Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Mandatory military service in Greece

military.jpgTraining in Thessaloniki — U.S. Dept of Defense

All men between the age of 19 and 45* with Greek citizenship or those designated by Greek authorities as being of Greek origin, ancestry or descent — regardless of country of birth, current citizenship, passport or domicile — must serve mandatory military service of:

  • Nine (9) months regular duty in the army; or
  • 12 months in the navy or air force; or
  • 17 months reserve duty in the army, navy or air force; or
  • a reduced tour of duty, dependent on their status or proven eligibility for a permanent deferment or exemption.

Longer tours of 12-36 months were previously required.

Greek males between the ages of 18 and 60 who live in strategically sensitive areas (i.e., Samos) may be called and paid to serve part-time in the National Guard. A Parliamentary bill to draft females was considered but never passed. However, women meeting the minimum requirements of 1.60 meters height and 18-25 BMI are free to enlist on a voluntary basis after passing written and physical examinations.

In November 2012, reports circulated that the EU/ECB/IMF were seeking to abolish military conscription,when in fact they recommended Greece reduce its unnecessary military spending, as they did on several previous occasions.

* The law says “1st of January of the 19th year to 31st of December of their 45th year.”


In August 2009 before elections, New Democracy hurriedly passed a bill that said army conscripts only serve nine (9) months, and air force and navy recruits would be required to serve 12 months until 2010 or 2011. Government officials also discussed the possibility of assigning all conscripts to only the army and making military service mandatory at age 18. However, with the changeover in government, there was confusion amongst both military officials and the general public about the bill’s passage, parameters and requirements.

All articles on this site are regularly updated to reflect new information, which is indicated by the date shown. But in the ‘Comments’ section, please keep in mind that people share their real-life experiences according to the time they served, and questions and answers reflect whatever laws were in effect on the date posted.

* Please note that this article is in the middle of being updated, so certain sections are not current. This message will be deleted when finished.

Opting out

Although many attempt or must delay military service, employers in both the private and public sectors of Greece will often not recruit anyone with outstanding obligations for long-term, permanent employment. It will clearly state this in the ad and is not considered discrimination.

Parliament passed a law in 2004 that allows men aged 35 and older to buy out their military obligation for 8,505 euros after attending 45 days of basic training. The amount is calculated as 810 euros/month (income of a professional soldier) less taxes. Critics rightfully argue that only the rich can afford this option since this is more than most ordinary citizens earn per annum.

The armed forces had aimed to be a completely professional military system, with mandatory military service reduced to six (6) months or abolished completely by 2008, according to New Democracy’s 2004 campaign promises. But due to severe shortages of voluntary conscripts, the mandatory length of service was shortened instead of abolished. Draft dodgers claiming a mental health exclusion or other reason for not enlisting are the current focus of government officials who are actively and publicly pursuing violators, regardless of fame or financial position.

Speaking Greek

Greek military officers speak Greek, so enlisting conscripts speaking another language may or may not be accommodated but will not be excused from duty.

There are three cases I know:
1) A Greek-Australian was told he would be accommodated and placed in a special unit with other conscripts who speak some Greek but are not fluent.
2) A Greek citizen living in Greece volunteers himself for military duty, but they tell him he cannot enlist because he can’t speak Greek. He does not have the means to learn Greek, and he cannot find an employer to hire him to earn the money to learn Greek because (ironically) he has not finished his military duty. Catch 22.
3) A Greek male from another country comes to Greece to serve, but the recruiting office refuses to enlist him immediately because he cannot speak Greek and delays his service until he does. Now it’s six months later, the permanent resident abroad certificate is void, and he is not allowed to leave Greece until he finishes his military duty. Catch 22.

Payment for Greek military service

Conscripted soldiers do not collect a salary and are given no health insurance, but provided food, accommodation, clothing, free unlimited public transport (metro, train, tram, buses) and medical support that includes hospitalization.

A modest payment of 8.80 to 600 euros per month, depending on the conscript’s rank and family status, is categorized as ‘aid’ to help offset expenses not covered by the military. The majority of men receive the absolute minimum of 8.80 euros/month, with sergeants earning 11.15 euros/month. Understandably, most soldiers find this compensation insufficient and must depend on savings or family for financial support during their tour of duty.


Food varies according to location, and no accommodations are made for special diets or needs. It is assumed that soldiers will eat what they’re given and discard what they don’t want or like — it’s the military, after all, not a restaurant.

Because of their elite status, the evzone camp in Athens serves better quality food, in comparison to the rest of Greece. I know this because I’m friends with several men who served as evzones and was privileged to attend their Easter celebration.

Typical Military Tour

A tour in the Greek military has three cycles:

1. Basic – Six (6) weeks at a dedicated training facility.
2. Specialist training – At least 3 to 7 weeks at a dedicated training facility, conducted in combat units.
3. Regular army unit.*

Most conscripts are required to train for 7.5 hours/day, though it may not be served consecutively, and includes tasks such as guard duty or clerical work. For many men, this will be their first encounter with vigorous exercise, washing dishes, sweeping floors, garbage disposal and harsher conditions such as mental abuse and sleeping in the woods. Adverse behavior is often punishable with additional days service or a reduction of ‘adeia.’

In August 2009, it was announced that onsite electronic systems will monitor and block unauthorized mobile/cell phones inside military installations due to excessive and indiscriminate use, which creates security violations.

*Men who are 185 cm or taller are selected to compete and be a part of 150 elite Presidential Guards (evzones), thus making it possible to hold a special position, wear a historical uniform and serve in Athens at the same time. After rigorous training with a senior evzone exiting military duty, there is a process of elimination in which a group of men replace outgoing officers and serve at Syntagma for many months on a on/off schedule. They then become “old evzones” who wear a green uniform, stand near booths, command and grade evzones changing on the hour and stretching on the half hour.

Reduced Tours of Duty

Some conscripts qualify to serve a reduced tour and may have the option to buy out their remaining duty for a fee of 293.47 per month.

  • Citizens who moved to Greece before their 11th birthday from countries of the former Eastern Block or Turkey serve 3 months.
  • Citizens who lived constantly abroad since their 11th birthday and have parents not employed by the Greek state serve 6 months.
  • Naturalized Greek citizens serve 6 months.
  • Men who served at least 6 months in the military of another EU member state may still be asked to serve 6 months in Greece.
  • Citizens with ‘permanent resident abroad’ status (aka, applied for and have a certificate) who choose to live in Greece for more than 6 months in a calendar year and/or work in Greece will lose their special status, be reclassified as ‘repatriated citizen’ and serve 3-6 months.
  • Scientists involved in outstanding research may serve three to six months AND are required to buy out the remainder of the normal tour of duty at 293.47 euros/month not served; can opt to meet military obligations in disjointed tours of 2 months each.
  • Members of large families (more than three children) may serve between 6 and 9 months. In most cases, this applies only to the eldest brother(s).
  • Fathers or citizens whose income is necessary to support elderly parents serve 9 months.
  • Citizens with a father aged 70 or older serve a 9-month tour; this normally only applies to the eldest brother.
  • Citizens whose father has died serve nine months and usually applies only to the eldest brother.

For your specific situation, it is best to consult the Ministry of Defense’s official website listed at the end of this article as there are several factors taken into consideration when determining a reduced military tour. This section was only provided as a general outline.

Temporary Deferment of Duty

All healthy males are required to enlist on their 18th birthday, though deferments are granted for the following reasons:

  • Students wishing to pursue higher or further education: The duration of the deferment is 5-6 years, subject to recall if a student fails to make any academic progress within a year.
  • Poor health, including drug rehabilitation: Deferments of 6 months to 2 years are awarded by medical committees comprising military physicians, army officers and recruitment officials.
  • Incarceration: Criminals are automatically deferred.
  • Citizens with a brother currently serving in the armed forces: Tours are deferred until the brother is discharged.
  • Electoral candidates: A deferment is granted to candidates for the duration of elections.
  • Other reasons: A small number of deferments are granted at the Defense Minister’s discretion for compelling social reasons not explicitly stated in the legislation.

Permanent Deferment of Duty

Citizens not required to serve in the armed forces of Greece are:

  • People with serious health problems, including the mentally ill
  • Fathers of more than three children
  • The eldest brother in a family, whose members cannot support themselves
  • Fathers who have been widowed or are incapable of work with children/spouse who cannot support themselves
  • Foreigners living in the monastic community of Mount Athos


Males of Greek origin or those with Greek citizenship who have lived abroad as a permanent resident may be eligible to claim an exemption from Greek military obligations if they served on an EU military force or a reduced tour if they served with a non-EU NATO country.

Please check with the Greek consulate/embassy in your homeland if abroad or with the Greek military recruiting office if in Greece. There is no way I can cover every possible country and every possible situation on this website, and a friend or relative’s experience does not necessarily apply to you. Each case is highly unique and should be treated as such.

Conscientious Objectors

Parliament passed a law in 1997 that established alternative and unarmed service for conscientious objectors and amended the Constitution in 2001 to recognize the right to conscientious objection. Alternative service is nearly double normal military service at 23 months, and unarmed service is 18 months. Men serving alternative service at an institution not providing food and shelter are paid approximately 210 euros/month.

Draft Evaders and Citizens Living Abroad

If you are classified as ‘anypotaktos,’ it means you are a draft evader.

* Draft evaders living in Greece: Are not allowed to leave the country and cannot be issued a passport granting them that right. (There are three types of passports for male citizens that signify no duty served, currently serving duty and completed duty.)

* Draft evaders living outside of Greece: Were granted the right to be issued Greek passports in 2004, but are only allowed to visit the homeland up to 30-90 days in a calendar year. Previous to 2004, draft evaders abroad were denied passport renewal and forced to conscript upon entering Greece.

* Draft evaders and deserters will be fined 1000 euros/month with a maximum fine of 6,000 euros under law 517/2011, published April 6, 2011. Reservists are fined 90 euros/month.

* Permanent residents abroad: As of late 2005, those living abroad for at least 11 years or working abroad for seven years, are permitted to defer military service until repatriation to Greece. Permanent residents abroad are also allowed to reside in Greece without working for under 6 months of each calendar year ONLY if they are issued a Pistopoiitiko Monimou Katoikou Exoterikou by the Greek consulate/embassy having jurisdiction over their foreign residence AND issued a Pistopoiitiko Stratologikis Katastasis Typou B’ by the Greek military recruiting office.

* Permanent residents abroad who wish to study in Greece: Greek males can study in Greece for a total of 12 years, consecutively or intermittently, without losing their status as permanent resident abroad and not serve in the military, as long as their parents remain permanent residents abroad.

Should those with status of ‘permanent resident abroad’ wish to live in Greece for more than 6 months or work in the country, they will lose their special status, be reclassified as ‘repatriated citizens,’ and be assigned a tour of duty consisting of 3-6 months.

Many non-EU citizens of Greek origin claim their right to Greek citizenship, then live and work in another EU country, where the threat of being drafted by the Greek military is removed.

Renouncing your Greek citizenship does not excuse you from military service, as this does nothing to remove Greek ethnicity and Greek origin to which you are tied by birth and blood.

Greek Society and the Military

The military is an integral part of Greek society and generally regarded as a trustworthy institution that: protects national borders, participates in national celebrations and official ceremonies (Oxi Day, Greek Independence Day in Athens and New York, diplomatic visits), replaces the state when its mechanics are unavailable to help civilians, transports patients from islands or rural areas to regional hospitals or Athens on an emergency basis, extinguishes fires in summer and assists with rescue and recovery missions.

What is life like in the Greek military?

In the future, I will attach the stories from Greek men who have already volunteered to share their stories.

For the time being, there are commentators below who shared their experience, and the Ta Nea published “Άκρως τρελό κι απόρρητο” (Translation: Extremely crazy and confidential), an article that details things like living conditions, chores, strange orders, discipline and fitness, and the assignment of unqualified officers.

Employment assistance for exiting Greek soldiers

In summer 2010, the ministry of defense (ΥΠΕΘΑ) opened a liaison office that works with the Greek Manpower Employment Agency (OAED) to help men find work upon completion of military duty. Candidates must be aged between 19-35 and are divided into three categories:

a) IEK/TEI/TEL/EPAL/AEI graduates and holders of a master’s or doctoral degree
b) Men not holding a degree but acquired knowledge and experience in an area of specialty and awarded a KEK certificate
c) Men with an occupation not requiring a degree, i.e., painter, construction

More information and instructions on how to enroll or acquire assistance at:

Γραφείο Σύνδεσης Θητείας με Αγορά Εργασίας/Grafeio Syndesis Thiteias me Agora Ergasias
Email: or

Contact info

Citizens in Greece:
Local recruitment offices in Greece
Call ‘11888’ for nearest location

Citizens abroad:
Greek Consulates Worldwide
Click here

In the news

Clothing shortage for Greek military recruits” — Kathimerini
Αθήνα: μόνο για τσολιάδες” – Ta Nea
Θητεία: Μόνο το 10% «πιάνει» το εννιάμηνο” – Eleftherotypia
Μειώνεται το ύψος των γυναικών για την εισαγωγή σε στρατιωτικές σχολές” — Eleftherotypia
Gender discrimination in Greek military” — Eleftherotypia (in Greek)
ΟΑΕΔ για… φαντάρους συστήνει το υπουργείο Άμυνας” — Eleftherotypia
«Ψαλίδι» 5-10% στους εισακτέους των στρατιωτικών σχολών” — Ta Nea
Greek army attempts to draft man on vacation” — Wilmington Town Crier

Sources & More Info

* Ministry of National Defense – Official page — in Greek and English (limited)
* Hellenic National Defense — in Greek and English (limited)
* Stratologia — in Greek
* Thiteia — in Greek
* Hellenic Army — in Greek and English (limited)
* Hellenic Navy — in Greek and English (limited)
* Hellenic Air Force — in Greek and English (limited)

* Greek friends who served in many capacities and divisions over several years, relayed personal experiences and provided and translated military literature.

Updated with

Πρόστιμο 6.000 ευρώ για λιποτάκτες” — To Vima
Free air tickets every 6 months, free ferry and train travel” — Kathimerini

Updates pending

Select transactions now handled through KEP

Obligation to be raised

Air Force/Navy must spend two weeks in Army training

allowing military couples to serve together, transfer


Parents both enlisted in military with children aged 6 and under are entitled to up to two years of unpaid leave, same as police according to 138/2011
Military school selection


  Jason wrote @ July 25th, 2007 at 04:54

I’ve heard that foreigners who have served in the military of an allied country are not required to serve in the Greek military. Do you know if this is true and if anybody has successfully skipped Greek military service with proof of military service in the US?

Kat Reply:

Jason – The Athens News (in their newspaper) reports that 6 months duty in the armed forces of Canada, United States and European Union countries exempts someone from serving in the Greek military; however, their book says something different. This isn’t surprising since I’ve always found errors in their research over the last 10 years.

According the information I received from a professional high ranking soldier and official literature I was shown, previous military service done for a country allied with Greece does not totally exempt you from mandatory Greek military service, it only reduces the amount of time you need to serve, which ends up being between 3-6 months. They recommend consulting with the Greek Consulate in your homeland or directly with an official military recruiting officer in Greece for information specific to your case because it is dependent on several factors.

P.S. The Athens News also claims that any Greek male NOT in possession of a Greek passport and Greek ID are in no danger of being drafted, however I can name at least two dozen people (Australian, American, Canadian) who were drafted against their will and didn’t even have Greek citizenship; they were simply of Greek origin. Many of them still don’t have Greek passports by choice, though some have Greek IDs now that they live here. I mean no disrespect to the Athens News; I just want people to understand that I have come across many contradictions to the information being reported, in my own research of real-life cases and official documentation.

  tina13 wrote @ August 11th, 2007 at 01:26

hello, I have one question, about the Greek army…the missions that the conscripts have, can be longer than 2 weeks ? ( for example, a mission at the borders or something like that ) and can they have the mobiles with them ? ( when can they use them ? ) and can they have 3 days off, or something ? in what conditions ? thank u a lot for answering, Tina

Kat Reply:

I’m not sure why you’re asking since you’re in Romania, but there are no definitive answers to your five questions (not one question) because there are too many variables. It depends on the specific military branch, a soldier’s rank, location, conditions, the specific mission assigned, responsibilities, level of confidentiality, the unit, the captain of the unit, a soldier’s good/poor behavior.

If you’re checking up on a boyfriend, the bigger question is, “do I trust him?”

  Xenophon wrote @ March 16th, 2008 at 07:03

Hi, Kat, thanks for the informative site. I really appreciate all the work you’ve put into it!

Two questions:

1) Have you heard of any foreign-resident Greek males who’ve gotten drafted even with a ΤΥΠΟΥ ‘Β’ certificate (for foreign permanent residence) and NO stay beyond 6 months in a calendar year in Greece? (i.e. I’m wondering how likely it is, even though I supposedly have my “papers in order”, that I’m going to be drafted during a future visit [under 6 months] to Greece anyway?)

2) Do you know whether Greece still has a ban on g@ys in the military? (i.e. there was a presidential decree a few years ago that supposedly banned g@ys, but I’ve seen conflicting information about whether the ban is still in force because of conscripts’ attempts to “act g@y” in order to get out of military service; I’m a masculine g@y man who body-builds, so I’m sure they’d make me serve anyway!)

Background: I’m a Greek-American who recently got recorded as a Greek (via a U.S. consulate), got my ΤΥΠΟΥ ‘B’ certificate (also via consulate), and applied for my first Greek passport (also via consulate, I’m waiting for it to come back now). I’ve never lived in Greece (although I’ve been visiting my family there since childhood, roughly every other summer, and now I try to visit at least twice per year). My mother and my paternal grandparents were born in Greece, and all of my family is supposedly of Greek origin. I decided to claim my Greek citizenship for a Greek passport, to verify my right to live/work in the EU, because I’m a steward and the airline I work for has crew bases in Germany and the UK; with a Greek passport, I could be based there indefinitely. So, Greek citizenship does have a very real and practical benefit for me.

