October 6, 2021, was the start of the first international trip I’d taken in nearly 20 months. I booked this trip in the summer during an American Airlines fare sale to Athens. Greece is one of the few destinations that has been pretty wide open to foreigners since May 14, 2021.
SARS-CoV-2 has eliminated much international travel and complicated the travel that exists. Travel to Greece is about as easy as it comes these days — for vaccinated travelers that is. For the unvaccinated it is a little more complicated but still easy.
Countries With Easy Access To Greece
The countries from which entry is allowed in accordance with the terms of the program, without the requirement for quarantine are: EU, EU Schengen countries (Andorra, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican, the Principality of Monaco), United States, United Kingdom, Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrein, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Moldova, Montenergro, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Qatar, the Russian Federation*, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine.
Entry Requirements For Eligible Vaccinated Travelers
It is easy for vaccinated travelers to meet the entry requirements for Greece. In addition to the necessity of a passport and a visa, if required, vaccinated residents of the countries listed are required only to present a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) and proof of completion of vaccination with an approved vaccine (i.e., 14 days have elapsed since the last vaccination, depending on the doses required). Obtaining a PLF is a simple matter of filling out a form and will be explained below.
Acceptable vaccines are: Pfizer BioNtech, Moderna, Astra Zeneca/Oxford, Novavax, Johnson + Johnson/Janssen, Sinovac Biotech, Gamaleya (Sputnik), Cansino Biologics, Sinopharm among others.
Entry Requirements For Eligible Travelers Who Have Contracted SARS-CoV-2
Nonvaccinated travelers will be treated the same as vaccinated travelers if they present (1) a positive PCR molecular or an antigen test result performed by an authorized laboratory or a medical certificate confirming that the holder was tested positive with SARS-CoV-2 virus infection in the past 30 to 180 days, or (2) a certificate of recovery from the SARS-CoV-2 virus infection issued by a public authority or a certified laboratory that is issued 30 days after the day of the first positive COVID-19 test and is valid for 180 days thereafter.
Entry Requirements For Unvaccinated Travelers
Unless they qualify under the exception above, all non vaccinated travelers must provide proof of a negative test result. These travelers are required to have either a negative result from (1) a PCR Covid-19 test taken no later than 72 hours before arrival or (2) an antigen (rapid) test taken no longer than 48 hours before arrival. The testing requirement applies to travelers over the age of 12.
Passenger Locator Form
Visit the Greek website travel.gov.gr to fill out information on date of travel, flight, airline, and method of qualification for entry, contact information in Greece, emergency contact info, and if you are traveling with family or a group. Travelers must complete the PLF at least one day before arriving in Greece.
The Greek website also suggests downloading the Visit Greece app to fill out the PLF and hold the information it requests. According to numerous reviews the app is a waste of time and serves only as a source of prodigious amounts of travel spam.
American Airlines Verifly App
One app that appears to be very helpful is the American Airlines Verifly App. American and a couple of other airlines use this app as a way for their passengers to confirm they have met all of the requirements for an international trip. The app also stores relevant travel documents and information that can be produced from the app.
The VeriFly app was very handy. I just completed each item on the checklist and it confirmed I was good to go. At check in in the U.S., proving compliance with all travel requirements was a simple matter of presenting the VeriFly app to the American Airlines agent. Several other airlines have similar apps.
Meeting the requirements to enter Greece was very easy. I wish all international travel was that uncomplicated. The VeriFly App was extremely helpful in identifying all the necessary hoops to jump through and serving as a place to store information needed for travel. I’ll put the app to a real test on a planned trip to Thailand in November. The requirements for entry are complicated although the prime minister indicated that they would soon be relaxed for vaccinated travelers.
Do you have international travel plans?