Many people of Greek origin that reside abroad are interested in acquiring Greek citizenship and procuring a Greek passport. The Greek passport allows the holder to reside and work in all the countries of the European Union. A Greek passport can be issued only for a Greek citizen who is registered with a Greek Municipality. Therefore, it is necessary that the person interested in acquiring Greek citizenship proceed first with the recognition of his/her Greek citizenship and his /her registration with a Greek Municipality. Then he/she can also proceed with the issuance of a Greek passport and/or an identity card.
All matters concerning Greek
Citizenship, including the right to Greek Citizenship, the exercise of this
right and mandatory prerequisites, are governed by the Greek Nationality (or
Citizenship) Code (Law No. 1438/1984), along with the related legislation
(mainly Law No. 3284 / 2004 ).
Main elements of the afore-mentioned legislation
1. A person acquires Greek citizenship at the time of birth, if said person is born to a parent of Greek Nationality – that is, the offspring of a Greek Citizen, even if the parent has not exercised his/her Right to Citizenship.
2. A Greek Citizen is a person who
is duly registered in the Records of a Municipality of the Hellenic Republic.
Every person can be registered as a Greek citizen if his/her ancestors or one of them was a Greek citizen, provided
that the person requesting the Greek citizenship follows the procedure required
by Greek Law in order to prove the Greek citizenship of his/her ancestors and
the sequence of Greek origin (ius sanguinis).
3. Registration in the Municipal Records of the Hellenic Republic is the legal premise for Greek Citizenship. As such, the Certificate of Registration constitutes legal proof of Greek Citizenship. So, the first step for the recognition of the Greek nationality is to locate the registration of one of the ancestors with the Greek Municipal Rolls or the Greek Male Rolls. When the person locates the registration of one of his/her ancestors, he/she should procure a relevant certificate and proceed with the application for the recognition of his nationality. All the certificates of marriages and births that took place abroad and have not been registered in Greece should be registered with the Greek Special Registry. For this purpose, original certificates are required that should be Apostilled according to the Hague Convention or in the event that the country of their issuance is not a party to the Convention, they should be authenticated by the competent Greek Consulate. In case that there is a Divorce, the relevant judgment should be recognized as valid in Greece through the relevant Greek Court procedure.
Many males of Greek origin are concerned that if they obtain the citizenship they will have to serve in the Greek Army. This is not the case if they retain their status as foreign residents. A foreign resident (even if he is a Greek national), does not have to serve to the army. He can visit and stay in Greece for up to six months each calendar year without losing his status as foreign resident. If he stays for more than six months he automatically becomes a permanent resident of Greece and he will have to do 12 – 15 months of military service.
For more information on the Right to Greek Citizenship and the exercise of this Right, contact us