What do you need for greek dual citizenship?

The Greek nationality ranks among the top 20 countries, according to the Quality of Nationality Index. Greek citizens enjoy high levels of travel freedom, security and human development. Getting Greek dual citizenship is popular with many foreigners. After you acquire a Greek ID, you will have the same rights as other European Union citizens. You will also be able to vote in Greek and European elections. To apply for citizenship, you need various documents depending on your ethnic status and country of origin.

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Types of Greek dual citizenship 

Most people looking for citizenship are ethnic Greeks and their family members. Greece is also a popular retirement destination for foreigners. They enjoy a warm climate, affordable property and great healthcare. Additionally, some refugees from the war-torn Middle East also come to Greece.

There are five ways to become a Greek citizen:

  • by descent, if one of your parents is a Greek citizen,

  • by declaration, if you have Greek heritage or a Greek adoptive parent,

  • by marriage to a Greek citizen,

  • through investment,

  • by naturalization.

Requirements for becoming a Greek citizen

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Greece is a great country to live and work in. But, whereas getting even a long-term visa is rather easy, becoming a citizen can be tiring, time-consuming and complicated. Greek authorities are trying their best to simplify the application process. Still, the Hellenic Republic is not the easiest EU country for naturalization.

Basic application requirements include:

  • being 18 and older,

  • not convicted of crimes in Greece or other countries,

  • not facing deportation,

  • living and working in Greece for at least 7 years,

  • having a legal residence permit,

  • being able to speak Greek,

  • being involved in the economical and social life of the country. It includes working, studying, paying taxes and owning real estate. Having family relationships with other citizens also helps.

There are certain conditions that speed up the application process. Greece does its best to attract ethnic Greeks and their family members. It also abides by the EU norms, making naturalization faster for other Europeans.

Length of the legal residence is reduced to 3 years if you are:

  • a citizen of another European Union country,

  • married to a Greek citizen and raising a child with them,

  • have parental custody of a Greek citizen,

  • a political refugee or a stateless person, recognized by the Greek authorities.

Greek dual citizenship for minors

Children under 18 become Greek citizens if:

  • their legal parents are Greek citizens,

  • their mother is Greek (for children born out of wedlock),

  • their father is Greek, as proven by a paternity test,

  • their parents have been living in Greece for 5 years,

  • they have completed 9 years of elementary and secondary education or 6 years of secondary school in Greece.

How to apply for Greek citizenship

First, you have to find out if the laws of your country prohibit you from becoming a dual citizen. You should check with the country's embassy or consulate if you are staying abroad. Then it is recommended to check other eligibility requirements. Afterwards, it is necessary to prepare the Greek dual citizenship application form and other documents.

Documents for naturalization include:

  • your application,

  • a legal residence permit,

  • recent personal tax statements,

  • a passport,

  • a marriage certificate,

  • a birth certificate.

Make sure to translate the documents into Greek and authenticate them. You will have to pay to apply. The fee for first-time applicants from non-EU countries is €700. The fee for the second and following applications is €200.

If you are a non-Greek from the UK, this is the only way to get British and Greek dual citizenship after Brexit.

EU nationals enjoy special privileges. For example, Greek and Albanian dual citizenship requires 3 years of living in Greece and a low fee of €100. Ethnic Greeks from South Albania can become citizens in one year after applying.

Greek dual citizenship for US citizens

During the pandemic, the idea of dual citizenship has attracted many Americans. Most of them have Greek heritage. American and Greek dual citizenship is also popular with celebrities. For instance, Tom Hanks has become a Greek citizen in 2020.

A Greek passport allows its holders to travel across 186 countries without a visa. That's a big advantage over having only a US passport. Americans with Greek citizenship can enter Greece even during lockdowns. They and their families can live and work in most of Europe as well.

Americans of Greek origin can enjoy faster citizenship approval. Besides naturalization documents, they need proof of relation to a Greek ancestor. They can apply at the Greek embassy or consulate in their home state. It costs €120 plus consular fees.

If you have a Greek parent, you need to provide a birth record from your parent's home municipality in Greece. Your male ancestors may also have records in the Greek Army registry going as far back as the 19th century.

For other foreigners, residency for investment can be a good option. The Greek Golden Visa program is the most affordable in Europe. It requires an investment of €250,000 in real estate. This way, you get a residence permit which allows you to legally reside in Greece and apply for Greek citizenship after 7 years.

Easy Ways to Obtain Greek Dual Citizenship

In the following sections, we will describe the most convenient ways to obtain Greek citizenship in terms of their cost-effectiveness, processing time and the ease of required paperwork. However, the following eligibility requirements will apply anyway:

  1. Permanent residency as a necessary preliminary status.

  2. Age of at least 18.

  3. Clean police certificate.

  4. No deportation history in Greece.

  5. Greek language proficiency at the B1 level or higher.

Citizenship by Descent

You are entitled to citizenship if one of your ancestors, including your grandparents and great-grandparents, is or was a Greek national. The eligibility criteria for this option are quite complicated, and we strongly recommend a consultation with a relevant professional or Greek government official. The required documents include:

  • Your ID and police clearance;

  • Your birth, baptism and marriage certificates;

  • Identical certificates of your spouse, children and the ancestor in question;

  • Your ancestor's registration record in his municipality in Greece;

  • Receipt for the application fee of €150.