Kat Reply:

1) The answer to the first question is, “No,” I haven’t heard of anyone being drafted if they had the permanent resident abroad certificate AND stayed under the 6 months.
2) The answer to the second is there had been a ban on g@ys in the military, but it was lifted some years ago with an amendment from what I determined by looking at Government Gazette publications. Why? A lot of people were claiming this exemption and weren’t g@y, and there’s really no way anyone can prove they are or aren’t. A lot of “news” agencies regurgitate old material without independently checking their facts and say there is still a ban — there isn’t. All of my g@y friends have served, and this has been true for the past 4-5 years.

  Xenophon wrote @ March 16th, 2008 at 17:34

By TYPOU B’ in that last paragraph of my previous comment, I obviously meant ΤΥΠΟΥ Β’. Α σιμπλε ερρορ caused by switching between Greek and English keyboards ανδ λαζυ προοφρεαδινγ. ;-)

BTW, Kat, just from my own experience, I wanted to note that your frequent distinction between Greek citizenship and Greek origin didn’t seem to matter at all in my case. When Ι got my registration certificate (πιστοποιητικό εγγραφής) from my local town hall in Greece (in January 2008, after a U.S. consulate recorded my birth back in September 2007), the registrar had understandably put on my certificate that I have Greek nationality, but had earlier also noted that my father has Greek nationality, too (on my parents’ πιστοποιητικό οικογενειακής κατάστασης, which I got in May 2007), even though my dad and his parents never recorded his Greek nationality and he was born and has lived all his life in the U.S., like me. The only officially “Greek” act my dad has ever done was to marry my mother in Greece, but otherwise he was recorded nowhere in Greek records. So, thus, the weirdness and apparent inconsistencies in ease of registration have manifested once again.

In my case, it would appear that it was super easy and that the Chicago consulate has also been very nice to me (although the consular office at the embassy in DC was perceived to be a tinge rude by my sister). My family is from an island close to Turkey with a very large garrison… so maybe they saw me at the Chicago consulate… with more muscular mass than the average Greek male… and thought: “sign him up for the military, immediately!” ;-) Thus, through imagining this, now I have some paranoid fears of being drafted, even though my “papers are in order” and I don’t plan to spend more than 6 months in Greece in any one calendar year.

I look forward to your response to my two earlier questions, and thanks again for the awesome site!

Kat Reply:

Hi X, I make the distinction between origin and citizenship because some readers believe that if they don’t have citizenship, they’re not obligated to serve. That’s wrong. All it takes is Greek origin.

  Greg in Astoria, NY wrote @ March 23rd, 2008 at 21:43

Thank you for this information. I’d like to comment on the section Greek Society and the Military. I am thirty-nine years old and the son of Greek immigrants, born and raised in the U.S. From what I’ve heard, in the past some Greeks held lingering resentment and mistrust of the military because of the junta. Back in 1988, in Mytilini, I participated in the initial session of a summer study abroad program at the University of the Aegean for foreign college students who were of Greek descent. One of our field trips involved a visit to a Greek military base and a trip aboard a Greek combat ship. I remember one of the professors said (out of earshot of any officers, of course) to a small group of us students that the field trip was remarkable in that Greek academia was (still, at that time) somewhat apprehensive of the Greek military.

Kat Reply:

G – Thanks for your comments, which I feel added something different, interesting and valuable to the discussion. Hope you’ll stop by again. P.S. I used to live in Astoria for 2 years near Athens Cafe. Been meaning to get back, but haven’t yet.

  Rob wrote @ April 24th, 2008 at 12:58

Very informative forum. I have also now found myself in the dilemma of dealing with the call to service in Greece.

I’m a 25 year old Canadian with a Greek mother, and have lived in both Greece and Canada from 1992 untill now. I managed to avoid getting Greek citizenship in the past so I would’nt have to go to the army, but now I got it so I could stay in the country for longer than the 3 month visa restriction.Mostly due to family obligations.

I just got my Taftotita and was written in the recruiting office a few days ago. I looked into getting the Certificate of Permanent Foreign Residence but I’m worried I won’t fill all the requirements. I’d hate to be a draft dodger but I don’t want to serve in Greece. I was actually hoping to join the Canadian army as a career and would’nt mind going in place of Greek service.

Does anyone know if that’s possible and how I could go about getting permission? I checked and dodging the Greek draft would wreck my chances of joining in Canada; as I am reqired to serve elsewhere. Any thoughts? Thanks.

Kat Reply:

R – Hi again! I remember you. You posted on the overstaying visa article and applied for citizenship. That’s a tricky situation. Without doing extensive research (which I can’t right now), you shouldn’t automatically count yourself out of the permanent foreign resident certificate because it depends on how many years you’ve spent abroad and how old you were. But here’s the thing, even if you had that certificate, you would have violated its terms already because you’ve been here for more than 6 months. When you have that certificate, you’re agreeing to spend less than 6 months in a 12-month period in Greece. When you pass the half-way mark, you are announcing that you spend the majority of your time in Greece, and are therefore not a permanent resident abroad in Canada.

  John Tsiolis wrote @ May 19th, 2008 at 12:06

What exactly is meant by Permanent Overseas Residents serving “3-6 months”? How come I cant find information on exactly how long a diaspora Greek would serve?

Kat Reply:

I have no idea what you mean — the entire article addresses the Greek diaspora. There’s even a dedicated section called “Citizens Living Abroad.” If a male has Greek citizenship and the “permanent resident abroad” certificate, he serves 3-6 months. The exact length of time is dependent on several factors, and determined on a case-by-case basis. Consult with the recruiting office or Greek Consulate about your specific case.

  R wrote @ June 3rd, 2008 at 16:58

Thanks for getting back to me. I was’nt able to get the permanent foreign resident certificate for the reasons you mentioned. As far as the Greek embassy in Canada and recruiting office in Greece are concerned, I just have to serve like everyone else. I’ll be speaking to a lawyer soon to see what I can do but my options are slim.

I have’nt decided what to do yet but I’m a little disappointed with the whole situation.There really should be some more options for people not born in Greece and who don’t intend to live there. While I can understand a draft for people living in that country, I just can’t justify myself serving in a foreign military, in a language I can’t even write,on my own (Canadian) dollar, in a place I never intend to do more than come to and spend money in as a visitor. The whole thing seems a little backward(surprise!). Maybe Greece should try having a professional military where people get paid decently and have benefits, then maybe they would have more volunteers.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. Kat,I appreciate the time you’ve spent answering my questions. I’ll post if something changes. Thanks, R

  Kat wrote @ June 6th, 2008 at 01:42

Greece does have a division of professional soldiers, and they’re paid quite decently. My friend CK is stationed in Samos and is now a high ranking officer with a generous salary, days off and reasonable responsibilities.

I sympathize with you and many others in your situation, but please understand that there are many who cannot get to Greece or the EU by any legal means. Unfortunately, the only thing that can be done is to be assigned somewhere nice and cushy if you have a connection. My friend V served on a small island near his home as mail boy and had weekends off. His time went by like a breeze.

Feel free to rant all you want. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you and thank you for sharing your stories. :)

  Xenophon wrote @ June 25th, 2008 at 23:51

Kat, I was wondering if your research within the Government Gazette publication had revealed exactly when the ban on g@ys (in the military) was lifted? I do NOT doubt your skills as a researcher or a writer and I really do appreciate all the work you have put into this site. Thanks for the answers!

I hope you won’t be offended, but I have my doubts about your answer concerning the ban. Let me explain why. Part of your answer to my question states, “there isn’t [a ban on g@ys anymore]. All of my g@y friends have served, and this has been true for the past 4-5 years”.

But, as late as March 2006, EOK (Ελληνική Ομοφυλοφιλική Κοινότητα, an Athens-based g@y rights group) was “demanding an end to what it call[ed] a ‘fascist’ regulation banning g@ys from the military” according to an article at: (article no longer archived and available on the relaunched site).

So, I’m wondering if the ban actually was only lifted within the past 2 years, rather than 4-5 years ago as you imply, or perhaps the ban was not even lifted at all, and that there is simply a state of inconsistent enforcement (what?!? …inconsistent application of policy in Greece?!? …surprise! …surprise!), which may technically still be in force (again, it was a presidential decree in 2002 that supposedly and most recently instituted the ban on g@ys)?

Not that journalists or Wikipedia are free from error either, but Wikipedia also still identifies Greece as one of the nations that bans g@ys from its military, too, in a few of Widipedia’s articles.

So, when, according to the Government Gazette, was the ban lifted?

In other news, I got my first Greek passport in May (albeit after my photos were rejected once for bad lighting), and I used it for a visa-free visit to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, earlier this month in June! (Americans require a tourist visa to go to Brazil, Greeks do not) ;-)

Kat Reply:

You are free to question and doubt me. I don’t mind.

The GG amendment I found from 2002 had language that translated to, “mental disorder of $exual identity is no longer exempted.” When it is written, it is said to take effect. I did see Wikipedia, but I never rely on it unless there are sources listed at the bottom that are legitimate and verifiable — I didn’t see any. Even if you try to look up how many countries ban g@ys, it varies greatly by source and sometimes Greece is listed and sometimes it’s not. I also saw a number of articles written in both English and Greek by g@y rights groups, but many of them are regurgitated articles and text from articles published by questionable news sources that did not independently verify facts.

Like many things in GR, it takes some time for municipalities, consulates/embassies and official bodies to be informed, and even longer for the law to be enforced (if at all). The only consistency I know of is things are bound to be inconsistent ( ;) ). However, the crackdown and rechecking of exemptions started in 2006 without regard to fame; I know this because my fiance’s friend was asked to provide new evidence of a medical exemption he claimed 7 years ago on a short deadline. If they’re rechecking exemptions in a bid to get warm bodies into the military, it doesn’t make sense to ban warm-bodied g@ys.

I, on the other hand, have no draft dodgers in my life. All of my friends, g@y and straight, have served their time. Many of them in the last 4-5 years, and all were out of the closet. The ones who remain in the closet of course served without protest.

When I researched it, I did it in both GR and EN and indeed there was a shortage of legitimate information. But that didn’t surprise me given the non-transparency of this country. If someone has different info and can provide me with documentation contrary to what I found, I’m happy to amend this article and my comments accordingly.

I’m glad you’re enjoying your passport!

  Xenophon wrote @ June 26th, 2008 at 07:11

Cool. I believe you. Thanks again. I’m considering serving as a “foreign permanent resident”, once I save up enough money to cover my bills/mortgage for 3-6 months (probably for 6, just to be safe), plus I’ll have to get a “military leave of absence” from work so that I don’t lose my job. But I think my airline is required by my labor contract to give me a military leave, so long as I have proof of my military orders; I imagine my recruiting office in Greece would give me a proof/letter of some sort, if I ask for one. I had back surgery for a ruptured disc about 3 years ago, but I hope that will not necessarily disqualify me, as I pretty much can function normally, with some precautions taken.

Kat Reply:

It’s totally OK if you don’t believe me. I never claimed to know everything about Greece, especially the behind-the-scenes workings of its system. I welcome anyone who has better or additional information. :)

  Sebastian wrote @ July 8th, 2008 at 19:26

Dear Kat,

I just discovered your site and am amazed by the exhaustive nature of your research. Thank you for such a valuable research. I added you to my favourite on Technorati and also reviewed your site on StumbleUpon. I hope anyone who needs some answers can find your work here.

I just had a few comments I wanted to add for the benefit of any future readers. For comparison purposes, here is my situation.

I was born in Greece two Greek parents and was brought to the U.S. when I was hardly one year old. I lived here until the age of eight, at which time I returned to Greece and lived there for five years. At the age of thirteen, I returned to the United States. Since my return, I have visited Greece exactly once, in the fall of 2005, and stayed for three months.

At sixteen, I became a naturalized American citizen.

I have servied in the United States military for over a year.

Some time ago, I decided I wanted to live and work in Germany, and explored the option of moving there under a Greek passport. When I contacted the Greek consulate in New York, I came upon the military service barrier.

While I have the perfect right to a Greek passport, I cannot receive one until I’ve fulfilled my military duty. Because I was about to visit Germany for an extended stay, the man at the consulate was kind enough to give me a Greek passport which was valid for exactly one year.

“According the information I received from a professional high ranking soldier and official literature I was shown, previous military service done for a country allied with Greece does not totally exempt you from mandatory Greek military service, it only reduces the amount of time you need to serve, which ends up being between 3-6 months.”

This matches my experience. Having served in the American military does not exempt me from Greek military service, though it does significantly cut down my time; anywhere from three to six months.

“The Athens News also claims that any Greek male NOT in possession of a Greek passport and Greek ID are in no danger of being drafted, however I can name at least two dozen people (Australian, American, Canadian) who were drafted against their will and didn’t even have Greek citizenship; they were simply of Greek origin.”

When I last visited Greece in 2005, I entered with the American passport. I received a brief comment from the guy (“Ah, you were born here, eh?”) and that was all. I guess some Greeks find it interesting when they see an “Αμερικανάκι.”

I had no surprise visits while staying there. I even went to the police precinct to inquire about getting a Greek ID. I was rather paranoid I’d be “arrested” and thrown into the Army immediately, but those fears proved entirely unfounded. I simply explained my situation to the people there and they repeated what I had heard at the Greek consulate in New York: I must complete military service before I can apply for a national ID.

Now, what I have “heard” as far as stays in Greece are concerned, is that I can remain in the country for three months before I encounter any complications due to the military service. I have also “heard” that some people who stayed longer than that either had trouble at the airport when trying to exit the country or, worse yet, were even prevented from leaving and made to serve.

Because receiving definitive information concerning such things when one is dealing with the Greek system, I have not visited since and do not plan to, even though my girlfriend has been poking me to take her to Greece for a year now. :)

Oh, and here is a piece of anecdotal evidence which I found rather interesting.

I do not remember with whom exactly I had this exchange, but I dstinctly recall that while I was in Athens that fall of 2005, I was speaking with some official (it could have been someone at the prectinct when i visited, or it could have been when I was at the airport on my way back to the U.S.) and this person expressed surprise that no one “told me anything” regarding military service when I was entering the country. This, of course, implies, there is some kind of official “procedure” for people like me (i.e. an American born in Greece) but, like I said, I had no experience of the sort.

“Many non-EU citizens of Greek origin claim their right to Greek citizenship, then live and work in another EU country, where the threat of being drafted by the Greek military is removed.”

This certainly sounds like a viable option, though I unfortunatley can’t take advantage of it, since in order to receive a passport I must have served already. I can’t imagine who would be able to do that.

In any event, there might be some light at the end of the tunnel for anyone in my situation:

“The armed forces aims to be a completely professional military system, with mandatory military service reduced to 6 months or abolished completely by 2008. ”

My mother, who is more in touch with these happenings through her Greek friends than I am, had mentioned something similar. I had taken it as a rumour, but who knows. Perhaps by the time I am done with my studies here in New York, mandatory service will have been done away with once and for all.

These, then, have been my experiences. I hope someone finds them useful.


Kat Reply:

Hi there and thank you for contributing a great deal to this discussion. As a follow-up to a few items you mentioned:

a) Yes, most people I know who stay for under 90 days don’t have any issues. There are people I know who stay for over 90 days and do absolutely have an issue, and I know a few who were prevented from leaving by airport authorities.

There are cases where only certain Greek males can stay for 30 days, which is the reason I encourage everyone to make a phone call to the Greek Consulate or consult the Greek military recruiting office for their specific case. Not everyone is the same, as it depends on citizenship, length of residence inside Greece or another country, parents’ citizenship and residence status, etc.

b) I’ve never heard of any official procedure of border authorities informing males of Greek origin of anything. Ela vre, it’s Greece. Even if they were required, it’s not guaranteed that everyone would do it. I always assume that everyone is responsible for himself.

c) I do know dual Greek citizenship holders who somehow got a Greek passport without serving in the army (NO connections, no lawyers) and they are working in another EU country with no problem. They either got a certificate, got lucky, or it’s just Greece…too many variables.

  Nikos wrote @ July 9th, 2008 at 12:33

Regarding the service of g@ys in the military, I think that the Armed Forces are generally reluctant about recruiting g@y men. Even if they decide to keep you, you can still make a case for an exemption based on factors such as viability (an openly g@y man between an overwhelmingly hom0phobic community). If the army is not cooperative the ombudsman has supported minorities in the past.

Kat Reply:

Nikos – That’s a good point. For anyone interested, you can always volunteer yourself, state your $exual orientation and see if they take you or not. If they draft you and believe you stand a chance to exempt yourself, try the Ombudsman. You can find his information at, “Greek Ombudsman.”

  Nick wrote @ July 23rd, 2008 at 21:47

Hello, i really enjoy your site. I am a Greek who was raised among foreigners in Greece and i find your take on Greece very honest. A little too honest for Greek standards maybe. :-)

I just wanted to note that just like most other aspects of Greek law, the military service is a “rule” which can be bend or broken.

You mentioned connections and they are a good example of bending.

I have been performing research of my own because i will be drafted in a couple of years and i want to avoid it. I believe that it is quite possible to remain in a state of limbo by simply not going to the army and becoming “anypokatkos”. The police cannot really arrest you or force you to go in case you are accidentally discovered in a random check or if you ever have to go to a police dpt.

If you have a job that doesn’t require a certificate that you finished your tour or you are working as a freelance you may never have to go to the army.

It may be a good option for some people.

Kat Reply:

Nick – Thank you for your compliment, and also for your comments. Since I will never serve myself and every male I know has done his time (freelance, g@y/straight, business owner, etc.) I always appreciate input from people who have done research and take the time to share it with others, as it might benefit someone.

