How to Get a Passport of Greece - Complete Guide
Table of Contents
How to get a Greek passport?
Greek citizenship provides unrestricted access to all member states of the European Union, eliminating the need to visit consulates or embassies. Passport holders can freely travel, reside, and seek employment anywhere within the EU.
Many non-Greek individuals often inquire about the process of obtaining a Greek passport. In this guide, we will explore the citizenship requirements, necessary documents, associated fees, and other regulations governing Greek naturalization.
Why Become a Greek Citizen?
Greece, known as the cradle of European civilization, captivates the world with its enchanting allure. This remarkable country boasts a mild Mediterranean climate, delectable cuisine, bountiful farms, and breathtaking landscapes. It is adorned with numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites.
While some prefer to reside in Greece’s inland regions, others are drawn to the islands, such as Corfu, to revel in the mesmerizing azure sea. For those seeking an alternative to northern countries, Greece proves to be a superb choice, offering not only naturalization opportunities, but also an exquisite lifestyle.
The Greek government acknowledges the country’s popularity by extending the option of naturalization to foreigners. However, they exercise caution and have stringent eligibility criteria for citizenship. Greek passports are exclusively granted to existing nationals or individuals who can establish their Greek lineage.
Obtaining a Greek passport without such connections is highly unlikely. Moreover, Greece does not operate a citizenship-by-investment program, unlike some other European nations. Instead, the government has established a remarkable Golden Visa program, which grants a residence permit to those who invest in the country’s real estate. This program presents an exceptional pathway towards eventual naturalization.
Immerse yourself in the wonders of Greece and embark on a journey of discovery, embracing its rich heritage, vibrant culture, and unparalleled beauty.
Greek passport requirements
There are four primary scenarios in which individuals may be eligible to apply for a Greek passport:
- Greek Descent: If an individual has Greek ancestry, they qualify for Greek citizenship without the need to spend any time in the country. By proving their Greek origin, they can join the ranks of other Greek nationals.
- Established Connection: Individuals who have a strong connection with Greece through studies or marriage are eligible to apply for a Greek passport. While they retain their original nationality, they also become citizens of Greece.
- Financial Independence: People who are financially independent can also apply for a Greek passport. This category includes individuals who can demonstrate their self-sufficiency.
- Golden Visa Program: Participants of the Golden Visa program, which grants residency in Greece to those who make a substantial investment, are eligible to apply for a Greek passport.
If you need assistance obtaining a Greek passport, our managers are here to answer all of your questions. Feel free to consult with us.
Greek citizen by descent
In order to obtain Greek citizenship through descent, individuals must provide evidence to establish one of the following:
- Their ancestors were Greek by birth.
- They were born in a legal union where one of the parents was Greek.
Official registrars are responsible for maintaining such records. However, due to Greece’s historical political turbulence, retrieving records for ancestors who emigrated from the country can be challenging. Additionally, changes in names further complicate the process of establishing Greek lineage. The government maintains a strict stance, requiring official sources to verify the identity of Greek ancestors, such as grandparents.
If you are considering pursuing this option, it is advisable to seek guidance from an official advisor. They can assess the feasibility of your application and potentially help you save money if the chances of success are slim.
Established connection with Greece
This opportunity is available to children studying in Greek schools who have completed at least six years of education. Alternatively, it is open to students whose parents are foreign nationals and have been residents of Greece for a minimum of seven years. A similar option is also available to students who have successfully completed their degrees at Greek universities, such as the University of Athens.
Financially independent applicants
Foreign residents who can demonstrate a monthly income exceeding 2,000 euros in their home country are eligible for this opportunity. They must apply for a residency permit that initially lasts for 2 years, with the possibility of extension.
The option to include a spouse or children is available, but it requires a higher monthly income: 20% more for the spouse and 15% more for each child. While this pathway appears feasible, it is important to note that obtaining this type of residency permit can be challenging. Each application undergoes a thorough review by officials.
Greece Golden Visa program
The Golden Visa program was introduced by Greece as an alternative to citizenship-by-investment programs. Participants have the option to invest in Greek real estate, such as a hotel, open a bank account in Greece, or purchase agricultural land for a period of 5 years. During this time, they are unable to withdraw the invested funds.
In return, they are granted a residence permit for themselves and their entire family, including spouses, children, parents, and in-laws. While they are not allowed to freely reside in any EU country of their choice, except their home country and Greece, they can travel within the Schengen zone.
