New Travel Rules For Entering Greece Come Into Effect Today

If you are planning a Greek winter holiday, the country’s Health Ministry has made important changes to Greece’s entry requirements for travellers, which come into effect today Sunday, December 19, 2021.

Beginning at 6 am today, all travellers to Greece are required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours or a laboratory rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of arrival in Greece.

Mina Gaga, Greece’s Deputy Minister of Health, announced in a press conference that the testing requirement will apply to all travellers 5 years old or older, regardless of vaccination status or method of entry to Greece.

Furthermore, travellers eligible to enter Greece, carrying with them proof of recovery from COVID-19, should also now be aware that the validity of their certificates has been shortened in half by the Greek authorities.

The Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority announced that COVID-19 recovery certificates will now be valid for entry into Greece for a shorter period of 90 days instead of 180 as it was previously.

The decision will affect travellers from 43 world countries who haven’t been vaccinated but have so far been eligible to enter with proof of having previously fallen ill, in particular those who were infected with COVID 19 between April 15 and July 15 this year.

These 43 countries are: Australia, Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Argentina, Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, China, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Israel, India, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Mexico, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Oman, Qatar, Russia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Korea, Singapore, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Uruguay, and the Vatican.

However, the same can enter Greece if they take a PCR test for COVID-19 in the previous 72 hours before reaching Greece or a rapid test within the 48 hours before.

Please note, travel is open to all Greek islands and around the mainland. Hotels are open, operating with strict government-imposed safety protocols, as are archaeological sites & museums (with reduced capacity). 

Who Can Enter Greece Without Quarantine on Arrival?

If you belong to any of the following, you will not need to quarantine in Greece: Nationals and permanent residents of member states of the European Union & Schengen Area (including their spouses or partners with which they reside and their minor children). Additionally, permanent residents of the following countries do not need to quarantine: Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, Singapore, Rwanda, Israel, the Russian Federation, Serbia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Belarus, Bahrain, Qatar, China, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, Montenegro, Albania, Japan, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Jordan, Moldova, Brunei and Kosovo.

Current Rules

Outdoor entertainment venues 

  • Restaurants, cafes, bars & clubs are operating up to a maximum of 85% capacity, serving only seated customers and 10 people per table. 
  • Open-air cinemas and live theatre and music shows (for seated guests only) are operating with reduced capacity.

Indoor entertainment venues 

  • Restaurants & cafes, nightclubs, music spaces, theatres and cinemas will require guests to show an official certificate of vaccination (14 days since full vaccination) or recovery (within the last six months and minimum of 30 days since the first positive result). Paper or digital certificates are accepted.
  • Customers must be seated to be served at bars and clubs and under-18-year-olds are required to have carried out a Covid-19 self-test for all indoor venues.
  • The following signage is also being used in indoor restaurants, bars, cinemas and theatres to reassure customers of their specific Covid-19 safety levels:

    1.   Covid-free– Catering only to guests able to show an official certificate of full immunity (vaccination or recovery)
    2.   Mixed space– Also admitting unvaccinated individuals with a negative PCR or rapid test, taken within the last 72 or 48 hours respectively.
    3.   Fully vaccinated staff – Indicating that all staff have been inoculated.

Mask Wearing

You will not be required to wear a mask in uncrowded open places. However, you will need to wear a mask in congested outdoor spaces and indoor spaces including public transport, shops, taxis and public utilities, as well as private communal areas including hotels.

Please note that you may find additional, temporary measures in place in some locations, such as a restriction on movement between 1-5 am and music is forbidden in public places. It is best to check with your holiday provider before departure for details of any local or updated measures.

Full details can be found at Travel.gov.gr 

All You Need to Know About New Travel Rules for Greece 

If you’re planning on travelling to Greece anytime between now and March 2022, here’s what you’ll need to know regarding the new Covid 19 rules.

Who can travel to Greece

Greece is open to travellers from destinations outside the EU and Schengen Area with a low infection rate. International visitors from the following countries may travel to Greece without quarantine requirements: EU and Schengen Area countries, USA, UK, Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Moldova, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, UAE and Ukraine.

US Travellers to Greece

Following an EU recommendation to impose restrictions on US visitors due to Covid concerns, Greece’s Tourism Minister, Vassilis Kikilias announced that the country will continue to welcome Americans until the end of the summer season. According to the announcement, US travellers were allowed to enter the country for non-essential reasons, despite most European countries banning US arrivals after the EU’s recommendation. “Visitors and tourism professionals in the United States of America, and, of course, Greeks abroad, have shown and continue to show their love for Greece and their trust in the Greek tourism product,” Kikilias noted.

Insights Greece - All You Need to Know About New Travel Rules for Greece 
New rules for travelling to Greece

Arrivals from Montenegro and the Russian Federation

International visitors from Montenegro must present both a vaccination certificate and a negative PCR test. Travellers from the Russian Federation must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival or a negative antigen test was taken within 48 hours.

