Photo from the Athens News
Everyone with Greek citizenship is entitled to a Greek passport. It must be an e-passport or biometric passport with a microchip, which meets EU security guidelines on par with other countries of the world and allows passage through automated customs control now available at some international airports.
Legislation signed within the EU framework says the microchip inside Greek passports held by citizens over the age of 12 must include digital fingerprints from the index finger of both hands as of August 19, 2010, to harmonize with Greece’s entry to the U.S. visa waiver program and a directive that requires all Schengen members to collect fingerprints as of June 29, 2009. It also stores the signature, image and personal data.
Non-biometric Greek passports without the microchip are no longer valid for travel or ID purposes as of January 1, 2007.
*Article last updated October 14, 2013, with a major update from a Greek citizen’s first-hand experience on May 21, 2013. However, answers in Comments reflect a specific case or whatever was true at the time.
The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs plagiarized this article in August 2011 and sourced details from readers’ first-hand experiences for the English version of its website, then distributed my work in May 2012 to Greek consulates/embassies around the world.
Be careful who you trust.
Introduction — Who can apply
Only persons with Greek citizenship are eligible to get or renew a Greek passport. Marriage or simply having a Greek ancestor (mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, great grandparent) does not automatically grant you one.
- If you are a Greek with a birth certificate proving you were born in Greece, a Greek born outside Greece with a Greek citizenship certificate, or a non-Greek who acquired Greek citizenship through naturalization and acquired a citizenship certificate, skip to the next section;
- If your parents or grandparents were born in Greece and you are of Greek origin and were not, see “Greek citizenship by ancestry, descent or origin” and follow the instructions;
- If you are not of Greek ancestry/descent/origin, see “Ways to acquire Greek citizenship.”
A passport is not transferable to another person. For example, if you have a Greek passport, your spouse does not automatically get a Greek passport or special privileges if (s)he does not have a Greek citizenship. See, “Spouses of Greek citizens” near the end of this article.
A Greek passport is an EU passport. However, nationality still counts, and there are many Greeks holding dual citizenship with America, Canada and Australia who often opt to not get a Greek passport. See “Dual citizenship with Greece.”
It is the sixth most powerful passport in the world, granting visa-free entry to 167 countries, ranking behind the UK and Sweden (#1), Germany and United States (#2), Belgium and Netherlands (#3), Canada (#4) and Switzerland (#5).
How to get a Greek passport
Whether it is a first-time application or renewal (which is technically issuance of new passport), the required documents and process for getting a Greek passport are essentially the same. In time, e-government services may streamline issuance.
Renewals can start up to 12 months before a passport expires.
*Requirements below reflect current documentation from police stations and real-life experience.
Where to apply
Greek passport applicants must appear in person according to rules set by age:
- Adults aged 18 and over: Must apply in person.
- Minors aged 12 to 17: Must apply in person, either accompanied by one (1) parent or be in possession of a dilosi signed by one (1) parent granting permission to issue a Greek passport.
- Minors aged 11 or under: Must apply in person accompanied by both (2) parents OR accompanied by (1) one parent and a dilosi granting permission to issue a Greek passport, signed by the (1) one parent not in attendance.
Parents must also specify who will pick up the passport.
The official website says that alternative arrangements can be made for elderly, sick or disabled persons under extenuating circumstances, assigning a representative via dilosi or requesting a consular or police officer to collect application, documents and signatures. However, in reality, this is not guaranteed and authorities refuse to accommodate special cases.
There are 99 police stations ready to accept passport applications.
Find a location by using the list of Greek Passport Offices, which provides the address, map, phone number and hours of operation for each location:
The official website says you must apply in the municipality of permanent residence (not registration), though in reality many people I know applied at the station nearest their work or home and were not turned away.
Amongst Greek citizens abroad who came to Greece to renew their passports to speed the process, some police stations were strict and asked them to prove a connection to the area (utility bill from grandfather’s residence, etc.), while others were open to applications from anyone as long as citizens signed a statement/dilosi that they live abroad (monimos).
