State Department: Greece - Consular Information Sheet, March 22, 1996
Greece - Consular Information Sheet
Country Description: Greece is a developed and stable democracy
with a modern economy.
March 22, 1996
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
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
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.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet issued February 15,
1996, to add the announcement on airport safety.