What are the Travel Restrictions in Greece?

Travellers from the countries allowed entry into Greece may skip quarantine, provided they have a negative PCR test within 72 hours before travel, proof of infection within the past 2-9 months, or proof they’ve been fully vaccinated, and completed their cycle at least 14 days earlier. Note: With a digital COVID certificate, you can enter Greece without quarantine or further testing requirements.

What Vaccinations are Accepted in Greece?

Vaccines that are accepted in Greece are Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Novovax, Johnson + Johnson, Sinopharm, Sinovac, Cansino and Sputnik. This is in line with the official EU policy, which is to only admit those who have received EU-approved vaccines.

Proof of Negative Test in Greece 

Negative PCR tests must have been taken within 72 hours of departure, they must be written in English and need to include the passenger’s name and passport number. This does not apply to children under the age of 10. 

What Other Documents are Required to Enter Greece? 

-All visitors entering Greece must complete the Passenger Locator Form before travel, regardless of their COVID-19 status or point of departure. Once that’s successfully submitted, you’ll receive a QR code, which you’ll need to present before boarding your flight to Greece.

-The QR code will notify you if you are required to have an additional test done at the airport. If this is the case, you must self-isolate until you receive the results (this takes around 24 hours).

Do Kids Need to be Vaccinated to Enter Greece?

Children under the age of 12 can enter Greece without any COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements. However, children over the age of 12 must show a vaccination certificate, a certificate of recovery or a negative PCR/antigen test result.

What Happens if a Traveller Tests Positive to Covid at a Greek Airport? 

Greek officials have announced that targeted rapid checks will be carried out at airport entry points and quarantine hotels are ready to accommodate those who test positive during this process.

Domestic Travel in Greece

From Monday, September 13, all unvaccinated people in Greece will only be allowed to board a plane, ferry, train and bus for domestic travel between regions, if they have proof of a negative Covid-19 rapid antigen test result. This new rule for domestic travel in Greece will be in force until March 31, 2022, and the new negative rapid test rule is in place for travel to and from Greek destinations.

What Does this Mean for Travellers in Greece? 

As of September 13, anyone unvaccinated from the age of 12 and over in Greece, that wants to travel between regions by plane, ferry, train or bus will be required to do the following:

– present a negative rapid antigen test taken 48 hours prior to travel (a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours before travel will also be accepted).

– upload the test results to the government’s official website gov.gr to issue a certificate. This must be printed out or saved to the passengers’ phone. 

When do Travellers Need to Present These Documents? 

Verification certificates will be required at check-in points at the airport, port, bus and train stations. If a traveller fails to present the proper documentation during boarding time at any of the above, they will not be allowed to travel. 

What Documents do Vaccinated Travellers need to show for Domestic Travel in Greece?

Vaccinated travellers and visitors that have recovered from the coronavirus don’t need to present a negative test to travel by plane, ferry, bus, or train in Greece; what is required of them is: 

-Travellers that are vaccinated must present a vaccination certificate showing that 14 days have passed since they received their full Covid-19 vaccination.

-Recovered Covid-19 patients must present a recovery certificate proving that they have recovered from the virus in the last six months.

What is Required for Children Aged 5-11? 

For children aged 5 to 11, medical authorities will provide a free-of-charge self-test, which must be performed at least 24 hours before departure. 

What are the Rules for Travelling by Car in Greece? 

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people travelling between Greek regions in private cars will not need to have any additional documentation.

Are Masks Mandatory in Greece?

-At the arrival and departure areas inside Greek airports, as well as during all domestic and international flights, both staff and passengers are required to wear a face mask at all times. Passengers that do not wear masks will not be allowed to board the plane. 

-All passengers must also wear masks when travelling on a ferry, train, bus or any form of public transport.  

-Masks must be worn at all times throughout journeys, in indoor spaces and in outdoor crowded areas in Greece.

What Rules apply to Restaurants, Cafes and Bars?

As of September 13, Greece is requiring proof of vaccination from people who wish to enter certain venues such as restaurants, taverns, cafes and bars. To enter an eatery in Greece, you will now need proof of vaccination or a certificate of recovery from Covid. These measures are expected to remain in place until March 31, 2022. 

What Rules are in Place for Visiting Archaeological Sites, Museums and Sporting Events in Greece?

While unvaccinated people can still visit museums and archaeological sites as well as cinemas and sports venues, they will need proof of a recent negative test. 

Are there any Other Restrictions in Place in Greece?

In areas with high infection rates, the government places tighter restrictions, which may include certain rules and curfews. You can keep up to date with what rules apply to each Greek destination here

For all the latest information and updates on travelling to Greece during Covid, head here.