*Hours may differ from what’s listed on the website.
Greek consulates/embassies are authorized by the Hellenic Republic to:
a) Collect applications and supporting documents;
b) safely forward documents to Greek police in Greece;
c) receive passports from Greek police; and
d) deliver passports to their rightful owners.
Find a Greek consulate/embassy nearest you:
Most locations require that you make an appointment. Also remember to inquire about accepted methods of payment for passport fees.
Documents and fees
The required documents and fees for a Greek passport are:
1. Passport photo(s) taken in the last 30 days
– One (1) photo for Greek citizens aged 12 and over; two (2) photos for minors aged 11 and under. Note that at Greek consulate/embassies abroad, they sometimes ask for two or three because they keep one on file for tracking purposes.
– Color, sized 40 x 60 mm (1.6 x 2.3 inches)
– White or neutral background, no shadows, and your mouth shut with an expression that is not smiling but not frowning. Women must show their face clearly with makeup applied modestly and hair pulled back.
– There is usually someone to fix ‘red eyes’ and print the photo on high quality photo paper.
*Knowledgeable photo places will know the required specs if you simply say, “for a Greek passport (yia diavatiria).” Different countries have different specs, which is why consulates/embassies sometimes have on-site photographers to ensure that photos will be done right.
2. Document verifying Greek citizenship
According to rules as written, what’s required depends on the applicant’s age and where he/she is applying. In reality, however, many Greek citizens report that they were asked to provide any combination of items listed below.
Please don’t ask me which you’ll be asked for. It will vary greatly depending on who you are, where you apply and the person assisting you.
Greek citizens aged 12 and older:
a) Greek national ID with Latin letters*, plus one (1) photocopy of front and back on the same side of one sheet of paper;
b) Πιστοποιητικό οικογενειακής κατάστασης/pistopoiitiko oikogeneiakis katastasis (certificate of family situation) in cases where a Greek ID has not been issued, usually requested of Greek citizens abroad who do not have a Greek ID and cannot obtain one.
– Can be obtained via a KEP Citizen Service Centre in Greece or direct from your οικογενειακή μερίδα/oikogeneiaki merida; Greek consulates/embassies sometimes offer assistance in requesting it from the relevant municipality, but not always.
c) Πιστοποιητικό γέννησης/pistopoiitiko gennisis (Greek birth certificate) not older than six (6) months from date of application.
Greek citizens aged 11 and younger:
a) One (1) original ληξιαρχική πράξη γέννησης/lixiarchiki praxi gennisis or pistopoiitiko gennisis (Greek birth certificate) not older than six (6) months from date of application.
– Police stations should automatically request it via fax or electronically, if you’re applying in Greece;
– Can also be requested via a KEP Citizen Service Centre or directly from your οικογενειακή μερίδα/oikogeneiaki merida or ληξιαρχείο/lixiarcheio (registry office); Greek consulates/embassies sometimes offer assistance, but not always.
*As of 2011, many Greek police stations require Greek identity cards with Latin letters as part of stepped-up implementation of a 2009 law that says all citizens must swap.
– Citizens aged 14 and older (Five-year validity): Fee is 58 euros + 22 euros + 4.40 euros = 84.40 euros
– Minors aged 13 and younger (Three-year validity): Fee is 58 euros + 13 euros + 2.60 euros = 73.60 euros
In Greece: Pay fees at any Greek tax office/eforia/DOY to get a παράβολο/parabolo (fee/deposit) receipt. An AFM is not required. Look for the tameio (cashier). Sometime in 2013, the Ministry of Finance intends to allow applicants to pay fees online via the TAXIS website (gsis.gr). I will update when it’s operational.
Outside Greece: Pay fees at the Greek consulate/embassy, usually in euros or the euro conversion equivalent in local currency. Each location has different rules and payment methods, so check in advance.
*Fees are refundable if a passport is not issued.
