The Import of cultural objects

Cultural objects can be freely imported into Greek territory provided the provisions of the Paris Convention of 1970 as well as other rules of international law are not violated. The holder of imported antiquities has without, undue delay, to declare their import to the Archaeological Service as well as the manner in which they came to his possession.

The right of ownership of legally imported antiquities dated up to 1453 is maintained unless a) they had been exported from Greek territory during the last 50 years before the importation and b) that they have not been illegally removed from a monument, an archaeological site, church, public collection, collection of religious monuments, storage places of archaeological finds from excavations or other similar places, or that they are not product of illegal excavations. If the Archaeological Service considers that they had been exported from Greece during the last 50 years or that they are products of illegal activities, the interested person has to provide evidence of the antiquity's acquisition or import and has to prove its origin.

If it is not possible to prove their origin a permit of possession (not a right of ownership) will be granted unless the applicant does not provide the necessary safeguards of compliance in particular if he has been sentenced irrevocably for a felony, violation of the legislation for the protection of cultural heritage, forgery, bribery, theft, embezzlement or receiving the proceeds of crime. These impediment exist for as long as criminal proceedings are pending.

Special attention is to be given to the EU Directive 2014/60/EU that regulates the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a member state.


The Export of antiquities & cultural objects

The export of antiquities from Greek territory is prohibited unless:

a) the antiquity is not of special significance to the country's cultural heritage and it does not affect the unity of important collections. b) it has been confirmed that they have been imported temporarily in the country and are legally in the possession or ownership of the interested person. c) it has been confirmed that they have been imported legally into Greece within the last 50 years, provided they have not been exported  from Greece beforehand

Antiquities for which the procedure of classification has been initiated cannot be exported before the expiration of the time period required for the issuance of the final decision on classification.

The export permit is granted by a decision of the Minister of Culture following an opinion of the Central Archaeological Committee. The decision has to be issued within a time period of four months or in exceptional cases within 6 months from the date of submission of the relevant application.

An export permit for specific monuments may be granted to antiquity dealers and merchants of recent monuments which is valid for two years.

The temporary export of monuments for the purpose of exhibiting in museums or similar institutions is permitted by a decision of the Minister of Culture following an opinion of the Central Archeological Committee, on condition that the necessary guarantees are provided for their safe transport, exhibition and return. This ministerial decision will also specify the terms of temporary export and its duration.

The procedure for exporting antiquities is regulated by the joint Ministerial decision ΟΕΠΥ/ΤΟΠΥΝΣ/17764/2004 (ΦΕΚ 455/Β/5.3.2004) issued by the Minister of Culture and Finance.

Special attention is to be given to the E.U  the Council Regulation No 116/2009  that regulates the export of cultural goods is applied. 


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