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Citizenship by Descent in Greece

Citizenship by Descent in Greece

One can acquire citizenship by descent in Greece either at birth or if one of the parents is a Greek national. The same can apply when the grandmother or grandfather of the individual was born in Greece or has gone through the process of naturalization. Our immigration lawyer in Greece is ready to answer your questions regarding citizenship by descent and provide you with additional information, apart from the data listed in this article.

We offer tailored services to our clients, meaning that our team will take into account your unique family history in order to determine if you are eligible for this type of citizenship.

Obtaining Greek citizenship is also possible through other methods, discussed in more detail by our team in other articles. The two main routes, which are commonly used by foreign nationals who do not have Greek origins, are through marriage or through naturalization, possible after the applicant has lived for a number of years in Greece.

Read below more about citizenship by descent in Greece and reach out to our immigration lawyer if you need special assistance to apply.

The conditions for Greek citizenship by decent

Obtaining citizenship in Greece through parentage or ancestry is subject to certain conditions. Below, our Greek immigration lawyers highlight the most important ones:

  • Greek parents(s): a child who has one or both parents with Greek nationality acquire citizenship automatically at birth;
  • Foreign naturalized parents: the same citizenship at birth rule applies for a child whose parents have lawfully lived in the country for five years; for children with naturalized parents who are not born in Greece, citizenship can apply at a later date; our immigration lawyer in Greece can provide more details;
  • Wedlock children: a child can obtain citizenship by descent in Greece if he or she is born out of wedlock and the mother has Greek nationality;
  • Children of age: those older than 18 can obtain citizenship automatically if their father is a Greek national (proper documents are required to prove this).

Other situations may include those in which the applicant can prove that he has at least one grandparent who was a Greek national. Marriage is no longer an automatic means of acquiring citizenship in Greece. This was possible until 1984 for women marrying Greek nationals.

Our immigration specialists invite you to watch a video about this manner of obtaining Greek citizenship:

Special assistance for obtaining citizenship by descent in Greece

Foreign nationals who have first made inquiries about the possibility to apply for Greek citizenship based on their lineage with the nearest Consulate in their country of origin should note that the Consulate is not the one to determine if citizenship can or cannot be awarded in a certain case. The task is handled by the Greek Ministry of Interior, Public Administration, and Decentralization and, as needed, by the General Districts in the country.

Bringing forward the documents that can attest to one’s Greek origin is mandatory for this process. Our team can help you with complete information on the required documents as well as what to expect during the initial visit with the Consulate. Once this first step has taken place, we will assist you during the subsequent phases. Receiving proper legal assistance from a Greek specialist is even more important if the applicant does not have proper knowledge of the Greek language. We can help you draft and sign and documents and handle the submissions with the Greek authorities.

Among the most important documents we list the following:

  1. the application form and the applicant’s identification documents (passport);
  2. the legalized birth certificate;
  3. the parent’s marriage certificate;
  4. baptism certificate;
  5. the Greek ancestor’s registration certificates with the Greek municipality or their military records;

Some of the fees that can be expected when applying for citizenship by descent include the following:

  • an application fee of 140 Euros;
  • 10 euros for the authentication of the original signature for EU citizens;
  • 30 euros for signature authentication for third-country nationals.

Please keep in mind that these fees can be subject to change. Our team can provide you with updated information as needed.

When the application for Greek citizenship by descent is submitted to a Greek Embassy or Consulate, then an extra fee applies (this fee can be approximately 100 euros).

The authorities can issue a response on an application for Greek citizenship by lineage in approximately 18 months.

Additional information about Greek citizenship by birth

The status of the parents living in Greece at the time the child is born is essential for determining the right to apply for Greek citizenship not necessarily by descent, but by birth. The parents can be recognized as Greek citizens when the child is born if they apply for this status through naturalization, or the child may have one parent who is a Greek national. However, there is a particular case in which the citizenship of the child is not readily determined upon birth.

When the child is born in Greece and none of the parents have a residence permit (or they only have a temporary residence permit) or when the child is born in the country, however, when the parents have not been living in the country for more than 5 years with a residence permit when the child is born, then the application for the child’s citizenship can only be submitted once he or she is enrolled in the first grade of elementary school. In this case, the application is submitted to the Directorate of Civil Registry in the area where the parents reside, an application fee applies and the decision can be made in six months to a year.

Other options for acquiring Greek citizenship

As previously mentioned, obtaining Greek citizenship is not only possible by birth or by descent. Foreign nationals who have no previous ties with the country through their parents or grandparents can still be eligible for this status, provided that they have lawfully lived in the country long enough. We list a number of other possible cases below. If you need more information about any of these situations, we encourage you to reach out to our Greek immigration specialists. We can help you prepare the needed documents or help confirm if the documents you have prepared are in line with the requirements. We will also indicate where the submission is made and, if possible and as applicable, we can act as your representative if you do not live in Greece when the application is made (but are still interested in exploring your options for acquiring citizenship, through descent or otherwise).

When the individual has a co-ethnic Greek ancestor, he will be able to submit the application at any time, provided that they do not reside permanently abroad. For this type of application, an individual who resides permanently abroad cannot be regarded as being Greek. The documents required in this case are also the application for naturalization, the criminal record, passport, birth certificate, as well as the documents that prove the relationship with the co-ethnic Greek ancestor. The processing time can be between 1 and 2 years.

Co-ethnic Greeks from Turkey, Albania, and states that were part of the former USSR, who hold a Special Identity Card can apply for citizenship. They will need to submit their special identity card (issued for co-ethnic Greeks), as well as their identification documents, the application for naturalization, and the family status certificate.

Co-ethnic Greeks who reside in countries that were formerly part of the USSR can also apply for citizenship with the Greek consular office in the country pr area in which they currently reside. They will need to submit proper documentation in the form of an application for naturalization, the identity card for co-ethnic Greeks, the birth certificate (as well as that of the parents, authenticated and translated into Greek by a sworn translator), the marriage certificate of the parents and other documents that can be used as proof of the Greek heritage (for example, any documents of the soviet authorities that stipulate ethnic designation). The application is not subject to a fee in this case and the applicant will need to discuss the estimated issue date with the authorities. Co-ethnic Greeks from former USS countries who have settled into Greece before May 2nd, 2021 or are the parents or children of co-ethnic Greeks who already have Greek citizenship can also apply for citizenship. They will also need to provide specific documents that prove the status of their parents, as well as their ethnic heritage.

If you fall under one of these categories that refer to persons with a co-ethnic Greek ancestor, our team can help you.

Greece is one of the most desirable countries in Europe. Its cities, beautiful islands, climate, and culture are among the main reasons why many foreign nationals are inclined to apply for Greek citizenship, either by descent if their family history allows or otherwise.

Moving to Greece based on ancestry may be available only to a small group of people who have Greek origins. However, your relocation to Greece is still possible based on other grounds. For example, one of the easiest routes for remaining in the country is available to non-EU/EEA foreign nationals who can make certain types of investments in the country, including ones in real estate.

Did you know that even if you do not have Greek descendants, you can think of retiring to Greece? While it is true that no specific visa designed for foreign pensioners is in place, those who wish to remain in the country for more permanent purposes once they retire can do so and will even benefit from a flat rate on foreign-source income (for a limited time). Our team can tell you more.

Specialized legal advice can be very important during the citizenship application phase. You can contact our immigration lawyer in Greece if you are ready to start the application process.