Can Americans Travel to Greece?
The wait is finally over for Americans longing to go to Greece. Travel restrictions for Greece have been lifted. However, visiting Greece is ripe paperwork and all tourists must fill a Greece Passenger Locator Form (PLF).
Greece Passenger Locator Form (PLF)
All the travelers who are eligible to enter the Greek territories will be required to fill up and submit the online Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 48 hours before entering the country, regardless of their purpose of travel. If, in any case, a traveler fails to complete the PLF form before the travel, the person may face overnight delays in connecting flights to Greece.
The PLF is also mandatory for Greece's permanent residents and outgoing passengers traveling on international flights departing from the country. In other words, if you are departing from Greece to other countries, you need to fill out the Passenger Locator Form on the previous day before your flight.
Passenger Locator Form Online Application
Before you start filling out the PLF, you will be given the option of choosing whether you want to travel to or depart from Greece. So, whether you are an American traveling to Greece or departing from it to another country, you will be required to complete the PLF in either case.
Therefore, all travelers will be required to complete their PLF one day before Greece's entrance and departure.
In the next step, enter your flight details. Tourists are only permitted to enter thru the following cities:
Proceed to enter your personal information. Remember, you only need to fill one PLF per household.
You also have to provide details about your temporary accommodation in Greece. If you're staying at multiple places, add all of them.
Add details for every member in your household traveling with you. Required details include:
- Last name
- First name
That's it! You will receive the PLF along with a unique QR code on the day of your arrival in Greece. If you are required to board or embark on the previous day of your scheduled date of arrival, you will be permitted to do so only after you present the confirmation mail received.
It is also recommended that you should download the Visit Greece app before your arrival in the country to receive updates about your travel and also to view your PLF.
COVID-19 Test and Other Health Screenings
All travelers entering the country need to present a negative test for COVID-19 (a negative report of the molecular test or PCR test). The test must be performed 72 hours before the person’s entry to Greece. The only exemption is if you have proof of COVID-19 vaccination. A vaccination certificate (digital or paper) would exempt you from a test.
Besides, there are further health screening procedures performed upon arrival in Greece. For instance, all visitors from land, air, or sea are subject to a few random health screening tests immediately after arrival. A passenger will be allowed to travel to his/her final destination only after the tests have been conducted. In fact, a traveler recorded their recent experience in Santorini:
And for that matter, random covid-19 testing isn’t a joke. There’s a team of officials in full PPE gear with testing kits ready directly behind the desks, and at least a handful of people on our 200 or so person flight were tested. We weren’t randomly selected, and were able to proceed upstairs to the arrivals hall and were on our way to paradise in about 20 minutes all in, from the time we walked down the steps of the plane."
Greek Visas and Residency Permits for the US Citizens
Here are some important details about Greek Visas and residency permits for the citizens of the US.
If you want to stay in Greece for more than 90 days within a period of 180 days, then you need to apply for a visa at the Greece Embassy or the Greece Consulate before arriving in the country. All US officials and diplomatic passport holders will need to have a Schengen visa before entering Greece.
Visas may be issued to students, property owners, coaches, athletes and employment, and a few other reasons. To learn about the requirements, you will need to contact your nearest Greek Mission to your area.
For residence permits, there are numerous categories. In most cases, US citizens would require to get a visa from the Greek Embassy or Consulate, which has jurisdiction over your residential area in your country. Once you enter Greece, you are required to apply for your residence permit at the nearest Decentralised Administration Office in your residential area before the expiration date of your visa. US citizens married to European citizens will need to apply for a Greek residency permit if they are willing to stay in Greece. For further queries, travelers may also contact or visit any of the Decentralised Administration Offices located within Attica's jurisdiction (including Athens and West Attica, North East Attica, and South Attica.)
How can Americans Travel to Europe?
The recent announcement by Greece leaves a big loophole that you can leverage. While most countries in Europe are shut to Americans, they're still letting anyone from within the Schengen Area enter. For reference, the Schengen Area includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland.
US citizens can travel anywhere within the Schengen area without a visa for a period of up to 90 days for business or tourist purposes. However, in such cases, your US passport needs to be valid for a minimum of 3 months after your scheduled return to the United States.
Besides, you will need to submit proof of sufficient funds for your entire stay in Greece, as well as a return airline ticket. To prove your financial sufficiency, you may be required to submit any of the following documents -
- Your personal bank statement reflecting your financial transactions for at least the last 3 months
- Credit card
- Pay stubs
- Traveler’s cheques
- Proof of employment
- Proof of prepaid accommodation
- Proof of prepaid transport
- Supporting documents for attesting your sponsor’s (if any) willingness to cover all your expenses during your stay in Greece
- Document regarding your accommodation in private
Any other document that proves your financial sufficiency for your travel, stay, and return to and from Greece. While this is rarely asked, it's good to carry one of these documents with you.
According to the European Commission's decisions, all foreign nationals traveling to Greece will be required to attest proof of the possession of 50€ per day and a total of at least 300€ per stay up to 5 days. For minors, a reduction of 50% is applicable on these regular minimum amount requirements.
US Official and Diplomatic Passport Holders
All US Official and Diplomatic passport holders will need to get a Greece Schengen Visa before their arrival. Without a valid visa, you won’t be permitted to enter the Greek territories.
How Can Americans Visit Family Members in Greece?
If a friend or family member invites you to Greece for certain occasions, you will need to submit a letter of invitation (as an affidavit) signed by the host or the person inviting you. The governed Greek Authorities will notarize the same.
Spouses of Greek or EU Citizens
Individuals married to Greek or EU citizens will need to apply for a Schengen visa. In that case, the traveler will have to bring only the following documents.
- A valid passport or other travel documents
- A completed and duly signed visa application form
- Marriage certificate
- A valid US visa or Alien Resident Card (excluding B1/B2)
- Proof that the spouse is a citizen of Greece or the European Union (EU government-issued identification card or EU passport)
The visa applicant needs to provide a couple of photocopies of the abovementioned original documents. Minor children are not permitted to apply for their own visas. In that case, both the parents will be required to give consent in person. The Greece Consular Office has the right to demand further documentation apart from the ones mentioned above. All visa applicants are required to appear in person to submit their completed and signed application forms at least 2 weeks before their scheduled trip.
How to Reach Greece and Move Around?
The best transportation mode of traveling to Greece from the US is by air. The USA's popular flights to Greece include British Airways, Delta, Lufthansa, American Airlines, Major Airline, Air Canada, and more. These airline carriers are offering flexible and convenient cancellation policies.
Some airline carriers, like American Airlines, can help you reach Greece within 9-10 hours from the USA. However, this flight may include multiple stops. There are over 20 non-stop flights as well within the range of $500-700.
You can easily travel to various destinations in and around Greece via ferries, cars, airlines, buses (popularly the KTEL bus services), trains, and taxis.
But we advise you to follow every precautionary step to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and comply with the travel restrictions, curfew rules, quarantine measures, etc., as declared by the Greek or EU authorities.
Indoor dining is still prohibited in Greece, but many of the tourist attractions are now open.
How long does it take to get a Greece Passenger Locator Form approval?
It is instant. You'll get a unique QR code upon submission of your application. The PLF is not a visa.
Can you enter the United States from Greece?
US citizens are allowed entry regardless of origin. However, the ban on Schengen and the EU area still holds, and non-US citizens won't be allowed to come back without a valid reason.