Last updated: 19 Sep 2021

Greece

About

Often regarded as the birthplace of European civilization, Greece offers a mix of ancient archaeological sites, modern hotels, rustic tavernas, family-orientated seaside resorts and lively night clubs.

Do not miss the Hellenic Festival in Jun-Sep, which sees music, dance and theatre performances held in the second-century AD Odeion of Herodes in Athens. There is a beach for every preference, for the family, for singles, for nudists, for sun worshippers. Sail Greece's myriad islands. Depending on experience, visitors can go bareboat (chartering just the boat), flotilla (as part of a group of yachts lead by an expert) or skippered. Several tour operators and independent companies offer all-inclusive sailing holidays in Greece.

The shallow, fast-flowing rivers of mainland Greece offer excellent facilities for water-based adventure sports such as rafting, kayaking and canoeing. Sea-kayaking is also becoming increasingly popular on the islands.
Formal Name: Hellenic Republic
Local Name: Ellás
Local Formal Name: Elliniki Dhimokratia
Capital:  Athens (ATH)
Currency:  Euro (EUR)
Language:  Greek. English, French, German and Italian may be spoken in the tourism industry. 
Dialling code from SA:  + 30
Time Zones: UTC / GMT +2 (same time as South Africa)
Daylight Savings Time: From last Sun in March to last Sun in Oct: UTC / GMT +3 (1 hour ahead of South Africa)
Public Holidays 2021: 

Jan 1, 6; Mar 15, 25; Apr 30; May 1, 3; Jun 21; Aug 15; Oct 28; Dec 25, 26

Side of the Road: Right.
Best Time to Go: June – August. Late Spring (April – May) and Autumn (Late August – September) are good months to visit if you want to enjoy the warm weather but miss the crowds. 
Best for: Mediterranean Beaches, Historic Sightseeing, UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Plugs: 230 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs are used
Drinking Water: Mains water in hotels and towns is safe to drink. Outside of the main towns, and on the islands, water may be contaminated and bottled water should be used. 
Health: Healthcare facilities in Athens are good, but less so elsewhere. If visiting outside of Athens, and you require any medication on your travels, it is best to bring it with you, in the original packaging, with a signed and dated letter from your doctor detailing exactly what it is and why you need it. Visitors are required to pay for healthcare services. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended, and it should include emergency air evacuation coverage. Note that there are reports of underhanded dealings by healthcare professionals, particularly in public hospitals. 
Customs: Normal social courtesies. If visiting a church, dress should be conservative: men should wear long pants, and women should keep their arms and legs covered. Attempts at speaking the language / greeting in the language will be appreciated. 
Local Offences / Laws: Indecent behaviour and public drunkenness is not tolerated and will be fined. Identification should be carried at all times. Smoking is prohibited in public areas. If you will be driving, be sure to know and follow the traffic regulations, as fines will be issued for disobeying them. Greece has very strict laws against drug use.
Travel Tips / Warnings: When travelling in Greece, you are protected by the Greek consumer protection law (read more). Strikes can inconvenience travellers, but are usually non-violent. However it is advisable to avoid areas where there are protests.  Some restaurants and stores may not accept credit cards, be sure to carry cash. Most street signs are in Greek and English. Public transport may be preferable to driving on Greek roads. 
Duty Free: If you are travelling from within the EU, there is no limit on the amount or value of goods you may import, providing your goods are for personal consumption. Goods imported for commercial purposes are subject to duty and the following guideline amounts are in place to determine whether this is the case:
• 800 cigarettes or 200 cigars or 400 cigarillos or 1kg of tobacco
• 10L of spirits (over 22%), 20L of spirits (under 22%), 90L of wine and 110L of beer

If you're arriving from a non-EU country, the following goods may be imported into Greece by travellers over 17 years of age:
• 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250g of tobacco (if arriving by air)
• 40 cigarettes or 20 cigarillos or 10 cigars or 50g of tobacco (if arriving by other means)
• 1L of spirits over 22% volume or 2L of spirits up to 22% volume
• 4L of wine
• 16 L of beer
• 50ml of perfume and 250ml of eau de cologne
• Gifts up to a value of €430 if arriving by sea or air or €300 if arriving by other means (reduced to €150 for children under 15). 
Prohibited Imports: The import of soil (as well as plants) and certain animals is restricted. The import of meat, meat products, milk and milk products from outside the EU is also restricted. Firearms, explosive and drugs are very tightly controlled.

Travel Alerts

Last updated: 13/09/2021

Greece is partly open for non-essential travel, provided meeting certain health requirements.

Flight restrictions

  • Flights from Russia are not permitted to arrive in Greece in airports other than Athens International Airport (ATH), Heraklion International Airport (HER), or Thessaloniki Airport (SKG)
  • This does not apply to:
    • Flights approved by Greece Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
    • State flights and military flights,
    • Medical, emergency, humanitarian and cargo flights, or
    • Flights for technical landing.

