The validity of travel documents issued to Greek citizens through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) will be extended to the standard two years, US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said on Thursday, during a meeting at the Citizen Protection Ministry.
The ambassador announced the change during the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between the Greek police and the U.S. Customs and Borders Protection Service of USA on implementing Greece’s Passenger Name Record (PNR) law.
Greece is on the visa waiver programme but Greek travellers must apply through ESTA before travelling.
According to a statement by the U.S. Embassy the same day, “Previously, the United States issued ESTAs with a one-year validity to Greek citizens traveling under the Visa Waiver Programme. In response to Greece’s cooperation and progress on implementing its PNR law, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending the validity of ESTAs issued to Greek citizens to the standard two years. This change will take place within 48 hours.”
In terms of the PNR law just signed, the statement said, “The use of PNR in traveler screening is an important part of Greece’s efforts to prevent terrorists, serious criminals, and other mala fide actors from traveling, in line with international and European Union obligations.”
Citizen Protection Minister Olga Gerovassili thanked Ambassador Pyatt, noting that this development proves that Greece is a safe country.