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Greek Citizenship Lawyer

In the following comprehensive guide, our Greek citizenship by descent lawyer will explain in detail how to apply for Greek citizenship and provide insight into the entire process required – from understanding the necessary documentation and eligibility criteria to having a better sense of how long does it take to become a Greek citizen. We will also cover the necessary procedure for obtaining a Greek passport, which is the natural next step after becoming a Greek citizen.

Greek citizenship is granted based on jus sanguinis: according to Article 1 of the Greek Nationality Code, the child of a Greek citizen obtains Greek citizenship at birth.

Therefore, if an ancestor was of Greek descent, you may be entitled to apply for and obtain Greek nationality, provided you can prove to the Greek authorities the sequence of your Greek ancestry.

In most cases, if you want to obtain Greek citizenship, there are some requirements that you will have to meet:

  • Residency Requirement: Applicants must have legally resided in Greece for a specified period
  • Language Proficiency: A basic knowledge of the Greek language is often required
  • Good Character: Applicants should demonstrate good moral character and conduct
  • Financial Stability: Proof of financial stability and the absence of criminal convictions is typically required
  • Knowledge of Greek Culture: Some applications may involve a test on Greek history and culture
  • Legal Residency Status: Applicants must hold a legal residency permit during the qualifying period
  • Military Obligations: Male applicants may need to fulfill military service obligations
  • Application Process: Completion of the application forms and submission of the required documentation

As an international Greek lawyer practicing for over 20 years, Eleftheria Leptokaridou can assist you with all your Greek citizenship inquiries. The Leptokaridou Law Firm has helped countless people obtain Greek citizenship by descent, thanks to our in-depth understanding of Greek citizenship law and a personalized approach to each case, ensuring successful and smooth citizenship applications.

Who Can Get Greek Citizenship

Greek citizenship is acquired primarily by descent, specifically by having at least one Greek parent or ancestor, whether the person was born in Greece or outside the country.

Historically, Greek citizenship was closely tied to the concept of the city-state, in which rights and responsibilities were conferred upon members of a close-knit community. This early model laid the foundation for the modern principle of jus sanguinis, or right of blood, whereby citizenship is acquired by descent, specifically by having at least one Greek parent or ancestor. This principle applies regardless of place of birth, underscoring the importance of lineage in preserving cultural identity.

Over the years, as Greece has gone through periods of significant change, including the expansion of its territories, the influx of immigrants, and its integration into the European Union, its citizenship laws have adapted.

Today, in addition to descent, non-Greek individuals have pathways to citizenship through marriage to a Greek citizen, demonstrating a shift toward more inclusive policies.

In addition, the introduction of the Golden Visa investment program and provisions for long-term residence offer pathways to citizenship based on economic contribution and integration into Greek society, reflecting modern globalized perspectives on citizenship and belonging.

These adjustments represent a balance between preserving national heritage and recognizing the dynamic nature of contemporary societies.


Contact us if you are interested in obtaining Greek citizenship.

+30 2310 284408

+49 30 88702382

[email protected]

Our Greek Citizenship Services

We help you acquire your Greek Citizenship

Dealing with the Greek administration may not be easy because it is a complex and highly bureaucratic system. However, we will help you apply for Greek citizenship for you and your family by ensuring that the process is streamlined, efficient and stress-free. Many clients have successfully obtained Greek citizenship thanks to our in-depth knowledge of Greek citizenship laws and our strategies tailored to your individual circumstances. With more than two decades of experience as a global attorney specializing in Greek law, Eleftheria Leptokaridou is ready to assist you with all your Greek citizenship needs. 

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Greek Citizenship by Descent: Locating Documents

We help you find documents relating to your ancestor that will enable you to prove your Greek origin.

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Registration with the competent municipality

We register the necessary documents with the competent municipality.

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Required Paperwork

We help you correctly fill out the necessary documents to apply for Greek nationality.

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Greek Power of Attorney

Our office can carry the procedure through a limited power of attorney so that you do not have to travel to Greece in person.

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Alternative Solutions

If you do not have a Greek ancestor there are still other ways to obtain Greek citizenship or a residence permit to reside in Greece. Contact us to assess which one is best for you; we will help you submit your application and manage the entire process without traveling to Greece before your application is approved.

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Greek Golden Visa

In some cases, the best way to obtain Greek citizenship is through the Golden Visa program, which allows you to obtain a residence permit in Greece when investing in real estate. Read more details about the program here: Golden Visa Greece.

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Greek Passport Application

We consult with you to explain you in great detail the procedure to apply for Greek Passport.