  Sebastian wrote @ July 28th, 2008 at 04:15

Dear Kat,

In reference to c), if you do find out anything relevant, I’d be very grateful if you did let me know. I am also keeping my eyes peeled to your website for any reference to the law change regarding mandatory active duty.

Along that same topic:

What’s funny is I checked the Wikipedia entry on conscription in Greece when I first discovered your site a few weeks ago, and in the very first paragraph was made mention of there being a possible doing away with mandatory military service. Apparently, the Greek government intends to move toward a fully professional military. However, the article went on to state, it is likely any changes would be delayed due to the general state of world affairs at the moment.

And now, wouldn’t you know it, I am looking at this same article and it has been updated to read, “As of 2008, Greece (Hellenic Republic) has mandatory military service…”

Kat Reply:

S – No problem about (c). Articles are always updated with the latest news, and you can find the revision date at the bottom of the article. Wiki is fine for general info, but I don’t consider it a legitimate source. Greece has considered abolishing mandatory obligations and drafting women a number of times over the years, but has instead lowered the requirement. Many people feel it will never go away because of history, tradition and unwillingness on the part of citizens to serve professionally and unwillingness by the government to decently pay those who do.

  vasilios wrote @ July 31st, 2008 at 02:19

Great content with the updates thanks much as always kat, you are a personal hero to many of us looking to garnish critical insight into the socio-bureaucratic anamoly that is, Greece.

Unfortunately Im still having trouble comprehending military service time. more specfically the fluxation in service that seems to exist. Im currently 24 years of age and recently finished my BA in the States and plan on moving back and becoming a naturalized Greek citizen in the process and also have a father who is 70+. From what I’ve read and taken from the above article and subsequent comments my time will range from a minimum of 3 to 6 months ?

I recently watched a show catered to the diaspora on ERT (subsidized and operated by the govt) that claimed military service for naturalized Greeks was to only last 3 months……Can anyone fill my in on this personal limbo ? The consulate in Los Angeles refuses to talk to me until August the 4th concerning any citizenship questions (!) because the ‘αρμοδιος’ wont be in till then !

Some things will never change (η ελληνικη κουλτουρα)

Kat Reply:

I always say, panta einai etsi. ;) The reason I encourage people to consult directly with the Consulate or Greek recruiting office is because each case is different, and the law changes to parameters that are often times unclear even to the most expert interpreter. Naturalization is just one part of the equation; it also depends on the length of your residence outside GR, the length of residence and citizenship of your parents, if you have legitimate exemptions, etc. etc. It’s impossible cover all bases when the length of service varies and is customized to your specific case. I say 3-6 months because a number of sources have stated this as a general estimate.

  Jennifer wrote @ August 11th, 2008 at 10:21

hey kat,
A friend of mine had to leave Australia and join the army in Greece. I have no idea how long he would have to serve – do you have any idea about the length of time? I’m a little worried – what do they actually do when they are stuck fulfilling national service?

Kat Reply:

J – As I said in the post and in comments to several other people, the normal time of service is 1 year (now 9 months, as of January 1, 2009). However, there are exceptions and exemptions that can shorten the length of service that depend on many factors, such as citizenship, place of birth and length of permanent residence of both the Greek male and his parents; whether he has the certificate of permanent resident abroad; medical and mental conditions; how many children are in the family, etc. (all of these things are already listed in my article).

If you or he are worried, you must consult the Consulate or Embassy of Greece in your homeland or any Greek recruiting office in Greece. I am not a representative of the Greek government or the Greek military.

  Rin wrote @ August 12th, 2008 at 23:49

So much information, thank you.
I’m hoping it’s okay if I ask a few questions. My long-distance boyfriend has recently decided to serve, and I was wondering if the training schedule would differ very much because he is choosing to enlist, not being conscripted. He says he will be gone for one year, and from what I have read, it seems most of that would be training. Have I misunderstood, or is it different when you sign up for it?
Also, do you know how communication with family/friends works? Do those who serve in the military have the opportunity to send and receive letters, or even email?
Last question(s), I promise! A person’s own skills and abilities, would they influence the area of the military that one would serve, either by choice or simply being placed in that area? For instance, my boyfriend has a degree in PC tech, so is it likely he would be doing computer work?
Thank you very much, again, for all this information. It is very much appreciated, as are any replies to my questions.

Kat Reply:

R – a) Whether you voluntarily enlist (which most are expected to do) or forcibly enlisted, it doesn’t matter. No one gets a “discount” for doing the right thing.
b) What I say in the article is training lasts for up to 13 weeks, then he’s assigned a regular army unit, so I’m not sure what you mean by “most of the time” since 13 weeks of 1 year (now 9 months, as of January 1, 2009) isn’t much.
c) Communication depends on where he is assigned, what privileges he has, the temperament of his unit leader. But yes, mail is allowed; sending mail to his house is logical since he’s allowed to go home on a fairly regular basis during the year; mail at the camp is possible after training is over and he’s assigned to a stable unit. Email is possible anytime he’s outside the camp; I know few if any units that have free computer access, as some places are in the middle of nowhere. It’s the military for gosh sakes, not a social network. He can receive sms, phone calls and make calls just fine anytime during his 1 year; he just may not have privacy and there may be on-duty hours during which he cannot.
d) Unless he has an inside connection with someone who can place him with a certain unit or volunteers for a specialized unit in which there is a shortage (i.e. medical), he is treated like anyone else.

Based on the experiences of girls (in and outside of Greece) who had relationships with men in the Greek military, they caution: ‘don’t send him money’ and ‘don’t send racy photos.’ In the majority of cases, they never got back their money, the photos got passed around the camp, and the relationship (coincidentally or not) ended as soon as he got out.

  Lana wrote @ August 14th, 2008 at 01:49

great info on Greek military! Do you know what happened to that legislation on expanding participation of women? i am doing a research on women in NATO military and Greece is definitely not one of the champs in this area. But do you know if anything is changing? Thanks a lot,
Greetings from NYC

Kat Reply:

L – Articles are always updated to reflect the latest, and I note what date that was. However, comments are not changed for integrity purposes and ethics, and therefore reflect whatever laws were in effect at the time of posting.

  Vasileios wrote @ August 14th, 2008 at 02:31

Reply to Rin.

I am a greek citizen who had to serve to “glorious” greek army 4 years ago during the Athens Olympic Games. Currently I live and work in the US, but during my military service I had to depart from my american fiance back then for a little bit over a year, so allow me to have my input to your case scenario since I experienced it sometime ago.

First of all during the first month during basic training things are pretty tough, as they will not allow the use of cell phones as much as later on. Communication during that period of time can occur every day (if you can afford it) but for only a few minutes. Get prepared to hear a lot of bitching about the military environment from your loving one.

Then after the first 30-35 days he will be transfered to a base most probbaly near the greek-turkish borders. If he is lucky enough he will be sent to a greek Island like I did, but still that depends. Unfortunately that’s when really good connections are required. I was luckily placed at a military base in Lesbos, where I had the option of coming closer to my hometown 6 months later.

Despite that I decided to stay in Lesbos throughout my entire military service because the greek army gives you extra days off when you serve the army close to the borders. Those days proved to be more than usefule when I was able to take almost 25 days off towards the end to see my wife when she was going to visit me.

I was thinking about getting a special permit to come and visit her here in the US during that period of time, but the bureaucracy was way over what I could handle at the time so we decided here to come and see me. I can tell you that it’s extremely tough going through a relationship when being in the army, but it takes two to keep it together and only one to break it apart.

If I were to be asked to go again, I would probably go for no more than a month though. It was a boring at times yet hilarious environment ( as long as you have the same kind of people serving with you). For the most part I have great memories and usually get emotional when I go through some of the pictures during my military sevice.

The greek army is a small society which encompasses all the good and bad characteristics of the greek society in a restricted and highly conservative environment, which was the major factor that made me decide to stay or leave Greece at the time. Up till this day I am absolutely sure I made the right decision (don’t ever regret my decisions good or bad anyway).

Best of luck to you and your loving one.

  Sakis wrote @ August 16th, 2008 at 04:42

Hi there,

This site has some good information for people entering the military. I am not sure if my case has been mentioned in the past, but if anyone can help i’d really appreciate it.

I’m 33 y.o. I live in Sydney Australia. my parents were born in Greece. I am a teacher in Sydney and I am interested in living in Greece. It has always been my dream to do this and have accepted the challenges that lay ahead. I want to run a business in Greece so i am assuming that although i have tertiary qualifications and interested in running a business i still have to serve the military regrdless. Is this correct?

Is there such a thing as a working visa?

Does anyone know anyone that has served the military based in Athens rather than the country’s borders like Lesvos?

If i claim my Greek is very poor will they take this into consideration in deciding where to send me?

There are sooo many more questions i’ll stick to these for now!!


Kat Reply:

S – Nearly all of these men posting comments are similar to you, and your questions are already answered in this article above and its comments, or articles listed on the front page.
Acquiring Greek citizenship by claim of Greek origin
How a non-EU citizen can move, live and work in Greece
Greek residence/work permits FAQ
How to start a business in Greece

1. Yes. You’re of Greek descent and between the ages of 19-45 (1st sentence of this article)
2. Yes, but you don’t qualify because you’re of Greek origin. (Articles I listed)
3. Yes. (Evzones, as mentioned in military article; I also say in comments that I know someone who served in Aegina, 1 hr from Athens)
4. No. (Answer in military article, first section) I also suggest, “Jobs and salaries in Athens” because you’re right on the border, age-wise.

I encourage you to use the Search and Categories in the second column or articles listed in the third column as I say in Comments, Questions and Contacting Me. You could have also called or visited the website of any Greek Consulate/Embassy in AUS. Future redundant questions will be deleted per my policy. Once you get to Greece, no one will help you, so it’s good to learn to help yourself.

  Jim wrote @ September 19th, 2008 at 05:02

I was wondering if i visit greece if it’s will be ok.Here is my status.I was born in greece 1968 and went back when i was 13. Whould i be safe just to visit for a few weeks.

  Linda Psillakis wrote @ September 20th, 2008 at 10:27

You mentioned that Greek draft dodgers are allowed to visit Greece for up to 3 months a year without being conscripted.. is this still true? Thank you!

  Kat wrote @ September 24th, 2008 at 22:02

J & L – Yes. Articles are always updated with the latest information, but comments reflect whatever laws were in effect at the date of posting. You are also free to check with the Greek Embassy/Consulate nearest you to verify information for your specific case.

  Bill wrote @ October 24th, 2008 at 13:33

Do the Greek authorities check military obligation status at Eleftherios Venizelos. I’ve been in Greece over three years and am planning on going back to the US. Do you think I’ll have a problem at the airport? FYI I have both a Greek and US passport.Thanks,

Note from Kat: The answer to your question is in Sebastian’s comment above. Cheers and good luck.

So, I read the entire converstion above in detail, my conclusion is that there are laws but the enforcing of them in Greece are in limbo. You are just lucky if you get caught.

My situation is as follows: I am 31. I was born an raised in the US. Four years ago I met my wife and I’ve lived in Greece since. Last year I applied for and received a Greek passport. I also have a US passport. I did not encounter any problems in the application or receipt of the Greek passport. I have not completed my obligatory Greek military duty, and I wonder where I stand.

A couple of years ago on a beautiful Greek summer day I strolled in to the main “stratopedo” in my city center and I specifically asked the general there what I need to do for my military obligation. He asked me if I got my papers mailed to me. I replied, no. He said, “Entaxi, perna avrio kai bikes”. I obviously never went back. My next step was giving a ring to my lawyer who said, if no paper was sent to you then you have no problem, and you have no problem until you recieve an invitation.

Even after all this I discuss, over Frappe, over pastichio, over metaxa, this enigmatic situation. Being used to a “functional” system, as in the US, leads to me to have worries. However, I really do believe that, we shouldn’t stress. None of us will probably have a problem unless we run in to the guy, at the wrong place, and the wrong time, who has not had their frappe, metaxa or pastichio.

By no means do I tend to imply not to follow laws and act accordingly, this is just my take on things.

My specific problem is that I plan on leaving through Athens El. Benizelos, and I am wondering what their checks are? Do I have a chance of getting dragged in to the army there? What is their protocol? How do they check military obligation and when do they check?

Kat Reply:

B – I write articles based on how laws are written, not conjecture. So the lawful answer is, “Yes, you should be checked, yes you should be kept in the country, and yes you should be drafted eventually.” Men have been kept in Greece and drafted regardless of whether an invitation was sent. I cannot give you further info based on first hand experience because (obviously) I am not Greek, or male or a draft dodger. This is why I told you to read comments from Greek males similar to you above.

In real life? Yes, they will check you for sure at the airport; they scan your passport, bring up your name on the computer and it tells them whether you’re a draft dodger or not. But will you be drafted and kept in the country? You should know better than to ask a question like that if indeed you are familiar with the Greek system. Answer is, “Depends.” Depends on what? Depends on who you get, what mood he’s in, if he checks you thoroughly or glances, how you behave, if you remind him of someone he likes or hates, if his mistress was nice to him the night before. The list is endless.

If you read the comments above and people posting on another article called “Overstaying a visa in Greece,” some men are indeed refused exit and kept in the country as Sebastian and others confirm, some aren’t. What’s going to happen to you specifically? Unfortunately, no one knows because none of us are fortune tellers, and this is one of the main drawbacks of a free but non-functional system.

And if you truly believe that “we shouldn’t stress,” why are we even having this discussion? Don’t worry about it and just see what happens ;)

  Tim wrote @ November 23rd, 2008 at 22:26

Hi am 29 years old, born and raised in Canada. Both parents born in Greece. I am actually thinking of going to Greece to serve the 3-6 months required of me, and was wondering the necessary steps that I would need to take?

Kat Reply:

T – The answer is already provided above. Use the ‘Contact Info’ at the end of the article — Greek citizens abroad inquire at the Greek Consulates/Embassies worldwide, and Greek citizens in Greece go to the nearest Recruiting Office.

  christoforos wrote @ December 2nd, 2008 at 22:21

hello kat

great website, i am an american citizen of greek descent from my father’s side and have recently been interested in attending graduate school in athens. the school has told me that they are not issuing student visas at the time because of problems with greek authorities, but they said i can be issued a greek ID because of my origin, but i dont see how i can obtain that without citizenship, and therefore military service.

have you heard of this ID issuance before without citizenship, or have heard any alternative ways for me to attend school and work with out a student visa or greek citizenship?

thanks for the help, it was greatly appreciated. i contacted the consulate and am currently waiting for a reply. im sure that many of us all apprecieate the time and information that has gone into this website.

look out over there, ive been reading about the riots, and it seems things are getting a little nutty

Kat Reply:

Hi C! Thanks for saying ‘hi.’ There’s no way to get a Greek ID card (tautotita) without having Greek citizenship; being of Greek origin and/or registered in the oikogeneiaki merida is not enough. The only person I know who has a Greek ID without having Greek citizenship is a Greek-Brit with connections and special diplomatic status.

An alternative — assuming you qualify — is to apply for Greek citizenship, then get the “permanent resident abroad” certificate. As long as you have that and are in school, they cannot draft you. It’s mentioned above in the article, but you really need to contact the Greek Embassy/Consulate nearest you and determine if you qualify and start the process. I hope that helped.

Always happy to assist a polite person with a legitimate question that hasn’t previously been answered. :)

  Toli wrote @ January 9th, 2009 at 17:35

Hello Kat,

I’m a Australian citizen of Greek descent (both parents born in Greece) currently living and holidaying in Greece and considering applying for Greek citizenship.

Regarding military service and given the vagaries and inconsistencies of Greek Law (in general …) I’m trying to understand if i’m still eligible for national service. I’m 45 years of age, and by that I mean i have celebrated my 45th birthday. Does that mean I’m now ineligible for military service? Or do i have to fully complete my 45th year and thereby become ineligible on my 46th birthday? As they say here “prepei na ta kleiseis ta 45″

Apologies for the confusing nature of my question, like everything else in Greece – baffling, and again apologies if this question has been posted before.


Kat Reply:

Hi Toli,

Thanks for leaving a comment today and for your excellent question.

Greek law defines it as, “1st January of their 19th year until 31st December of their 45th year.” So, you would be free from military service if you turned 45 in 2008. :) However, if you celebrated your 45th just recently in 2009, that means you have until the end of 2009. :(

If the latter case applies to you, be careful about applying for Greek citizenship, partaking in any official transactions and exiting/entering the country, as you are technically subject to being drafted. If you turned 45 in 2008, you’re free and clear.

As I told Christoforos, I’m always happy to assist a polite person with a legitimate question that hasn’t been previously answered. You have also helped me assist other men with the same question.

