Greece - Consular Information Sheet
August 9, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Greece is a developed and stable
democracy with a modern economy.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required but no visa
is needed for tourist or business stays of up to three months.
An AIDS test is required for performing artists and students on
Greek government scholarships; U.S. test results are not accepted.
For other entry questions, travelers should contact the
Embassy of Greece at 2221 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington
DC 20008, telephone (202) 939-5800, or Greek consulates in Atlanta,
Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York,
and San Francisco, and Greek embassies and consulates around the
world. Additional information is available at http://www.greekembassy.org.
DUAL NATIONALITY: In addition to being subject to all
Greek laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be
subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Greek
citizens. For additional information, see Dual Nationality flyer.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Civil disorder is rare. However several
active terrorist groups, including the "17 November"
organization, have at times targeted U.S. and western government
and commercial interests, as for example in 1999 when terrorists
bombed a major international chain hotel perceived to have American
ties. Prominent Greek businessmen, journalists, and politicians
have also been targeted. In a June 8, 2000 terrorist attack, the
British Defense Attaché was murdered. The potential for
terrorist activities against U.S. and commercial interests remains
high. There have been no specific threats against private American
citizens traveling in Greece. Travelers should nevertheless review
their security practices and be alert to their surroundings. The
Consular Affairs home page provides updated information whenever
there is a need to alert Americans to a specific situation.
CRIME: Crime against tourists (purse-snatchings, pickpocketing)
appears to be on the rise at popular tourist sites and on crowded
public transportation, particularly in Athens. The usual safety
precautions practiced in any urban area ought to be practiced
during a visit to Greece. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport
should be reported immediately to the local police and nearest
U.S. embassy or consulate. The Department of State's pamphlet,
Safe Trip Abroad, is available from the Superintendent
of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington,
DC 20402, via the Internet at http://access.gpo.gov/su_docs,.
It provides useful information on guarding valuables and protecting
personal security while traveling abroad.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities are adequate, and
some in Athens and Thessaloniki are quite good, though nursing
care, particularly in public hospitals, may be less than adequate.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always
valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide payment for medical services outside the United
States. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment
for health services. Uninsured travelers who require medical care
overseas may face extreme difficulties.
Check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your
policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation,
and for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems requiring
hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States
can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Ascertain whether payment
will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you
will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance
policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for
disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad,
or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers hotline
at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax: 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299,
or by visiting CDC's
Internet home page at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Greece is provided for general reference only
and may not be accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Condition/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Condition/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Visitors to Greece must be prepared to drive defensively. Heavy
traffic and poor highways pose hazards, especially at night. Extreme
care is warranted in operating a motorbike. The majority of U.S.
citizen traffic casualties in Greece have involved motorbikes.
Drivers must carry a valid U.S. license as well as an international
driver's permit. The U.S. Department of State has authorized two
organizations to issue international driving permits to those
who hold valid U.S. driver's licenses: AAA and the American Automobile
Touring Alliance. Vehicles may be rented without the permit, but
the driver will be penalized for failure to have one in the event
of an accident. Fines are high. Small motorbike rental firms frequently
do not insure their vehicles; the customer is responsible for
damages. Review your coverage before renting.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has not yet completed its assessment of Greece's Civil Aviation
Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards
for oversight of Greece's air carrier operations. For further
information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation
within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the
FAA Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.htm. The
U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign
air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services.
For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers,
travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Greek customs authorities may enforce
strict regulations concerning the export from Greece of antiquities,
including rocks from archaeological sites. Penalties range from
large fines to prison terms. It is advisable to contact the Embassy
of Greece in Washington or one of Greece's consulates in the United
States for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Customs Authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary
Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of professional
equipment, commercial samples, an/or goods for exhibitions and
fair purposes. ATA Carnet
headquarters, located at the U.S.
Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the
United States. For additional information call 212-354-4480, send
an e-mail to email@example.com, or visit http://www.uscib.org
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Greek laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs
in Greece are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences
and heavy fines.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Labor strikes in the transportation
sector (national airline, city bus lines, and taxis) occur with
some frequency. Most are announced in advance and are of short
duration. Reconfirmation of domestic and international flight
reservations is highly recommended.
EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE: People traveling in Greece who do
not speak Greek may call 112 if they require emergency services.
This is a 24-hour toll-free number. Callers will be able to receive
information in English and French (as well as Greek) to request
ambulance services, the fire department, the police and the coast
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children and international
parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site
at http://travel.state.gov/children's issues.html or tel (202)
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATION: Americans
living in or visiting Greece are encouraged to register at the
consular section of the U.S. Embassy/Consulate General and to
obtain updated information on travel and security in Greece. The
U.S. Embassy in Athens is located at 91 Vasilissis Sophias Boulevard,
tel: (30)(1) 721-2951. The U.S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki
is located at Plateia Commercial Center, 43 Tsimiski Street, 7th
floor, tel: (30)(31) 242-905. The
Embassy's website is http://www.usisathens.gr. The
e-mail address for the consular section is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The e-mail address for the
U.S. Consulate General Thessaloniki is email@example.com.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated December 21,
2000 to add the section on Emergency Assistance.