000 euros or the equivalent

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Athens

91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue
10160 Athens, Greece
Telephone:
+(30)(210) 721-2951
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +30 210 729-4444 or +30 210 729-4301
Fax: +(30)(210) 724-5313
 

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Thessaloniki
Plateia Commercial Center
43 Tsimiski Street, 7th floor
546 23 Thessaloniki
Greece
Telephone:
+30-231-024-2905
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +30 210 729-4444 or +30 210 729-4301
Fax: +30 231-024-2927


U.S. Consulate General Thessaloniki provides weekly notarial service. U.S. Embassy Athens provides all other regular consular services including U.S. passports, notarials, and reports of birth and death abroad. 

Periodically, Embassy Athens’ consular staff provide regular consular services in Thessaloniki. Please check the U.S. Embassy in Athens’ website for information on the next scheduled visit.

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Greece for information on U.S.-Greece relations. 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Visit the Embassy of Greece website for the most current visa information.

Greece is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S. citizens may enter Greece without a visa for stays of up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.

  • For entry into Greece, your passport should have at least six months of remaining validity.
  • You must arrive in country with proof of sufficient funds and a return airline ticket.
  • U.S. official and diplomatic passport holders must obtain a Schengen visa prior to arrival. If you are traveling on a U.S. official or diplomatic passport, you will not be allowed to enter Greece without a visa.
  • If 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. However, be aware:

  • Greek Immigration officers at ports of entry (land, air, and sea) will not place entry stamps in a passport 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.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction, and customs information on our websites.

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Safety and Security

Terrorism: 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 and can become violent. Stay informed through local news, hotel security, the Embassy website, and the Consular Section’s Facebook page.
  • Transportation sector strikes interrupt traffic, public transportation, taxis, seaports, and airports. Reconfirm domestic and international flights before heading to the airport.
  • Avoid all areas affected by the annual November 17 demonstrations (noted on our website) that week, including the U.S. Embassy.
  • 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.

Crime: Crimes against tourists, such as pick-pocketing and purse-snatching, occur at popular tourist sites, on public transportation (especially the Metro) and in Thessaloniki shopping areas. The Embassy has received reports of alcohol-induced attacks targeting individual tourists at some holiday resorts and bars; one incident was fatal.

Take the following precautions:

  • Be cautious and aware of your surroundings.
  • Use alcohol in moderation and remain in control.
  • Be discreet when discussing plans and organizing belongings upon arrival.
  • Do not leave bags unattended, especially on the Metro and the Athens Airport train.
  • Avoid standing near bus or train doors. Thieves often strike as the doors open then disappear into the crowd.
  • Never leave drinks unattended in bars/clubs.
  • Protect yourself and your money by using well-lit, public ATMs.
  • Be aware of internet scams with online thieves posing as loved ones or romantic interests.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime: Report crime to the local police and, if you require assistance, 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 crimes.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • 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 U.S.
  • 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 in certain cases of destitution
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

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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. Possession of a U.S. passport will not prevent you from being arrested, prosecuted, or jailed.

  • 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 police may arrest or detain you.
  • Carry your passport or some form of photo identification at all times. Police may detain you for questioning if you don’t have proper identification with you.

Some crimes are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpagefor further information.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

Greek Antiquities: Customs authorities strictly regulate the export of Greek antiquities, including rocks from archaeology sites. Do not remove anything, no matter how small, from archaeological or historical sites. Do not purchase protected antiquities and carry a receipt for any purchases.

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 or posess U.S. or third country’s passport.
  • Authorities can prevent you from leaving Greece until you complete your military obligations. Contact the Greek embassy or nearest Greek consulate with questions.
  • enerally, 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 experiences both tremors and earthquakes. The Greek Government has produced an earthquake-safety pamphlet for tourists and visitors.

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 the Department of State's 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. Local law also requires access to buildings, sidewalks, and public transportation, however, application and enforcement of these laws is lacking.

  • 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.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Most public medical facilities in Greece offer adequate care, although the prolonged economic crisis has degraded the quality of services in many. Some private hospitals have affiliations with U.S. facilities and provide high-quality care. Many doctors have trained in the United States or elsewhere in Europe.

  • Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most overseas providers only accept cash payments.  See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
  • We strongly encourage purchasing supplemental insurance for medical evacuation.
  • The U.S. government does not pay medical bills, and U.S. Medicare does not pay medical costs overseas.
  • Public medical clinics may lack resources. Staff may speak little or no English.
  • Private hospitals usually require proof of adequate insurance or cash before admitting a patient. Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals.
  • Generally, in public hospitals only minimal nursing staff is available overnight in non-emergency wards. 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.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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Travel and 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:

  • Drive defensively.
  • Expect heavy traffic, obscured traffic signs, and vehicles traveling at high speeds. Driving at night, in inclement weather, and on mountain roads can be particularly hazardous.
  • Local law requires all motorcylists to wear a helmet.
  • 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. Your insurance company may not cover two-wheel or ATV rentals. Most insurance companies require you that have both your valid U.S. license and an international driver’s permit (IDP) for coverage in Greece.

Traffic Laws:

  • Talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal. The police check cell phone call records when investigating accidents.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal, and police conduct random alcohol testing.
  • You must carry a valid U.S. license and 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.

See our road safety page for more information, including information on IDPs. Visit the website of the Greek National Tourist Office.      

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, or have not validated your ticket, you could be fined up to 60 times the basic fare.

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.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Germany should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website  select “broadcast warnings”.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Athens

91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue
10160 Athens, Greece
Telephone:
+(30)(210) 721-2951
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +30 210 729-4444 or +30 210 729-4301
Fax: +(30)(210) 724-5313
 

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Thessaloniki
Plateia Commercial Center
43 Tsimiski Street, 7th floor
546 23 Thessaloniki
Greece
Telephone:
+30-231-024-2905
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +30 210 729-4444 or +30 210 729-4301
Fax: +30 231-024-2927


U.S. Consulate General Thessaloniki provides weekly notarial service. U.S. Embassy Athens provides all other regular consular services including U.S. passports, notarials, and reports of birth and death abroad. 

Periodically, Embassy Athens’ consular staff provide regular consular services in Thessaloniki. Please check the U.S. Embassy in Athens’ website for information on the next scheduled visit.

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General Information

Greece and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since June 1, 1993.

For information concerning travel to Greece, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Greece.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Greece.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Fax: 202-485-6221
Website

The Greek Central Authority (GCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Justice.  The Ministry of Justice has an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applicationsThe Ministry of Justice forwards completed Hague applications to the Legal Council of the State, which in turn will assign the case to a legal representative.  Parents or legal guardians and other parties (e.g., the child) have the right to their own legal counsel.  The GCA can be reached at:

The Greek Central Authority
Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights
96 Mesogeion Avenue
11527 Athens
Greece
Telephone: 011 [30] (210) 776-7312
Fax: 011 [30] (210) 776-7499

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Greece, the USCA encourages a parent or legal guardian to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at the Department of State website and contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the GCA.  It is extremely important that each document written in English be translated into Greek.  Please note, however, that certified translations are not necessary.  Any competent person or organization may translate the documents.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the GCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. 

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Greece central authorities.  Attorney fees, if necessary, are the responsibility of the applicant parent.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Greece.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Greece.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Retaining an Attorney

In a Hague Abduction Convention case, left-behind parents may qualify for a public prosecutor, at no charge, if the left-behind parent meets certain financial requirements.  Left-behind parents who do not meet these financial requirements are responsible for retaining their own attorney in Greece at their own expense.  When working with a public prosecutor, it is important to note that this individual does not represent the left-behind parent or legal guardian who submitted the Hague Abduction Convention application; instead, the legal representative represents Greece and submits the request for return on behalf of the Greek Minister of Justice.  A privately hired attorney should contact the GCA as soon as possible after the Hague Abduction Convention application has been filed with the Greek Central Authority.

The U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney.The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Mediation may be available for both abduction and access cases. Although the GCA does not provide mediation services directly, there are registered attorneys who act as mediators and offer mediation services in every Greek Bar Association.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country.  It is important for parents to understand that, although a left behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.   For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney when planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Greece is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Hague countries is done in accordance with the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations, as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Greece.