Hope to see you again! :D

  emanoyhl wrote @ January 13th, 2009 at 06:09

hi there!

first i wanted to say thank you – what a wonderful wealth of info :)

i wanted to post this comment on another article – but those comments were closed – so i figured i’d post it here :)

i am american born, to Greek parents
i visited Greece a few times, with my last visit in 2005
with my only American passport i was allowed to stay up to 90 days – however, i overstayed – and spent 4 months in Greece

i didn’t realize that if i wanted to stay longer than the 90 days i needed a visa – meaning, i knew this but figured i could get the visa stamp at the American embassy in Athens – i think it would be nice to mention that if you want a visa you must get it from your originating country

dang this box is too small – lol (sorry for babbling, but i hope you can edit/reorganize my comment – i do have some points to share) :)

anyway, my situation was this:
my Grandmother was ill at the time, so i went to be with her – i stayed with her and helped her back to health :) – on around the 70th day of my visit, i finally went to Athens to the American Embassy for that visa stamp (which i thought i could do) – they explained i needed to get this stamp for overstaying at the dimarxos of where i was living…. easy enough – i went back to the dimarxos and told him i needed a stamp to stay longer, he called the capital of the prefecture and they told him it costs around 340 euros (approx.) – whereas in USA a visa was about 70$ – so i figured forget it, i’ll just leave Greece before my 90 days… the final option the dimarxos gave me was to go to the hospital where my Grandmother was treated to get a “note from the doctor” stating she was there and that’s the reason for my overstaying…. – so i actually got a “doctor’s note” and officially stamped – no charge – and i carried it with me everywhere just in case…

the other option i was given was to join the military! lol – so yes that is a real thing – however, i wound up staying over 90 days, about 118 days total – so finally, i got to the airport to come back to the USA – the guy at the airport (in the booth – not sure what it’s called) looked at my passport and noticed i overstayed (on the start of the 4th month of my stay my mother came to visit me – and spent the last 3 weeks of my stay with me – and we left together to get back to the USA she with her Greek passport and me with my American) and then he looked at my mother and told us if i overstay again i might have to join the military – with a smile! lol – and he just let us through…. i thought it was odd – but was good :) – i did read somewere that if you are “caught” overstaying and you leave – they could hold you or make you pay a hefty fine before you can leave….

i hope that made sense as it’s late here and i’ve been on your site for a couple hours and had all these thoughts i wanted to post – and now just finally found a comment box to share some experiences :)

a good friend of mine lives in Athens, and he did his required military – he said he was simply placed in an office for 9 months and that was it… didn’t go into detail…. because of the time difference we rarely get to chat – he did mention that january of 2009 the military law changed – but he only stated that instead of the 12 months – it’s now 9 months…. i hope to post more on this as i’d like to live and work in Greece as a dual-citizen with USA

anyway enough of my ramblings, i hope you can sort this comment out and make sense of it – lol

i’ll post back more with more solid info – as most any info from Greece is “my friend told me” “i heard from…” etc…. hearsay… lol

thanks again for a fantastic site of info – i only hope to share more with you



  Angelo in Athens wrote @ January 25th, 2009 at 03:45

I was born in America and have been living in Athens for 2 and a half years. I enlisted after being here for a year, and they never called me. I did check around, and they sent the papers to the wrong police station. When trying to leave the country, I was stopped and unable to travel. I enlisted for this Feb. and picked up my service papers at the police station. Aren’t they supposed to find me? My question is since I’m foreign born, how long do I have to serve? Some people say that I’ll be there for 6 months; others at stratologia say that I have to go for 12 months. I’m a 32-year-old only child, with no mother (she passed away, bless her soul) and my father is retired; does that count for anything? I have a business that I can’t run since I can’t travel overseas and am unable to work when I’m in the service. The longer I am in the military, the more I suffer monetarily. Just the fact I could not go on my business trip cost me thousands of euros, a loss of clients and an additional 3 months waiting to enlist. I have no problem going, except that it destroys a business I made over the last 6 years. Sorry about the rant. So how long do I have to serve?

Also I’ve heard that going to air force would be more desired than the navy, and then the army. I’m enlisted with the army but I was thinking about transferring to the air force. Any comparisons would be appreciated, and is it possible to transfer at the stage that I’m at right now?

Thanks for having such a wonderful site..Keep up the good work, you are my only resource here in Greece. The US Embassy could care less about my situation.

Kat Reply:

A – There were amendments to the Greek military law on January 1, 2009, and I’m getting documentation (hopefully) sent to me to update this article. But there are three things I know:
1) You will not serve 12 months. You will serve 3 or 6 months. Which one? I don’t know because there use many factors to calculate your length of duty. Unfortunately, only a dead father reduces your time, not a dead mother. Retirement has no bearing.
2) It is not the U.S. Embassy’s job to know Greek laws. They are a diplomatic mission handling issues pertaining to the homeland, not the country in which it is a guest. Only Greek Consulates and Embassies are required to serve people with regard to Greek issues and laws.
3) Non-transparent countries with flexible laws bring flexible results. Many love Greece because the law can be bent, bribed or ignored, but the drawback of course is you cannot plan your life or predict an outcome so your business suffers, you lose money and you could be in limbo for months more. So if you love Greece for those reasons, you must accept the consequences as well — you can’t have your cake and eat it too. You may or may not be able to transfer — it depends.

I’m not male or Greek, and I don’t know anyone who served in the air force so I cannot tell you if one is more desired than another. Choosing one branch or another is usually a personal preference. Some don’t like flying, some don’t like the water.

You can verify anything I’ve said or get further answers by calling or visiting the military recruiting office — visiting their websites is pointless since they’ve not been updated for many months and listening to hearsay is equally fruitless as each case is unique. You must go direct to the source.

Please let me know what happened in the end, if you can. And thank you for leaving a comment and compliment. :)

  Nick wrote @ January 28th, 2009 at 15:37

Hi Kat

Perhaps with your inside knowledge you could help clear these questions up for me please?

To give you a little background, I’m half Greek – my father (Greek) and mother (English) and I have recently completed a DNA test with my father that establishes us as father & son – and therefore myself as having “Greek origin”

I’m a full time UK resident and onlt visit Greece a few times a year (a week here and there) to visit relatives.

I recently read this advise published on the web page of a prminent Athens lawyer:

“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”

Can you confirm if this is the case?

I have also read that it’s fine for me to come to Greece for up to 6 months without being obliged to due military service providing:

a) You register with the nearest recruitment office in Greece to the place you stay at during your visit

b) You apply for a certificate of foreign permenant residency from the Greek embassy in the foreign county of residence

What would happen if I DIDNT do a & b and went to Greece anyway?

I also believe that you HAVE to be able to speak Greek to be conscripted anyway – so what happens if you cant?

Any light you can shed on these questions would be greatfully recieved!

Kat Reply:

N – I do not have inside knowledge; all I do is translate and read the law as it’s written. I know which lawyer you’re talking about, and he is not “prominent.” Good lawyers are too busy to advertise themselves on the Internet or newspapers because they have enough clients through recommendations and personal referrals. He also does not interpret Greek citizenship law correctly, claiming that “any ancestor” will get someone Greek citizenship — this is not true. I know people who were rejected on this false claim, and he kept their money, which amounted to hundreds of euros per person. Katalabes?

Answers to your questions are already in my article. I already say you must register; I already say that a permanent resident abroad certificate is a good idea; I already say under “Speaking Greek” what will happen if you don’t; I already say what will happen if you take risks by sharing the stories of people I know and in comments. Anyone who breaks laws and doesn’t have connections to get them out of trouble is subject to military draft and held inside the country. Period. Ignorance and not speaking Greek are not legitimate defenses.

  Toli wrote @ January 29th, 2009 at 19:32

Hi Kat, thank you for your follow-up, and apologies for the delayed response. As it happens, I celebrated my 45th b’day in December, so I should be in the clear.

Like all things in Greece, it’s a grey area, subject to individual interpretation, and given to change without notice. However the law you quote is clear cut, and therefore gives me confidence in proceeding and lodging my papers. Thanks again.


Kat Reply:

Toli- No apologies. I figured you took the information and went forward, but thank you for checking in. It’s always a pleasure to help someone who has a solid question and contributes to the discussion. Glad you’re safe :)

  kelly wrote @ January 29th, 2009 at 19:45

Hi there, i read your post. My husband is greek citizen and we are living curently in ireland. He managed somehow to delay the army for one year, but i guess there will come a time when they have to call him. What if they send the letter calling him to the army to the address in greece? We won’t know when it will happen. And then he will be a army dodger?

He wants to have a career in ireland, but if in greece they will make him bad name, do you think his future career will blow up?

Your last reply to somebody you said, “…get further answers by calling or visiting…” i will get my husband to call .. maybe we solve something.


thanks for posting ..

won’t serving in the greek army be less than 6 months .. i mean wont it be null?

Kat Reply:

K – In matters of the Greek state, it is the responsibility of its citizens and residents to be accountable for their affairs. So if the letter is sent to the Greek address, it is assumed your husband will get it because that’s the address he gave. My understanding is that he is allowed to live and work in another EU member state without fear of being drafted; Greek authorities will not go to Ireland and drag him back. However, once he comes back to Greece even for vacation, he’s subject to draft. Also if he is a sketo Greek citizen who was born in Greece and not a dual citizen with a permanent resident abroad certificate, his service will be 9-12 months, not 3-6 months or null. But yes, do call and inquire for his specific situation.

  kas wrote @ January 30th, 2009 at 18:52

Hi Kat
Wow, im so impressed – Finally a site that gives me detailed and practical information – greek govt website should have links to this website!!

And most greek businesses probably need your help in terms of setting up helpful web sites. Im South African – Greek and if you need any assistance with keeping this highly helpful information flowing, please do contact me.

I am dying to hear about the new changes to the law. Have you any new info? I just turned 35 in Nov. Thanks so much.

Kat Reply:

Articles are always updated according to whatever laws are passed or revoked.

  Angelo in Athens wrote @ January 30th, 2009 at 20:21

Hey Kat…thanks so much. The more I talk to people, the more I seem to know. But I have learned that there is not much I can do at this time without a connection. I’ll find out how long my service is after I go to Corinth, where they will tell me everything, hopefully. Your advice is very sound. For the same reasons you stated is why I like Greece, but everything with paperwork is really a pain. I’ll give you an update as soon as I get.


Kat Reply:

Well, if you love Greece for those reasons, you must accept the consequences also. We cannot have it both ways. Do let us know what happens to you. Cheers!

  Jamie wrote @ January 31st, 2009 at 17:01

I’m glad to have found this question and answer page. It’s nice to be a little bit informed about what my Fiance will be enduring. Ok, so the questions I have are-

Is it possible that he will be able to come to the states for a visit while he is still within the year?(or 9 months)

If it is possible, how difficult with the process be, or even…how probable is it to be accepted?

Kat Reply:

J – Depends.

As I understand from Greek citizens (not dual citizens) who have family and a home here, military leave (or adeia) can be granted for trips outside the country if there are no red flags, such as previous visa violations, bad behavior, etc. It depends on the military branch he serves, depends on his superior officer, depends on where he’s serving…many things.

As I understand from dual Greek citizens who have family or homes in other countries, the bureaucracy is a bit more complex because this person is considered more of a flight risk than a sole Greek citizenship holder with family ties inside Greece. See Vasileios’ comment above. In this case, most men have their girlfriends, wives or families visit them.

“Travel Girl” from Canada ( decided to move, live and travel in Europe while her Greek-Canadian boyfriend was serving here; his family was also here in Greece, so it was nice for everyone concerned and made them stronger as a couple.

  Nick wrote @ March 1st, 2009 at 01:26

If I was applying for dual citizenship US/Greek and got it, would I still have to enlist in the Greek military even if I was active duty US for 20 years?

Kat Reply:

In a word, yes. See the Reduced Tours and Exemptions sections above. However, to be certain for your specific case, it’s best to consult with someone at the Greek Consulate/Embassy or at the Greek military recruiting office before applying for citizenship.

  Thaddius wrote @ March 30th, 2009 at 06:30

I have a question. I am a dual citizen of Greece and the United States (just got my Greek Citizenship at the age of 26). I have lived in the United States my entire life and only travel to Greece in the summers for a couple of weeks vacation. I hold a US and Greek passport. I have not served in the Greek military and do not plan to as I do not plan to live in Greece for more than 6 mos per year. I know I can go through the process at the Greek Consulate to get a Pistopioitiko Monimou Katikou Exoterikou so I can enter and exit Greece w/o a problem but my question is this… What if I fly to Paris from the USA (enter Schengen Zone in France) connect on a flight to Athens and then do the same Athens-Paris-USA on the way back. I believe there is no passport control on intra Schengen flights, so how would the Greek authorities have the opportunity to ever check my passport or give me or any other Greek who hasn’t fulfilled their military obligation trouble entering and exiting the country as long as we are travelling within the Schengen zone? Am I missing something?

Kat Reply:

Since your final destination is a non-EU, non-Schengen country, airline personnel will still ask to see your passport when you check in. Plus, you’ll go through passport control in France. If the France and Greece Schengen systems talk to each other, your passport will be flagged, and they’ll get you next time.

Am I missing something? As I stated above to other men of Greek origin, no one will bother you as long as you stay under 6 months (with the permanent resident abroad certificate) and don’t intend to work in Greece; or under 90 days in the Schengen zone (without the certificate), which is your visa-free right as an American citizen. Male Greek citizens normally get in trouble when going over the 90 days Schengen visa or over the 6 months stated by the certificate.

  Mike wrote @ March 31st, 2009 at 13:00

A question for Thaddius – how did you manage to get your Greek passport without first obtaining your army waiver?

My Greek Citizenship also came through recently, but the consulate wouldn’t allow me even to look at an application for the passport until *after* I applied for, and obtained, the Pistopoiitiko Monimou Katikou Exoterikou – for which I happened to qualify since I have never lived outside the US and have visited Greece at most for a few weeks at a time. Whatever one’s case may be, representatives at the two consulates I have worked with (Boston and Los Angeles) confirmed that appropriate army requirements must be met before a passport can be issued to males in the 19-45 age range.

On the other hand, I managed to obtain a tautotita in Greece while there on vacation, just after the citizenship was granted, but before I had submitted any army-related documentation to the authorities.

Kat Reply:

Hi Mike, that’s a great question. I’ve had many tell me that they couldn’t get a passport until they served army or secured the certificate; and I know equally as many men who got a Greek passport without doing either and without a lawyer. I believe it has to do with lax enforcement, staff not being consistent in following rules, or some passports were issued before the age of 19. Or maybe it’s just Greece. There is no restriction on tautotitas.

  Thaddius wrote @ April 1st, 2009 at 07:08

In response to Mike…I just applied for a passport and got one. Nothing additional was required. I did hire a lawyer who had worked with the consulate many times before to help me with my citizenship and passport application so maybe that helped as well. I am meeting with the stratologo to get my Pistopoiitiko Monimou Katikou Exoterikou next month but I already have the passport and pistopioitiko gennisis from the municipality in greece. I did have to swear that “I have not been declared as a draft evader or deserter.” which was technically true since I had just gotten my citizenship the day before I applied so the military had never even contacted me yet (it usually takes at least 6 months for them to start to try to contact you) so it is true that I have never been declared as a draft evader or deserter, etc.

One more question for Kat…what if I spent a couple of nights in Paris before and after my trip to Greece so as far the Greek authorities were concerned my final destination is Paris? If this would work should I use my US passport the whole way or my Greek passport? In any case, I am meeting with the stratologo to get the Pistopioitiko Monimou Katikou Exoterikou but I may be going to Greece for a week before this goes through so thought my alternate plan may be an option to avoid any trouble.

Kat Reply:

You don’t need to do that. U.S. passport holders have a 90-day Schengen visa, so one week is way under your maximum. (Perhaps you read my last reply to you before it was updated). As for what passport to use, please read the applicable section under, “American and Greek dual citizenship.” Have a nice trip! :)

  Nick wrote @ May 11th, 2009 at 22:54

Hello there,and thanks for an informative site

My question is as follows:

An exemption from military service is granted if you apply for Greek Citizenship after the age of 35.Is this true?In working for the Dimosio(Greek public service) one of the exceptions for military service is that if you registered in the dimotologio after age 35,and obtained official Greek Citizenship by means of a passport,or taftotita,at 35 or over,then you do not serve? ,I remember reading it in TA NEA newspaer in their monday issue where they publish jobs in the public and private sectors.There was an article that day which dealt with exemptions of not serving in the army and one of them was the 35 years old and over rule.Your clarification and answer would be greatly appreciated

Kat Reply:

Nick, the only thing I saw in the Ta Nea was how a Greek male over 35 years of age could serve the first days of duty and then buy out the rest of his time, as my article states above.

I saw nothing about working for the dimosio or being registered in the dimotologio with Greek citizenship after the age of 35 as grounds for being exempt from duty. If this were the case, a lot of people I know wouldn’t have needed to serve. I researched it as far as I could without reading and translating every law, which unfortunately I do not have time or interest to do.

Always happy to answer a polite person with a legitimate question that hasn’t been asked previously, learn something myself and help others at the same time.

  Thaddius wrote @ July 18th, 2009 at 02:26

Just to update. I received my Pistopoiitiko Monimos Katikos Exoterikou (MKE) by showing the stratologo at the Greek Consulate in the USA the papers they asked for and then I took the Pistopoiitiko MKE to my Greek military recruiting office in Greece myself who then gave me a Pistopoiitiko Stratologikis Katastasis Typou B’ which says as long as I am a Monimos Katikos Exoterikou (i.e. don’t spend more than 6 months in Greece in a calendar year) then I am exempt from military service. Do you know if I ever have to renew this Typou B’ document or renew the Pistopoiitiko MKE every year or every time I visit Greece? I don’t think I do based on people I spoke to but how do they know I have stayed outside Greece for 6months. The only way is checking my passport stamps I guess?

Kat Reply:

You do not need to renew it. And yes, they either look at your passport stamps or in the computer (from scans of your passport) to see when you entered and exited. Thanks for letting us know what happened.

  Chris wrote @ September 2nd, 2009 at 08:41

Does one have to worry about serving in the Greek military if he’s over 50 years old?
Left Greece at 12 years old, have no Greek passport or ID card and live in the US.

Kat Reply:

I gave this answer to Toli above: The law says, “1st of January of the 19th year to 31st of December of their 45th year.” Please read more carefully next time. Thank you.

  intouch wrote @ October 4th, 2009 at 18:43

I would like to know whether conscripts can use their mobile phones (with or without camera) and have access to the internet (email, msn, facebook,…). If yes, how often? I want to stay in touch with a friend who will go to the army soon. Thanks a lot for your answer!

Kat Reply:

I’ve answered this question previously, and the article above mentions that the military now uses technology that will jam the signal of unauthorized phones in security areas.

