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Τετάρτη, 16 Ιανουαρίου 2013

Travel to Greece and passport requirements

Flying to Greece

Olympic Air (OA) (www.olympicair.com) and Aegean Airlines (A3) (www.aegeanair.com) run direct flights from London Heathrow. The cost of flights to Greece peaks in July and August when most Europeans take their holidays. Throughout the rest of the year prices vary according to demand.

Air notes:

As of spring 2010, when Greece’s economic crisis became serious, flights have often been disrupted by strikes – especially on Tue, Wed and Thurs. Greek workers are less likely to take industrial action Fri-Mon.

Flight times:

From London to Athens is 4 hours; and from New York is 10 hours.

Air passes:

Olympic Air have a Travelair Club which offers frequent fliers the chance to earn air miles, while Aegean Airlines run a similar Miles&Bonus scheme. Aegean Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, which is made up of 27 international airlines.

Travel by rail

The national railway company is Hellenic Railways Organisation Ltd (OSE) (www.trainose.gr; tel: 1110). A good way to travel from the UK is to take the Eurostar through the channel tunnel, from London to either Brussels or Paris, both of which have onward connections to Greece (via Italy, then an overnight ferry). Journey time takes an average of around 48 hours. For further information and reservations, contact Eurostar (tel: 08432 186 186 within the UK, www.eurostar.com) or Rail Europe (tel: 08448 484 064, within the UK; www.raileurope.co.uk).
Rail passes:

InterRail: Offers unlimited first- or second-class travel in up to 30 European countries for European residents of over six months with two pass options. The Global Pass is available in durations of one month, 22 or 15 days for those looking to travel continuously; otherwise there are passes that allow for 5 days of travel to be used over a ten-day period or a ten-day pass to be used over a period of 22 days. Each pass is valid across all countries. Available from InterRail (www.interrailnet.com).

The One-Country Pass: Offers travel for three, four, six or eight days to be taken in one month in any of the countries except Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are classified together as the Benelux countries). Travel is not allowed in the passenger's country of residence. Travellers under 26 years receive a reduction. Children's tickets are reduced by about 50%. Supplements are required for some high-speed services, seat reservations and couchettes. Discounts are offered on Eurostar and some ferry routes. Available from Rail Europe (tel: 08448 484 064; www.raileurope.co.uk/inter-rail).

Eurailpass: The global Eurail pass offers unlimited train travel in 22 European countries. Select, regional (Greece is grouped with Italy) and one-country Eurail passes are also available. Tickets are valid for two months or three months and permit between three and ten days’ travel in those periods. The passes cannot be sold to residents of Europe. Available from The Eurail Group (www.eurail.com).
By rail note:

Due to Greece’s ailing economy, as of early 2011, the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) suspended the circulation of all international trains “until further notice”. This means there are no longer direct trains from Greece to Sofia in Bulgaria, Skopje in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Belgrade in Serbia, or Istanbul in Turkey.

Driving to Greece

It is possible to ferry cars and caravans across to one of the major ports of entry. Points of overland entry are from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia via Evzoni (550km from Athens), and Niki (630km from Athens); from Bulgaria via Promahonas (610km from Athens); from Turkey via Kastanies (920km from Athens) or Kipoi (840km from Athens). For car ferry information, see Getting There.

Getting to Greece by boat

Greece’s main port for international ferry arrivals is Patras (www.patrasport.gr) with daily overnight services from Venice, Ancona, Brindisi and Bari in Italy. The main port for internal passenger arrivals is Athens’ port, Piraeus (www.olp.gr) with dozens of daily ferry and catamaran departures for the Greek islands.
Cruise ships:

Greek ports (notably Piraeus, Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes and Heraklion) are used by a number of cruise lines. Athens’ port Piraeus is a home port (meaning that cruises begin and end here) for ships sailing the East Mediterranean, while the others are ports of call (where ships stop for a day or less).

Ferry operators:

International car ferry lines link Patras and Igoumentisa with Ancona, Bari, Brindisi and Venice in Italy year round, and there are also summer services from Corfu to these ports. There is also a service between Rhodes and Marmaris in Turkey.

