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State Department: Greece - Consular Information Sheet, March 22, 1996

Greece - Consular Information Sheet
March 22, 1996

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 information concerning overall entry requirements to Greece, travelers can contact the Embassy of Greece at 2221 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 939-5800, or the nearest Greek Consulate in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, or San Francisco.

Medical Facilities: Medical facilities are available. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Travelers have found that in some cases, supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage has proved to be useful. Further information on health matters can be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control's international travelers hotline on (404) 332-4559.

Crime Information: Greece has a low rate of crime, but some pickpocketing, purse-snatching, and luggage theft does occur in Greece at popular tourist areas. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. The Department of State's pamphlet "A Safe Trip Abroad" is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. It provides useful information on guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad.

Aviation Concerns: On March 21, 1996, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation announced that Hellenikon International Airport in Athens needs to implement and carry out more effective security measures in order to be fully consistent with the standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The determination applies to Athens airport and not to the air carriers which fly from Athens to the United States. Delta, TWA and Olympic are providing additional security measures that counter the deficiencies identified. Further questions may be directed to the Federal Aviation Administration Consumer Hotline at 1-800-322-7873.

Terrorist Activities: Civil disorder is rare. However, there are several active terrorist groups, including the "17 November" organization, which at times has targeted U.S. Government and U.S. commercial interests, but not tourists.

Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. In Greece, penalties for possession, use, and trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines. Those arrested may spend up to 18 months in pretrial confinement.

Penalties for Customs Violations: Unauthorized purchase or removal from Greece of antiquities, including pieces of 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 military service and other aspects of Greek law while in Greece. Those who may be affected can inquire at a Greek Embassy or consulate to determine status. In some instances, dual nationality may hamper U.S. government efforts to provide protection abroad.

Driving: Visitors to Greece must be prepared to drive defensively as Greece has the third highest fatal accident rate in Europe. Heavy traffic and rough terrain on the islands make motorbikes especially dangerous. The majority of U.S. citizen traffic casualties in Greece have involved motorbikes. Owners of rental motorbikes are not required to carry insurance coverage; the renter is liable for damages caused to the rental vehicle and to property of third parties. An international driver's license is required.

Registration and Embassy/Consulate Location: U.S. citizens who register at the Consular Section can 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 in Thessaloniki is located at 59 Leoforos Nikis, telephone (30)(31) 242-905.

No. 96-076

This replaces the Consular Information Sheet issued February 15, 1996, to add the announcement on airport safety.

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