State Department: Greece - Consular Information Sheet, June 23, 1999
Greece - Consular Information Sheet
June 23, 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
San Francisco, and Greek embassies and consulates around the world.
Additional information is available at http://www.greekembassy.org/.
DUAL NATIONALITY: Dual nationals may be subject to
Greek laws, which impose special obligations. 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. For
additional information, see the Consular Affairs home page on the Internet
at http://travel.state.gov for our
Dual Nationality flyer.
SAFETY/SECURITY: Civil disorder is rare. However,
several active terrorist groups, including the 317 November2 organization,
have at times targeted U.S. Government and U.S. commercial interests.
Terrorist activities against U.S. Government and commercial interests
increased during the NATO air operations against Serbia-Montenegro. On
April 27, 1999, a terrorist bomb killed one person at the Intercontinental
Hotel in Athens. However, there have been no specific threats against
private American citizens, or tourist facilities. Travelers are advised to
review their security practices and to be alert to their surroundings.
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 an U.S. passport
should be reported immediately to the local police and nearest U.S. embassy
or consulate. The Department of State9s pamphlet, 3A Safe Trip Abroad2, 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.1 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. Serious medical
problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United
States can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often
expect immediate cash payment for health services.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: 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. 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 3Medical Information for
Americans Traveling Abroad,2 available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs
home page 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 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.
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. driver9s license and an international driver9s
license. Vehicles may be rented without a license, 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
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.
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 Greece9s consulates in the United States
for specific information regarding customs requirements.
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.
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.
Y2K INFORMATION: U.S. citizens contemplating traveling
to or residing abroad in late 1999 or early 2000 should be aware of
potential difficulties. They may wish to take practical precautions
against possible disruptions of services triggered by the Y2K computer
phenomenon. Monitor the home page of the Bureau of Consular Affairs for
updates on Y2K issues.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international
adoption of children, international parental child abduction, and
international child support enforcement issues, please refer to our
Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's issues.html or
tel. (202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATION:
U.S. citizens 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 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.
This replaces the Consular Information
Sheet dated April 2, 1999, to add or update information on Entry
Requirements, Dual Nationality, Medical Facilities, Medical Insurance,
Safety/Security, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, Customs Regulations,
Special Circumstances, Registration and Embassy/Consulate Location, Y2K
Information, and Children9s Issues.