State Department: Greece - Consular Information Sheet, April 2, 1999
Greece - Consular Information Sheet
April 2, 1999
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 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
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities are adequate,
and some in Athens and Thessaloniki are quite good. U.S. medical insurance
is not always valid outside the United States. The Medicare/Medicaid
program does not provide payment for medical services outside the United
States. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical
evacuation to the United States can cost from several hundred dollars per
day to $40,000 or more for air evacuation by private air ambulance.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: Check with your own insurance
company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including
provision for medical evacuation. 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, Bureau of
Consular Affairs brochure "Medical Information for Americans Traveling
Abroad," available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax:
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention9s international travelers hotline at 1-877-FYI-TRIP
(1-877- 394-8747); fax: 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299, or by visiting the
CDC Internet home page at http://www.cdc.gov.
CRIME INFORMATION: 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 State9s pamphlet, "A 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, or
via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov. It provides
useful information on guarding valuables and protecting personal security
while traveling abroad.
TERRORIST ACTIVITIES: Civil disorder is rare. However,
several active terrorist groups, including the "17 November" organization,
have at times targeted U.S. Government and U.S. commercial interests.
TRAVELER SAFETY IN LIGHT OF NATO AIR OPERATIONS IN
SERBIA: The U.S. Embassy in Athens has received a number of
threats against the Embassy and U.S. officials stationed in Greece.
Protesters of NATO action staged a violent demonstration at the Embassy and
at the Consulate General in Thessaloniki, and future demonstrations are
expected. People needing to conduct business at the Embassy or Consulate
General are advised to check ahead of time to avoid any scheduled
demonstration. There have been no specific threats against private
Americans, tourists, or tourist facilities.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a
U.S. citizen is subject to that country9s 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 law, even unknowingly, may
be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. If arrested, you may spend up to 18
months in pre-trial confinement. Penalties for possession, use, or
trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect
jail sentences and fines.
PENALTIES FOR CUSTOMS VIOLATIONS: The removal of
antiquities, including rocks from archaeological sites, is forbidden.
Penalties range from large fines to prison terms.
DUAL NATIONALITY: U.S. citizens who are also considered
to be Greek citizens may be subject to compulsory Greek military service
and other aspects of Greek law while in Greece. Greek-Americans should
inquire at the Greek Embassy or a Greek consulate to determine their status
before traveling to Greece. In some instances, dual nationality may hamper
U.S. Government efforts to provide protection abroad.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) has not yet completed its assessment of Greece9s Civil
Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety
standards for oversight of Greece9s 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 the Pentagon at (703) 697-7288.
TRANSPORTATION: 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
ROAD SAFETY/TRAFFIC CONDITIONS: 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. Vehicle insurance coverage should be reviewed before
renting autos and motorbikes. A U.S. driver9s license is not valid in
Greece unless accompanied by an international driver9s license, which must
be acquired in the United States.
Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Condition/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Condition/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Y2K INFORMATION: U.S. citizens contemplating traveling
to or residing abroad in late 1999 or early 2000 should be aware of
potential difficulties. You may wish to take practical precautions against
possible disruptions of services triggered by the Y2K computer
REGISTRATION AND EMBASSY/CONSULATE LOCATION:
U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the consular section of the
U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security in
Greece. The U.S. Embassy in Athens is located at 91 Vasilissis Sophias
Boulevard, telephone (30) (1) 721-2951. The U.S. Consulate General in
Thessaloniki, currently located at 59 Leoforos Nikis, telephone (30) (31)
242-905, will relocate. The office will be closed from April 5 to April
14, 1999. After April 14, the Consulate General will be located at Plateia
Commercial Center, 43 Tsimiski Street, 7th floor, 54623 Thessaloniki,
telephone (30)(31) 242-905. The embassy9s 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. The e-mail address for the
Consular Section is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Department of State travel information publications are available at
Internet address: http://travel.state.gov.
U.S. travelers may hear recorded information by calling (202) 647-5225 from
a touch-tone telephone, or receive information by automated telefax by
dialing (202)647-3000 from their fax machine.
This replaces the Consular Information
Sheet dated July 6, 1998, to add or update information on Medical
Facilities, Medical Insurance, Other Health Information, Traveler Safety,
Road Safety, Criminal Penalties, Y2K Information and relocation of the
U.S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki.