How to Become a Greek Citizen
By Christos Iliopoulos
After the year 1990, though, Greece has seen a massive wave of foreign immigrants, who legally or illegally have populated the country, forcing the Greek authorities to face the opposite side of the immigration issue.
In the meantime, Greece became a full member of the European Economic Community (today's European Union) in 1981, the standard of living has risen, and Greece is already an active member of the largest block of states in the world affairs, the EU.
The almost unstoppable flow of immigrants from poor countries and participation in the EU are the two basic reasons that explain why the Greek citizenship has become so popular.
There are different rules that govern the acquisition of Greek citizenship, depending on whether the applicant has an ancestor who was Greek by birth, or not.
A. Those that can prove that they have a parent or a grandparent who was born in Greece and obtained the Greek nationality by birth can claim the Greek citizenship now if they can find documents proving the Greek citizenship of their ancestor. According to Greek law there is no problem if the applicant wants to keep his/her present nationality. So, a Greek American can become Greek citizen without losing his/her American citizenship.
The most important document that a person of Greek origin can use to obtain the citizenship is a certificate from the local municipality in Greece certifying that a certain ancestor was born in Greece, has a municipality number, and therefore was Greek by birth.
The next line of required documents consists of the marriage certificate of that ancestor, the birth certificate of their child, until we reach the person applying for citizenship today. If that ancestor was a grandfather, we need his marriage certificate, the birth certificate of his child, the marriage certificate of the child that is the parent of the present applicant and the birth certificate of the present applicant. If the applicant is married, we need his/her marriage certificate as well.
Many males of Greek origin are concerned that if they obtain the citizenship they will have to serve in the Greek Army. This is not the case if they retain their status as foreign residents. A foreign resident (even if he is a Greek national), does not have to serve to the army. He can visit and stay in Greece for up to six months each calendar year without losing his status as foreign resident. If he stays for more than six months he automatically becomes
However, a foreign resident can first serve to the army for six months (or even less) if he chooses to do so and then become a permanent resident of Greece.
Some examples of special cases: a Greek woman who lost her Greek citizenship because she married to a non-Greek can obtain again the Greek citizenship if she declares her wish to the Greek authorities, either in Greece, or at a Greek Consulate all over the world.
A child that was born before the 8th of May 1984 by a Greek mother who at the time of her marriage or of the birth of the child was Greek, can become a Greek citizen if he/she (the child) declares such a will to the Greek authorities.
The child who was born before 1982 of a Greek father and a non Greek mother can become Greek if he/she declares such a will at the Greek authorities.
In some case it is of importance whether the marriage was a religious or s civil one.
Christos Iliopoulos is an attorney at law, LL.M., in Athens, Greece, specializing in International and European Business Law. For more information about him, see his brief biographical sketch under the HCS section for Contributing Authors at http://www.helleniccomserve.com/christosiliopoulosbio.html. He has submitted many articles to HCS; readers can browse these in the archives section bearing his name at the URL http://www.helleniccomserve.com/archiveiliopoulos.html. He can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone (from the US) 011-30-210-6400282; mobile 011-30-693-2775920, fax 011-30-210-6400282, or by postal mail at the address: 105 Alexandras Ave., Athens, 11475, HELLAS
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