Note: Greece is not generally considered a country of origin in intercountry adoption. There are few children eligible for adoption in Greece. U.S. prospective adoptive parents residing in Greece are cautioned that while Greek domestic adoption procedures may allow birth mothers to relinquish their parental rights to a child prior to giving birth, such consents are not consistent with the Hague Convention.

In addition, children born to mothers who relinquish their rights prior to birth may not acquire Greek citizenship, even if the child is born in Greece.

In limited circumstances, U.S. prospective adoptive parents may pursue a domestic adoption in Greece. They are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Athens or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for more information on the Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative (immediate relative) process in Convention countries.

Special transition provisions apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008. Learn more.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to the U.S. requirements, Greece requires prospective adoptive parents to meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Greece:

  • Residency: You must be a resident of Greece to adopt a child from any of the governmental institutions and orphanages in Greece which care for orphaned or abandoned children. Exceptions for prospective adoptive parents who do not reside in Greece will be made only for children with health problems (as determined by the accredited public welfare service) living in Greek institutions.
  • Age of Adopting Parents: You must be between the ages of 30 and 60 in order to adopt a child. At least one of the adoptive parents must be at least 18 years older, but not more than 50 years older, than the adopted child. Only minors can be adopted, except in the case of step-parent adoption. The legal process of adoption cannot be initiated before the child is three months old; however, biological parents give the child to prospective adoptive parents immediately after birth in almost all cases of independent adoptions.
  • Marriage: Prospective adoptive parents may be married or single. At this time, Greek Family Law does not allow or recognize same-sex marriage.
  • Income: Prospective adoptive parents must provide evidence of financial stability.
  • Other: There is no requirement that a prospective adoptive parent be a member of a particular church or religion in order to adopt a child in Greece.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Greece is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Greece must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Greece have determined that placement of the child within Greece has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests. In addition to Greece’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of Convention adoptee to be eligible for an immigrant visa that will allow you to bring him or her to the United States.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Relinquishment: Relinquishment requires the consent of both biological parents or legal guardians and a court decision.
  • Abandonment: In the case of abandonment, the court process replaces the consent of biological parents and facilitates procedures between the adoptive parents and the interested party, providing a judicial guarantee
  • Age of Adoptive Child: Only minors (children under 18 years of age) can be adopted, except in the case of step-parent adoption.
  • Sibling Adoptions: The court takes into consideration the perspectives of the children of the adopting family.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Medical reports are needed in addition to all other documents required by the court. The relevant Ministries and courts process applications of prospective adoptive parents in chronological order. However, they give priority to those willing to adopt a child with special physical or psychological needs, as determined by a public sector doctor.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: Due to a limited number of children available for adoption and a large number of prospective adoptive parents, the waiting period to finalize an adoption is approximately five years for a child living in an institution. For children with health problems, the waiting period usually takes up to three years. An attorney is necessary in order to present the case in court and finalize the adoption. Court decisions concerning adoption cases usually take from one to six months before a final decision is made.
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How to Adopt

WARNING: Greece is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Greece before a U.S. consular officer issues an “Article 5 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.

Although there are no private adoption agencies in Greece, children may be adopted with the involvement of an attorney or a notary who will act as a facilitator. Such private adoptions are for in-country, and not intercountry purposes. If you intend to move with your adopted child to the United States, or outside of Greece, you should not engage in a private adoption, but should follow the Convention process. Whether or not a child is adopted through one of the government-run institutions and orphanages, or privately, a lawyer is required.

Greece’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Welfare

Note: If any of the following occurred prior to April 1, 2008 (the date on which the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force with respect to the United States), the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption: 1) you filed a Form I-600A identifying Greece as the country where you intended to adopt; 2) you filed a Form I-600; or, 3) the adoption was completed. Under these circumstances, your adopted child’s visa application could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. For more information, read about Transition Cases. Similarly, if the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force in Greece after April 1, 2008, and you have an approved, unexpired Form I-600A or filed a Form I-600 before the entry into force date in Greece, your adoption may be considered a transition case. Please contact adoptionusca@state.gov with the details of the case if this situation applies to you.

The Process

Because Greece is party to The Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Greece must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.