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Greek Citizenship by Descent: Step-by-Step process

Applying for Greek citizenship by descent is a structured process that involves gathering documents, submitting applications, and interacting with Greek authorities both at home and abroad.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to effectively navigate this journey:

Step 1: Gather Ancestral Documents

Begin by identifying and locating important documents related to your Greek ancestor. This primarily involves obtaining the ancestor’s birth certificate, which can be found at the municipality where your ancestor was registered. This document is crucial because it establishes your ancestor’s connection to Greece.

Step 2: Assemble family status documents

Your next step is to assemble documents that reflect the family status of the applicant and their parents, in addition to the documents that reflect the ancestor’s family status. These documents are essential for establishing lineage and family connection to the Greek ancestor.

Step 3: Legalization of Foreign Documents

If any of the required documents were issued outside of Greece, they must be legalized or certified for use in the Greek legal system. This process is handled by the Greek Consulate in the country where the document was issued. Legalization or authentication confirms the validity of the document and allows it to be used in your application.

Step 4: Submit documents to the Special Registry

Once all documents have been collected and properly legalized, they must be submitted to the Special Registry in Athens. This step formalizes your intention to apply for Greek citizenship by descent and initiates the review process by the Greek authorities.

Step 5: Submit the citizenship application

With all the required documents in hand, submit your application for Greek citizenship to the municipality where your Greek ancestor was registered. Make sure that all original documents are attached according to the requirements. This municipality acts as the competent authority to oversee your application.

Step 6: Review of the application by the Ministry of Interior

Once you have submitted your application, the relevant office of the Ministry of the Interior will review your case. This process involves reviewing the documents and information provided. Once reviewed, and if approved, they will issue a decision recognizing your Greek citizenship.

Step 7: Obtain a Greek Birth Certificate and Passport

Once you have been granted Greek citizenship, you can apply to the municipality for your Greek birth certificate. With this certificate, you are then eligible to apply for a Greek passport, which can be done at the Passport Office in Greece or at a Greek Consulate if you reside abroad.

Step 8: Official Recognition as a Greek Citizen

After successfully registering with the Greek municipality and receiving your Greek passport, you are officially recognized as a Greek citizen. This status grants you full rights and responsibilities under Greek law, including the right to live, work and vote in Greece.

Tips for a smooth application process

To ensure a smooth application process, make sure that all documents are complete, correctly filled out, and properly legalized, if necessary. Missing or incorrect documents can delay the process.

As legal professionals specializing in Greek citizenship law, we can provide valuable guidance and ensure that your application meets all requirements.

The process of obtaining Greek citizenship can be lengthy and may require patience. In addition to providing legal assistance and advice, we will liaise with the relevant authorities and follow up as necessary to keep your application moving forward.

Greek Citizenship Requirements

The requirements for obtaining Greek citizenship vary depending on individual circumstances, so it is always important to evaluate your specific case with the help of an expert.

Besides some special cases there are some general requirements that apply to most applicants.

Greece adopted a formula for acquiring citizenship intermediate between jus sanguinis and jus soli, strengthened through a revision in 2010. Other significant changes were made by laws 4251/2014 and 4332/2015.

  • Citizenship by birth: Greek citizenship is granted automatically (by declaration) at birth to the child of foreigners born in Greece (double jus soli).
  • Citizenship for minors: Children of foreigners acquire citizenship if their parents have been residents of Greek territory for at least five years. However, the application must be submitted within three years of the child’s birth. Minors not born in Greece are legally required to have successfully attended at least six years of school in Greece. Again, citizenship is acquired by declaration.
  • Citizenship by adoption: A child adopted by a Greek citizen becomes a citizen from the day of adoption.
  • Citizenship by naturalization: For naturalization, the required length of residence is seven consecutive years, three for refugees.

Other general requirements relate to residency, integration into the local culture and knowledge of the language, good employment and financial status, and conduct.

As with many other nations, in order to obtain Greek citizenship, it is important to demonstrate a good knowledge of Greek culture and a basic knowledge of the language. Generally, knowledge of the language and culture is demonstrated through an examination.

Other requirements for obtaining Greek citizenship are financial stability (i.e. being able to support yourself and any dependents) and no criminal record.

The requirements may depend on a person’s specific situation. For example, someone who is the child or descendant of a Greek citizen will go through a different process to obtain Greek citizenship than someone who is not, just as a foreign national married to a Greek citizen represents an even different case.

A unique pathway to obtaining Greek citizenship through investment is offered by the Golden Visa in Greece. This is designed to attract foreign investors by providing them with residence permits in return for significant economic contributions to the country. Upon making the qualifying investment, applicants receive a five-year residence permit. This permit is renewable as long as the investment is maintained. While the Golden Visa does not automatically lead to citizenship, it can set the stage for it. Visa holders who have legally resided in Greece for seven years may apply for citizenship, provided they meet other requirements like language proficiency and knowledge of Greek history and culture.

