Home Travel & Adventure Greece Set to Introduce Fast-Track Island Visas for Turkish Citizens Starting March...

Greece Set to Introduce Fast-Track Island Visas for Turkish Citizens Starting March 30


Greece is set to start issuing visas for Turkish nationals on March 20, which will enable them to visit some of the Greek islands for up to seven days at a time. The pilot phase will first include five Aegean islands, with plans to expand to five more islands later.

Greek Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis expressed optimism about introducing the fast-track visa scheme for Turkish tourists. Explaining the delay, Gerapetritis said that the program’s complex design needed cooperation from different government departments, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

The decision to grant visas on arrival to Turkish citizens follows an agreement signed between Athens and Ankara last December.

Visas on arrival will be valid for stays up to seven days, one entry. Meanwhile, the Islands that will be included in this program once the pilot is completed are Lemnos, Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros, Kalymnos, Kos, Rhodes, Symi, and Kastelorizo.

Meanwhile, Lesvos will launch fast-track visas starting from April 1, as announced last week by the mayor of Mytilini, Panagiotis Taktikos.

Single-Entry Visa Is Not Valid for Entry Into Other Schengen Countries

Following this agreement, Greece anticipates an increase in tourism, as reported by the GTP Headline. The Greek Tourism Minister, Olga Kefalogianni, said that this scheme is expected to revitalise the development of the islands.

This year will be special in relation to Turkey because the 10-island program concerning islands near the Turkish coast is expected to revitalise their development.

Olga Kefalogianni, Greek Tourism Minister

She explained that it is a “visa at the gate” program, not a visa-free system, noting that Greek authorities will grant visas upon arrival to travellers from Turkey at the designated islands.

It was further clarified that Turkish travellers holding a single-entry visa cannot travel to other Schengen Area countries.

Regarding this issue, Kefalogianni underscored that police inspections will be rigorous in order to prevent any breaches.

77 Visa-Free Countries for Turkish Passport Holders

According to the Schengen Visa Statistics, in 2022, Turkish citizens submitted the highest number of Schengen visa applications at the Schengen consulates in Türkiye, reaching a total of 778,409. Of those, 164,829 applications were submitted at the Greek consulate in Türkiye.

Furthermore, in 2022, Turkish citizens made 1.9 per cent of all arrivals in Greece, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute. Whereas in 2019, the pre-pandemic year, they accounted for 3.5 recent of all arrivals in Greece.

Currently, the Turkish passport ranks 93rd in the world, according to the VisaGuide Passport Index. This means that Turkish passport holders can travel visa-free in 77 countries worldwide.

On the other hand, Turkish citizens are required to obtain a visa to enter 93 different countries around the world, including Greece.

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