Getting "stamped" in the Greek Transit Log
One thing that has been getting us a bit confused since we started thinking of coming to Greece and then also after arriving was this almost secret conversation about getting "stamped" into the transit log. A subject that seems to be whispered all around (Facebook sailing community included) but never really discussed.
After an awkward conversation at Customs office in Preveza during our check in with one of the officers in a broken English conversion, we were left with the impression that we could be “stamped” onto the Transit Log and would be able to stay in Greece for much longer than the optimistic 90/180 days Schengen rule dance, the prospect seemed good enough to bother everyone that even mentioned the subject with questions in seeking that information.
Our first real source of info was our American friends Wendy and Kevin on SV TALISMAN, they do their homework and just like us, they want to enjoy Greece as much as possible. Upon our reunion this month when they had returned to Greece after having spent the winter in their home country they confirmed that the previous year, they had managed to get “stamped” onto their Transit Log and stayed for nearly six months in the country. That was good news, what was their secret we asked.
Simple. They stamped their passports out of Schengen in Italy before crossing to Greece, on arrival they did the formalities for the Transit Log, confirmed their positions as captain and crew of their American flagged yacht on the Transit Log and that was it! Before leaving for the winter when they put their yacht in “bond” with Customs surrendering their Transit Log they requested to be stamped onto their passports (days before leaving by plane) and their 90/180 days Schengen only started counting at that moment.
This year because our friends arrived by plane and got their passports stamped in at the airport the plan is to get their yacht back in the water, return the Transit Log and checkout of Greece to Albania or Montenegro and then return to get a new Transit Log.
This was the info we had been looking for and our good friends were super informative.
Because we hadn’t stamped our passports out of Schengen in Italy before crossing we were planning to stay in Greece for just over a month and then sail to the north of the Adriatic Sea before returning later in the season. We left it to our checkout day to ask the same questions at immigration police in Corfu (our port of exit).
Very friendly the Immigration officer confirmed that as a non-EU flag vessel with a Transit Log it was possible for the Captain and Crew to be added to the Transit Log and not need to be stamped in the passports provided they return every single night to the vessel, the only thing needed was for the Port Police to confirm that the non-EU people on the vessel were qualified as Captain or Crew abs listed accordingly in the crew list.
When questioned about where could we find that information the answer was “it’s on the back of the Transit Log”.
So with that in mind guess what we will be doing in a few months when we return!
The only question that remains is why can this only be done during 6 months in a 1 year period instead of the 18 months the Transit Log is valid for?
(It seems the solution is to return the Transit Log to Customs, leave Greek waters and come back to get a new Transit Log and start the process all over again. Maybe a vessel and crew could stay much much longer than 6 months with a short break at the six-month interval).
***ANYONE that wishes to use this information to plan their travels within Schengen space is at their own risk and should seek further confirmation from the relevant Greek authorities and border police for further details on the Transit Log, we are just sharing some of our findings and will not accept any responsibilities for the information stated in this post and related posts. This information was received by a verbal discussion with Immigration Police at Corfu Port Authority and based on other peoples experiences, for reference only.