American citizens who are currently in Greece and unable to leave due to coronavirus travel restrictions have been advised to apply for an extension of their visa-free stay.
The US Embassy in Greece issued an announcement, urging US citizens to try and get an extension of stay, reported SchengenVisaInfo.com.
If they do not, “Greek authorities may impose a fine of 600 or 1,200 Euros per person upon departure, depending on the length of the overstay”, claimed Embassy officials.
The full US Embassy’s announcement reads:
”If you are unable to depart before your 90-day limit and wish to apply for an extension, you must call the closest Aliens Bureau at least two weeks prior to your required departure date to schedule an appointment. The Greek authorities evaluate each application on a case by case basis. There is no automatic extension of the 90-day limit because of COVID-19; you must request an extension from the Aliens Bureau or risk being fined upon departure.”
The Embassy also urged US citizens who intend to return to the US to depart Greece as soon as possible while there are still commercial flights available. They added that “there are no plans for chartered or evacuation flights from Greece to the United States,” at the moment, so US citizens in Greece may have to provide for themselves for an indefinite period of time without the possibility of government assistance.
Normally, US citizens do not need a visa for Greece or any other Schengen country for stays of up to 90 days. However, the recent coronavirus travel restrictions and entry bans have led to the cancellation of flights, and in turn, thousands of US citizens have been stranded abroad.
The US government stated that they are trying to bring back as many of their fellow citizens as soon as possible, but because commercial flights are not operating regularly, it has posed a problem.
However, the US State Department announced in late March that will work with the US Department of Defense to arrange military flights for the return of stranded passengers.