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Just returned: Rapid test needs in Greece

Hi all,

Just want to share a quick piece of info we learned from our time in Greece. We just returned 4/1/22 from 10 days there.

In order to get a rapid test in a Pharmacy ( required for re-entry to States), you need:
1. Passport number(s)
2. A PLF number- you don’t need it to enter Greece anymore but you do need it for a Covid test in a pharmacy. Easy to obtain and have for when needed (https://travel.gov.gr/#/)
3. Payment for the test (varies)

I suggest confirming they will PRINT your results when finished. It’s much easier to have printed copy and not all of them do it, so ask before. Additionally, not every pharmacy does tests throughout their opening hours, some only did them at certain hours, so again, ask the day before you need to get the test.

Enjoy!

Posted by
3115 posts

Thank you for taking time to post this! It will help us in planning for testing on our upcoming trip to the Peloponnese.

We see that daily COVID numbers in Greece are still very high…did that impact your travel plans while there? We are debating about whether or not to travel…glad you are home safe!

Posted by
16 posts

You are very welcome, we saw many travelers distressed outside pharmacies about this very question.

Covid really did not impact our travel within Greece. We are both healthy and under 50 and recovered from Covid in Dec 2021. We felt safe for these reasons. We wore masks indoors.

I will say that if you do not have the booster, or did not receive your second Covid vaccine recently OR have a doctor letter stating you have recovered recently (like within 90 days) from Covid, they make it difficult or impossible depending on where you are trying to go, to enter certain places. We had to show our vaccine cards and passport every time we sat down at restaurant (indoors and outdoors) and every museum. Also, when checking into hotels. We were able to show images of these documents on our phones everywhere, didn’t need hard copies. This was consistent throughout Athens, the Peloponnese and Meteora.

Posted by
125 posts

Super useful. We went through emed.com to get proctored tests.

Posted by
973 posts

It's a bit concerning that the pharmacy required a PLF form when the Greek website said it was optional. However it also stated it's needed to get a test result per the website :

Per website: However, a simplified PLF remains in operation, the completion of which is OPTIONAL, for the sole purpose of enabling the traveller / family to issue an EU Certificate of negative or positive COVID-19 test result.

This will add some confusion to getting the Covid Test to return to the States.

Posted by
283 posts

Thanks, we are heading to Greece next month. Our trip back to the States is one long day starting in Santorini. Your post does not say where you go the tests, but does anyone know if Santorini has a pharmacy where we might get the test?

I assume we upload the test to our airline app? Or were you showing printed copy all the back to the States?

Posted by
55 posts

There are also now some proctored self-test kits available that are approved by the CDC for providing proof of a negative test result for flying back to the USA.
https://www.afar.com/magazine/cdc-approves-at-home-covid-tests-for-international-travel
You can take the test in your hotel room if you wish, as long as you have a good internet connection. You get online with a doctor or medical technician who observes you taking the test and see what the test result is, then email you a certificate of proof (assuming it's negative) that can be shown at the boarding gate.

Posted by
11431 posts

I leave next week for Europe and return the end of June. I'm hoping, fingers crossed, that the test requirement for returning to the U.S. will be gone by then.

Posted by
872 posts

ErinOH, thank you for this information. We leave for Greece on May 12. I have a list of things we have to do for Covid requirements, and I did not put the PLF on my list because I know the Greek government no longer requires it. So, good to know that now we do need it to get the Covid test unless the pharmacies change their rules by May.

Posted by
1779 posts

Thanks for the heads up on the PLF number. I was not aware you needed one to get tested. We are traveling next month so really useful information!

Posted by
309 posts

How long before your flight can one fill out a PLF?

Posted by
872 posts

Paul & Melissa,
I suggested the proctored self-test to my husband, but he is being cheap and doesn't want to spend the money on them.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks for this info erinOH. I’ll put PLF back on the list for now unless the US drops testing requirements in June.

Posted by
1779 posts

It is not just money with the proctored tests. You have to be confident that you will have a good enough internet connection as well. We were in Italy last summer and fortunately did not depend on using proctored tests. The air bnb we were in did not have internet even though it was advertised to have it. I have also read that you need to have a lap top or ipad to successfully do it, not just a cell phone. So something else to keep in mind.

Posted by
973 posts

Apparently there is some confusion whether one needs a PLF Form to get a covid test.

According to another travel forum that Pharmacy may be the "odd man out" and a PLF Form is not needed for a test.

However, at the very bottom of https://travel.gov.gr/#/ is this. It says nothing about needing a PFL Form for a Covid test.

****13. What if the visitor's country requires a test for his / her return?

It is possible to perform PCR or rapid antigen tests directly at the place where each guest stays if the guest needs a test for returning home. This makes it easier for every tourist to be consistent with his/her obligations in order to safely return to his/her country.****

Hopefully there will be some clarity on this issue soon.

Posted by
16 posts

I visited 4 different pharmacies in Greece and required the PLF number at each. The PLF number is free and simple to have on hand if you want to get a Covid test at a pharmacy before your return to the United States.

Safe travels!

Posted by
872 posts

BethFL,
I agree with you about needing to be confident about a good internet connection. That is my reason why I wouldn't want to depend on the proctored self-test; I don't worry about the cost as much as my husband does. And I always travel with paper print-outs of everything. I don't depend on using my cell-phone because you never know when you won't have a good signal or your battery could die. I am old-fashioned in that I still use and depend on paper.

We haven't filled out the PLF yet but will do so based on what erinOH experienced.

Posted by
872 posts

ErinOH, thanks for all your information. Very helpful.

Because of your post, I contacted the hotel we are staying at in Athens. They gave me the name of a nearby pharmacy that does the antigen tests. We have to get tested on a Saturday. The pharmacy closes at 2PM!!! The hotel will make an appointment for us when we check in.

Did you get a sense of how busy the pharmacies are and how far in advance once should make an appointment?

Posted by
283 posts

Thanks for this good info. I echo the hope the US drops the re-entry test requirement by May. I also heard there was some talk of dropping the mask mandate in planes?? But maybe that is just a nostalgic pre-Covid idea. Remember mask-less travel?

Just in case, I did buy the proctored test kits. Agree they are more expensive, but probably less expensive than an unanticipated extended trip due to no test and worth it for the peace of mind.

Posted by
5 posts

Just wondering if anyone had trouble bringing a self test INTO the country - I have read on airline websites to make sure the country you are going to allows the self test you are bringing. Also wondering if anyone has used the self test (which one) to fly back to states via Delta and the flyready app. Any recommendations for places to get the test in person in/around Plaka? Thanks!

Posted by
16 posts

Kmkwoo we never had an appointment for a test at a pharmacy, we and all the others I saw there just arrived and waited in line. :-)

Posted by
872 posts

erinOH, Was this in Athens? That is our last stop so obviously Athens is where we need to get our Covid test. I emailed our hotel, and they will make the appointment for us when we check into the hotel. But it's nice to know you were able to get yours without an appointment in case we have some kind of a glitch.

Posted by
16 posts

Yes, we did not need appointments for any of our Covid tests and all were in Athens.

Safe travels!