Participants have the choice to either immediately move to Greece and establish roots there, or remain in their current country of residence. After 5 years, you are eligible for indefinite leave to remain, followed by a mandatory 2-year period of living in Greece to qualify for Greek citizenship. Once this period is completed, they are granted naturalization, a Greek passport, and the freedom to travel and work throughout the EU.
This program is open to foreign nationals who possess the necessary funds to participate, with a participation price of €250,000.
Fees and Documents
In summary, individuals who meet the following requirements are likely to qualify for a Greek passport and citizenship:
- Being over 18 years old
- Having a clear criminal record
- Not being deported from Greece
- Residing in the country for seven years
Under specific circumstances, the waiting period may be reduced to three years in the following situations:
- The applicant is a spouse of a Greek national and has lived in the country for the past three years
- The applicant has a young child who holds a Greek passport
- The applicant is a refugee or has been stripped of citizenship by their native country
- The applicant is a native citizen of an EU country
The mandatory documents for the citizenship application include:
- A copy of the passport
- Application for naturalization
- Statement expressing the desire to obtain Greek citizenship
- Credit history for a specified period
- Insurance policy number
- A copy of the Greek residence permit
- A birth certificate
Additional documents may be required upon request from the authorities. Certain documents need to be translated into Greek, notarized, and apostilled, such as the birth certificate. Other paperwork and documents must be registered or witnessed by Greek nationals or government services. European Union residents must possess a permanent residence certificate that is issued by the Greek Immigration Department. The Statement of desire to become a citizen of Greece must be witnessed by two Greek nationals.
Regarding fees, the application may cost up to 700 euros. In case of resubmission or expiration, an additional fee of 200 euros is required. Hidden costs include translation, notary, and apostille services for any documents in a foreign language. Applicants must be proficient in Greek, knowledgeable about the country’s history and culture, and participate in its political life, such as during elections.
If the person is not fluent in Greek (Ελληνικά), the country’s official language, they will need to pay for language lessons and consider scheduling sessions with a tutor. Several months after submitting the documents, the applicant may be required to attend an interview or take a test. Travel expenses and a possible test fee are the responsibility of the applicant.
All payments and documents must be sent to the Decentralised Administration Department of Civil State in the native country of the applicant The application process may take anywhere from one to four years. It is advisable to seek guidance from someone who is a professional advisor and can provide advice on the best options and help save time and money.
Visa-Free Countries for Greek Passport Holders
In 2018, Henley & Partners, the analyst firm, ranked the Greek passport as the sixth most powerful in terms of travel freedom. This document grants access to all European Union member countries without the need for a visa. Even after Brexit, Greek travelers face no barriers when visiting the United Kingdom, as they can spend up to 90 days on British soil visa-free. In total, holders of a Greek passport, with a Greek biometric ID card in hand, can travel to 174 countries worldwide.
During the waiting period for a Greek passport application decision, potential migrants are unable to relocate to another country for work or access social benefits in another EU nation. However, they can freely travel within the Schengen zone and have full access to medical services. They also have the opportunity to open a European bank account.
Once the application is approved and the person is naturalized, they gain access to EU social benefit schemes, as well as the ability to reside and work in any European country. Importantly, Greek citizens can pass down their citizenship to their children and grandchildren through inheritance.
Can I Apply for a Greek Passport by Naturalization and Marriage?
If you reside in Greece for an extended period or enter into marriage with a Greek citizen, you have the opportunity to obtain Greek citizenship through the process of naturalization. The following criteria must be met to be eligible for Greek citizenship:
- Reside lawfully in the country for a minimum of seven years.
- Legally reside in the country for at least three years if married to a Greek citizen or having a child in common.
- Legally reside in the country for at least three months if recognized as a refugee or stateless person.
The process of obtaining Greek citizenship
To obtain Greek citizenship, you must meet all the requirements and be free from any restrictions, such as criminal records. The next step is to fill out the application form. In addition to the naturalization application, you will need to provide some other documents, including:
- A “Declaration of Naturalization” from your local municipality.
- A permanent residence permit or registration certificate from the immigration departments of the Greek Police, if you are a citizen of the European Union.
- Your original passport (not a digital copy).
- A certified and translated birth certificate in Greek.
- Personal tax audits for the past few years.
- Any other documents that demonstrate your connection and commitment to Greece and its people.
You should submit your application to the Directorate of Civic Status of the Decentralized Administration in your area of residence.
