Whether you apply for a status of a financially independent person or invest in the country's real estate sector, you will still have to obtain a permanent residence permit before proceeding towards full citizenship. The quickest and easiest way is to buy private property in Greece for that purpose.
All you do is invest at least €250,000 in the local property, open an account in a Greek bank, and you will receive a permanent residence status within a couple of months, which will entitle you to virtually all the rights and privileges as those of a citizen. And your family members will be eligible for a permanent residence too.
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Once you have the permanent residence permit, you will have to reside in Greece for at least seven years before applying for the Greek citizenship test. In this context, another advantage of permanent residence by investment is that in that case, there are no restrictions concerning the number of days spent in the country, and one week in a year will suffice for most purposes.
Application in Three Years
Moreover, you will be eligible to apply for Greek citizenship after only three years if you fall in one of the following categories:
holders of the European Union passports;
stateless persons and political refugees;
married to a Greek national, provided the citizen in question did not obtain their citizenship on the grounds of studying in the country;
parents of Greek minors or those who have custody over the latter.
Besides having a permanent residence permit, you must meet the following conditions to be eligible to apply for Greek citizenship:
1. You must be at least 18 years old.
2. You should have a clear police record and no history of deportation from Greece.
3. You must have stayed in the country for seven or three consecutive years, as specified for your particular case.
4. You must exhibit mastery of the Greek language at the B1 level, at least, and prove that you are integrating into the Greek society. In many ways, that is the purpose of the language and culture test imposed by the government.
The concept of integrating with the community is a tricky one to grasp. In most cases, however, the interviewing authorities will want you to have a fair knowledge of Greek culture and history, which is what the test is for, and see that you engage in some social, educational or occupational activities and pay taxes.
You apply for the Greek citizenship test directly on the government's official websites, which you get from your legal agent or the nearest Greek Consulate. The formal name of the test is a Proficiency Certification for Naturalization. The fee is €250, plus there will be a €550 fee for the interview with the government officials if you pass the test, so prepare €800 for the purpose.
The same government websites will also provide you with the possible questions and answers to help you prepare for the exam. Keep in mind, though, that all the questions are in Greek, so you must learn the language pretty well before you can even familiarise yourself with the contents of the test.
Two more problems with these sites are the cumbersome electronic formats they use (separate PDF files for each question, for example), and some questions do not have answers. Still, some information is better than nothing, and you can benefit from browsing the pages, nonetheless.
The test consists of:
1. 20 written questions on the Greek:
2. 10 oral questions on three topics that the examiner selects at his discretion.
3. One essay.
The pass mark is 80%. Approximately half of all applicants pass the topics, and two-thirds pass the language test.
Once you pass the test, which we hope you will, they will issue you an invitation to attend an interview by members of the Citizenship Department of the Greek Ministry of Home Affairs, when they will try to assess the extent of your integration with the Greek society. In general, you should prepare to wait for several months after passing the test before you receive the invitation.
If you fail the test, however, you will have to wait for some time before you may apply for another attempt. The time to wait for changes regularly, and it is subject to various factors too. So you are best to address the Greek authorities on the subject closer to the time or ask your legal agent to do it for you.
Applying for Citizenship
If you pass the interview at the Home Affairs, you are ready to collect all required documentation and apply for citizenship. The documents and fees will vary, depending on whether you are a citizen of a European country and several other factors.
In most cases, if you are not an EU-resident, you may expect the fee to be €700, and prepare the following papers for the application procedure:
Passport or ID;
Greek bank account statement;
Police clearance, local and sometimes from your country of origin;
Greek tax number;
Marriage and birth certificates of your Greek ancestors or proof of relation to the Greek nationals, if applicable.
In the case of citizens and residents of the European Union, the additional requirement is proof of one's EU legal status, and the application fee goes down to €100. And whether the EU resident or not, the processing time is, as officially declared, one year, although it often takes up to four years in practice.
Moreover, there are simplified application conditions, shorter processing time, and reduced or no fees for the ethnic Greeks from several countries and foreign nationals who have completed their education in Greece.
Exemptions from the Examination
Applicants over the age of 67 and those with permanent or temporary physical disabilities that make writing difficult or impossible may take all the exams orally. Apart from that, the following categories of applicants are exempt from taking the Greek citizenship test altogether:
1. In the case of citizenship interviews scheduled before 31 March 2021, applicants do not need to take the exam at all.
2. In the case of citizenship interviews scheduled between 01 April and 01 August the same year, applicants have to take the exam, but there will be no application fee for the first attempt.
3. Foreign nationals who have completed their secondary, undergraduate or postgraduate education in Greece may submit their certificates, diplomas or degrees instead of taking the exam, even though they still have to attend the interview.
We have tried to put together the most relevant data concerning the Greek language and culture test as an essential requirement for obtaining citizenship in this country. For more specific and up-to-date information, you can consult your legal agent, the nearest Greek Consulate or the official websites of the Greek Department of Home Affairs.