Foreigners in Greece, Greeks abroad or Greek citizens seeking to go abroad may need to have documents translated into Greek or another language during a process involving bureaucracy, such as getting married, converting a driver’s license, applying for a residence/work permit, applying for citizenship, applying at a foreign university and immigration to a country outside Greece.
For certain transactions and documents, Greek authorities may request translations by a specific body and deem others unacceptable.
*Article last updated on April 4, 2013
Options deemed acceptable by Greek authorities
1) In Greece:
The Translation Department at the Foreign Ministry
10 Arionos Street
Psyrri (near Monastiraki metro station)
Open from 9:00-13:00 (go early)
1st floor – From/to Albanian (must first be certified by a consulate abroad), Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Georgian (must first be certified at a consulate abroad), Hebrew, Hungarian, Moldovan, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian,
Slovakian and Ukrainian and Uzbek to/from Greek.
2nd floor – From/to English to/from Greek.
3rd floor – From/to Arabic, Dutch, Finnish, Flemish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish to/from Greek. A window offering to certify photocopies is also available.
- Bring the original document or a certified copy, a pen and cash. Basic translations taking up to two (2) weeks are no longer free as of March 2007, and expedited two-day service is available (pricelist follows).
- Fill out one form per document in Greek or English. For example, if the birth certificate has an apostille with the apostille letter attached, you need two forms even though they are attached; they are considered to be two different types of documents needing translation, not a fusion of the same (Note: Do not detach them or the apostille will be invalidated). If the birth certificate itself spans two pages, then this counts as one document requiring one form.
- Submit documents and forms, pay and keep your protocol number and cashier’s receipt. Some sources say you can pay when you pick up the document, but they’ll likely ask you for a portion. It’s easier and faster to pay for everything up front since the person accepting your documents for translation can also take your money and issue a cashier’s receipt without you going to a second window and waiting in line again. Get a receipt.
- Pick up the documents on or after the date given. You must have the protocol receipt, cashier’s receipt and a valid form of ID, no exceptions.
It is not necessary to submit originals with apostilles for translation if you need them for another reason. You can make copies of these documents, have them certified at the police station and use these (see my article “How to certify a photocopy at the police station“). I found there were no objections. Just carry the originals for inspection by anyone wanting to see them.
Certificates of study must be certified by the institution if foreign or KEP Citizen Service Centre if Greek.
For those in Greece but outside Athens, translations can be sent via registered mail to the address listed above after a telephone consultation at (210) 328-5721 or (210) 328-5722.
2) Outside Greece
The Greek consulate/embassy in your homeland provides some services but may be limited to certain documents. Call or write to inquire since appointments are sometimes required.
Approved translation and validation services may be outsourced and/or referred elsewhere for a fee. A list of several choices should be provided online or via printed list — be cautious of embassies/consulates recommending only one or two people.
3) Other options
Translation by a lawyer or certified translator is permitted in some but not all cases. Because interpretations can vary, Greek authorities will sometimes not allow these options. In addition, you will pay a fee higher than the Translation Office.
This article was created before official websites offered practical information in English, based on real-life experience and updated over the years with new information.
It was plagiarized by a UK INFO source run by an EU citizen living in Greece less than a year, who rewrote my experiences as her own, then published them and my information in a competing article in March 2010. The website owners twice refused to enforce their own copyright policy and remove it.
Be careful who you trust.
– Documentation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, translated from Greek to English
– Personal experience in 2003, 2006, 2008, 2011
“Translator charged with not issuing receipts and embezzling money” — To Vima
Kat is a well-traveled American journalist and author. To learn more, see “About Me.”
- Livingingreece.gr was created in 2007 to present meticulously researched original articles that fill a gap left by traditional media, government portals and commercial websites run by people without credentials.
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Note: Please note my copyright policy and be aware that violations will be pursued.