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Greece lifts quarantine for travelers from EU, Schengen, 5 non-EU countries

Greece ‘s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced on Monday that it lifts the 7-day quarantine for arrivals from European Union member states, countries of the Schengen Agreement and five more non-EU countries. The lifting of quarantine is, however, bound to two preconditions.

At the same time, the CAAt extended travel restrictions for domestic and international flights until the Holy Monday, April 26, 2021.

With a new air directive (notam) the CAA announced that the 7-day quarantine is lifted from April 19, 2021 for permanent residents from:

EU member states, Schengen Agreement countries, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia and Israel.

Necessary precondition for entering Greece without quarantine is to have a vaccination certificate issued by the competent authority of their country in English or a negative molecular Covid-19 PCR test carried out 72 hours before arrival.

The Vaccination certificate is issued 14 days after the completion of the vaccination, the CAA notes.

Travel restrictions domestic/international flights

Regarding air travel restrictions for domestic and international flights, the CAA said that they are valid until the Holy Monday, April 26, 2021, at 6:00. These restrictions are the following:

Domestic flights: Aviation directive (Covid-19 notam) concerning domestic flights (regular passenger services, general aviation and commercial services – domestic flights, commercial and general / business aviation). The notam stipulates that all the airports of the country are allowed only the essential domestic travel (Essential Travel) which includes travel for health issues, for business – business purposes, for objective family reasons (family reunification) and for return to permanent residence.

International Flights: Prohibition of entry to Greece of third-country nationals other than the states of the European Union and the Schengen Agreement. The notam excludes passengers traveling for essential reasons and permanent residents of the following 12 countries:

United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Rwanda, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Russia , United States of America and Israel.

Seven-day quarantine on arrivals from abroad: All passengers entering our country from any foreign country are subject to mandatory precautionary restriction at home or at the place of temporary residence stated on the Passenger Location Form (PLF). Exception for citizens of the EU countries and the Schengen Agreement, the United Kingdom, the USA, the UAE, Serbia and Israel, who will enter Greece without a seven-day quarantine if they are vaccinated or if they have a negative PCR test Covid-19 , which will be carried out up to 72 hours before their arrival.

In addition, international passengers, in addition, will be sampled upon arrival, based on the procedure provided by the Passenger Locator Form. In case the tests find a passenger positive, the quarantine will be valid for 14 days.

Negative PCR test:  International arrivals with a negative test of 72 hours: notam predicts that all passengers of international flights will enter our country with a negative PCR test Covid-19, which will be performed up to 72 hours before their arrival. It is reminded that the passengers will be tested at the entrance to the Greek territory based on the PLF.

Compulsory completion of Passenger Locator Form: The notam provides for the mandatory completion of the form, at the email address travel.gov.gr, by all passengers of international flights to Greece. It is also mandatory to fill in the PLF form for passengers of foreign flights who are permanent residents of Greece and depart from the airports of our country.

Maximum 4,000 travelers from Russia: Especially for Russia (permanent residents) the following restrictions remain: Arrivals only at the airports of Athens, Thessaloniki and Heraklion and a maximum entry limit to Greece of 4,000 passengers per week.

Exceptions to pre-existing notams apply to all airline instructions.

CAA notam in Greek here.

The lifting of the 7-day quarantine for travelers from specific countries comes as the “unofficial” opening to tourism that is scheduled to open officially on May 14.

It should be reminded that lockdown restrictions such as use of mask in- and outdoors and night curfew are still in force in Greece and Greeks are not allowed to travel outside the boundaries of the regional unit of their residence.

Government spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni said later on Monday that tourists are not allowed to travel between different regional units and are obliged to comply with the same restrictions as the Greeks.

More information on coronavirus in Greece here.

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14 comments

  1. Not sure if you saw this – the paper CDC cards “proving” vaccination have been on sites like eBay, but even some government offices have posted the templates online:

    I understand the economy matters but the security of these vaccination certificates are well below common EU standards – I personally don’t understand why they wouldn’t subject US citizens to PCR tests for entry until the US develops more secure proof of vaccination. I hope this does not backfire.

    • Pannonian Sailor

      After unpleasant surprise with original PCR test certifications in Serbia (initially some of them were forged), which resulted in Greece totally closing the border for Serbian tourists, the government started printing them with he QR code that opens governmental web site that confirms if the paper record was valid or not.

      The same was applied to vaccination certificates, aside from QR code they indicates:
      – unique certificate ID
      – name/surname
      – birth date
      – sex
      – unique citizen number
      – first dose (date and series)
      – second dose (date and series)
      – institution which was performed the vaccination
      – type of vaccine
      – date when the document was issues.

