Mar 12, 2024

Greek Citizenship by Descent: Is It Achievable?

Exploring one's heritage and connection to Greece can be an exciting journey, but when speaking of actually obtaining Greek citizenship, it can be a tricky journey. Here at My Greek Expat Journey, we make it easy to access reliable and up-to-date information regarding your citizenship application. Join us in this written guide to make this path to Greek citizenship a tangible pursuit, including the steps to start this process.

You are automatically entitled to Greek citizenship if you have a blood relative or ancestor from Greece. In order to obtain your citizenship, you need to apply at your local Greek Embassy/Consulate for a registration document.

Required Paperwork

The general paperwork to obtain Greek citizenship needed to make a Greek citizenship application is as follows:

Note: a Greek parent or relatives do not have to be present during this procedure, but they must have a Power of Attorney or POA to represent them. This will need to be approved by the consulate, and apostilled and translated.

  • Your mother or father's (or relative's) long form marriage certificate (Note: your father or mother will most likely have to register their marriage at the Greek Consulate, translated by a certified translator and apostilled)
  • Copy of any church certificate for the wedding
  • Your birth certificate
  • Your mother or father's birth certification and/or Greek Identification papers
  • Their current passport

You can also obtain more information on the Greek government website here.

Hiring an Attorney or Representative

If you find that the Greek embassies are unhelpful, thus further delaying the process in getting your Greek citizenship, then hiring a legal representative or immigration lawyer will get you closer to your desired goal. To contact a qualified English-speaking lawyer, send us your request here or book a consultation call.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is an apostille?

An apostille is used to authenticate the validity of public and general documents for them to be used internationally. With an apostille, a government department can authenticate a document as genuine, making it possible for it to be used in another country.

When a document goes through the apostille process, it has an official seal or stamp, showing its authenticity.

If you're bringing official documents such as birth or marriage certificates or other legal documents from a foreign country to Greece, you need to get them apostilled and translated. This is because authorities in Greece need proof that the documents are genuine before they will accept them.

If you're having trouble getting your documents apostilled, feel free to contact us and send us your request here or book a consultation call.

Must I do military service?

For Greek males who were born overseas and haven't lived in Greece, the military service only lasts three months. On the other hand, a full military term of service of 12 months is only required by a citizen born and living in Greece, whereas citizens born and having lived abroad since their eleventh birthday and whose parents are not employed by the Greek state are required to serve three months.

You can get exemption from mandatory Greek military service, only if you avoid staying longer than 5 months in the span of a year, every year, and if you have lived elsewhere for 11 years consecutively then you can exercise a right to avoid mandatory military service.

What timeline should I expect?

The timelines it takes to obtain Greek citizenship varies depending on whether you have an POA or immigration attorney to apply on your behalf, or whether you are doing at the Greek Consulate or embassy and waiting on government officials, which could take much longer. If you apply without an immigration lawyer, it could take up to 2 years in total.

What happens if I'm unable to find a family member's birth certificate?

If you happen to lose an important certificate or document, your local Greek consulate can request documents from the necessary Greek government agency of the region your grandparent or blood relative is from. You have to provide name (in original/closest Greek spelling) and birthday of said relative, as well as their parents' names in the Greek spelling. If you do not have this information or the approximation of it, then you will need to do further research. There are many websites where you can look up archives of male or female registrars or search up Greek ancestry. It will take lots of time and patience, along with waiting on government officials.

Do I need to speak Greek for this application?

To obtain Greek citizenship, each applicant must pass an examination in Greek. For this, it is recommended that you get to at least a B2 level in Greek.

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