  1. Choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider
  2. Apply to USCIS to be found eligible to adopt
  3. Be matched with a child by authorities in Greece
  4. Apply to USCIS for the child to be found eligible for immigration to the United States and receive U.S. agreement to proceed with the adoption
  5. Adopt (or Gain Legal Custody) of child in Greece
  6. Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for your child and bring your child home

1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider

The recommended first step in adopting a child from Greece is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide services to U.S. citizens in Convention cases. Only accredited or approved adoption services providers may provide adoption services between the United States and Greece. The U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider will act as the primary provider in your case. The primary adoption service provider is responsible for ensuring that all adoption services in the case are done in accordance with the Hague Adoption Convention and U.S. laws and regulations. Learn more about Agency Accreditation.

2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Eligible to Adopt

After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt by the responsible U.S. government agency, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), by submitting Form I-800A. Read more about Eligibility Requirements.

Once USCIS determines that you are “eligible” and “suited” to adopt by approving the Form I-800A, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Welfare in Greece as part of your adoption dossier. Greece’s Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Welfare reviews your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Greek law.

3. Be Matched with a Child in Greece

If both the United States and Greece determine that you are eligible to adopt, and the central authority for adoptions has determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Welfare in Greece may provide you with a referral for a child. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of a specific child in Greece. The Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Welfare in Greece will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs and provide a permanent home for a particular child. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Welfare in Greece. Learn more about this critical decision.

4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption

After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States (Form I-800). USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child meets the definition of a Convention Adoptee and will be eligible to enter the United States and reside permanently as an immigrant.

After provisional approval of Form I-800, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece, is responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Greece. A consular officer will review the Form I-800 and the visa application for possible visa ineligibilities and advise you of options for the waiver of any noted ineligibilities.

WARNING: The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5 Letter”) to Greece’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Greece where all Convention requirements are met and the consular officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform Greece’s Central Authority that the parents are eligible and suited to adopt, that all indications are that the child may enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.

Do not attempt to adopt or obtain custody of a child in Greece before a U.S. consular officer issues the Article 5 Letter in any adoption case.

Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

5. Adopt (or Gain Legal Custody) of a Child in Greece

Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Greece, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Greece.

The process for finalizing adoption or gaining legal custody in Greece generally includes the following:

  • Role of Adoption Authority: According to Greek Law, 2447/1996, all petitions submitted to local orphanages by the prospective adoptive parents are followed by an extensive and thorough field investigation performed by local social services, which are supervised by the Greek Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Welfare. When the investigation is over, the case file is forwarded to the local institution’s committee.

    The local institution’s committee approves or disapproves the petition of the prospective parents. This committee then matches prospective adoptive parents with children, taking into account the specific needs of specific children and the corresponding ability of prospective parents to meet those needs.

    If the child is 12 years or older and has no emotional or mental condition impairing judgment, the court takes the child’s wishes into consideration. In addition, the court takes into consideration the perspectives of the children of the adopting family. Because of the relatively small number of adoptions in Greece, this matching process can be detailed and precise. Adoptive parents’ applications are processed by the local institutions strictly in chronological order; however, priority is given to persons willing to adopt a child with special physical or psychological needs.

    If the petition is approved, the case file is forwarded to the appropriate court for endorsement.

    For private adoptions within Greece, the social service arm of the respective prefecture (nomarchy) of the area where the parents reside can also initiate the process. In either case, the prefecture’s public welfare service or ISS will conduct the field investigation. The law requires that a home study be conducted by local social services, prior to the court hearing, so that the family and the social status of the adoptive parents can be determined.

    There is a 15-20 day fostering period for children living in institutions.

  • Role of the Court: A court decision must be issued following the field investigation by the relevant social service. The majority of adoption mediators ensure that biological parents do not know the details of the adoptive parents, to exclude the possibility of blackmail attempt or other unlawful action.

    The documents that comprise the legal file submitted to the court in order to issue a final decision for the adoption are:

    • Field investigation report by the social service;
    • Marriage certificate;
    • Penal record;
    • Family status certificate;
    • Written consent of biological parent(s);
    • Proof of financial stability of prospective adoptive parents;
    • Proof of residence of adoptive parents;
    • Medical examination of the adoptive parents (excluding those with chronic diseases).