Obtaining Greek citizenship can be complex and time consuming. As qualified immigration attorneys, we would be happy to consult with you for more information and guidance.

Greek Citizenship Costs

Obtaining Greek citizenship comes with various costs that, as an applicant, you should be aware of.

Firstly, the initial application for Greek citizenship entails a fee, which depends on your circumstances. At the time of writing, for first-time applicants, the cost is 700 euros, while those reapplying will pay 200 euros.

Once your application is approved, you’ll need to obtain a Greek passport, which incurs further expenses. The cost varies based on the applicant’s age, with fees of around 70 to 80 euros.

Additionally, you may be required to pay a 150 euro fee for a Greek language exam that applicants must pass.

Suppose you plan to obtain Greek citizenship thanks to the Golden Visa program. In that case, you will also need to consider the investment required – at least 250,000 euros in real estate or 400,000 euros in Greek government bonds, shares of Greek companies, or local investment funds.

Greek Citizenship Documents

When submitting the citizenship recognition request, it is essential to provide the required supporting documentation.

The checklist includes documents such as the citizenship recognition request, the certificate of municipal registration of the Greek ancestor, the civil and religious marriage certificates of the Greek ancestor and their descendants, as well as a copy of the applicant’s passport or identification document.

It is crucial to gather all the necessary documents and make sure they are accurate and up to date.

How hard is it to become a Greek citizen?

Becoming a Greek citizen can be challenging, not only because of the country’s strict naturalization requirements, but also because of the process itself, which can be lengthy and arduous.

Individuals wishing to acquire Greek citizenship through residency must typically demonstrate a sustained commitment to living in Greece, as the process is designed to fully integrate individuals into the social, cultural, and linguistic fabric of Greece, ensuring that new citizens have a deep connection to the country’s heritage and values.

Therefore, if you wish to apply for Greek citizenship through naturalization, you should be prepared to immerse yourself in the Greek way of life, learn the Greek language, and cultivate an understanding of the country’s customs and traditions.

For those seeking citizenship by descent, the challenge often lies in navigating the bureaucratic intricacies involved in obtaining the essential documents required as proof of descent from a Greek citizen, which are critical to establishing eligibility for citizenship under this category. The task can be daunting, requiring extensive research, verification, and sometimes international coordination to gather all the necessary documentation, further complicated by changes in documentation standards and requirements over time.

When applying for Greek citizenship, you must ensure that all documents, from birth certificates to proof of residency and language proficiency, meet the exact specifications required by the Greek authorities. Any discrepancies or missing documents can cause significant setbacks in the application process, requiring a high level of attention to detail and often multiple submissions.

In addition, the Greek citizenship process can unfortunately be notably slow – and this delay is often exacerbated by the intricacies of the Greek bureaucratic system, where procedures can be complex and time-consuming.

In the midst of these challenges, the assistance of a knowledgeable legal partner can be invaluable. Leptokaridou Law Firm stands out as a beacon of expertise in this complicated journey to Greek citizenship. Led by Eleftheria Leptokaridou, who has been practicing law for over 20 years, our firm is well equipped to guide you through the maze of legal requirements and procedural hurdles.

Contact us to ensure that you are not navigating this path alone; we have successfully helped countless clients obtain Greek citizenship.

Greek Citizenship Test

If you want to apply for Greek citizenship, be prepared to pass a Greek citizenship test first.

Indeed, one must pass two exams to obtain Greek citizenship: a written and an oral exam. The exams are used to demonstrate one’s knowledge of Greek culture, history, and language.

The written exam consists of twenty questions covering the history and geography of Greece, Greek culture, and the workings of the Greek parliamentary system. The written exam is held every two years.

In addition to history and culture, foreign nationals interested in obtaining Greek citizenship must demonstrate a well-written and spoken knowledge of the language, at least at the Lower Intermediate level (equal to the B1 level of the European reference framework).

Passing the exam is necessary to obtain the certificate that will allow one to apply for Greek citizenship.

However, more than the written exam is needed! In addition to this, it is also required to pass an oral examination at the General Secretariat for Citizenship of the Greek Ministry.

Only after this interview, in fact, will the Ministry of the Interior and the National Transparency Authority decide whether or not to grant the application for citizenship.

Participation in the written and oral examination requires a fee of 250 euros and 550 euros, respectively.

In some cases, however, you are exempt from the written exam, for example, if you attended a school or university in Greece.