Entry restrictions

  • Passengers are not permitted to enter Greece.
  • This does not apply to:
    • Nationals and residents of Greece,
    • Nationals of a European Union or a Schengen Area member state (including spouses, civil partners and minor children),
    • Residents of a EU member state, Schengen Area member state holding a valid residence permit,
    • Nationals or permanent residents of Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea (South), Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Qatar, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, or the Vatican; 
    • Permanent residents of Russia, provided holding a negative PCR test result tested within 72 hours prior to arrival or a negative Rapid Antigen test result within 48 hours before departure. These passengers will also be subject to a PCR or Rapid Antigen test on arrival and must remain in the airport until a negative result is received. If they test positive upon arrival, they will be subject to a 10-day mandatory quarantine,
    • Passengers in transit,
    • Students,
    • Passengers caring for the elderly or the disabled,
    • Members of international organisations, humanitarian organisations, government missions, or militaries,
    • Medical staff in the health sector holding documentation proving their profession,
    • Passengers travelling for essential reasons,
    • Seasonal workers in the field of agriculture,
    • Crew members, seamen and passengers working in the transport sector.
  • Residence permits and residence permit applications issued by Greece that expired between 1 August 2020 and 31 March 2021 are extended for 8 months from their expiry date. All residence permits and residence permit application certificates issued by Greece that expired between 1 April 2021 and 31 December 2021 are extended until 31 December 2021.

Form requirement

  • Passengers must submit a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) before arrival in Greece and present the generated valid QR code prior to boarding.
    • Family or travel companions can travel under one QR code, provided they are all mentioned in the QR code and the Passenger Locator Form.

Test requirements

  • Passengers aged 12 years and older will be refused entry if they do not hold a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test certificate taken within 72 hours or a Rapid Antigen test certificate obtained within 48 hours from an accredited laboratory prior to arriving in Greece.
  • This does not apply to the following passengers:
    • Passengers who have completed full vaccination (depending on the doses required) at least 14 days prior to arrival, provided holding a vaccination certificate. The  Vaccinates not approved by European Medicines Agency (EMA) will also be accepted. The accepted vaccines are Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, Astra Zeneca/Oxford, Novavax, Johnson + Johnson/Janssen, Sinovac Biotech, Gamaleya (Sputnik), Cansino Biologics, and Sinopharm;
    • Passengers holding a certificate of recovery from Covid-19 that is issued at least 30 days after their first positive Covid-19 test result, and within 6 months before travel;
    • Crew members;
    • Passengers in transit through Athens Eleftherios Venizelos Airport (ATH); or
    • Passengers holding an EU Digital Covid Certificate, either in digital or paper form. This should include information regarding vaccination, or the last result of Covid test or proof of recovery from Covid within the accepted time frame.
      • All certificates must include the critical information (i.e. number of doses, type of vaccine received and their respective dates) in English, German, Greek, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian and the passengers' full name must match the name on the passport or any other recognized travel document.
  • Passengers travelling on domestic flights within Greece must hold one of the following:
    • A vaccination certificate proving that they have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to departure. The vaccination certificate must be in Greek, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian or Russian, must be issued by public authorities, and should include the name of the passenger, the type of vaccine given, the number of doses and inoculation dates. Nationals of Greece can also obtain the vaccination certificate online here;
    • A negative test certificate of a RT-PCR test tested within 72 hours before arrival, or a Rapid Antigen test tested within 48 hours before arrival;
    • Proof of recovery from Covid-19 that is issued at least 30 days after their first positive Covid-19 test result, and 180 days before travel;
    • A negative self-diagnostic test tested within 24 hours before departing for the Greek islands. The test result must be issued through the official website and must be in Greek or English.

Quarantine and testing on arrival

  • Passengers will be subject to a Covid-19 Rapid Test on arrival. If the test is positive, passengers must quarantine for 10 days at their place of residence. Passengers who have tested positive and have been fully vaccinated must quarantine for 7 days. All passengers who tested positive upon arrival must take a PCR test on the last day of their quarantine.
  • Passengers arriving from Albania, Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Cuba, Egypt, Georgia, India, Libya, Morocco, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey or the United Arab Emirates are subject to a mandatory RT-PCR test or a Rapid Antigen test upon arrival. If the test is positive, passengers must quarantine for 10 days at their place of residence. Passengers who have tested positive and have been fully vaccinated must quarantine for 7 days. All passengers who tested positive upon arrival must take a PCR test on the last day of their quarantine.
  • Passengers must quarantine for 7 days at their place of residence on arrival in Greece as declared on their Passenger Locator Form (PLF). Passengers will be subject to a PCR test at the end of their 7-day quarantine.
  • This does not apply to:
    • Passengers if their stay in Greece is less than 7 days; or
    • Nationals of European Union and Schengen Area member states, Australia, Israel, Korea (South), New Zealand, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, or the United States, provided they are either holding a negative Covid-19 PCR test obtained within 72 hours prior to arrival or a vaccination certificate in English issued by public authorities and the vaccination was completed at least 14 days prior to arrival. The vaccination certificate must include the full name of the passenger, the type of vaccine, the number of doses and the inoculation dates.