    In abandonment cases, a court process replaces the consent of biological parents and facilitates procedures between the adoptive parents and the interested party. Specifically, the consent of parents for adoption of their child is replaced with a court decision if:

    1. Parents are unknown or the child is abandoned;
    2. Both parents have been denied parental responsibility or are in a situation where they have been forbidden to exercise parental control regarding their ability to consent to adoption of the child;
    3. Parents’ residence is unknown;
    4. The child is protected by a recognized social organization, if he/she has been removed from the parent’s custody and the parents refuse to give consent; or the child is delivered with the consent of parents to a (foster) family for care and upbringing, with the intent to adopt, and the child has been integrated into that family for at least a year, and the parents later refuse to give consent.
  • Role of Adoption Agencies: There are no private adoption agencies in Greece. Whether an individual adopts a child from one of the government-run institutions and orphanages, or privately, a lawyer is required.
  • Time Frame: Due to the limited number of children available for adoption, and the large number of prospective adoptive parents, the waiting period to finalize an adoption is approximately five years for a child living in an institution. An attorney is required in order to present the case to court and finalize the adoption. Court decisions concerning adoption cases usually take from one to six months before a final decision is issued. For children with health problems, it usually takes up to three years. The timeframe for private adoptions varies.
  • Adoption Application: An application signed by the adoptive parents is submitted to the institution.
  • Adoption Fees: In the adoption services contract that adoptive parents sign at the beginning of the adoption process, the parents’ accredited U.S. agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to the adoption process.

    Prospective adoptive parents must obtain a “revenue stamp” (Greek Government fee) before a child is released by a local institution. Court and attorney fees are approximately 1,000 Euros for adoption of children living in local institutions. Fees may change. Be aware that fees and expenses for private adoptions can be substantial.

    In the adoption services contract that adoptive parents sign at the beginning of the adoption process, the agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to the adoption process.

  • Documents Required: In the case of an intercountry adoption, the International Social Service in Athens or the local prefecture require the following documents from prospective adoptive parents in order to proceed with a field investigation:

    • An application to show their interest to adopt a child, notarized by the Greek police if they are in Greece, or sent through their International Social Services office from the United States;
    • Certified copies of birth certificates;
    • Certified copy of their marriage certificate;
    • Medical certificates concerning the general health condition, and separate certificates concerning the mental health of the adoptive parents;
    • Evidence of the financial stability of the adoptive parents; and
    • Penal records of both adoptive parents. A "penal record" is a document that Greek citizens can obtain from the appropriate area judicial authority regard to their "conviction free" background. It has been the Embassy's experience that U.S. citizens, whenever required, can submit to the Greek authorities an FBI record, which is considered to serve the same purpose.

    Note: Additional documents may be requested.
  • Authentication of Documents: The United States and Greece are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention. U.S. public documents may be authenticated with an Apostille by the appropriate U.S. Competent Authority.

6. Obtain an Immigrant Visa for your Child and Bring Your Child Home

Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate
If you have finalized the adoption in Greece, you will first need to apply for a birth certificate for your child so that you can later apply for a passport.

Upon finalization of the adoption, the court will change the child’s surname to that of the adoptive parent. The court may also allow the adoptive parent, upon application, to add or change the given name that the child had before the adoption, and to change the place of birth, if this is in the interest of the child.

The court will issue a decision on any changes made on the name of the adopted child based on the primary birth certificate. This certificate is then presented to the Greek registry office (Lixiarhion). The new birth certificate will contain the name of the adoptive parent(s) as the parents, with no reference to the biological parents, and it will also reflect any name or place of birth changes approved by the court, with no reference to the court decision. This is done because of the strict privacy laws in Greece, which state that the adoption of minors must be kept secret. The adopted child only has the right to be informed by the adoptive parents and the Greek competent authorities on the particulars regarding his/her natural parents, once he/she has reached the age of 18. Before that time, the adoption cannot legally be divulged to the adopted child.

Greek Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Greece.

Prospective adoptive parents can visit this website for information on obtaining a Greek passport for their child.

U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to finalize your application for a U.S. visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S. Embassy for final review of the case, issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Certificate, final approval of Form I-800, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the consular officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: An adoption will need to be completed following your child’s entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting. Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

POST-ADOPTION/POST-PLACEMENT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

Greece requires at least one post-adoption report submitted yearly for a time period of three years following the adoption.