 

Naturalisation by Ethnicity

In case you do not qualify for citizenship by descent, but you are an ethnic Greek, you can still apply for a Greek passport by ethnicity. The required paperwork will differ slightly in this case, and you will also need to make a declaration, co-signed by two Greek citizens, and submit it to the nearest Greek Consulate or directly to the Greek Home Affairs. 

Note: your citizenship thus acquired will be automatically transmitted to your children if they are under 18 and single at the time.

Naturalisation by Marriage

Being married to a Greek national no longer entitles you to citizenship, a permanent resident status being the best you can hope for. The exception is if you got married before 1984, when citizenship by marriage was granted automatically.

This exception may also be significant if any of your ancestors got married to a Greek national before the specified date. In this case, the ancestor in question was, and still is, eligible to obtain citizenship, even if he never actually applied for it himself at that time, or is not even alive by now. And as his descendant, you can apply for a Greek passport by descent. 

Naturalisation by Military Service

Another way, if you are ethnic Greek, is to enlist in the Hellenic Army, even as a volunteer, or enter a military academy in the country. In this case, you will be granted citizenship automatically on the day of your official enrollment or enlistment. 

Note: alternatively, you can simply apply for admission to any Agion Oros monastery, to be granted citizenship automatically on the day you become a monk.

Passport by Investment

Otherwise, you can acquire permanent residency in Greece by investing in the local real estate sector, which is known as a golden visa. This is probably the most convenient path to citizenship, even if you are an ethnic Greek, provided you have enough money to purchase a house or apartment in the country.

The minimum investment required for the purpose is €250,000, and you will only have to wait two-three months to get a permanent residence permit. Next, you will need to stay in the country for seven years before you can apply for citizenship. The documents required for the visa include:

  • Your identity document;

  • Confirmation of any type of income;

  • Local tax number, bank account and SIM-card;

  • Medical insurance;

  • Police certificate;

  • Purchase contract for your Greek real estate. 

Multiple Citizenship

Greece allows dual and multiple citizenship, but you will have to double-check whether the other countries where you hold passports permit it as well. And the Greek government will only treat you as its subject when you are in Greece or travelling abroad. For instance, if you are a citizen of the USA, Greece and Australia, the Greek Embassy will accept you as an American or an Australian when you are in those countries respectively. 

Application Paperwork

Unless you are a citizen of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or any EU state, you will first have to apply for a type D visa in any case. The required documents include:

  • Your passport or ID;

  • Passport-size photos;

  • Confirmation of income of any type, e.g. a salary, pension fund, dividends, etc.;

  • Proof of your residential address;

  • Documentation of your family relationships, if applicable;

  • Medical insurance;

  • Police certificates from all countries where you have citizenship, as well as from the EU. 

Note: if your patronymic name is not stated in your ID, you will need to submit a copy of your birth certificate too.

The next step will be to apply for permanent residency, the required documentation for which will depend on the grounds for your application, e.g. by descent, investments, etc. And when it comes to applying for the actual citizenship, you will need your:

  • Identity document;

  • Permanent residence permit;

  • Account statement from a Greek bank;

  • Updated police certificate;

  • Greek tax number;

  • Receipt for the application fee (up to €700), unless you are an EU resident. 

If the Application Is Rejected

If your application is declined, you can appeal within a prescribed period. Contact the Greek Consulate abroad, the relevant government department in the country or your legal agent to find out what this period currently is.

In most cases, there is little cause for concern, though; most likely, they will ask you to submit some additional documents or point out what you have done wrong during the application procedure, and explain to you the best course of action to rectify the situation.

However, your case will be more difficult if:

1. The submitted evidence of your Greek origins has been deemed insufficient for obtaining citizenship by descent.

2. Your police certificate shows a bad criminal record, in which case you will most likely not even be allowed to appeal.

Residence-Greece introduces investors to a large real estate database, helps with the registration of purchase, consulting services and legal support at all stages when obtaining Greek residency.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Greece allow triple citizenship?

Yes, it does. You may have as many passports as you like, as far as Greece is concerned, as long as the other countries are fine with it. For more details, see the corresponding section above.

How do I get a Greek ID card?

In a nutshell, you will need to submit the required documents to the nearest Greek Consulate or the Municipal Registry in your place of residence in Greece, wait for an official confirmation letter and make an appointment with a government official or consular officer. For the required documentation, see the corresponding section above.

Can I get a Greek passport by military service, and will dual citizenship be an obstacle to serving in the Greek army?

Yes, you can, in accordance with the rules explained in the relevant section above. However, this option is only available to ethnic Greek aliens. In our professional experience, the possession of two passports has not been a legal barrier to doing military service in the country so far, since Greece allows dual and even multiple citizenship.

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