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Country Specific Info.

The United States State Department produces Consular Information Sheets with health, safety and other country information for every country in the world. They are one good source of information, though you should look at multiple sources of information and take your own personal situation into account when selecting a country to study in.

The latest Consular Information Sheet for Greece is below. We do not take responsibility for this information or edit it in any way. You can access the State Department travel site directly at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/

October 13, 2017

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
athensamericancitizenservices@state.gov Facebook
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
usconsulate@state.gov

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.

Destination Description

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

Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements

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

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 nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs information on our website.

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 United States.
Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in certain cases of destitution
Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home 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:

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier for the Embassy to locate you in an emergency.
Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
See the State Department's travel website for Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts.
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 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 webpage for further information.

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

Faith-Based Travel Information
International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports
Human Rights Report – see country reports
Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad

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.
Generally, required military service will not affect your U.S. citizenship, but contact the U.S. Embassy in Athens if you have questions.

Natural Disasters: Follow the instructions of local authorities. Contact the General Secretariat for Civil Protection, which responds to emergencies, at 210-335-9900 for more information. Operators speak English.

Forest fires are common, especially during the dry summer months.

Greece 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 six of our Human Rights Report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Individuals with disabilities will find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. Greek law prohibits discrimination against person with physical or intellectual disabilities. 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.

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:

World Health Organization
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Travel & Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Greece has one of the highest traffic fatality rates in the European Union. Exercise extreme caution as both a driver and a pedestrian, and follow these tips:

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 Greece should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, https:homeport.uscg.mil, and the NGA broadcast warnings website https://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal select “broadcast warnings”.

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