Access to the Internet and cell/mobile phones and their usage depends on a military base’s location and mission, and the strictness of rules and enforcement by the person in charge. Some locations are very remote and have no signal. My friends used to go off-base in their free time to Internet cafes. Let’s remember that this is the military, not social hour.

  douglas wrote @ October 11th, 2009 at 00:38

Hi thanks for providing us with so much info. I have just a question . I`m British , an ex soldier (12 years with the British Army), 45 years old, and married to a Greek. Our oldest son is 24 and has only a British passport, our marriage was carried out in Germany, our son born in Germany, and his Birth etc only registered in Germany and the UK. So as far as the Greek Govt knows, our son doesn`t exist. Is he in anyway liable to conscription in Greece unless he is stupid enough to mention to someone in authority that he is the son of a Greek mother?

Kat Reply:

Because no official paperwork on your son has been completed within Greece or at the Greek Embassy or Greek Consulate, he is not in any immediate danger of being drafted. The only way I can see him being caught is if he comes to live/work in Greece and is asked to present his birth certificate for a transaction, thus revealing his lineage to a Greek mother.

  FMS wrote @ October 12th, 2009 at 06:22

It is, of course, a serious breach of international law for a citizen of another country to be detained for military service in a country whose nationality he does not possess. Having said that, we all know that Greece makes up the rules as it feels like, and certainly couldn’t give a f**k about international obligations, human rights law or anything much else.

It’s about time someone dragged them through the European courts over their behaviour… although they’re probably used to public humiliation in the courts by now.

  greg wrote @ November 3rd, 2009 at 11:37

thanks for this site, good info.
my background- born in greece, greek parents, left greece 1970 with parents to USA when i was two, i will be 43 in june 2010, have visited greece often 2-4 weeks of august vacation each year. i am moving to greece permanently soon.
Some questions:
1. how many months will i serve without paying it off?
2. how does it work, when should I appear to military, or do i wait for them to find me? Can I wait to appear, let’s say about dekay it 3 years i.e. until 45 years old?
3. my family is from Ikaria, if I serve there, does that shorten my term, in other words is Ikaria like Samos (strategic importance)?

Thank you,

Thank you so much for answering my questions, and most of all thank you for this website and your commitment to it.

Kat Reply:

Hi Greg,

Some answers:
1. Depends on the many factors I’ve listed above and in response to other men asking the same thing.
2. You can voluntarily go to the office and offer yourself (they may not take you right away), or wait for them to forcibly conscript you. Your choice.
3. Ikaria is not considered on par with Samos in strategic importance, as I understand. So no, your time would not be shortened, and there’s no guarantee you’ll be assigned there anyway.

Thank you for stopping in. :)

I appreciate your kind follow-up words. It’s very easy to help kind, polite and grateful people like you.

  Vasilis wrote @ November 17th, 2009 at 21:05

Actually I’d like to rectify your claim that they don’t accommodate non english speakers. My cousin served in the Greek Army and could barely speak Greek and they accommodated him, as well as when he was in he met others that couldn’t speak it well. This was in Athens.

Kat Reply:

I think you mean non-Greek speakers. What happened with your cousin is already detailed in the article as the first case scenario. But for the record, “not being accommodated” is not merely a claim as I do not operate on rumors and hearsay; I illustrated real-life cases when non-Greek speaking conscripts were turned away as recently as this year.

  stef wrote @ January 4th, 2010 at 21:57

i am a 17 year old male, whose father is greek, but my mother english, and my parents divorced when i was age one, however i do have a greek passport. I have been living in the UK since the age of one. Do i have to do national service in greece although I havent lived in greece for more than eleven years?

Kat Reply:

Although you did not provide enough information, this question has already been answered several times previously. Depends on:

a) If you qualify for the permanent resident abroad certificate for Greek citizens.
b) How long you visit Greece
c) If you intend on living/working in Greece.
d) Where your parents are living and for how long.

Because you have a Greek passport, you have Greek citizenship and are therefore registered in Greece so they know who you are. Consult the authorities I recommended in the article for information specific to your case.

  Kasia wrote @ January 25th, 2010 at 15:25

Thank you so much for putting your effort and creating this website! It’s very very informative.

I have just 2 quick questions. If a Greek citizen obtains a ‘permanent resident abroad’ status, will it reduce their military service (i.e. 3-6 months)? And secondly, will such a status also defer their service until they decide to move to Greece/stay there for over 6 months a year ?

Follow-up question: The reason I’ve asked about the ‘permanent resident abroad’ status is because you have mentioned that you can get one by living for 11 years abroad or working for 7 years abroad. However, for example in the UK, according the UKBA (UK Border Agency) you can obtain a ‘permanent resident abroad’ certificate / card by living in the UK for a consecutive 5 years (regardless whether you were studying, working, being a pensioner etc.). You have also mentioned that such a ‘document’ would be issued by the Greek Consulate, however in the case of UK ‘permanent resident abroad’ status is granted by the UK Home Office. Therefore, I was wondering whether a ‘permanent resident abroad’ status issued by the British authorities (which seems to be easier to obtain, comparing to the Greek Consulate way) would also be recognised by the Greek authorities?

Thank you so much for your help!

Kat Reply:

I already answered both questions in the article above. Under the heading “Exemptions,” please read the info under, “Draft evaders and Citizens Living Abroad.”

Regarding your follow-up question, the Greek military only recognizes ‘permanent resident abroad’ certificates issued by a Greek authority (Greek Consulate, Greek Embassy, Greek authorities in Greece). Having one issued by UK authorities means nothing. The UK and Greece are completely separate countries with separate laws and eligibility requirements, so these documents are not transferable or interchangeable.

  chris wrote @ January 27th, 2010 at 09:59

I have read your posting from top to bottom, and understand that you get frustrated by those who post questions without trying to first read and understand what you have already written. But, I think that most who ask “already answered” questions are thinking that maybe their case is slightly different from the previously answered questions, and therefore, needs separate clarification. At least that’s how I feel, so here goes with my “slight variation on a previously answered question.”

My father was born in Greece. I am married, US citizen with 3 male children (ages 6, 7 and 8), and have always resided in the US. I believe that I meet all the qualifications and am thinking of filing for Greek citizenship for myself (and presumably for the kids as well). I have been to Greece about 5X, never more than one month at a time.

I am now 47 years old. If I file for citizenship now, am I fully exempt because I am over 45? Am I considered a draft evader? I am asking for your expertise for the person over 45 who files, who has never spent more than 6 months in Greece. Do I need to obtain this “resident abroad certificate” or does it no longer matter because I am over 45? I think I read that there are different types of passports based on whether military service has been served. Which one would I get and what are the implications of ending up with one v. another?

If I successfully obtain Greek citizenship for the children, what do I need to be doing to avoid them being draft evaders themselves? I know the law could change before this becomes necessary, but do I need to keep in mind to apply for the resident abroad certificate for them?. Is that something I do now or only when they get older? My wife (half Greek, but not applying for citizenship herself) thinks this would be “cool” for the kids to have EU citizenship, but she also worries about military service obligations that I could be getting them into, etc…

Any other thoughts to keep in mind before deciding whether to apply for citizenship for myself and the boys?

Thanks for all your great information.

Kat Reply:

For those who didn’t provide enough info, I always advise them to directly consult a Greek authority. Written laws are not interpretative, so there’s no room for slight variation.

I believe people seek affirmation, which is very different from clarification.

All of your questions are already answered in the article above.
— You’re over the age of 45. You cannot be drafted. You cannot be a draft evader if you’re evading nothing. You cannot obtain a certificate to exempt you from something you aren’t obligated to do. You will get a normal Greek passport, since the others aren’t applicable.
— Your sons have not been working abroad for seven years or living abroad for 11 years, so they are ineligible for the permanent resident abroad certificate and also too young to be drafted. They cannot be draft evaders if they are evading nothing. Apply for the certificate when they’re in danger of being drafted (age 19) or eligible.

All best.

Note to Everyone: Please heed the policy stated in, “Comments, Questions and Contacting Me.” I’m not annoyed or frustrated. It just makes more sense to spend my unpaid, free time writing new articles that benefit thousands than repeating myself and counseling one person on subjects I already addressed.

All of my sources are listed, and all my articles are heavily researched and combined with first-hand experience. If you don’t believe what’s written, please feel free to search elsewhere for assistance.

  Elliott wrote @ July 10th, 2010 at 00:53

Comment 1: Hi

I was on the site for like couple of hours . It’s really interesting. I am a Lebanese-Greek (Greek mother). I have been in Greece less than 3 months once, I am a 26 year old male resident in Lebanon.

I was on your site yesterday and read some articles and comments regarding the military service. Can I still volunteer for life in the Greek army, or it’s too late or hard ?? Well, I am just curious, and since my language is fair. Do you think it’s a good idea or not .

Thank you for this great website and for the information.

Comment 2: Thank you very much for the valuable information . It’s sweet :)

Comment 3: kat, Go back to America , there is no place for you in Greece , Go back to where the hell you came from

Kat Reply:

I took all your comments in the past 12 hours on three different posts, combined them, reopened the Greek military article and transferred them.

Comment 1: You did not provide enough information for me to dispense a specific answer, so I’ll give you general advice:
a) To come live/work in Greece, you need to have citizenship from an EU country or get a permit. Because your mother is Greek, you can claim Greek citizenship through her by following the instructions given in, “Greek citizenship by claim of ancestry, origin or descent.”
b) To be a professional soldier in Greece, you must be a certain height and weight, and pass physical and mental/psychological examinations. They don’t take just anyone. After sorting your permit or citizenship, go to the military recruiting office and sign up for these tests. The contact information is in the above article.
c) Whether it’s a good idea or not is a personal choice. I am not you, so I have no opinion.

Comment 2: Thank you.

Comment 3: Two things come to mind in seeing this quick deterioration from complimentary to insulting comments. a) You (wrongly) assumed I was ignoring you in a mere 12 hours and lashed out, completely unprovoked, as a child would. b) Be cautious when taking the mental/psychological examination.

I run this website in my unpaid time to inform and help people, which means I don’t owe you anything and you are free to go elsewhere if what you find here is unsatisfactory. Good luck.

  nick wrote @ August 12th, 2010 at 18:25

What do I need to bring with me for basic training? What sundry items, clothes or other? What should I not bring with me?

Kat Reply:

Hi Nick, this is an excellent question. I promised to get back to you after August 15 when he came to Athens, so here I am.

The young man currently serving in the Greek army said he was given the following: One toothbrush, one plastic comb, one razor (“not good”), one bar of soap and army fatigues. So it sounds like you need to bring pretty much everything. He was also issued one helmet, one duffle bag and weapons, all of which must be returned at the end of service.

The forbidden items are common-sense things like no sharp objects and electronic devices, but they vary by location and depend on who is in charge and how strictly he enforces the rules. For example: A friend of mine serving on Syros used an iPod in his off-time; another friend stationed elsewhere in Greece had his expensive CD player taken away and it was never returned, presumably because his superior wanted to keep it. Cell phones can be used in your off-time, but security measures and rules of the base/commander dictate when and where. It’s the military, after all.

  Nick wrote @ August 27th, 2010 at 01:39

Please help me! I am trying to get clear definitive guidance on the following:

I was born in the UK and have a British passport. Both of my parents were Greek, they moved to the UK in the 60’s and have now both died. I think my father may have applied for British citizenship before he died but i am not 100% sure.

If i move to Greece to live or work, do i have to do National Service? If so, how long for? Can i pay my way out of it? The Greek embassy have been of no use in giving me clear answers. Many thanks in advance, Nick.

Kat Reply:

Sorry, but to receive clear answers, you need to provide clear information.

If you were as vague in describing your case to the embassy as you were with me, it may explain why they can’t give you answers because I also can’t do it without knowing your age, if you hold the resident abroad certificate, if you’re from a large family, if you have other brothers, etc.

Two of your questions are answered in the article above, so you either didn’t read it or didn’t understand it.

1. Must you serve in the Greek military if you come back to live/work in Greece? Read the first sentence of the article. Why? Read the first sentence of the article. Doesn’t matter what citizenship or passport you hold or if your parents held UK citizenship.
2. How long must you serve? Depends on the variables listed above in the article under “Reduced tours of duty.” Contact the Greek military recruitment office by following the link for ‘Ministry of National Defense.’ Each case is uniquely different.
3. Can you pay your way out? Depends. See “Opting out” and “Reduced tours of duty” in the article.

Good luck.

  Nick wrote @ November 12th, 2010 at 16:11

Hello Kat, long time no talk. It’s Nick.My question above was regarding obtaining official Greek Citizenship at 35 years of age or older, exempts you from the military that was discussed in TA NEA newspaper. Have you found out more information on this?

Also, for everyone else. Why risk travelling to Canada/USA from Athens International Airport (Eleftherios Venizelos) directly. Fly to North America thru a Schengen state flight to let’s say Germany, France etc. where there is no passport control at Athens Airport. You go thru “B” gates instead of “A” gates where there is passport control.

Yes,there will be passport control exiting Germany/France but showing your Canadian/US passport with your Greece identity card, (taftotita) allows you to simply walk thru after inspection without having your passport stamped. As soon as you present a taftotita with your passport, the border police person simply looks at it, some will scan the passport, but most just waive you thru, like other EU nationals that have a EU passport.

Works perfectly well for me all the time, and I am sure for others as well. What are your thoughts on this?

Kat Reply:

Hi Nick,

I saw nothing beyond what I told you in my first comment. As I say above in the article, and as Ta Nea said, you can serve 45 days then buy out the remainder for a price at age 35 or older. Being aged 35 and older when claiming Greek citizenship does not exempt you from military, only being 45 and older does.

What you describe in being processed by a different Schengen member is already discussed in “Overstaying a visa in Greece,” published in 2007. So those are my thoughts, and it can be done even without a taftotita since (of course) not everyone has one.

All best, and nice to see you here again.

  Paul wrote @ November 17th, 2010 at 22:01

Hi Kat,

I had a question seeing I’m seriously considering moving to Athens to study at the School of Philosophy for English studies (Literature and Culture in particular.)

I was supposed to head into the Royal Netherlands Army Special Forces, but my contract was cancelled due to budget cuts, so I’m either considering moving to Athens to be closer with my best friend (long story, won’t make that public here) or joining the French Foreign Legion, but Athens is the main plan.

I am in the very lucky position where my government would pay for the education, give me enough money to pay the rent and such.

But what I’m actually curious about, how difficult would it be to actually find a place to live? (99% sure my best friend can help with it, being a native and all. But still, I understand they aren’t exactly being cheery with foreigners over there?

I actually speak a little Greek, trying to learn a lot more right now, is working due to having to use the damn language every day

I also understand it takes about 7 years to get Greek citizenship?

Plan would be to just study till I can get that and enlist in the military. I’m not retarded, I know a few years of krav maga and preparing for one of the toughest jobs in our military hasn’t exactly been good for my CV, even though I have experience as a firefighter.

Is this even possible? Or would it’d be a lost cause? Before I actually go and study there for so long and find out it’s useless.

I’m actually curious how popular are these jobs in the military — combat roles and such, as with the 31 Search & Rescue Operations Squadron of the Hellenic Air Force — or with the fire department?

Definitely bookmarking your lovely website!

If you could email me your response that would be fine too. :)

With kind regards,


Kat Reply:

Addressing your questions:

— Finding a place to live in Greece is not a huge issue, as there is no housing shortage. However, there is a shortage of good, well-built places to live for a reasonable rent; some landlords do discriminate (as they do worldwide); and racism and xenophobia are being exacerbated with the crisis. If you look Mediterranean, white or well-to-do, you probably won’t notice and having your Greek friend make the phone calls and accompany you during the search will definitely help.

— It will likely take you 8 years to get Greek citizenship: Seven years residence, then another year for them to render a decision as detailed in “Greek citizenship by naturalization.” You will be required to serve military if/when citizenship is granted.

— I cannot say whether it’s a lost cause or a great idea because this is your decision and your life, as I say in “Should I move to Greece?” The economic landscape changes weekly, and there’s no way to predict what Greece will be like 8 years from now, let alone in 2011.

Firefighters and rescue workers are underpaid and overworked, especially in summer, and there are too few of them for this reason. Many are unpaid volunteers, some of whom I’ve met keeping watch over the remaining forests of Athens, simply because they care so deeply and are otherwise supported by families or a working spouse. You can find out more at:

The military has become more popular of late because of there are thousands losing their jobs and too few good jobs around without the guarantee of being paid. However, the military does not take just anybody. There are mental, physical and psychological tests, and you can find out more using the links I listed at the end of the article.

I do not offer personal consultation for the reasons listed in “Comments, Questions and Contacting Me,” but I hope this website and my response has been helpful.

All best.

  Gus wrote @ January 12th, 2011 at 16:09

Regarding your Nov 12th 2010 reply to Nick, I checked the Schengen article you wrote and am still confused.

I am a US citizen with Greek parents and have been in Greece since August last year. I registered in Athens and am about to register at the local municipality for a taftotita. But I don’t have the Monimos katoikos exoterikou for Stratologiki Hrisis for this year’s stay (or last year’s). I can have someone in the US get it for me at the NY Greek consulate though.

But I was wondering, since I can get a taftotita (I have filed/registered greek citizenship – but I am katoikos USA) Can I use this and go to say, Italy (Schengen) and then to the US? I am in Greece 5 1/2 months now, and am planning on visiting the US. I will likely ultimately go to the Army to live here permanently. I know I overstayed Schengen, but can a greek taftotita and US passport work? I don’t want to get drafted – at least not yet.


Kat Reply:

There are two permanent foreign resident certificates — one for military use, and another that allows you to legally stay in Greece for up to 180 days per calendar year on your Greek or U.S. passport. However, you must apply for them in person with your passport before departure to Greece. Therefore, I do not see how someone in the U.S. can get it for you or how it would benefit you since you already came and stayed in Greece.

