Greece tightens airport passport checks

Greece tightens airport passport checks

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Travellers coming to or leaving the Schengen zone can expect longer waiting times at checkpoints

Greece is about to make travelling to and from non-Schengen countries a bit more difficult. Effective from 7 April, the country will comply with an EU regulation making passport checks stricter.

The Greek police have asked passengers for a timely arrival at departure gates for their passport checks — Giannis Papanikos / ShutterstockGreek police have asked passengers to arrive early for their passport checks — Giannis Papanikos / Shutterstock

The regulation was introduced in 2017 for all Schengen countries except for Greece and Lithuania. It requires checks against relevant databases for all European citizens travelling to or from non-Schengen destinations. Travellers will have their passports scanned and cross-checked.

However, the new measure could lead to lengthy queues which might increase waiting time at checkpoints. That is why Greek police have asked passengers to arrive early for their passport checks.

Additionally, in order to speed up control procedures, travellers to and from non-Schengen destinations should use their passport instead of their identity card.

The police have reportedly strengthened their presence at Athens airport with the aim of tackling long queues. The airport itself has implemented several improvements in terms of service and equipment to allow travellers to avoid unnecessary hassle.

FCO urges UK travellers to arrive on time

The new measure will also apply to travellers from the United Kingdom. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued an updated travel advisory for Greece to warn of possible delays.

“Increased waiting times at passport control are possible on departure from and arrival into Greece,” the FCO said.

“You should ensure you arrive at the airport in good time.”

The Schengen area covers 26 European states that have abolished passport and other border controls.

Greece is part of the zone along with the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

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