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Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport
U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Greece
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Greece, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip
Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State. Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Greece, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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After Adoption

POST-ADOPTION RESOURCES

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Greece
Vasilissis Sophias 91
101 60 Athens, Greece
Tel: 210-7202452
Fax: 210-7253025
Email: athensconsul@state.gov
Internet: gr.usembassy.gov

Greek Adoption Authority
Department of Adoptions, Fosterages, Central Authority for Inter-Country Adoptions
Directorate of Family Protection (D22)
General Directorate of Welfare
General Secretariat of Welfare
Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Social Solidarity
Postal Address: 29 Stadiou, Athens 101 10, Greece
Tel: 210-5281182-3, 210-5281273
Fax: 210-5281199
Email: kady@yeka.gr
Website: http://www.ypakp.gr

Embassy of Greece
2217 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: 202-939-1300
Fax: 202-234-2803
Email: gremb.was@mfa.gr
Internet: http://www.greekembassy.org

Greece also has Consulates in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Tampa. For detailed contact information, please visit the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
Email: AdoptionUSCA@state.gov
Internet: adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet: uscis.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-800A or I-800 petition:
National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email: NBC.Adoptions@DHS.gov

 

 

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 120 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 120 Months
E-1 2 None Multiple 60 Months
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-6 10 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO-7 1 None Multiple 24 Months
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents
  • The date and place of birth on your passport must read exactly as registered on your birth certificate.
  • Each person immigrating, regardless of age, requires a separate visa. Therefore, you must be prepared to pay in cash a variable fee mentioned on our forms in United States currency or the equivalent in local currency.
Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

A birth certificate or death certificate is obtainable from the local City Hall (Dimarhio). A birth or death registration (Lixiarhiki Praxi Genniseos or Thanatou) is also available from the Registrar's office (Lixiarhio).

In rare cases, it may be impossible to obtain a birth certificate because records have been destroyed or the government will not issue one. In such cases, you should obtain a statement to that effect from the civil registrar's office and proceed to obtain secondary evidence of birth. A baptismal certificate may be submitted for consideration provided it contains the date and place of the applicant's birth and information concerning parentage, provided the baptism took place shortly after birth. Should a baptismal certificate be unobtainable, a close relative, preferably the applicant's mother, should prepare a notarized statement giving the place and date of the applicant's birth, the names of both parents, and the maiden name of the mother. The statement must be executed before an official authorized to administer oaths or affirmations. In such cases, please bring any secondary evidence you might have concerning your birth.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates

The marriage certificate (Lixiarhiki Praxi Gamou) is issued by the local Registrar's office (Lixiarhio). You can reach the Athens City Hall offices at: 2103241816 and 2103240668. For marriages that took place abroad the address of the special Registrar's office of Athens is: Mitropoleos 60, 105 55 Athens, tel: 2103240737, 2103212308, 2103240344.

Divorce Certificates

The divorce certificate (Diazefktirio) is obtainable from the Greek First Instance Court (Protodikio) of the place where the decision took place. The Protodikio for the Athens area is located at Palea Ktiria Sholis Evelpidon, Athens. Tel: 2108841618. Information for mutual consent divorces can be obtained at: tel: 2108822549.

If the marriage was performed according to the Christian Orthodox religion, the court decree is presented to the Greek Church authorities (Mitropolis) for the final pronouncement of the dissolution of the marriage. Both the court decree and the certificate of divorce from the Mitropolis are required as primary evidence of divorce in Greece. If the marriage took place in a civil ceremony, then the court decree together with the divorce certificate issued by the local City Hall (Dimarhio) are required as evidence of the divorce. (If applicants want to have their final divorce certificates they also need to have official resignation of all legal means).

Adoption Certificates

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Identity Card

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Police, Court, Prison Records

Penal Records

The Penal Record for Judicial Use (Piniko Mitroo gia Dikastiki Hrisi) is provided for Greek and non-Greek nationals residing Greece, as well as to Greek citizens living outside of Greece. This version is preferable to the Penal Record for General Use (Piniko Mitroo gia Geniki Hrisi), because it is more comprehensive and often contains records for convictions that have been administratively deleted from the General Use version.