For reasons having to do with my profession, I cannot advise people on how to dodge Greek military service. There are military websites and forums set up by men of Greek origin for that purpose. All best.

  kostas wrote @ January 15th, 2011 at 04:53


What if you are drafted by the Greek Armed Forces while serving in another non-EU NATO country’s armed forces….Thanks for your help…


Kat Reply:

If you are already on active duty, the Greek military can attempt to draft you but you can show them proof that you’re already serving somewhere else and they won’t have a choice but to let you go. The original country had you first, and I don’t see how Greek authorities can force you to carry out two military assignments in two different countries at the same time.

  kleonas wrote @ January 19th, 2011 at 01:57

Hello there,

I’m a Greek national and I plan to do my military service this year. i know, as per my father telling me, the way one goes about doing their service is that there are a couple of specific “intake” days, when, after taking yourself off a list (is this right so far?) you go to a specific place, and that’s where it begins. is this how it’s done, and if so, do you know when the dates are? i’m planning on starting this at the end of the summer/beginning of the fall


Kat Reply:

I can only tell you what I read on the website because I’m not male and am not obligated to serve military duty.

As I understand from the Stratologia FAQ, it says that each man has an assigned SA (soldier number) that also denotes which municipality they must report to, and there are four intakes a year in February, May, August and November during which they make classifications or assignments the first 10 days.

In taking an informal poll amongst Greek men in my life who served, they didn’t really have a choice when they started. For example, Panagiotis was originally told he’d be starting in August, so he quit his job and took a vacation before he was scheduled to report but then he later got a notice saying that his duty has been postponed to November. He wasn’t happy about this because he gave up his apartment, had to live with his parents and was left without job and money for some months.

If you have further questions, I recommend inquiring with the recruiting office or visiting the website. Your father certainly has good advice to offer, but some things have changed since he served. Thank you for visiting and for your question. All best.

  Kostas wrote @ February 9th, 2011 at 05:09

ok thank you…they asked for a letter-document from my immediate commander and from my armed forces.

Would I still owe them reduced service and would they recognize my training as an army communications technical specialist in the Canadian Army at all?


Kat Reply:

Hi Kosta,

Thank you for coming back and sharing what you learned with me. It will help someone else with the same question in the future.

As I disclose above, this article is in need of update and I haven’t had time to take care of it. What I understand is the Greek army will recognize any time you served in an allied force and you likely will not serve more time in Greece if you met the required amount of months for your category. What do I mean by that? For example, if you have the permanent resident abroad certificate, you are required to serve 3-6 months, so the Greek military won’t ask for more as long as you served 3-6 months in the Canadian Army.

If you speak/read Greek, I encourage you to visit The website has greatly improved over the years, is current and answers many common questions.

  Kostas wrote @ February 24th, 2011 at 05:34

It wouldn’t bother me to service three months in Greece. I do speak Greek quite well but I’m a signals technician and English is my working language. I don’t know if I could do the same specialization in Greece. Communicating fast and coherently is quite important in such an environment and barriers or time lags can lead to serious inefficiency, failure and, unfortunately, death. I will have to enquire more with the appropriate authorities.

What are the requirements to become a professional soldier in the Greek military, age, examinations, physical profile etc…Thank you…



  Susan wrote @ February 24th, 2011 at 13:35

Hi Kat

I am married to a half-Greek guy. He was born in Ireland to and Irish mother and a Greek father (now deceased). He has always held an Irish Passport and never a Greek one or a Greek ID Card. His father did not register him in Greece. He does have a Greek Tax Number though and he inherited some property when his Dad died. He is 36 years old.

We visit Greece 2/3 times a year to visit family but have never stayed longer than 90 days in any year. He did however live in Greece for approx 1 year when he was 2 years old but apart from that has always lived in Ireland.

Should he still get the “Certificate of Permanent Resident Abroad” and if we did spend longer than 90 days in the country could he be required to do military service ?

Apologies if I am repeating questions.

Follow-up: Thanks, Kat. Appreciate the reply. Have no plans to spend more than 185 days there at the moment, so that eases my mind :)

Tbh, once I got the first reply on that forum I knew I had posted in the wrong place. A friend suggested that forum but she is living in Germany not Greece so maybe she gets better advice.


Kat Reply:

Hi Susan,

Because your husband is an Irish citizen, and Ireland is in the EU, he would have the right to stay in Greece for up to 185 days. After that, it becomes an issue of permanent residency and military draft based on Greek origin. I would advise getting the certificate only if he (or you both) plan on staying in Greece past 185 days.

Follow-up: My pleasure. I know you posted the same question in a forum without giving me a chance to answer and received improper advice. Beware of forums. They’re rife with rumors and people without credentials who dispense information without knowing the laws currently in place.

It’s possible your friend gets better advice. However, keep in mind that many (not all) asking questions do not know right and wrong, so what may sound like good advice could still be wrong. There are people who live in a country for years as expats, or even citizens, who never learn local laws, and it’s even worse in Greece where the laws are flexibly implemented and everyone’s experience varies.

All best.

  Anthony wrote @ March 1st, 2011 at 18:05

I am thinking about joining this year as I only have to do Basic and then I can pay the balance off.

Does anyone have specific details of Basic Training? Like, can one leave the base on the weekend or for an afternoon a week for example? Can you smoke? Is there a physical, blood test, chest xray? Or is the health check (if any) like the form you file for a gym membership? Do I need my health insurance for that month?

Also, I saw the previous post, on what they issue you. But, I would like to know what I can bring! Can you bring running shoes, a book, knee braces, and of course Advil? Coffee? Pepto? Playings Cards? Sunscreen? Sunglasses? Underpants? Thermals? I don’t want a dufflebag full of stuff for a 45 day trip tossed into the rubbish on the first day.

These questions, to some, may seem trivial. But I am 38, a bit set in my ways, and if I going to sign up for something that is 45 days, I’d like to know what Black Hole I am jumping into.

But, I love this place, so perhaps black hole it is!
thanks in advance! Great site BTW.

Kat Reply:

Since you saw what I said to Nick on August 26 about what items are issued to a new conscript, you should have also seen my answer about what items are allowed and disallowed in the Greek army. I’ll quote directly from it: “The forbidden items are common-sense things like no sharp objects and electronic devices, but they vary by location and depend on who is in charge and how strictly he enforces the rules.”

There’s no way for me to know what location and camp you’ll be assigned, nor the commander in charge. On your day of intake, ask all your questions.

Your question about health insurance is already answered in the article above. Adeia and any privileges are granted according the location, the unit assigned and the commander in charge. It’s Greece, your experience may vary.

Your questions aren’t trivial, but let’s remember it’s the military. If you want to hear first-hand experiences of people who served, there are plenty of military forums set up for discussion, with most of them in Greek. All best.

  karen wrote @ March 30th, 2011 at 14:25

Very interesting information! My son is 19 years of age, born and raised in Greece, although half English. I have heard there is a website i can go to that would show when he is due to be called up. He signed up as instructed when he was 18 but heard nothing since.

Many Thanks,

Kat Reply:

Hi Karen,

He should have been assigned a number, and with this number he can check on his status by contacting the recruitment office. He/you can also visit for more information on being called up.

If you read comments above, I mention that it’s not an exact science on when he’ll serve. He could be given a date, which may then be rescheduled.

  Nicos wrote @ April 29th, 2011 at 18:21

Hi Kat,

I’m 40yrs old and living abroad since September 1990 (UK). In 2001 I got naturalised and got an English passport and in 2006 I also got a document as a permanent resident abroad (from the Greek Embassy in London, but which I never submitted anywhere, as I wasn’t sure it was necessary). In 2007 December I got a job for a greek company but working abroad in Romania and I only visit greece for holidays never exceeding over 30 days in a year. Today while staying at my parents (as part of my easter holidays) a guy from a police station showed up unannounced although I didn’t see any credentials and found me at home and produced a document to attend to my local police station within the next 3 days in regards to my army obligations. I’m thinking that I should ignore it as I’m leaving tomorrow and although I have signed receipt of the document at the time. Do you have any suggestions or what is done in similar cases. Is this just formal or could it cause any problems with me leaving Greece.

thank you

Kat Reply:

Hi Nicos,

Because this just happened and you’re leaving tomorrow, I’m answering right away with what I know but the disadvantage is you didn’t provide enough information and gave me no time to do any research as everything is closed.

There have been Greek men living abroad who checked in on this website and told me they were visited by police, stopped at the border/airport or otherwise called up by letter while on vacation here. Some were called up because they had no certificate, some had stayed longer than 6 months, some began working in Greece — all no-no’s. Others didn’t give enough info or were given advice but never came back to tell me the result, so I couldn’t see a pattern. Greece is also in transition, somewhere between the flexible rules of yesterday and the enforced rules of today.

Without knowing more about your situation, I see two possible reasons you were visited by police about army obligations:
a) Your permanent resident abroad certificate has expired;
b) Your certificate is invalid because it’s based on you residing permanently in the UK, and you have been living and working in Romania for 3 years.

Either of those puts you in an unknown status and Greek military/police have the legal right to request clarification. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be forced to conscript.

I can’t figure out how they knew you were here because Romania — although not in Schengen — is in the EU and there shouldn’t be passport/ID checks since you’re a Greek/UK citizen, unless they traced you through airport check-in. If that’s the case, you should expect the same tomorrow when you leave.

Will you be stopped? That’s hard to say. Some men were stopped, some men were not and I don’t know the conditions under which either happened. The worse that can happen (if stopped) is you stay an extra day, go to the police station and give them whatever documentation they need for the Greek military to understand you are not living here. In essence, give them the information you should have given the Greek Embassy in London or Bucharest when you moved in 2007/2008.

All best.

  Nicos wrote @ April 30th, 2011 at 18:52

Hi Kat ,

Thanks for the quick reply, I will keep you updated of how things went, hoping that my situation will shed light for others in similar circumstances. I have just discovered that my father never submitted my document of permanent resident abroad (issued in November 2006 from Greek Embassy in UK). I believe this was the reason as I still appear anypotaktos and due to the fact that I just turned 40 they’ve sent them looking for me. Apparently there is also a fine of 6000 euro if you are anypotaktos without any exemptions and I suppose they are also looking for money everywhere this period. My father will take the documents next week to the army office and try to establish if additional papers are required. I hope they accept the 2006 document or worst case require an additional one for the remaining period.

Again many thanks for your help and prompt reply, I will post in time more details about my situation and end result which hopefully will be good.


Follow-up: Hi again Kat,

I’m writing from the safety of Romania (couldn’t imagine I’d ever say that)….anyway to answer to your last points…I went to the airport and exited without any problems. Romania is not in Schengen yet as you said (possibly will join in June 2011) so I don’t know how if this has affected things. I used my UK passport which they hardly looked at. I hope this helps, hopefully I will be able to shed more light tomorrow about my residency status after my father’s visit to ‘ROOF” (army registry office). I have already advertised your site to other friends in similar situations as you seem to be the only reliable source since the akrites site.

best regards

Kat Reply:

Hi again,

Thanks for checking in and letting me know.

The 6000-euro fine came into effect April 6, 2011 and is included in my information above under ‘Draft evaders and citizens living abroad,’ plus I posted it on my Twitter news feed, which Greeks abroad find helpful to keep up on the latest. I realize you didn’t know you were considered ‘anypotaktos,’ but it’s interesting how fast they started looking for you and tried enforcing the new fine.

Should they not accept your 2006 document, you can go to the Greek Embassy in Bucharest and apply for another. Looking forward to hearing good news from you, and thank you for sharing your story as it helps me to help others.

All best, Kat

P.S. Can you tell me two things? a) Did you pass any border controls, or just airport check-in? b) Did you use your Greek ID, Greek passport, UK passport, something else?

Follow-up: I appreciate your quick response, and thank you for the recommendation. Since you checked in, another reader told me he also got a letter about the same thing.

  K.Asima wrote @ May 1st, 2011 at 21:41

Hi Kat. Thank you for this site, as i have checked it over the years almost every day.

I am a Greek-American 37 and live in Athens. I got my papers all of sudden after this new law was passed. Go figure! I am leaving in the morning for Korinthos to start my nine months of not being productive for the economy. So i think it is true that the government is exhausting every option to raise funds. This just happens to be one.

I own a business in Athens and may have to close due to this, as I was struggling to stay afloat before. A year ago i employed 32 people. As of today I have 20. In a month I may not be able to employ anyone, including myself. The government here has done nothing to help the private sector. I think this is a very short-sighted approach to the economic crisis. In my opinion Greeks need to be more productive, not forced to sit in an Army barracks playing backgammon and smoking cigarettes.

Kat Reply:

Hi K,

Nice to see you again. I appreciate you sharing your experience on this new law, though I’m sorry to hear the crisis has affected you and this sudden conscription may be the last straw. You’re right to say that many of these measures are short-sighted. What’s puzzling to me is measures that could make the biggest difference aren’t being implemented, and half-baked laws are being applied rather strictly.

I hope you’ll find a way to get through it. A lot of people are in the same boat.

P.S. I remember you because you were the only person to verify the truthfulness of my interview with a Greek rioter in December 2008, after you had a similar conversation with a different young man.

  Mack wrote @ May 16th, 2011 at 23:54

Thanks for the Website. I’m currently a 19 year old university student in Canada with dual citizenship, and recently found out that I evaded the army haha. I was wondering if the only way to perform the service is in the army. I know in Germany while they do have a mandatory service, it can be transferred to another public sector such as working in a hospital. I realise I can defer my service until I’m done school, I really need to get on that, but eventually I think Ill have to complete it or pay it off in order to deal with property and family in Greece.

P.S. Typo under Typical Military Tour, I really doubt that its Men over 1.85 cm haha. I think you meant 1.85 m

Kat Reply:

If you have a medical background or relevant experience, you can serve in a med-related department of the Greek military. Or you can sign up for or be transferred to a specialized unit after completing the initial service. You cannot work in the public sector outside the military.

P.S. Thanks, it says 185 cm.

  nikos wrote @ May 17th, 2011 at 09:23

i am living in ireland with an irish passport and i have been in contact with the embassy in dublin. i have documents that state my permanent residence in ireland since 1998 which is since i was 8 years old as i have been looking up on numerous websites to what exactly my training is and if there would be an allowance for me to go to a camp were there would be mainly english speaking conscripts as i would not understand a word of greek. also what is the average training eg running etc, and is contact with home allowed in the army and how often would i be aloud make contact with family? my father was a deserter so the embassy keeps asking about my house number which i don’t understand what possibility is there i would be able to see someone to discuss these issues as i feel the embassy is really sweetening the apple pie if you understand my expression. thank you for taking the time i await your reply. kind regards nikos

also what is the training it says specialised training what is learned eg. rifle shooting and grenades and hand to hand combat could you explain in more detail if possible

even a rough idea will do just to settle my nerves thank you again
and if anyone else wants to share their stories of conscription please do thanks you guys

Kat Reply:

Answer to your first question about speaking Greek (or not) is in the section, ‘Speaking Greek.’

Running. Depends on the unit and commander you’re assigned.

Contacting your family/home. I’ve already answered this question a few times; take a look. Frequency depends on what unit you’re assigned, who your commander is and how strict he is, and if you are penalized for adverse behavior, which would cause you to lose certain privileges.

Specialized training. I cannot explain in detail because: a) I’m not a Greek man; b) I’ve never been in the Greek military; c) this article is already 2500 words, and making it longer won’t help people pay more attention; d) training evolves over time, programs change, budgets are cut and what applied to someone who served last year may not now. You need to inquire with the recruiting office or browse the websites listed above, using an online translator to English if you don’t understand Greek.

Most men share their experience in dedicated Greek military forums and in Greek.

  Kostas wrote @ May 19th, 2011 at 05:38

I am 47 yrs old and I am living in the US (naturalized US citizen since 2005). I ‘ve been draft evader (anypotaktos) since 1992. I am planning to visit Greece this summer for 10 days. I have a couple of questions:

1) Am I still considered draft evader?
2) Will I have to pay the fine of 6000 euros?

Thank you in advance,


Kat Reply:

Commentator Chris was the same age and asked the same question on January 27, 2010.

In the first section, it explains that the law says: “1st of January of the 19th year to 31st of December of their 45th year.” You are past that age, so you are not considered a draft evader (you are evading nothing because you are ineligible for draft); and therefore cannot be fined.

  Tom wrote @ May 23rd, 2011 at 00:17

Perhaps a bankrupt Greek State ought to scrap conscription altogether, cut the red tape, and entice overseas Greek men to set up shop over there at 10% corporation tax (beating Ireland’s). They could easily earn €6,000 annually rather than imposing uncollectible draconian one-offs. What a farce…

  f*cker wrote @ May 23rd, 2011 at 03:55

If you have a disability like a learning disability can you skip your greek military service. If your a US citizen I know they will not allow you to go because mostly you won’t even pass the physical fitness test.

Kat Reply:

Unfortunately, not knowing the difference between your and you’re is not considered a learning disability, but it may qualify you to be what you used as your email address. Lots of people in the world have become more sedentary.

Note: The name displayed is courtesy of a reader in NY and not the same as the email address. I do not use or condone profanity.

  Eric wrote @ May 24th, 2011 at 23:51

Hi – first of all, this is a great blog – it’s been very interesting reading all your stories, especially Kat’s advice.

Right, a little bit about myself: I’m 29 yrs old with dual citizenship (British-Greek), working and living in the UK for about 10 yrs now. I was meant to join the army back in December 2010 after a 10-year deferment purely based on university studies but since I don’t live in Greece anymore (left at the age of 19) and don’t intend to in the near future there’s no point interrupting my career and doing military service.

I would only like to visit Greece for a few days (<30) every year without the worry of being snatched at the airport, being arrested / forced to join, or getting heavily fined. Although I do have a valid Greek passport which expires in Jan 2012, I tend to use my British passport when travelling abroad. I’ve read the information on the Greek Embassy in the UK website and all the above stories but unfortunately I do NOT yet qualify for the certificate of permanent resident abroad as I have not been living abroad for 11 yrs or working abroad for 7 yrs…so unfortunately I fall short of about ~1.5 yrs for the first category and about ~2 yrs for the second.