This Information is intended as a Guideline.

Issuing Authorities

a) Greek Consulate-General,
Fortune Kunene House,
261 Oxford Road,
Illovo, 2196
PO Box 2405, HOUGHTON, 2041.
Tel: (011) 214-2300
Fax: (011) 214-2304
O/hrs: Mon - Fri: 09h00 - 13h30
Wed. closed for visa applications & collections.
E-mail: ecocom-johannesburg@mfa.gr / greekconsulate-johannesburg@mfa.gr
Web: www.mfa.gr/johannesburg
O/hrs: Mon - Fri: 09h00 - 13h30
Wed. closed for visa applications & collections

b) Greek Consulate,

9th Fl., Reserve Bank Building
30 Hout St., Cape Town, 8001
PO Box 3232 Cape Town 8000.
Tel: 021 424-8160
Fax: 021 424-9421.
E-mail.: grconcpt@mweb.co.za  /  grcon.cpt@mfa.gr 
O/hrs: Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri: 0900 - 1200 Visas
Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri: 0900 - 1330 Consular Matters
Wed: Closed

Visa Requirements

  • Visas are required by South African passport holders.
  • Foreign passport holders with Permanent Residence Status in South Africa, Lesotho or Swaziland must ensure that their PERMANENT RESIDENCE IS AT LEAST ONE YEAR OLD.

REQUIREMENTS: See General Schengen Requirements for terms and conditions of a Schengen short stay visa and application procedures for multi-destinations.

PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING :
VFS GLOBAL no longer accepts visa applications on behalf of the Embassy of Greece in South Africa.
For all visa queries regarding Greece, please call the Embassy direct or GVCW on +27 064 760 4151 .......
GVC World: Greece Visa Application Centre
Tel: 012 425 3018
Email: info.zagr@gvc24assist.eu
Web Address : http://za-gr.gvcworld.eu

JNB: 2nd Floor Harrow Court, 11 Boundary Road, Houghton, JNB
CPT 47 Strand Street, 5th Floor, Cape Town
DUR Unit 101A, 1st Floor, 91-123 Cowey Road, Essenwood DUR

08h00 - 12h30 and 13h30 - 15h00 Mon - Fri (Submission for Cpt & Dur)
14h30 - 16h00 Mon - Fri (Passport Collection Cpt) 
10h00 - 12h30 and 13h30 - 16h00 Mon - Fri (Passport Collection for Dur)

NOTE:
Please note that in addition to the standard Schengen visa requirements:
• When travelling with a family, please submit a copy of flight reservation and insurance with each application, remaining documents may be submitted with the main application. 
• If passenger is a pensioner: A letter confirming proof of pensioner status to be submitted.
• Applicants must apply personally for visa. (if unable to apply in person, an arrangement can be made through the Embassy/Consulate concerned)
The Greek Issuing Authority will refuse to grant a visa if the application form is incorrect or incomplete. Should an applicant be refused a visa, the administrative fees for processing the visa will not be refunded.
Further documents may be requested from the passenger.
• Visa applications will not be accepted if submitted longer than 3 months before departure.
• 2 colour photos are required for Greece.
DEFINITELY NO EMERGENCY VISAS WILL BE ISSUED

Transit visa application can only be accepted if visas to other countries to be visited or transited have already been obtained.

Greek passports issued before 1 January 2006 are no longer valid.

 

Visa Processing Time

Visas can take up to 15 days to process.

In order to collect visas, messengers must produce receipt/collection slip issued by Consular offices. The Greek issuing authorities may refuse to grant a visa if the application form is incorrect or incomplete for a second time.

• Check visa details on delivery. In case of disagreement please make immediate contact.

The consulate retains the right to issue visas of a different type or duration than those required in the application form. If the applicant does not inform the consulate, he/she has to conform to the specifications of the visa as it is issued.

Visa Cost

Due to the fluctuating exchange rate please contact the Embassy/Consulate for the cost on the day of submitting the visa.

Visa fee of 80 EUROS .

Payment of Visa Fees:
* Bank Deposit (before visiting the Visa Application Centre)
* Credit / Debit Card (only at the Visa Application Centre)

Banking details: 
Bank Name: Nedbank
Branch Name: Business Banking North Rand
Account Name: Euro World
Account No: 1050318277
Branch Code: 146905 or 198765 (Universal Code)
Swift Code: NEDSZAJJ
Reference: Passport Number

 GVCW: Additional service charge of R350 (incl.vat) over and above the Consular fee per applicant is charged by GVCW

SA Representative

South African Embassy,
60 Kiffisias Ave.,15125, Athens, Greece
Tel: 0030 210 617 8020
E-mail: athens.consular@dirco.gov.za

Travel Health

Compulsory:  None
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis B, Tetanus, Polio