Major ferry operators covering the international routes are Superfast (tel: 210 891 9000;www.superfast.com), Minoan (tel: +30 210 414 5700;www.minoan.gr) and ANEK (tel: 210 419 7900;www.anek.gr). Note that Superfast and ANEK also operate as an alliance (www.anek-superfast.gr).

Greece: visa and passport requirements
                     Passport required Return ticket required Visa required
Australian Yes                                     Yes                        No
British          Yes                                      No                        No
Canadian Yes                                      Yes                        No
Other EU 1                                      No                        No
USA          Yes                                      Yes                        No
Passports: Passport required by all except:

1. EU nationals holding a valid national ID card.

Passports must be valid for the following durations:
(a) British and EU passports must be valid for length of intended stay. British passport holders may stay in Greece until the last day of the validity of their passports.

(b) Australian, Canadian, USA must be valid for at least three months beyond length of stay, which can be a maximum of three months.

Note: EU and EEA nationals are only required to produce evidence of their EU nationality and identity in order to be admitted to any EU Member State. This evidence can take the form of a valid national passport or national identity card. Either is acceptable. Possession of a return ticket, any length of validity on their document, sufficient funds for the length of their proposed visit should not be imposed.

Passport note: 
Greece is a signatory to the 1995 Schengen Agreement.

A visa is not required by all nationals referred to in the chart above for the following durations:

(a) nationals of EU countries for stays of up to 90 days (EU/EEA citizens may stay a further 3 months if seeking work).
(b) nationals of Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Romania and the USA for stays of up to 90 days.

Note: Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements.

Visa note: 
(a) Greece refuses admission and transit to holders of travel documents issued by the area of Cyprus not controlled by the Government of Cyprus, and holders of UN laissez-passers.

From January 2011, no visa applications can be made by post.

Types and cost: 
Schengen visa (airport transit visa and short-stay visa): €60 (£52). National visa (long-stay visa): €37.50 (£33).

Registration certificates issued to visitors from EU countries who wish to stay for longer than 3 months are valid indefinitely. Visitors from the US can apply for temporary residence permits, valid from three to six months.

Australian, Canadian, US and EU passport holders do not require transit visas.

Application to: 
Travellers should apply for visas at the consular section of their nearest Greek Embassy.

Schengen visas: 
Greece is currently part of the Schengen visa scheme.

Temporary residence: 
EU nationals staying more than 90 days have to apply in person to the Aliens Department office (in Athens) or their local police station (in districts outside Athens) closest to their residence for a “Registration Certificate” (Veveoisi Engrafis). To obtain this, they need to show the passport they used when entering the country and provide a statement from their employer (if they are here for work), or a marriage or birth certificate (if they are here because of family ties).

Visitors from the US can apply for temporary residence permits, valid from three to six months. These are issued by the Aliens police office in the area of residency of the individual concerned, but only if the individual can show evidence that they have a compelling reason to prolong their stay in Greece.

Working days: 
Three to 15, dependent upon nationality.

Sufficient funds: 
Australian, Canadian, US and EU passport holders do not need to prove access to funds when entering Greece for tourism.

Entry documents: 
Visitors from Australia, Canada and the US need to show a valid passport. For nationals from EU countries, a national identity card is sufficient.

Extension of stay: 
Visitors hoping to extend their stay in Greece should go their embassy in Athens to request further details.

Entry with children: 
Children must either have their own passport or be registered on the passport of one of their parents.

Entry restrictions: 
Non-EU passport holders can stay within the Schengen zone for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. After their 90-day stay, they cannot return to these countries for at least another 90 days.

Entry with pets: 
Pets travelling to Greece from other EU countries need a microchip for identification, an EU Pet Passport, and stamp to prove they have been vaccinated against rabies (within between four weeks and one year of date of entry into Greece). Pets arriving from outside the EU need a health certificate completed by a vet in either Greek or English.

Currency information:

Euro (EUR; symbol €) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of €2, 1 and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.
Credit cards:

American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa and other major credit cards are widely accepted (although less so in petrol stations).

ATM’s are widely available in all cities and towns, on the mainland and the islands. They are generally reliable.

Travellers cheques:

All major currencies are widely accepted and can be exchanged easily at banks. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Euros, Pounds Sterling or US Dollars.

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