Greece officially updated their entry requirements and will now require a negative PCR test, taken no longer than 72 hours before arrival, from ALL passengers entering the country.
Earlier this week, Greece announced a nation-wide lockdown coming into effect on November 7 until at least November 30 to help curb the recent spike of cases happening throughout the nation. The changes in the entry requirements, with the inclusion of the negative PCR test now needed for all passengers, are being applied to help make the lockdown as effective as possible.
PCR Testing Required From ALL Passengers
Starting on Wednesday November 11th, proof of a negative PCR test will be required from all passengers entering Greece, taken no longer than 72 hours before departure into the country when arriving by air or land.
- Some sources are suggesting the PCR requirement will come into place on Monday November 9, however the translated press release directly from the Greek government states November 11.
- Some sources were also suggesting the PCR test timeline would be 48 hours instead of 72, however Greece’s Deputy Minister for Civil Protection & Crisis Management, Nikos Hardalias stated “Therefore, from all entry gates, the PCR test must be 72 hours after receiving the relevant sample. I understand that yesterday there was a report on 48-hour PCR. After a relevant consultation with the team of epidemiologists, but also with the relevant Embassies, it was decided to enter by PCR from the land and air and from all borders, from all gates to be with PCR 72 hours”
When the lockdown announcement was first made by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis earlier this week, he did not include any updates to the entry requirements or border rules, however modifications have been made since the press conference, coming into effect on Wednesday.
More Travel-Related Updates For Greece’s Lockdown
Travel Between Regions
Travel between regions of Greece for leisure purposes is also prohibited, regardless if the person is a citizen or a tourist. Travel between regions during the lockdown will only be permitted for essential business or health reasons, or for someone returning to their permanent residence.
Public transportation will still operate in Greece during the lockdown, but schedules will be more limited. This includes trains, buses, and even air travel. Travelers already in the country should be aware that their existing itineraries may change due to availability.
Tourists will find that restaurants, shops, and tourists attractions will all be closed during the lockdown
What Countries Are Permitted to Visit During Lockdown?
As far as we know, Greece has only changed the PCR requirement but has not made any changes to the countries currently permitted to enter. The countries currently allowed to enter Greece include:
- All EU/Schengen nations (including UK, Switzerland, Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland)
- Select third-party countries (which consists of: Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Uruguay, Singapore, UAE)
Any country not listed is currently not permitted to travel to Greece.
In addition to the PCR test requirement, the above countries are still required to fulfill all Covid-19 entry requirements for Greece, including the Passenger Locator Form (PLF)
PCR Testing requirements BEFORE the lockdown
Even before the lockdown, Greece was requiring a PCR test from a few select nations. Previous to the lockdown, only passengers from Bulgaria, Romania, UAE, Malta, Belgium, Spain, Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland, as well as approved/essential travelers from Albania and North Macedonia needed the test to enter Greece.
Now as of November 9, ALL passengers will require a 48-hour PCR test to enter Greece.
SMS For Leaving the House
Anyone leaving home for an essential reason during the lockdown will first have to send an SMS to 13033.
This will be used to cite the reason for leaving.
The SMS message should include: “# one of the following numbers/reasons for leaving (1-6 listed below), name, surname, address.”
1– Visit a pharmacy or doctor
2 – Visit a supermarket or stores for essential supplies
3 – Visit a bank if e-banking transactions are not possible
4 – Visit people needing assistance or escorting children to and from school
5 – Attending a funeral, as per the conditions provided by the law, or visiting children in the case of divorced parents
6 – Physical exercise outdoors or up to two persons taking their pet for a walk — while always observing a 1.5-meter distance.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories
Article published November 7, 2020
Sunday 8th of November 2020
This article states that PLF will now also be mandatory for international flights leaving Greece: (link)
As for the SMS: "All individuals residing in Greece will be required to send an SMS text message"
Saturday 7th of November 2020
Your update is surely helpful to many travelers!
One thing though: My interpretation (!) is that the SMS scheme does not apply to tourists, especially not those returning home. There is a second way to leave the house: Filling out certain forms unfortunately only available in Greek (link)
I returned from Crete 6 hours ago to Germany, 7 days before scheduled, with some last minute bus rides and a flight that was booked out from 10% to 100% load factor within 2 hours.
What locals there told me: 1) We expect the lockdown to last until early January when New Year's eve is over and people are less likely to party. 2) The speed of chance of regulations this week alone is horrible and nobody knows what to expect. 3) However: In the villages nobody cares anyway about lockdowns and the SMS (thus tourists might be able to stay with bits of freedom).
Safe travels (or rather return)!
Saturday 7th of November 2020
Thank you so much for the insight! I too have heard that locals think the lockdown will last longer and that is so sad :(
As for the SMS - I have seen multiple reports today from European press that tourists in hotels are expected to go through the same process if they want to leave their hotel property for an essential purpose, so I am under the impression they have to use it as well.