The cost of obtaining Greek citizenship
In order to acquire Greek citizenship, it is necessary to have financial resources. Besides securing a place to live, whether a spacious house or a compact apartment, there are additional expenses involved. These include the application fee for citizenship and other associated costs.
For first-time citizenship applicants, the fee amounts to 700 euros. It is also possible to incur expenses for consultation, notarization, and other services that can facilitate a successful application. For second-time applicants, the fee is reduced to 200 euros. Stateless individuals and refugees seeking Greek citizenship are only required to pay 100 euros, regardless of whether it is their first, second, or third attempt.
To obtain citizenship through the Greece Golden Visa program, one must either purchase property valued at a minimum of 250,000 euros or make investments totaling at least 400,000 euros. These investments can be made in the form of a deposit in a Greek bank, government bonds, shares of Greek companies, or local investment funds. Additionally, if a special Greek exam is required prior to obtaining citizenship, a fee of 150 euros must be paid.
The cost of the Greek passport
Once your application is approved, obtaining a passport is the next step. There are fees associated with obtaining a physical passport from Greece. The fee structure is as follows:
- For applicants over 14 years of age: €84.40
- For applicants under 14 years of age: €73.60
Kindly ensure that all fees are paid in cash, specifically in US dollars. It is important to mention that if your passport application is rejected, the fee you paid will be refunded. However, please be aware that a processing fee of 5 euros in USD will be deducted from the total amount.
Passport Photo Requirements for Greece
To obtain a Greek passport, you need to have the right photographs:
- A photo of the prospective passport holder. Random snapshots are not permissible, as they must adhere to specific requirements.
- The dimensions of the photo should measure 35 mm x 45 mm. During the photo session, the individual should maintain a direct gaze towards the camera lens, refraining from smiling. The facial expression ought to remain neutral, devoid of any emotions.
- The background of the photograph must be pure white; other colors are deemed unacceptable. Furthermore, the photo should be recent, taken no more than six months prior. It is important to remove any accessories such as hats, scarves, and glasses before capturing the image.
The cost of The Greek Citizenship Exam
In 2021, the Greek government introduced a unique examination for individuals seeking Greek citizenship through naturalization. This comprehensive exam covers various aspects including the Greek language, history, economy, culture, and geography, comprising 20 questions in total. To successfully pass the exam, a minimum score of 80% is required. Additionally, there is a fee of 150 euros associated with the examination.
Dual citizenship in Greece
According to Greek nationality law, dual citizenship is legal and fully permitted. You are not required to renounce your native citizenship in order to obtain Greek citizenship. All Greek citizens are entitled to hold dual citizenship without any specific requirements. This means you can be a Greek citizen while also retaining a passport from the UK, US, or any other country.
Greek Vs Portuguese Vs Spanish passports
|Destinations (# of Countries)||190||191||194|
|Visa-free access (# of Countries)||142||143||144|
|Visa on arrival (# of Countries)||37||37||38|
|eTA (# of Countries)||11||11||12|
|Visa required (# of Countries)||30||29||27|
|Residence permit for investments||from €250,000||from €280,000||from €500,000|
Greece is a coveted destination for many, particularly those seeking a retirement in a welcoming and warm climate. The government acknowledges this interest and meticulously evaluates each application. Once an applicant meets all the requirements for a Greek passport, they gain access to over 174 countries worldwide, along with numerous social benefits and citizen programs within the European Union.Frequently Asked Questions
How can I get Greek citizenship and a Greek passport as an American?
As a non-European citizen from the United States, obtaining Greek citizenship is possible through naturalization or by marriage to a Greek citizen. The process typically requires residing in Greece for either seven or three years on a permanent basis.
How long does it take for me to get my Greek citizenship?
While the expected timeframe is one year, in reality, it often extends beyond that, occasionally spanning three to four years.
Who qualifies for Greek citizenship?
Non-EU citizens holding a valid residence permit and without any convictions by a Greek tribunal resulting in imprisonment exceeding one year, along with European citizens in possession of a registration certificate and a legal residence permit in Greece, are eligible to apply for Greek citizenship. Furthermore, individuals who are married to Greek citizens have the opportunity to acquire Greek citizenship as well.
Fo how long can I live in Greece with my Greek passport?
In Greece, there are no restrictions on the duration of your stay if you possess a passport. This document grants you full legal citizenship and the freedom to move and reside anywhere within the country, at your own discretion. Enjoy the liberty to live and explore Greece as you please!
Is Greece part of the Schengen Area?
Indeed, Greece became a member of the Schengen Area in the year 2000.