The Greek Minister of Tourism, Minister Harry Theocharis stated in the Greek parliament on April 6th, “We will open on May 14, and we will open safely". Greece has operated better than any other country in Europe in its response to the pandemic and to boost the tourism sector, yet maintain the general safety of the population. The government has implemented five lines of safekeeping planned for the reopening:
At an initial step, and until the 31st of May, Greece’s soft opening includes permanent residents of:
- All EU states
- All Schengen States
- the United Kingdom
- the United States
- the United Arab Emirates
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- North Macedonia
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Saudi Arabia
Permanent residents of the above-mentioned countries will enter Greece without a seven-day quarantine requirement on arrival, only if they meet one of the following conditions:
Exceptionally, the permanent residents of Russia will enter Greece without quarantine requirement on arrival, only if they can present both proof of a negative PCR test AND proof of full vaccination at least 14 days before entry.
Acceptable vaccines are: Pfizer BioNtech, Moderna, Astra Zeneca/Oxford, Novavax, Johnson + Johnson/Janssen, Sinovac Biotech, Gamaleya (Sputnik), Cansino Biologics and Sinopharm.
Holders of a Greek Golden Visa have never been affected by the international travel restrictions, as far as the EU/Schengen Area is concerned. They could travel visa-free in Greece and around the Schengen Area, regardless of any Covid-related travel bans. Of course, even if they could enter Greece, they had to comply with the 7-day quarantine on arrival. Now, Golden Visa holders who permanently reside in one of the countries stated above will also enjoy “quarantine-free” visits, provided they fulfil the above requirements.
As for investors in the process of obtaining a Greek Golden Visa and already holders of a Blue Paper, no travel visa or a special entry permit shall be required, provided that they are residents or of the above-mentioned countries, and as of the 19th of April, no 7-day quarantine is required either. It is important to mention that all permanent residents of these mentioned countries who are passport holders of a country that regularly requires a Schengen Visa to enter Greece still need to obtain Schengen Visas to travel to Greece.
As for potential investors, who are still at an early stage, no 7-day quarantine on arrival shall be required, provided that they fulfil the above conditions. For example, US citizens fully vaccinated can arrive with the certificate of vaccination and take care of their matters in Greece at all stages, even if they want to initiate the process and paperwork or search for properties. For non-EU citizens, who do not reside in a country stated on the above list, we still need to go through the process remotely and apply for a special entry permit at the stage of biometrics.
Disclaimer: As of the 31st of May of, and on the date of publishing this article, the general principles regarding the health protocols applying in Greece are listed in the governmental portal for travel updates, please follow this link for more: https://travel.gov.gr/#/
Additional updates about the Coronavirus tourism rules and covid travel guidelines by the Ministry of Tourism can be found on the platform Greece | Health First, read more on their website: https://greecehealthfirst.gr/#quest1
Varnavas Law Firm has been successfully serving Golden Visa Clients to start, process, and obtain their permanent residency through investment in Greece.