Greek Citizenship and Greek Passport
According to the Greek Nationality Code and other relevant legislation, Greek citizenship can be acquired by right of birth to a Greek parent, or by naturalization, or by virtue of special provisions of the Greek Nationality Code.
Citizenship by Birth
A child born in wedlock to a registered Greek father and/or a registered Greek mother may in principle obtain the Greek citizenship by birth.Citizenship by birth requires an uninterrupted sequence of Greek origin, proven through the Greek parent’s certificate of registration with a Greek Municipality. Locating a registration, however, may be challenging in cases where the Greek parent immigrated prior to the 1950’s and the 1960’s, due to lack of organized municipal records in some areas prior to these decades and also due to wars and natural disasters resulting in loss of historical archives.
For the acquisition of the Greek citizenship by birth, the registration of the relevant life events, such as births, marriages, divorces or deaths etc., with the competent Greek Authorities is in principle required. These registrations are, as of 1.1.2022, handled almost exclusively by the Greek Consulates of the areas where the said events took place. The Athens Special Registry may, as of 1.1.2022, handle such registrations in exceptional cases, as prescribed by law (e.g.,in cases where the applicant resides more than 500 km away from the competent General Greek Consulate/Embassy, in cases where there is no General Greek Consulate/Embassy operating in the area, etc.)
Citizenship by virtue of special provisions
Most common cases include:
a) article 2 of the Greek Nationality Code: Greek citizenship due to acknowledgement by a Greek father, provided, among other requirements, that the acknowledgement took place while the child was a minor.
b) article 3of the Greek Nationality Code: Greek citizenship due to adoption by a Greek parent, provided, among other requirements, that the adoption took place while the child was a minor.
c) article 14of the Greek Nationality Code: Greek citizenship through declaration of intention to obtain the Greek citizenship before the Greek Consulate.
Citizenship by Naturalization
When an uninterrupted sequence of Greek origin may not be established and proven through the Greek parent’s certificate of registration with a Greek Municipality, citizenship by naturalization of article 10 of the Greek Nationality Code (“politografisi omogenous”) is the only option.
Citizenship by naturalization (“politografis iomogenous”), is a lengthy process that requires extensive documentation establishing the applicant’s Greek background and their ties to Greece and their Greek heritage. The submission of the application and supporting documentation is followed by an interview with the Greek Consul. The Naturalization determination rests at the discretion of the Greek Authorities.
Documents establishing Greek background can include old Greek passports, immigration documents, ancestor’s registration documents found in Greece, etc.
Documents establishing ties with Greece include certificates of attendance of Greek schools, participation in Greek cultural or other organizations abroad, letters of recommendation from other members of the Greek community, etc.
The interview with the Greek Consul, is a crucial and integral part of the naturalization process. During the interview the applicant will be asked questions about Greece, Greek history and culture, political and socioeconomic life, geography, famous and historical Greek figures, etc.. Knowledge of the Greek language is taken into consideration.
There is no residency requirement for the filing of the naturalization application of article 10 of the Greek Nationality Code. Furthermore, minor unmarried children obtain citizenship at the time of the parent’s naturalization oath (i.e., the oath is given at the Greek Consulate, if the Greek citizenship is granted).
Naturalization of article 10 of the Greek Nationality Code steps:
a) filing of the naturalization application along with all the supporting documentation before the Greek Consulate of the applicant’s place of residence.
b) interview with the Greek Consul, during which the applicant will be asked various questions about Greece. Knowledge of the Greek language, if any, is taken into consideration.
c) the Greek Consul will review the application, the submitted documentation and the findings from the interview and will determine whether the applicant may be characterized as a person of Greek background (“omogenis”) and whether the applicant has a strong connection to Greece or not,
d) the Greek Consul will then draft his written report/opinion, including his opinion (i.e., favorable or not) on the applicant’s eligibility for the Greek citizenship through naturalization of article 10, and will forward the same along with the applicant’s complete file to the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Athens,
e) the Greek Ministry of Internal Affairs will review the applicant’s file and the Greek Consul’s written report. If the Ministry of Internal Affairs concludes that the applicant fulfills the requirements prescribed by the Greek Nationality Code (i.e., Greek background and strong connection to Greece), then a Decision granting the applicant the Greek citizenship will be issued. If not, then a Decision rejecting the applicant’s application will be issued,
f) if the application is approved, the applicant will be invited to the Greek Consulate to take the naturalization oath before the Greek Consul. The oath is an important part of the procedure. If not taken within the prescribed deadlines, the Greek citizenship will not be granted,
g) if the application is approved, the applicant’s file will then also be forwarded to the competent Municipality in Greece, where the applicant wishes to be registered,
h) the competent Municipality will then proceed with all the required actions for the applicant’s registration with the Greek Municipal Rolls, after which his/her case will be finalized, and
i) as mentioned above, if the naturalization application is approved and the applicant has minor and single children at the time of his/her oath, then his/her minor children will also obtain the Greek citizenship from the date of the oath without the filing of additional applications. If, on the other hand, the applicant’s children are no longer minors or are married at the time of the oath, then they will need to file separate naturalization applications, should they wish to obtain the Greek citizenship.
Many of the above procedures can be implemented through a Limited Power of Attorney to a specialized Greek Lawyer