Now most importantly my question is, would I have a problem going to Greece on holidays before I qualify for the certificate as technically I m a "draft evader"? I have seen all the above comments stating that staying no more than 30-90 days should be no problem but entering Greece with a British passport which doesn't get stamped means there’s no way to prove the length of my stay, unless I show my ticket.

My sister who lives in Greece asked around and mentioned that before travelling I should go to the Greek embassy and get a paper stating that I’m visiting Greece on a particular set of dates showing that I m only staying for less than 30 days. This to me sounds overly simplistic and kinda worries me as it is so "non-greek" i.e. used to lengthy and complicated procedures. Also calling the Greek Army has been an absolute nightmare as nobody picks up the phone to get some sort of clarification on this.

And when I do later qualify for that certificate what is the point of getting it if I m only visiting Greece for a few days on a given year? Also, would the certificate actually help with the Eur 6,000 fine that will eventually be imposed on me?

Any help/feedback would be greatly appreciated! Many thanks in advance! Eric

Kat Reply:

Hi Eric,

I mean no disrespect to your sister or anyone who gave her advice, and I don’t claim to be all-knowing, but I’ll have to agree with you and say that going to the Greek consulate/embassy and simply asking for a paper is unrealistic because it involves no bureaucracy (!). Very un-Greek. Aside from that, I’ve never heard of such thing in my years of listening to hundreds of dual Greek citizens tell me their military-related stories.

Commentator Nikos (May 17) is a dual UK/Greek citizen like you, he used a UK passport and crossed a non-Schengen border, and this is how authorities were alerted to his presence in Greece. I got the impression his UK passport is cross-referenced with his Greek passport. However, this wouldn’t happen to you because you would enter Greece without being scanned or checked. Yes, your airline ticket can be requested as proof, as Greek authorities have asked for mine for different reasons and opting to not show it seemed unwise.

The point of getting a permanent resident abroad certificate is to remove the label ‘draft evader,’ providing legal clarification of your status to the Greek military and other authorities and lifting any fear of being forcibly held/drafted or fined 6000 euros as long as that status is valid (aka, you don’t come back to live/work in Greece). Cost is minimal (10 euros), so in my opinion it’s worth doing to have peace of mind.

  Arthur wrote @ May 26th, 2011 at 22:12

Hi kat, i want ask something, i’m grateful for your time if you reply.

my mother is greek and my father is african, they met in zimbabwe and i was born there, they divorced and i moved to greece when i was 9 years old with my mother. and i was in greece for 4 years. then i moved to sweden to be with my father. and i’ve been in sweden ever since, i’ve been here for 6 years studying and i finished last year. the greek army called for me when i was 18-19 but i didn’t serve the army, and i was only allowed to be in greece for one month. and this year i’m planning to go to the army and i’m wondering, how long will i be in the army, until i can come back to sweden. i have a swedish id and i don’t know if it reduces the time or anything, but i ‘m wondering if you know , how long i’ll be in the army? is it 9 month? 11 month? 6?

sorry if someone already asked that question but i wanted to see if you knew :( and last do you know exactly what kind of training it is, i’m planning to take the normal one, not navy or ariforce, i didn’t really get it with the explanations there were giving. and i’m impressed with all the help you’ve been providing for all these people, wish that this world had more people like you :)

thanks for your time.

follow-up: thanks a lot, i appreciate your help and time :) i’ve been calling the recruitment office for two days and no one answers , that’s why i checked with this site and you but i’ll keep calling, hoping for an answer. anyways take care. i’ll let you know everything once i’ve found out something :)

Kat Reply:

Hi Arthur,

People have asked this question before, but I’m happy to give you an answer because you were polite and I can tell you tried to figure it out on your own.

Unfortunately, you did not provide enough information to give you an accurate answer, and cases like yours where there are different nationalities involved and different periods of residence in and outside Greece make it more complicated. I’ll tell you what I know then direct you elsewhere.

— There are a lot of factors used to calculate the time you serve, but they’ll tell you how long before you enlist so you’ll know in advance.
— Even after you enlist in the Greek army, they may/may not call you up right away. There’s no way to know when it will be.
— The date you’re given to report to camp may also change. (I give examples in other comments).
All of these things determine how long you’ll be away from Sweden.

I would recommend contacting the recruitment office in Greece or at least inquire at the Greek consulate/embassy nearest your current residence to receive official advice.

Follow-up: I understand you’re having trouble reaching the recruitment office, which is why I also suggested the Greek consulate/embassy nearest you as an alternative. Unfortunately, you cannot get an official answer through other channels and forums are not reliable. Would be interested to hear what they told you. All best.

  Jim wrote @ May 29th, 2011 at 12:14

I was born in Australia, my mother also born here from Greek parents, my father was born in Alexandria also of Greek parents.

I am heading to Greece for a stopover with my wife and 2 kids. Is there any problems with me entering and leaving Greece?

Kat Reply:

You didn’t provide enough information (citizenships & passports held, draft status, permanent resident abroad, age, registration in Greece, length of intended stay), and my answer will reflect that. Visa-wise? No. Being drafted in the military or held in Greece for a stopover? Not likely. Flagged and fined for not clarifying your status? Depends.

  kostas wrote @ June 3rd, 2011 at 00:57

Hi Kat,

I am Greek-American living in London for the past 10 years. I obtained my Greek passport in the USA in 1999, which had a stamp from the Greek embassy stating that I am a permanent resident abroad. I have since obtained a new Greek passport in 2007, which does not contain this stamp. Do you think I should I reapply for the same certificate as I am now permanently resident in the UK? I usually travel with my US passport to Greece and never had any problems, but am wondering with this new law if I should hedge my bets by getting the document reissued from London.

Follow-up: Hi Kat, Thank you for the information. Brilliant site BTW.

Kat Reply:

Hi Kosta,

Men who are Greek dual citizens using a non-Greek passport to enter Greece were still tracked, questioned and threatened with a 6000-euro fine if their resident/military status was unclear. Yours sounds borderline because you changed countries and renewed your passport since it was originally issued.

You clearly still qualify and the certificate only costs 10 euros, so I would think that authorities want you to get another and it wouldn’t hurt to inquire at the Greek embassy/consulate and reapply if that’s what they advise.

  Susan wrote @ June 3rd, 2011 at 12:57

Hi Kat

I posted previously on this topic and you very kindly replied to me. My husband is Half-Greek with an Irish Passport, having been born in Ireland and never having held a Greek Passport.

You advised before to only obtain the Certificate of Permanent Residency Abroad only if he intended to stay in Greece longer than 185 days in any 1 year.

My question now is does the new law which came in in April this year with the fine of €6,000 change the advice in relation to obtaining the Certificate ? Is he in any danger of being fined at the airport or elsewhere if we visit Greece for a month over the summer ?

Many Thanks in advance.

Follow-up: Many Thanks for your reply, Kat. The only “record” of my husband in Greece is his ΑΦΜ as he inherited from his Dad a few years ago. Well done on this site, btw. My Greek is not very good so I find this site a great source of info !

Kat Reply:

Hi Susan, I remember you.

Men posting concerns about being detained or fined are dual Greek citizens who are registered in Greece. Your husband is in a different situation because you said he is not a Greek citizen, never held a Greek passport or Greek ID and, most importantly, was never registered in Greece by his father. If he was not born or registered here, I do not see how Greek authorities can track his movements or even cross reference his Irish passport or national ID with Greek records because there aren’t any. If there aren’t any records, he cannot be classified as a draft evader, detained or fined.

I mentioned 185 days in a year as a marker of concern because he is still of Greek origin/ancestry, and the military may look at drafting him based on this alone if he comes to live in Greece full time. At 185 days is when someone is considered normally resident in Greece and their status comes into question. A 30-day vacation is not comparable.

Enjoy yourselves and have a nice summer!

  Niko wrote @ July 1st, 2011 at 00:00

First of all, let me say just how fantastic this site is. Being half Greek this has helped me a lot in gaining information on various topics.

I hope I don’t bother you in asking my situation!

I’m Greek-Filipino (Greek father), 22 years old and taking my degree in University in the Philippines. I have a brother who is 20 and doing the same thing. I’m now looking to get the “permanent resident abroad” certificate because neither of us has ever lived in Greece. In fact we’ve been living in Dubai and now here, and the most time we’ve spent in Greece alone is 1 month. So I’m sure this qualifies us as permanent residents abroad. We also plan on deferring our duty until we are done with school (a total of 3 more years together)

Now with that done, when we are finished with school, does that mean we automatically go into the Greek Army? As far as I’m aware, no two brothers can go together so I’ll have to go first. But what I’m concerned with is my health (heart) problem. At this age and rate, I’m not advised to do anything strenuous or have PE classes, would this count as a “serious health problem” to the Greek Army?

Out of the topic but…
Finally, I may get American citizenship if I marry my long-time girlfriend. I’m just wondering, where does that leave me? With three citizenships? Does Greek law permit that? Or will I have to revoke one?

And I read one of these comments how someone who is aged 47 did not serve army, how is it that he’s managed to “escape” the draft? Or is just the case of being lucky and not caught at wrong place at the wrong time?

PS. Thanks for everything Kat, I do hope to hear from you!

Kat Reply:

Perhaps you didn’t understand what was written in the article above, but you are not required to serve Greek military if you live outside Greece. That’s one reason you would be getting the the permanent resident abroad certificate, to avoid it. That’s why many men never serve.

If you plan to live in Greece, your permanent resident abroad certificate will be revoked, you’ll be conscripted and then you can try and apply for a health exemption. Only Greek hospitals and doctors determine if you qualify for an exemption, not me.

You do not get U.S. citizenship simply by marrying an American citizen. You need to reside in the United States for a minimum of 5 years and go through naturalization. There’s no point investigating the possibility of holding three citizenships until the time comes because laws can change by then.

  Grigoris wrote @ July 18th, 2011 at 16:57

Comment 1:
Thank you for all the useful information first of all.

I would like to state my concern regarding my future visit to Greece. I lived in Greece since I was 15 and I changed my nationality around 14 to Dutch, which I have kept since then. I studied high school in Mexico and then went to the Netherlands to pursue an higher education. I am still studying at this moment. But didn’t report anything about it.

I have all the official papers from my university, but I never did anything with the military paper wise, and I am 21 now. Will I have a problem visiting my family for 34 days? I am leaving soon so I won’t be able to go to an embassy before I leave. I know it is a little irresponsible to do so, but I just want to have a clear mind now.

Thank you in advance!

Comment 2:
Sorry, sometimes you fail to provide information because you think other people will understand because it is “obvious” since you are the person writing it, hah. I am talking about the trip I am on now. I came to visit my family in Greece, yes. My father is Greek and my mother is Dutch. I got a Dutch passport at the age of 14 and did not update my Greek one so I have no ID or Passport so I don’t know what that really means, I have my Dutch one I am good for now. I arrived in Greece some days ago and the rest I hope I explained above.

Thanks in advance

Kat Reply:

Answer 1:
You did not provide enough information for me to help you.

— A future trip to Greece? According to the IP address, you’re already in Greece. So are you talking about the trip you’re on now? If so, you cannot be “leaving soon.” You’ve already left and are here now. Or is it a different trip in the future? Or is someone in Greece asking a question with Grigori’s name, and Grigoris is actually somewhere else?
— Are you the child of at least one Greek parent?
— What does changed to Dutch at 14 mean? Do you mean you renounced your original citizenship and only have Dutch citizenship, or that you have dual citizenship with the Netherlands and another country?
— Visit your family where, in Greece?

Please understand that I’m not interested in invading anyone’s privacy and I do not judge people, but clear answers can only be provided with clear facts.

Answer 2:
Fair enough, but there’s a huge difference in “I’m leaving soon” vs. I already arrived some days ago and am in Greece now.”

Knowing only what you told me, you qualify for a temporary deferment of duty for studies. However, if the military is unaware of your university status because you’ve not declared it, then it’s possible you are currently classified a draft evader and are only allowed a maximum stay of 30 days each calendar year in Greece.

You are a Greek-Dutch dual citizen, regardless if your Greek passport is expired and you don’t have a Greek ID. That means you are registered in your family’s oikogeneiaki merida, and the military is aware of your birth and the fact you are of military draft age.

However, if you are using your Dutch passport to enter/exit Greece, it will be harder (though not impossible) for authorities to track your movements. If they somehow discover you’re here, the police will visit your home and ask you to sign a paper to appear within 3 days to give answers about your status, which you should have done years ago. I advise you to take care of it in Greece or at least at the Greek embassy nearest your residence in the Netherlands. You can find more information at

  morpheus wrote @ August 7th, 2011 at 02:10


Comment 1: I recently got my Greek citizenship and the Embassy told me I am considered “anapotaktos” or something like that unless I can provide proof of ten years residence in a foreign country. What are the implications of this category in terms of service, fines, entry etc?

Comment 2: What if I cannot get this certificate?

Comment 3: I dont understand how one can be classified as such when ones draft serial already served and one didnt receive citizenship until his early 30′s?



Kat Reply:

Answer 1: The word is ‘anypotaktos.’

Your question is already answered above in the section ‘Exemptions’ –> Draft Evaders and Citizens Living Abroad. Apply for the permanent resident abroad certificate at the Greek embassy/consulate nearest you.

Answer 2: Then you remain classified a draft evader and visit Greece only 30 days in any calendar year, or declare a status that exempts you (Deferment, Exemption), or come to Greece and serve out your military obligation.

It’s all explained in the article, which I get the feeling you didn’t read. You can also find more information at

Answer 3: You willingly staked a claim to Greek citizenship, and therefore it was assumed you sufficiently informed yourself in acquiring this privilege and agree to abide by the laws that govern you as a citizen. As a male of Greek descent between the ages of 19-45, you are legally obligated to serve military.

Look at previous comments above, and you’ll see that many men with dual Greek citizenship go their entire lives as draft evaders until the age of 45.

Good luck.

  Niko wrote @ August 18th, 2011 at 23:59

Thank you for the response! So as far as I can tell, living outside Greece means I am not required to serve in the army? Like I’ve said, I have been living outside Greece all my life and never lived there for more than a month.

And I don’t intend to live/work there at all. If anything, I would only like to tour my kids (one day) around and that would also be less than 30 days.

With this information that I’ve provided, does this mean I don’t have to serve for the Greek army?

And finally, with my case (not having to serve, permanent resident abroad), can I renew my passport without having to worry about a fine or the Embassy asking me about my military status etc.

Thank you so much,

PS. You are a) unbelievably helpful and b) unbelievably patient

Kat Reply:

I already answered these questions. See the first paragraph of the answer I originally gave you on July 1, 2011.

All best.

  Marco wrote @ September 16th, 2011 at 03:02

First of all I would like to thank you for providing such useful information, this is by far the most helpful collection of information i have found out there.

I currently find myself in thessaloniki, and plan to leave to resume my university studies on the 22nd of the month, your help is much appreciated.

Here’s my story:

Ok so I am a 22-year old male son of an Italian Father (born in Kenya) and Greek Mother (Born in Tanzania). I have an Italian passport and ID. Roughly a week ago I entered Greece on foot through the FYROM (my parents’ current place of residence) border. On the Greek side of the border a police officer checked my Italian passport and told me that the government was looking for me for reasons to do with the army. I was perplexed and so was my family.

Anyway I soon learnt that I was classified as “anypotaktos”. I was born in Athens (21/04/1989), left Greece to go to Malawi at the age of about 1 month. Since then I have been moving around a lot (Italy 7 years, Tanzania 6, …) Then we moved to Greece, Thessaloniki for 4 years. I now study in the UK and my parents reside in FYROM. The past week I learnt that the officials have been looking for me since 2008.

From what I understand I have to do army service because my mother is Greek regardless of my Italian citizenship, I know there is a way to delay the recruitment by showing proof that I study abroad, this is currently been dealt with.

My main question is, is there any way of getting round army service considering these circumstances? and if not is there a way to renounce my Greek “ithagenia” and just remain Italian, hence being able to visit Greece and not do the service?

Thanks for you help.


Kat Reply:

I’m going to give you the same answer I gave other men asking the same thing above you. If you read their questions and my responses, it will sound familiar.

Authorities have been looking for you since 2008 because you’re eligible for Greek military draft at age 19. As I say in the article, it does not matter whether you have Greek citizenship or not. It only matters that you are of Greek origin. At age 19, you must declare your status. If you had filed papers that you’re a student or a permanent resident abroad at the Greek consulate/embassy nearest your residence, they wouldn’t have been looking for you.

A lot of men remain ‘anypotaktos’ until age 45, when they’re no longer eligible for draft. As long as you remain a permanent resident of a country outside Greece and can prove that with the resident certificate, you will never serve in the Greek military and can visit Greece for a limited number of days in a calendar year without threat of conscription or fine. You will only serve military if you plan to come back to Greece to live and work here.

You cannot change who you are and renounce Greek ancestry, and I think your mother and grandparents would be hurt if you could.

  John wrote @ September 25th, 2011 at 08:00

Comment 1:
my story:

Age 36.
I live in Australia.
Born in Australia.
Work as a pharmacist in Australia.
I speak good greek.
Both my parents are Greek, born in Greece.

I would like to join and serve in the greek army for the minimum period (of 3 months?).
1. What will my 3 mnths involve? where will i be stationed?
2. Is it possible to serve in the medical department for most of this period?
3. For me, what are the benefits of completing Greek military service? What are the disadvantages?
4. Would i be taken to the front line in the event of war?

Thanks in Advance !

Comment 2:
hi kat,
any in-roads on answering my questions? Forgive me if i speak out of line. You may be on holiday or just very very busy.

p.s. All questions could be answered by my local consulate (as you have indicated many times to other forum guests), but i’d like to canvas info from multiple sources.