Frequently Asked Questions

Greek Citizenship: FAQ

Greek citizenship FAQs address the process of obtaining citizenship, eligibility based on parental or grandparental origins, residency requirements, the stance on dual citizenship, its linkage to EU citizenship, its validity duration, the benefits of Greek citizenship, and the expected timeframe for acquisition. If you have specific queries or require more in-depth information on any of these topics, feel free to contact us for tailored assistance.

How do I obtain Greek citizenship?

There are various ways in which you can obtain Greek nationality:

  • By birth, if one of your parents is a Greek citizen
  • By descent, if you have Greek ancestry and can prove it
  • By acknowledgment of paternity by a Greek father
  • By naturalization

To apply for Greek citizenship by naturalization, you must have lived in Greece for at least seven years with a regular residence permit, not have been convicted of crimes in Greece or other countries, be able to speak Greek and be integrated into the country’s economic and social system by working, studying, paying taxes or owning property.

Does Greek citizenship have an expiry date?

No. Once you obtain Greek citizenship, you will be considered a Greek citizen for life and pass citizenship on to your children by descent. The same applies to all members of your family who have obtained Greek citizenship.

Does Greek citizenship make me an EU citizen automatically?

Yes. As Greece is a member of the European Union, Greek citizens are automatically European citizens. This means they can move freely within any state of the European Union to live, study or work.

I am a resident of Greece. Do I have to live in the country to obtain Greek citizenship?

Yes. Under Greek law, residents can obtain Greek citizenship after living in Greece continuously for seven years.

Does Greece allow dual citizenship?

Yes. the law in Greece allows for Greek dual citizenship, provided that the same possibility is guaranteed in the country of which you are currently a citizen.

Can I get a Greek passport if my mum or dad are Greek?

Yes. If your mum or dad are Greek citizenships, it is very likely that you have the right to apply for a Greek passport.

Can I get a Greek passport through grandparents?

Most probably yes. According to Greek law, you are entitled to apply for Greek citizenship if you have Greek ancestry and can prove it with appropriate documentation.

What are the benefits of Greek citizenship?

The benefits of Greek citizenship include the right to live and work in Greece and other EU countries, access to a quality health and education system and the opportunity to vote in national and EU elections.

In addition, a Greek passport entitles you to visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 186 countries.

How long does it take to get Greek citizenship?

The duration of the procedure to obtain Greek citizenship can vary and depends on various factors such as the type of application and the completeness of the documents submitted. In general, one should expect a period of several months to a few years.

Keep this in Mind!

Why Do You Want Greek Citizenship

Freedom of having multiple passports

Greece allows its citizens to have multiple passports. Therefore, you will not have to give up your passport by obtaining Greek citizenship. Keep in mind, however, that some countries do not allow dual citizenship: if you live in one of them, you will not be able to keep both.

Become a Citizen of the European Union

By becoming a Greek citizen, you automatically become a citizen of the European Union and enjoy the freedom of movement and residence provided within the European Union to its citizens: you can reside, work or study in any European country.

Enjoy Travel Freedom

The Greek passport is one of the most powerful passports in the world when it comes to freedom of movement.

As well as allowing you to live and move freely within the European Union, a Greek passport allows you to travel to countries such as the USA and UK, Turkey and Australia.

Wondering where Greek citizens can travel without a visa? As of 2023, the Greek passport allows you to enter 186 countries without a visa or with a visa on arrival.

Where Can Greek Citizens Work In?

Not only are there many places where Greek citizens can travel without a visa – but Greek citizens also have numerous work opportunities in countries like the US, Canada, Australia, Turkey, and the UK.

In the United States, Greek citizens can work under various visa categories, such as the H-1B for specialized occupations or the J-1 for exchange visitors.

Canada also welcomes Greek workers through programs like the International Experience Canada (IEC) for young professionals and working holidaymakers.

Australia offers a similar Working Holiday Visa program for Greek citizens, allowing them to explore the country while working.

Turkey, while not part of the EU, has a bilateral agreement with Greece that enables Greek citizens to work there more easily.

In the UK, Greek citizens can work under the Tier 2 (General) Visa for skilled workers or explore opportunities through the Youth Mobility Scheme.

* The information on this site is provided for the sole purpose of illustrating the subject matter. It in no way constitutes legal advice nor a substitute for individual legal advice provided by counsel. Each case is unique, presents unique circumstances, and should be evaluated in detail by an attorney who will verify its specific circumstances.

Our Greek Citizenship Lawyer will help you get Greek citizenship stress free

Contact us if you want to apply for Greek citizenship. We can take care of the process through a limited power of attorney without you having to travel to Greece.

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+30 2310 284408 (Thessaloniki)

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+49 30 88702382 (Berlin)