Turkish Travellers Granted Access to Greek Islands with Special Visa Program

Turkish Travellers Granted Access to Greek Islands with Special Visa Program

In a bid to ease historical tensions between Greece and Turkey, Greek officials inaugurated a new vacation visa terminal specifically designed for Turkish visitors on April 1, 2024.

The newly introduced limited-access visa permits Turkish citizens to explore ten Greek islands for up to seven days without requiring full access to the European Union's passport-free travel zone, commonly known as the Schengen area.

These ten Greek islands are strategically located near the Turkish coastline and include Lesbos, Chios, Limnos, Samos, Kalymnos, Leros, Kos, Kastellorizo, and Symi. More smaller Greek islands are slated to be included on the list by June 2024.

In December of last year, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reached an agreement that led to this project

The expedited visa program operates year-round and aims to invigorate tourism in less-visited areas, particularly during the off-season months.

Travellers can obtain visas at designated Greek ports for €60 per visitor, with procedures such as fingerprint recording and passport checks conducted prior to entry into Greece.

Greek authorities have emphasised that visitors under this program are not allowed to travel to other EU member states without the appropriate documentation.

As previously reported, Greece received the green light from the EU Commission for launching such a program.

Turkey has long advocated for more relaxed travel regulations for its citizens visiting the EU, with hopes that cooperation, including efforts to manage illegal immigration, could lead to further concessions from member states.

EU – Türkiye Visa Liberalisation

Türkiye has the most extended history with the EU and the most prolonged accession process, which only officially started in 2005 despite the first agreement being signed with the EU’s predecessor the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1964.

Since then, the process has been essentially frozen due to political roadblocks by certain EU members, including Greece.

Türkiye and the EU have revived the talks regarding a new visa agreement last year. The EU mapped out a set of 72 criteria that Türkiye has to meet in order to qualify. As of November 2023, Türkiye has met 66 and is actively working on meeting the rest of the requirements.

Currently, citizens of Türkiye have to apply for a Schengen Visa to travel to the Schengen area.

If you need assistance with your Schengen Visa application, feel free to reach out to IaM.

Where do you plan to travel this year? Talk to us in the comment section below. Or if you need more advice on the above, contact us for further travel & immigration advice.

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IaM can help with your visa application to Europe, the United States, the UK & other countries

If you need help with a US visa, a UK Visa, or a visa to Europe, including help with appointment booking obligations, IaM can help. For more information and advice on US immigration, UK immigration law and US visa applications or if you need any help or assistance please, reach out to your Visa Coordinator at IaM.

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