Comment 3:
ok no worries Kat. I didnt mean to show any disrespect.
I think question 3 is unique in that no one has previously asked the question.
Actually you may as well delete Q1, Q2, Q4 from the public posting and just have Q4 showing.
Almost all posts are about Greek draft evasion. I suppose it runs in parallel with tax evasion.

Comment 4:
thank you for your transparent, thorough response.
Keep up the good work.

Kat Reply:

In reverse order.

Answer 4: You’re most welcome. All best to you.

Answer 3:
I took it as impatience, not disrespect, and somewhat demanding considering it’d only been a few days and you wanted questions answered in your first comment.

Answer 2:
From Sept 28: I run and @livingingreece in my unpaid spare time. I’m on assignment and traveling, so there’s only so much I can do at the moment. I am definitely not on holiday. The best I can do is answer in a few days, though most of my responses will repeat what I told commentators with the same questions above.

I doubt the Greek consulate can give you answers. Better to consult the military recruiting office and, as I’ve mentioned to many others before you and in the article.

Answer 1:
1. a) First three months described under ‘Typical Military Tour’ above. You can get more detailed info by visiting dedicated military forums and websites by doing a simple Google search in Greek. b) Same response to others with the same question, depends. The recruiting office and Greek military make assignments, and each unit commander has his orders and enforces them accordingly.
2. Depends. Being a pharmacist in Australia means little since Greece regulates the profession, which until two months ago was ‘closed.’ Therefore, the military determines its needs and who is best to fill any positions. If you’ll only be spending three months in the military, you’ll likely only do basic training.
3. For you, personally? I can’t answer this question because I don’t know you, plus each man has a unique experience and perspective. Pros and cons, benefits and disadvantages are highly individual to your standards.
4. Every conscript has an equal chance of being taken to the front line in the event of war.

  stella wrote @ October 2nd, 2011 at 20:14

Comment 1:
I am a greek married to an Italian and always lived abroad. Have proof from greek embassy in Tanzania. Ellinida exoterikou

In 1989 I came for 6 weeks in Athens to deliver my son and there was a mistake at his birth certificate where it states that both of the parents live in Nea Smirni.

Have proofs from Italian embassies that we always lived outside greece from 1989 to today. My son has no ikogeniaki merida in greece because he was in the ikogeniaki merida italy.

Currently my son passing from Greece was told that the army is looking for him and he is considered anipotaktos exoterikou having being fined with extra months of serving and a court (no dates).

How we were supposed to know since we were not in greece ever, holidays now and then only.

The irony to the story is that in 2003 passing from Greece to go to to Skopje where we live until to date the greek authorities had refused issuing a passport to me (mother because until that date I was not written in any Dimos and I had to apply for ithagenia. I never wrote any of my kids in the ikogeniaki merida.

What is the best way to go ?

Is there a european court giving you the right to choose you citizenship?

I find it crazy to be considered that you lived all you life in Greece
when you have not.

I will appreciate you answer

Comment 2:
Thanks a lot, sorry if I made you angry, but when it comes to military issues I get blocked because of bad experience during a visit when Greece was Junta.

It took me a while to understand the power of overruling .

Comment 3:
Kat goodmorning,

Just a follow up for your information. Marco cannot join the greek army because he does not hold a greek ID and has not been written in any dimos in Greece!!!! His status remains the same as before, anipotaktos esoterikou despite we submitted all the papers necessary! Unless he issues a greek id the matter is stuck.

We do not want to issue a greek id (we have the right to or not to). we live in democracy I hope. He rather not enter greece for holidays as an italian tourist (because of army issues). I feel that this is against human rights.

THis is what I was told from stratologia Athinon. Greek embassy in London where he is studying since 2007 states clearly in their website that for army issues they need greek id or passport or papers of dimos that he is written in and military no. The only thing that we have that is greek is military no. and birth certificate. Despite he applied for an appointment two months ago, they still haven’t contacted him . My question is, are we going to get stuck again also from there because of no greek id or would they accept the italian documents. The greek army is failing to give an answer.

Thanks for you attention

Kat Reply:

Answer 1:
Your son, Marco, already wrote me and it appears he didn’t understand what I told him or didn’t communicate with you. Look above your comment to see what I told him.

The dispute is not whether you have the right to choose your citizenship. The dispute is not whether you live abroad or wrote him in the oikogeneiaki merida. And the dispute has nothing to do with the mistake saying the parents live in Nea Smyrni.

The fact is, you came to Greece for six weeks and gave birth to your son in Athens. That means there is a birth certificate filed in Greece, and Greece is aware of his birth and how old he is, now being of military draft age.

According to the laws of your patrida that have been in effect before you were born, all men of Greek descent/origin/ancestry between the age of 19-45 must serve mandatory military whether or not they have Greek citizenship or a Greek passport.

But as I already told him, all he needs to do is go to the Greek consulate/embassy nearest your residence in Italy and get a ‘permanent resident abroad’ pistopoiitiko and they will no longer search for him, they will remove the fines and remove the court date. As long as he does not come to live in Greece permanently, and his status remains ‘permanent resident abroad,’ he can continue to visit Greece on holiday for limited periods each year without any trouble.

Instead of writing me the same questions, please apply for the permanent resident abroad pistopoiitiko for your son and close this issue.

Answer 2:
I don’t see where I got angry; I believe the emotion was on your side. All I did was repeat information I told your son and give you facts to solve the issue.

Answer 3:
You do have the choice to not issue a Greek ID or Greek passport. However, in doing that, you are pushing past the boundaries of freedom into breaking rules and expecting Greek authorities to give you special treatment — this has nothing to do with democracy, which ensures equal rights and treatment for all citizens.

Essentially, you are breaking laws but still expecting Greece to help you with the pistopoiitiko and complaining that they don’t. You cannot have it both ways.

Issue a Greek ID or remain stuck.

  Terry wrote @ October 7th, 2011 at 13:26

Never thought I’d be asking about the following!!

I am an American who married a Greek in 1964, making me eligible for Greek citizenship, which I claimed and got two years ago. Since I am now a Greek, my son, 27, got his citizenship at the beginning of this year. He immediately signed up for the military and is now serving in Central Greece.

Problem: Since the government says that I was Greek from the moment I married the Greek in 1964, my son has been a Greek since birth, and therefore is considered AWOL from the army since he was 18. He now has to serve an additional 5 months!

Okay, a case is sitting in the Greek military court (since June), but it can’t be found and I can’t find anybody to straighten this out. Everyone passes the buck. Emails bounce, phones aren’t answered, or I get “Sorry madam, I don’t know and I’m busy.”

Any ideas?

Kat Reply:

You didn’t provide enough information for me to comprehensively understand your case, so I cannot provide a customized course of action.

My only recommendation is that your son make direct inquiries himself since he has better access from inside the military, and they can’t easily ignore him or send him away. He’s also 27 and should be assuming responsibility for his own affairs.

  Salim wrote @ October 16th, 2011 at 19:25

Hi, im a greek person with a greek passport, i was born in syria in 1978, im living there till now i just i visited greece 3 times before 20 years . i dont have any other nationality .

my question is : can i visit athens for 7 days ? knowing that im living abroad for 33years. i dont want to be arrested in the airport for the military service .is there any proof i have to take with me to athens airport or i am exempted automatically from the military service in greece since i born and live outside greece. how the officers in athens airport will deal with my case ?

Kat Reply:

As I told many other men above you with the same question (did you read them?), you can only be exempted from military service if you applied for and are in possession of a permanent resident abroad certificate, which you can get at any Greek embassy/consulate by submitting required documents. The Athens airport cannot process documents for the military.

If you never communicated your status to Greek authorities, how would anyone in Greece know about it? And if they don’t know about it, how can they automatically exempt you?

You are free to visit Greece, but no one can predict what will happen to you at the airport. Once you cross the border into Greece and your passport is scanned, they will be aware of your presence, your age and your eligibility to serve military duty. Good luck.

  Jason wrote @ October 21st, 2011 at 04:45

Firstly, thank you for this great website. It has given me a good understanding of mandatory military service in greece.

I am an Australian born with a Greek background. I wish to serve as a volunteer in the Greek military.

I know you have answered this question before however, my question is slightly different.

My Greek is very basic. I can understand 100% but when I reply I tend to mix it up with English words. Will I still be eligible to attend basic military service i.e. 3months?

Subsequently, Are there any blogs or websites that go into depth of the day to day activities in the military say Infrantry? I’m finding it very hard to find some in ENGLISH.

Thanks, i appreciate your time

Kat Reply:

Your first question is addressed above in the section ‘Speaking Greek.’ It says you will not be excused from duty in the first sentence, so you’re eligible.

Second question. Not in English that I’m aware of, as 99 percent of men serving in the Greek military speak Greek. If you do a basic search in Greek, you can find some websites and then use an online translator, such as

It was my intention to post a few stories from men willing to share their stories, but I’m having a hard time updating 300+ articles on a continuous basis (including the strike page several times a day), keeping the Twitter feed running and posting new material on ever-changing laws, taxes and everyday practical issues that people need more, all in my unpaid spare time.

All best.

  kosta wrote @ November 14th, 2011 at 12:18


I obtained my Greek citizenship last year and I was drafted recently and am suppose to present myself sometime this month. My relatives have now filed a “epeuthinh dulosh” what exactly is that, does that still make me an evader and am I still able to get my permanent resident abroad certificate? Thanks.



Kat Reply:

A dilosi is a sworn statement, and you didn’t give specifics to understand why that impacts anything. You say you’re in your 30s and speak Greek quite well, is there a reason you can’t find answers on your own?

On being a draft evader and the permanent resident abroad certificate, all you did was rephrase the same questions you asked in August and my answers on August 8 are the same.

I’ve used my unpaid free time to answer six of your questions since January. It’d be nice if you gave back to the website by sharing your experience to help others, or please direct future questions to the Greek embassy/consulate in Canada or military recruiting office in Greece. Good luck.

  Anna wrote @ November 26th, 2011 at 23:14

I don’t think I have seen this question before on the site. Concerning the fines for draft evaders. Do you know if these apply to greeks living abroad too, or is that only if you live in Greece? And what happens after the fine is paid? Are you not considered a draft evador evader anymore?

It would be really helpful if you had any information about this since I’ve been trying to search online with no luck.

Kat Reply:

That’s three questions.

The first question is already answered in the section “Draft Evaders and Citizens Living Abroad.” In mentioning the fine, it does not specify citizens in or outside Greece, which means it applies to all draft evaders. If a condition only applies to one or the other, the distinction is made. Also, if you look at Comments (and I’m fairly sure you saw them), most men who mention already being fined are Greek citizens living abroad.

Draft evaders remain draft evaders until they serve mandatory Greek military service or declare a status that legally exempts them from serving. Paying the fine does not erase the status. That’s why it’s called a fine, not a payoff or buyout.

  Michael wrote @ December 20th, 2011 at 11:14

The photograph of the article has nothing to do with the Greek Army. We use NATO 5.56 and 7.62 riffles and ammunition and not Kalashnikov as depicted above! Also we use greek army woodland uniforms and some special units use US woodland or desert camo uniforms.

Kat Reply:

The photo is from a past training session in Thessaloniki, released and approved by the Department of Defense. Most photos are not for wide release and routinely removed from websites for copyright and security reasons.

I respect copyright, which is why I use an older photo they gave permission to use with attribution, as photos on the Internet are not free to reuse at will, and the general public is not allowed to photograph near or inside military bases.

  David wrote @ January 21st, 2012 at 14:23

Can u tell me of shorter lengths of service, i.e does any one serve just 7 – 14 days or there abouts for any reason?

What is the shortest amount of time that can be done?

Do the military do any checks on men that require 7 days stay in military placements?

Kat Reply:

As detailed in the section ‘Opting out,’ the shortest amount of time served can be 45 days for a soldier aged 35-45, after which he can buy his way out for 8,500 euros. There are no stints of 7-14 days.

  Angelo wrote @ January 23rd, 2012 at 15:51

Hi Kat,

Firstly, I would like to thank you for the invaluable service that you provide. It is of much use to us all!

I am a Greek/Australian dual citizen, born and raised in Greece. On 31.12.2011 my 10 year army deferment ended. As of the age of 18, I left the country to study and work aboard both in England and Australia. I returned to Greece a few months ago and just last week I went to the army recruitment offices at Rouf to find out more about my military service. It appears that I will be called in at some point in March, shortly after I receive the invitation letter. I was informed that I can defer the service for a maximum of 2 more months and attend in May if I am able to justify my absence.

The situation is as follows. I am considering returning to Australia in February as I would like to continue working there. I was told that a penalty of EUR 6,000 will be charged with more fines imposed at later stages. Can you provide insights pertaining to these fines? What are the additional fines and when will they be imposed? If I chose to return and attend the service in 2 years time will these fines be cleared? What documentation am I required to present to justify the reasons for living abroad for work-related purposes? Is there a way to buy-out the military service as it occurs in other countries?

There is another option of leaving the country to settle some outstanding mattering and return in May for the service. When is the latest I can arrive back to Greece?

I understand that I can continue living abroad and return only for a holiday for 29 consecutive days. Am I able to then leave the country for a day and return for another 29 days?

Thanks in advance for answering all these questions. Your help is much appreciated.


Kat Reply:

As I say above, the 6,000-euro fine is for being a draft evader. No one can answer your question on additional fines because we do not know how you intend on breaking the rules in the future. Why didn’t you ask them when you had the chance? Fines stay on your record until you present evidence or do service to clear them; they do not go away just because you’re outside Greece and come back two years later.

Documentation you need to submit depends on what kind of exemption or deferment you qualify for. As far as I know, you cannot opt out of lawful military obligations assigned to you at birth just because you want to work abroad.

You can buy your way out of Greek military service if you are between the ages of 35-45, as described above in ‘Opting out.’

Based solely on the information you gave, you do not qualify as a permanent resident abroad because you were only away for 10 years then stepped foot in Greece for more than 29 days. Had you stayed out for 11 years continuously and been in Greece less than 29 days in any calendar year, you could have cleared your fine and delayed military duty legally with a Type B certificate. Stepping outside the border for one day accomplishes nothing.

Please visit and direct future inquiries to the recruitment office.

  Anna wrote @ January 23rd, 2012 at 18:04

Thank you for answering my three questions above even though I mistakenly said I had one ;). I had actually read all the comments in this post, but these things are a bit hard to understand and I still have two questions if you have time to answer. I understand that this fee for draft evadors evaders is paid even for greeks living abroad, and that draft evadors evaders now can stay in Greece for 30-90 days per year without facing any other problems.

So does this mean that if my greek boyfriend (who is not yet classified as a permanent resident abroad because he just moved from Greece) visits Greece after december when he’s supposed to start his military service he will immidiately immediately be fined the 1000€ or this happens if he stays longer than 30-90 days? Also, will his parents there have some problems because of this status as a draft evador evader (for example that they have to pay the fine)?

I have really tried to find my answers in the comment section, but since all cases are a little bit different and this question is something that could have a huge impact on our lives we want to be completely sure that we have the correct information.

Thanks a lot!

Kat Reply:

A man is fined 1000 euros for every month he is classified a draft evader up to 6000 euros. The countdown starts from the moment he’s classified a draft evader, not after he visits Greece for 30-90 days. The fine is his alone.

If he just moved from Greece, he is not eligible for a permanent resident abroad exemption. He will need to serve military or qualify for a different exemption.

It’s nice that you care about him, but filtering information through a third party unfamiliar with Greek affairs is not helpful, which may be why you cannot understand the information. This is an obligation assigned to him at birth, like his father and grandfather before him, and a legal matter that concerns him alone. I recommend that he inquire directly at the Greek consulate/embassy or military recruiting office in Greece or

  John wrote @ January 11th, 2013 at 05:06

Comment 1:
Hi, I’ve perused your site and all of the comments which have been very helpful. I’m starting the process of the Greek dual citizenship since my parents were born in Greece. I’ve been hesitant in the past because of the mandatory military service for males up until the age of 45. I was told by one of the Greek Consulates here in the States that if you’re over 35 and have lived in the States and paid IRS taxes for at least the last 7 years, then you’re exempt from military service. I was also told that when I get my Greek citizenship and if I stay in Greece for more than 6 months at a time before I’m 45, then I’ll still be required for the military service. (Which is ok, I don’t plan on living there before I’m 45). Any truth to those statements? Thanks!

Comment 2:
I think I found the answers I was looking for through one of your links. I would be classified as a “Permanent Resident Living Abroad”… so I would be exempt.

Kat Reply:

You’re only exempt if you file the appropriate papers with the Greek military, and they grant you Permanent Resident Abroad status, then a Type B exemption certificate. Until then, you’re considered a draft evader until age 45.

Greek citizenship via claim of ancestry, descent or origin” and “American/Greek dual citizenship” both warn men of military obligations and give a link to the above article. And the last comment below advises on where to find answers to questions.

  Kat wrote @ January 21st, 2013 at 00:00

Note to readers: Comments are closed on this post as of January 2012, due to redundant questions.

If you ignore this message and find a different article with comments open or contact me on Twitter for free personal consultation, I will:
– Direct you back to this message;
– Transfer your comment to this post but not answer;
– Reserve the right to delete your question, especially if it’s been asked before.

I am only accepting corrections and contributions from men who who took notes on their first-hand experience from beginning to end on applying for a Permanent Resident Abroad Certificate and Type B exemption, as a way to give back to the website in exchange for the free assistance they received.

If you have questions about Greek military:
a) Read the article and comments above. Sounds obvious, but many people don’t;
b) Contact the Greek consulate/embassy nearest your residence;
c) Visit
d) Contact the military office directly using information provided in ‘Contact info’ and ‘Sources and more info’ at the end of the article.

A man’s case/status is highly unique thanks to many factors, and there’s no way that I, a forum or your cousin can cover them all without dissecting your entire family history.

Good luck.

Sorry, comments are closed at this time.