State Department: Greece - Consular Information Sheet, July 6, 1998
Greece - Consular Information Sheet
July 6, 1998
Country Description: Greece is a developed and stable
democracy with a modern economy. The capital city is Athens.
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. Travelers have found that in some cases, supplemental medical
insurance with specific overseas coverage, including provisions for air
evacuation, has proved to be useful. Further information on health matters
can be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's
international travelers' hotline at 1-888-232-3228, or their autofax
service at 1-888-232-3229, or their Internet site 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 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.
Terrorist Activities: Civil disorder is rare. However,
there are several active terrorist groups, including the "17 November"
organization, which at times have targeted U.S. Government and U.S.
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 pre-trial confinement.
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 assessed Greece's Civil Aviation Authority for
compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of
Greece's 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 highway inadequacies
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. driver's license is not valid
in Greece unless accompanied by an international driver's license, which
must be acquired in the United States.
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 in Thessaloniki
is located at 59 Leoforos Nikis, telephone (30) (31) 242-905. The
Embassy's website address is: http://www.usisathens.gr. The e-mail address
for the Consular Section is firstname.lastname@example.org.
This replaces the Consular Information
Sheet dated June 30, 1997, to update information on Entry Requirements,
Crime, Medical Facilities, Customs Violations, Dual Nationality, Aviation
Safety Oversight, Transportation, Road Safety, and the Internet.