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Greece Updates Travel Rules, Covid-19 Recovery Certificate Now Valid for Only 3 Months

Photo source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photographer: Yorgos Karahalis

The Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA) on Friday updated the travel rules that all international travelers must follow to enter Greece.

The HCAA announced that Covid-19 recovery certificates are valid in Greece only for a period of 90 days following the holder’s first positive test result (instead of 180 days previously).

In addition, the recovery certificate must be issued 30 days after the first positive Covid-19 test result.

The updated aviation directive follows Greek authorities’ decision to decrease the validity period of the Covid-19 recovery certificate from the initial six months to three months on the guidance of the country’s health committee.

The HCCA also clarified that recovery certificates issued between July 15 and October 31 remain valid.

Meanwhile, the HCAA  has extended all other aviation directives (below) concerning arrivals to Greece from abroad until Friday, December 17.

The aviation directives are part of the Greek government’s efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) and the new Covid-19 variant, called Omicron in the country.

Following are the rules in detail:

Travel rules for international arrivals

Photo source:Shutterstock

Greece is now open to the following 42 non-EU countries and territories: Australia, Northern Macedonia, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, United Kingdom, Israel, Canada, Belarus, Bahrain, New Zealand, South Korea, Qatar, China, Kuwait, Ukraine, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Japan, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Jordan, Moldova, Brunei, San Marino, Andorra, the Vatican, Monaco, Turkey, Mexico, Kosovo, Chinese Taipei, Argentina, India, Uruguay, Omman and Chile.

Greece’s “safe list” also includes all EU & Schengen Area countries and those traveling for “essential reasons”.

Entry requirements

Greece will allow entrance to travelers that have filled out the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) any time before the departure of their flight. The PLF is mandatory and must be filled out by all travelers, regardless of their nationality. The PLF can be found here.

Passengers from abroad must also have one of the following:

1. a vaccination certificate, stating that 14 days have passed since full vaccination for Covid-19. Vaccination certificates must be issued by a public authority and in one of the following languages: Greek, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish or Russian. The name on the vaccination certificate must match the name on the passport and also include, the type of vaccine administered, the number of doses and the dates they were administered.
(The rule is in force for children aged 12 and over.)

2. negative PCR test performed within 72 hours before travel or negative rapid antigen test performed within 48 hours before travel. Negative test results must be issued by an authorized laboratory and in one of the following languages: Greek, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish or Russian. The name on the vaccination certificate must match the name on the passport.
(The rule is in force for children aged 12 and over.)

3. recovery certificate. Travelers can present a medical/recovery certificate issued thirty days after they first tested positive for Covid-19. The certificate is valid for entry to Greece 90 days after the first positive Covid-19 test result. The certificate must be issued by a public authority or a certified laboratory in one of the following languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish or Russian.
(The rule is in force for children aged 12 and over.)

4. an EU Digital COVID Certificate in digital or print form which will contain information on whether passengers have been vaccinated against Covid-19 or have a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours before travel or a negative rapid test performed within 48 hours before travel or have recovered from the virus.
(The rule is in force for children aged 12 and over.)

Important for travelers from Russia

All travelers from Russia arriving in Greece must have a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours before travel or a negative rapid antigen test performed within 48 hours before travel. The measure is mandatory and applies to all travelers from Russia, whether they are vaccinated for Covid-19 or not.

All travelers from Russia must also undergo a rapid test at the airport upon arrival in Greece (see below). The measure is mandatory.

Strict entry rules for arrivals from Africa

Due to the appearance of the new Covid variant Omicron, Greek and foreign passengers aged 12 and over, traveling from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Eswatini, Zambia and Malawi, will be allowed entry to Greece strictly:

– for essential reasons
– if they have a negative PCR test with them (performed within 72 hours before travel), regardless of their vaccination status
– if they have a special entry permit issued by a local embassy, consulate or consular authority of another country that represents Greece (for cities that do not have a Greek diplomatic mission).

Upon arrival, all travelers from the aforementioned countries will undergo a mandatory Covid-19 rapid test at the airport. After entering Greece, all travelers from the aforementioned countries will be restricted to quarantine hotels for 10 days and then re-tested via the PCR method. Those who test negative will be released from quarantine.

Random rapid testing on arrival

Photo source: Shutterstock

Every traveler who arrives in Greece, regardless of the certificate in their possession, may be requested to undergo a random health screening (depending on the data provided on the PLF forms and based on the ‘EVA’ system). If a passenger is selected for a rapid test and is positive for the coronavirus then he/she must quarantine for a total of:

– 7 days, if vaccinated against Covid-19
– 10 days, if unvaccinated

In both cases, passengers will have to take a PCR test on the last day of their quarantine. If the test is negative the mandatory quarantine ends.

Mandatory rapid testing for some travelers

Unvaccinated travelers entering Greece from the following 16 countries – regardless of nationality – must undergo a mandatory Covid-19 rapid test (at the airport they arrive at): Egypt, Albania, Argentina, Bulgaria, Brazil, Georgia, Cuba, the United Arab Emirates, India, China, Libya, Morocco, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Russia and Turkey. Travelers that test positive for Covid-19 will be obliged to take a PCR test and will receive further instructions.

Arrivals from Argentina, India, Uruguay, Omman, Mexico,Chile

Travelers arriving from Argentina, India, Uruguay, Omman, Chile and Mexico must present the required documentation and also take a rapid or PCR test for Covid-19 (regardless if they are vaccinated or not) upon arrival to Greece.

Wearing a mask is mandatory

Photo source: Eurocontrol

At the arrival and departure areas inside airports, as well as during all domestic and international flights, staff and passengers are required to wear a face mask at all times.

Passengers are also required to comply with the instructions of the permanent and temporary staff of airports or airlines responsible for supervising, crowd management and passenger assistance, in order to maintain the necessary distances and to ensure safe boarding/disembarkation to avoid overcrowding.

The compulsory travel documents passengers must have with them are checked by airline staff. According to the HCAA, airline staff is obliged to ascertain that travelers have all the necessary documentation before they board flight to Greece. In the case of violation, the airline will have to to repatriate the passenger at its own expense.

The Greek government has detailed information on a dedicated website, which includes frequently asked questions, on how Greece is welcoming visitors this year.

Travelers in need of specific details on the travel rules for passengers of international flights are recommended to contact their embassy, airline or the General Secretariat for Civil Protection.

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  1. R Ferguson Reply

    Given the data from around the World natural immunity lasts longer than three months, what is happening to my favorite holiday place looking like i will never get there again. Its a pandemic of PCR tests now, which Governments around the World have fixed so always thousands of cases.

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