      The QR code contains:
      – name/surname
      – unique certificate ID
      – confirmation that paper certificate is really issued

      The only question is if the Greek border guards are actually checking the validity of certificates.

      Since this morning there were not many tourists from Serbia, but it appears that all of them are being tested with rapid tests.

      • Some countries still don’t have any proper certification system. Here in Latvia I had my first vaccine dose on Friday and was given a little paper card with the date I had the first dose and another date when I should have the second dose. It has my full name (written in pen) but no other identification. I don’t think there is any way a Greek border guard could tell if it’s genuine.

        • The first thing I thought of was the Serbian PCR tests!

          In the US, this information is not held with the federal government – rather it’s held by each individual state in terms of verification. There would be no way of a border guard to verify its authenticity.

  2. Loads of citizens not even had the first vaccine yet never mind the second one and here come the tourists. What could possibly go wrong? Of course those in charge will take full responsibility,lol.

  3. I think this is great news! But I have a question: someone arrives (for example from Switzerland) in Greece at Athens airport with an included connection flight to Corfu for a holiday. Will they have any problem travelling from Athens to Corfu, as it is not classed as ‘essential travel’ per the current movement restrictions?

  4. If someone living on an island wants to go to Athens but doesn’t fit in the permitted reasons…what would stop them booking a through ticket to, say Italy, and “miss” the connecting flight at Athens?

    • Pannonian Sailor

      I would say that the identity of the person is well known in advance, as well as possible location.
      Maybe you check this with Greek police and let us know about result? 🙂

  5. UK Citizen - Resident in Greece

    What is going to be acceptable for UK Citizens as proof of completed vaccinations. I believe UK government has not approved vaccination certification as yet. Thinking purely for international travellers (who obviously have valid passports) why not encode their passports indicating the holder has been vaccinated x 2. It would be flagged up when passport are checked at control. This method would also quite dramatically reduce fraudulent certificates. Children would have to have PCRs until they have been vaccinated.

    • Pannonian Sailor

      I was involved in the development on one ePassport reader. Although it is possible to encode the such information inside your passport you probably do not wish to have the travel document encoded with your health information inside ePassport for privacy reasons.

      Although I am very intersted personally to allow travel for vaccinated persons and for mandatory vaccination in case of covid-19, my personal opinion that such limitations should be only temporary. Otherwise we might very soon end up in the Orwellian (brave new) world. Already now what EU plans to do is very segregational. Especially the whole thing about approved vaccines is very fishy.

      Another problem is that these documents are based on ICAO 9303 MRTD standard. It took years to agree on it, and still EU countries decided to go with their own variant of the standard with Extended Access Control (means to control wath a reading terminal is allowed by the chip to be read).

      This did lead to prolonged development and certification efforts in order to ensure that (almost) all possible passport documents work with (almost) all reader terminals. Adding the vaccination data group to it would be just a call for a trouble, especially, since not all countries did implement the passports with support for EAC. You would essentially need a brand new passport and brand new reading exuipment. After all the purpose of the passport is to ensure that your identify can be validated.

      From the valid identity and associated document that can be verified (e.g. via QR-code), your personal privacy is not (too much) hurt. The existing system can read your identity from passport and if necessary validate your biometrics. If you provide the document with the QR-code it can be established easily that paper documnet corresponds to proved identity.

      My personal opinion is that EU will not manage these “green” passes in time for the next tourist season. There is a need to ensure that non-vaccinated persons are not subjected to discrimination. Milions of the PCR tests that will need to be issued and validated will make implementation a rather messy thing.

      In Germany the PCR test results arrived for me between 1-5 days with average being 3 days just to get the results. This latency makes it practically impossible for Germany to certify their citizens reliably for EU and 3rd countries. There are many reasons for this latency but main is: too many players in chain between user and certificate (user, testing facility, laboratory, state, federal state). In comparasion with Serbia my tests were always ready within the 6 hours from the actual sampling. Reason is that there is only a single player in the chain: state health care system.

    • Do children below 10 need a PCR test?

  6. On the top of the notice it states:

    ——————-
    With a new air directive (notam) the CAA announced that the 7-day quarantine is lifted from April 19, 2021 for ****permanent residents**** from:

    EU member states, Schengen Agreement countries, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia and Israel.
    —————–

    But later it states:

    ———————–
    International Flights: Prohibition of entry to Greece of *****third-country nationals***** other than the states of the European Union and the Schengen Agreement.
    ———————-

    So if you’re a third country national, but with perm residence in another EU country, is it forbidden or allowed??

  7. I have read that from23rd of April, blue cruising, i.e. cruising with no intermediate stops in ports, and yachting will be allowed with some restrictions
    Is it possible for EU citizens to enter Greece by a private yacht with a negative PCR Test and to stay on the boot in Greece?
    Does anybody has more information