Penal Records for Judicial Use

Greeks born in Athens can apply for a Penal Record for Judicial Use at the Bureau of Penal Records (Ipiresia Pinikou Mitroou) of the Ministry of Justice, Leoforos Alexandras & Degleri 2, Athens tel. 2108701231 or through KEP (Center of Citizen Information Service) at: 2108701202. Greeks born and residing in Greece, but outside of Athens, should apply for a Penal Record for Judicial at the Public Prosecutor’s Office (Isangelia) of the appropriate district administration.

Non-Greek applicants residing in Greece and foreign-born Greek applicants should apply in person for a Penal Record for Judicial Use to the Bureau of Penal Records for Foreigners (Ipiresia Pinikou Mitroou allodapon), Mesogion 96, 101 79 Athens, Greece, tel. 210776-7300, 210776-7185, 210776-7186, & 210776-7043.

Greek applicants residing outside of Greece should apply for a Penal Record for Judicial Use at the Greek embassy or consulate in their place of residence. They will need to include in their written application full details of their identity and former residence in Greece.

The Greek authorities will not provide a Penal Record for Judicial Use to applicants directly. Rather, they will forward any such police certificate to the U.S. Embassy in Athens or to the Greek embassy or consulate where the request was filed, for processing.

Penal Records for General Use

Non-Greek citizens residing abroad cannot apply for a Penal Record for Judicial Use. Rather, such applicants will need to apply (or have someone apply on their behalf) for a Penal Record for General Use. They can do this in person at the Bureau of Penal Records for Foreigners (Ipiresia Pinikou Mitroou allodapon), Mesogion 96, 101 79 Athens, Greece, tel. 210776-7300, 210776-7185, 210776-7186, & 210776-7043.

Greek Penal Records for General Use will be provided directly to the applicant.

Court Records

Court records are available from the Convicting Court and can be sent directly to the applicants. Applicants should provide the court with the case number shown in the penal record.

Military Records

A military record type "A" (Pistopiitiko Stratologikis Katastaseos Typou "A") is available to Greek males who are eighteen years of age or older and who have completed their military service. Those who have been exempted from service or who have had their military duty deferred may obtain the Type "B" (Typou B') Pistopiitiko Stratologikis Katastaseos giving the reason for exemption or deferral. The military records are available as follows:

Applicants should apply to the recruiting office ("Stratologiko Grafio") where they are registered. They can trace their recruiting office through the local Town Council Registry Office (Mitroa Arrenon tou Dimou). For further information please contact the "Citizen Information Services" ("Tilefono exipiretiseos tou Politi") on the four-digit telephone number 1502. For general information please call 1564 (Citizen Information Services of the Ministry of Interior).

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Passports

Greek passports issued prior to January 1, 2006 are no longer valid for travel. All passports issued after January 1, 2006 are valid until their listed expiration date.

A Greek passport issued to a minor with “Avaptisto” (meaning not baptized) as the given name may be accepted for an applicant provided the applicant is 12 months old or younger and does not have another given name.  Applicants who are older than 12 months or who have been baptized must have a new passport issued in a given name other than “Avaptisto”.  

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Athens (Embassy)

Mailing Address:
APO AE 09842

Street Address:
Vasilissis Sophias 91
101 60 Athens, Greece

Tel: (30) (210) 7212-951-8

Thessaloniki (Consulate General)

Street Address:
Commercial Center "Platia"
43 Tsimiski Street
7th Floor
546 23 Thessaloniki, Greece

E-Mail: athensconsul@state.gov

Tel:(30) (2310) 242-905-12

Fax:2310-242927

Visa Services

All categories for all of Greece.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 939-1300 (202) 939-1324

Atlanta, GA (404) 261-3391 (404) 261-3313 (404) 262- 2798

Boston, MA (617) 523-0100 (617) 523-0511

Chicago, IL (312) 335-3915 (312) 335-3958

Houston, TX (713) 840-7522 (713) 840-0614

Los Angeles, CA (310) 826-5555 (310) 826-8670

New York, NY (212) 988-5500 (212) 734-8492

San Francisco, CA (415) 775-2102 (415) 776-6815

Tampa, FL (813) 865-0200/04 (813) 865-0206

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Athens
91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue
10160 Athens, Greece
Telephone
+(30)(210) 721-2951
Emergency
+(30)(210) 729-4444
Fax
+(30)(210) 724-5313
Greece Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.