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Denied Entry to Greece for US Citizens

In general, Americans who are visiting Greece for a short stay or tourism are permitted to enter without a visa. Greek immigration authorities, however, decide who gets admitted to Greece in accordance with Greek law.

The most frequent justification for entrance refusal is that a citizen of the United States tried to travel on a passport that they had previously reported lost or stolen. Even if later discovered, such passports cannot be used for travel.

American travelers are thus advised to travel on a valid passport because the airlines merely check their citizenship to see if it will allow them entry to Greece. In such cases, they may not even be aware that their passport has been reported lost or stolen.

This guide outlines all of the options open to American visitors who are refused entry to Greece.

Overview of Greek Entry Policy

As long as a visitor's U.S. passport is valid for at least six months after their anticipated return to the United States, they are permitted to travel to Greece and all other members of the Schengen Area for up to ninety days without a visa for tourist or business purposes!

Nevertheless, all holders of official or diplomatic passports must have a visa. Generally, Americans can visit Greece without a visa. A valid passport is all that is required. However, they will need Greek ETIAS starting in November 2023.

However, some commonplace activities might not be regarded as "tourism" in accordance with Greek law. Before visiting the country, individuals who wish to carry out charitable pursuits, prospective students, volunteers for religious organizations, interns, and those pursuing particular programs may need to obtain a visa.

What can Travelers Expect if Entry into Greece Is Refused

It is best to remember that Greek authorities have the right and obligation to uphold their laws. Therefore, not everyone who arrives at a Greek port of entry is allowed to enter. This is despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans who visit the nation for tourism are admitted without a problem.

Regardless of the country or place of residence, when visitors are denied entrance, Greek officials typically order them to be sent back to the airport from which they last left.

In this case, neither the U.S. Government authorities can attempt to sway the Greek government's decision, nor can the American Embassy in Athens intervene on the traveler's behalf if he/she is refused admission into Greece.

Typically, the carrier will transport the visitor back to where they left off on the subsequent flight that becomes available. The airport staff may, however, place them in a temporary detention facility until the flight takes off if they would have a longer wait for the return journey.

Rest assured, citizens of the United States will have access to food and water, a telephone, and medical care, if required, at the communal detention facility.

In some circumstances, the Greek authorities can agree to the admission on the condition that they obtain an entry stamp at the airport and apply for an emergency passport at the American Embassy in Athens. The Greek government's decision is not subject to any influence from the Embassy.

Travelers should be aware that if the Greek authorities allow them to apply for a new passport inside the country, then they must show up at the American Embassy between the hours of 8:30 and 11:30 on a typical business day.

Things to Do If Visitors Are Denied Entry to Greece

Americans who are denied entry should try to be composed. It is best not to try to argue against the ruling of the Greek official. They must reconcile to the fact that they won't be allowed inside once they have been discovered to be unqualified or unfit.

If they are taking medicine, have a medical condition, or require medical attention, they should let the Greek authorities know. They should also inform the Greek authorities if they have any dietary restrictions.

Citizens from the United States who are denied entry are within their rights to ask the reason why they weren't admitted. It is best to listen and not respond.

Travelers should make sure they are well aware of the requirements for their next trip to Greece, including whether a visa is required. They can also check if they have to wait before submitting an application to re-enter the European nation.

It is best to ask for a copy of the refusal's documentation. They might need to present it to the officials at a Greek consulate in the U.S.

Travelers can check with the consulate or embassy whether a visa is required in their case.

If they are not being brought back to the US, they can get in touch with the airline as they will need to rebook or buy a new flight from the last port of departure to get home.

Steps to Take After Returning to the United States

American travelers can check with the Embassy of Greece to enquire about the application process if they want to apply for a Greek visa (in case the entry is denied).

They should also get in touch with the closest Greek Consulate if they have any inquiries concerning upcoming trips to Greece or other general inquiries.


Detained at the border and sent back home is the worst nightmare for many travelers.

In some cases, the passport may not have sufficient remaining validity, which is a possibility. Many nations including Greece want it to be valid for at least a specific number of months after the planned departure date. Passports issued no more than ten years ago is also a requisite.

Even though the latter situation is extremely rare, some nations add any remaining validity from the old passport to the new one.

As a result, a traveler, for example, may have a passport that technically expires ten years and two months after it is issued but that some nations won't recognize it as valid for longer than ten years. This has particularly confused some visitors to the EU Schengen region.

Ultimately, the decision on whether or not to allow an American traveler into Greece rests with the border guard.

Travelers should take note that they will need to return to the United States and apply for a standard Schengen visa if they are denied entry into any of the EU member states.

Sometimes embassies delegate the processing of visas to the consulate or embassy of another Schengen nation to provide visa services. In denial cases, travelers are advised to apply for a visa at the US-based consulate or embassy of Greece for a future visit.

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