Greek National ID Card: Terms and Application Procedures

Whether you were born in Greece or acquired its citizenship in some other way, you will be issued a Greek identity card, and this will be your most important document in the country. In this article, we will explain what a national ID card is, as well as the benefits and specific features of the new electronic identity cards, and provide detailed instructions on how to apply for one, particularly if you are a foreigner.

What a Greek ID Card Is

Basically, a Greek national identity card is an equivalent of one's passport and will serve as a confirmation of one's Greek national status. Every citizen above the age of 12 is required to have it in this country. It is issued in the form of a small laminated card, approximately 11 by 6.5 cm.

In order to prevent possible fraud, the card also contains a security thread, watermark and several fluorescent elements. 

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Why You Need an ID Card

The government and police authorities in Greece insist that every person must have it with him at all times and show it to a policeman if the latter needs to see it for some reason. Technically, it is not true, though. There is no law saying that you must be able to provide it upon request, nor is there any penalty for not having it with you.

However, in case you cannot show a policeman your ID, he has the right to detain you at the nearest police station until your identity has been verified. This can complicate things unnecessarily, especially if you do not speak Greek well enough.

Besides, you will need to present your ID quite often almost on a daily basis when you visit banks or government offices, buy a SIM-card or plane ticket and numerous other occasions. For these reasons, we strongly recommend that you get into a habit of having your ID card with you whenever you step out of your place. It is very small and light anyway, and easier to carry than a passport too.

In addition, your Greek identity card can be used as a travel document when you are in other European countries, except the United Kingdom, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova. It will also be accepted by the customs officers in: 

French Guiana

French Polynesia

Georgia

Guadeloupe

Martinique

Mayotte

New Caledonia

Réunion

Saint Barthélemy

Saint Martin

Saint Pierre and Miquelon

 

Turkey

Wallis and Futuna

 

 

And you can travel with it in Montserrat for the maximum of 14 days if you are there on transit to a third country.

Note: due to the fairly high risk that there might be no card reading machine at a particular Customs Control where you will be crossing the border, we do not advise you to travel with your ID card, opting for a regular passport instead, in order to avoid possible delays at the border pass. 

Biometric Data on a Greek ID Card

Traditionally, a Greek national ID showed a lot of information that is now considered insignificant for identification purposes and, therefore, removed. Which is a good thing as it has made the card a lot smaller and easier to keep in a pocket.

Other important differences between the old and new cards that are worth mentioning here are:

  1. The fields are now printed in Greek and English.

  2. The new cards contain microchips as an additional security measure, as well as a convenient way to store additional biometric data (see below).

The front side of the card shows the bearer's:

  • ID card number,

  • Photograph,

  • Name and surname,

  • Gender,

  • Nationality,

  • Date of birth,

  • Signature.

The back side shows the card's date of issue as well as some of the bearer's biometric data considered significant for various administrative and practical purposes, such as:

  • Mother's name and surname (both maiden and current ones),

  • Father's name and surname,

  • Place of birth,

  • Height,

  • Blood type (optional),

  • Rhesus factor (optional),

  • Digital fingerprints,

  • AMKA, which is a Greek social security ID number.

 

Advantages of ID Cards Over Passports

  1. Identity cards are considerably more convenient to carry and use. All you need, in fact, is your ID number, which provides immediate access to all the required information from your file in the national database. And you do not have to have all that data in a printed form with you.

  2. It is also a much more secure identification method since, unlike passports, ID cards are practically impossible to forge.

New Electronic Greek ID Cards

The Greek government has finally implemented the idea that has been on their minds for over a decade by now, namely an electronic identity card, or an eID for short. This has been a blessing for the bearers of the cards for a number of reasons:

  1. The size of an electronic ID card has been reduced to that of a credit card.

  2. The level of digital safety has been considerably enhanced thereby, since eIDs can now be protected by means of the most advanced encryption technologies and other systems of electronic security.

  3. The new microchips used for eIDs now occupy virtually no physical space to store almost all the required biometric data.

  4. Not least of all, new electronic national identity cards provide quick and convenient access to other databases, such as the bearer's banking and police records, medical insurance and social funds, driver's and other licences, to name a few.

Greek ID Card Expiry Date

When it comes to the question of how long a Greek ID card is valid for, the official information sounds a bit confusing. More specifically:

  1. The official page of the Department of Home Affairs, all written in Greek, says that the card has NO expiry date.

  2. At the same time, the official site of the Department of Citizen Protection says that "they RECOMMEND that the card MUST be replaced every fifteen years."

For this reason, we conclude that we may as well think of the Greek ID card's validity period as 15 years, just to be on the safe side.

Required Documents

To apply for a Greek national identity card, the applicant will need to supply the following documents:

  1. The applicant's identity documents (Greek ones as well as from his or her home country) that show his or her:

  • Name and surname,

  • Place and date of birth,

  • Legal status in the country.

  1. In the case of an underage applicant, the identical documents of his or her parents and/or guardians.

  2. Any documentary confirmation of his or residential address.

  3. Medical certificates that state his or her blood type and/or rhesus factor (both are optional).

  4. Two recent photographs (black and white, 3.6 x 3.6 cm).

  5. In the case of the main applicant's family members, an identical package of documents for each person. 

Application Procedure

Unlike national passports, which can be applied for and received in the relevant government offices in the country or at any Greek Consulate overseas, an ID card may only be obtained in Greece, unless you apply in the Republic of Cyprus or Germany. In this section, we will provide a detailed step-by-step instruction on how to go about it. 

Collecting and Certifying the Required Documents

  1. Contact the relevant authorities in Greece and your home country to collect all the documents listed in the previous section.

  2. To certify your blood type and rhesus factor, address the nearest branch of the National Nursing and Sanitary Laboratory.

  3. In the case of documents written in a foreign language, translate all of them into Greek, and have them certified by a notary too.

  4. Take photographs last of all, as they should be as recent as possible. 

Locating an Office to Apply At

Basically you will need to choose from the following options, depending on your circumstances:

  1. A division or subdivision of the Department of Security in the district that the place of residence stated in the application form is allocated to.

  2. Any police station in the stated district, in case there is no division of the Department of Security there.

  3. Any Greek Consulate in the Republic of Cyprus or Germany.

Keep in mind the following work hours of the relevant government offices in Greece:

Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday

07:00 to 14:30 (15:00 in winter)

Wednesday

14:00 to 20:30

Saturday

08:30 to 13:00 (for schoolchildren only)

Sunday

Closed

Note: The applicant must be physically present at the time of submission of documents, as well as at the issuance of an identity card, and that applies to underage bearers too.

Visiting the Selected Office

  1. Fill in the application form and submit it together with the package of documents and the Statement of Facts signed by you in the presence of a witness.

  2. Pay an ID card issuance fee of 10 euros and a stamp tax of 0.3 euros.

  3. Let the officer take your fingerprints and verify the submitted information.

Final Word

Normally, ID cards are issued on the same day, sometimes even within a few minutes. However, be prepared that it might take a few days, depending on the office.

And keep in mind that as a general rule, courier delivery of identity cards is not permitted in Greece.

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