Legal Advice

Greek citizenship through naturalization: Prerequisites and process

Δάφνη Σιώπη. Δικηγορικό γραφείο.

One of the most common ways in which a foreign citizen can acquire the Greek citizenship is naturalization. Naturalization is the administrative act by which a State makes a foreigner a Greek citizen and equates him with his rights and obligations with other citizens of the Greek state.

In order for a foreign citizen to obtain the Greek citizenship by naturalization, he must apply to the competent authority. According to Article 11 of the Greek Citizenship Code, the acquisition of Greek citizenship by children of a naturalized citizen is made without any other formality if they are under 18 years old and unmarried during the naturalization.

Any non-Greek citizen wishing to acquire the Greek citizenship by naturalization must submit a naturalization statement to the municipality of his/her permanent residence. The document of this declaration is signed in the presence of the Mayor or any other authorized officer and two Greek citizens as witnesses. This declaration shall be entered in a special protocol and the person concerned shall receive a copy of his declaration, together with the application form for naturalization.

In order to get the Greek citizenship by naturalization, the foreign citizen must meet certain formal requirements, which are:

a) Be an adult at the time of filing the naturalization declaration (at the age of at least 18 years old on the day of the application),

b) Not have a criminal impediment, that is to say that he has not been convicted irrevocably of a crime committed by him/her (not negligently) during the last decade before the application for naturalization,

c) Not to be expelled from Greece. It is also impossible to acquire the Greek citizenship by naturalization for a foreigner who does not hold a title of lawful residence in Greece or the status of his residence is uncertain,

d) To prove the required legal residence time in Greece, which according to Article 5 of the Greek Citizenship Code is: 1) at least seven (7) consecutive years or 2) at least five (5) consecutive years of legal residence in the country, if it has been completed on 24/03/2010 or 3) at least three (3) years of residence in Greece if the person concerned: a) is a national of an EU Member State, 2) is married to a Greek citizen and has a common child with him/her, 3) has parental responsibility for a child of Greek nationality, or 4) is already a recognized refugee or stateless.

e) Hold one of the following residence permits:

(1) long-term residence permit or second-generation residence permit; (2) a certificate or other residence permit issued to nationals of Member States of the EU or EFTA countries; (3) residence permit issued to members of the family of a Greek citizen or citizen of an EU Member State or to parents of a minor; (4) a certificate of recognized refugee or subsidiary protection status or a family member of a holder of such a card; 5) travel documents or a special card issued by in accordance with the provisions of the New York Convention on the status of stateless persons.

Regarding the supporting documents that need to be submitted for the application for naturalization, they must, in accordance with Article 6 (3) of the Greek Citizenship Code, be certified, either bearing the apostille stamp, the countries from which they have been issued have adhered to the relevant contract or are validated by the Greek consular authorities abroad or the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs as to the authenticity of the foreign citizen signature.

The documents that every interested person who wishes to apply for naturalization must provide are as follows:

a) A true and validated copy of the naturalization statement,

b) A copy of the Social Security Number (AMKA),

c) A true and validated copy of a passport or other travel document proving identity,

d) A copy of the residence permit in force,

e) Certificate of birth of the applicant or birth certificate of the Greek authorities or other equivalent certificate provided for by the legislation of the first country of nationality,

f) Copy of a statement of income or tax return for the last financial year.

The above documents must be submitted by the non-EU citizen submitting the application together with the fee provided in each case. The amount of the fee that should be paid to the Greek authorities corresponds to € 700 when it comes to third-country nationals to € 100 in the case of expatriates or nationals of EU Member States or for recognized political refugees and stateless persons. If the application is rejected and the non- citizen wishes to reapply, then the amount for third-country nationals is € 200 and for the remaining € 100.

As long as all the essential conditions for the naturalization of an non-EU citizen are met, the competent Citizenship Department of the Decentralized Administration shall forward the file to the Naturalization Committee, which shall perform the most important role after giving its opinion on the existence of the substantive conditions to the person of the non-EU applicant; the ultimate yield of Greek citizenship.

According to Article 5A (1) and (2) of the Greek Citizenship Code, the essential requirements to be fulfilled by the applicants are: a) to know the Greek language in order to fulfill the obligations arising from the status of the Greek citizen, (b) to be able to participate actively and effectively in the political life of the country and (c) to have a smooth integration into the economic and social life of the country. In order to complete the naturalization process and to assess the personality of the applicant as a whole, there is a statutory obligation (Article 7 (3) (b) of the Code of Administrative Procedure) to interview the applicant.

The call has to be made at least one (1) month before the date of the interview and includes: a) the indication of a specific place and time of a meeting with the Commission; b) the presentation of evidence proving the knowledge of the Greek language and the coverage of other essential conditions for naturalization; c) information on the fields covered by the interview and certifying the smooth integration and the possibility of active and effective participation in the political life of the country; and d) on the conduct of a specific test on one or more of the above thematic fields. During the interview of the interested person, it is established whether the basic conditions of naturalization are met, namely the understanding of the Greek language both verbally and in writing, familiarity with Greek history, professional and general economic activity (fixed and multiannual work and long-term business activity), any public or public service activities, any related ties to a Greek citizen etc.

After the interview procedure has been completed, the Department of Citizenship of the Decentralized Administration sends to the Ministry of the Interior: 1) the Commission’s proposal, 2) the extract from the minutes of the interview and the full file of the case, which is sent to the foreign citizen too, who is entitled within 15 (15) days to submit any objections to the recommendation to the Citizenship Council.

The decision-making period of the application for naturalization is approximately three (3) years and the decision is issued by the Ministry of the Interior and is also published in the Government Gazette. All decisions must be sufficiently substantiated, either positive or negative. If the application is accepted, the non-EU citizen concerned must oversee the General Secretary of Decentralized Administration in order to obtain Greek citizenship. Upon the end of the oath, a decision is taken by the Secretary General of the Decentralized Administration on the registration of the person concerned in the municipalities and the Male Registry for males.


* Our office has extensive experience in immigration law and internatioanl law (residence permits, citizenship, naturalization, deportation, asylum applications, etc.). For more information or legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact us at 0030 2313 079293 or by email at*


Dafni I. Siopi

Attorney at Law, LLM

52 Tsimiski Str, Thessaloniki

T. +30 2313 079293, +30 6977 568673