4. Greek passport application, completed in Greek
– Authorities will enter your info directly into a computer
determine if you need a red, black, green or blue application and provide you with one or complete the appropriate information on a computer, then print out a paper for applicants to check over and sign. *Readers report that paper applications are no longer being used
– There are no online applications
– Ensure that your name is correct, or a new passport will need to be reissued
– Staff in Greece speak Greek, and staff at Greek consulates/embassies worldwide may not speak a language other than Greek. You can bring someone to help translate.
5. Proof of military status for men aged 19-45
– Discharge paper, if military service was recently completed
– Certificate from the military office in Greece stating he is a draft evader or deserter
– Type ‘B’ certificate or certificate of military service that there is a deferment or exemption
*Official website says all documents must have been issued in the past six (6) months from the date of application or be reissued, but readers tell me that the Type B certificate or certificate of military service is a document without expiration date and can be used indefinitely as long as your status does not change.
6. Your current passport, if applicable
– If you have one but it’s lost, missing or stolen, you must present certified documentation attesting to this fact, such as a police report.
7. Digital fingerprints
– All citizens aged 12 and older must provide fingerprints from the index finger of both hands as of August 19, 2010, a requirement that complies with Schengen and the U.S. visa waiver program, which Greece entered in April 2010.
– If you refuse to give your fingerprints, you cannot get a Greek passport.
8. Statement of facts (dilosi) with the following text will be provided by police or consular staff and edited according to your situation, which you will sign and then be certified:
– Δεν έχει/εχώ καταδικαστεί τελεσίδικα για πλαστογραφία, πλαστογραφία πιστοποιητικών, υπεξαγωγή εγγράφων, ψευδή ανώμοτη κατάθεση ή ψευδή δήλωση, εφόσον τα αδικήματα αυτά αφορούν την έκδοση, τη χρήση ή την απώλεια ή κλοπή διαβατηρίου.
– Δεν έχει/εχώ ασκηθεί σε βάρος του ποινική δίωξη ή έχει παραπεμφθεί σε δίκη για τα παραπάνω αδικήματα.
– Δεν έχει/εχώ έχει κηρυχθεί ανυπότακτος ή λιποτάκτης.
– Δεν έχει/εχώ εκκρεμεί σε βάρος του απαγόρευση εξόδου από τη χώρα.
– Δεν είμαι/είμαι κάτοχος παλαιού τύπου διαβατηρίου σε ισχύ
This translates to:
– I have not/have been indicted for forgeries, forging documents, making false statements under oath or false testimony that concern a passport’s issuance, use, loss or theft.
– I have not/have been convicted or indicted by a jury for the above-mentioned offenses.
– I have not/have been declared as a draft evader or deserter.
– There is/is not an order that forbids me to leave the country.
– I am not/am a holder of an old passport still in force.
Stating the truth is important and does not automatically disqualify you from receiving a passport.
9. Alternative name documentation, if applicable
– Dual Greek citizens who have a name different than the transliterated Latin name should provide a photocopy of a non-Greek passport, birth certificate, driver’s license or other official document specified by Greek authorities.
*Effective November 7, 2011. See section below called, ‘How is my Greek name written in Latin?’ for more information.
Should you already be in possession of a valid Greek passport, you can choose to have it canceled on the spot if you do not need it, or cancel it after receiving your new passport.
After documents are inspected and your file is deemed complete, you will be given a receipt that must be presented upon pickup by you, a legal guardian or a representative appointed by a dilosi or power of attorney that he/she has authorization to receive your passport.
The official website claims that issuance of a Greek passport takes 3-4 days. However, actual processing time depends on:
a) Whether you applied in Greece or at a Greek consulate/embassy;
b) How many applications are in the queue;
c) How many and how fast employees can process submissions;
d) If police and passport authorities find something wrong with your photos or papers.
In Greece: Most people report getting their passports within seven (7) working days or less. It can take longer in the months of July and August, when the majority of Greece goes on vacation.
Outside Greece: Readers say that it can take anywhere from three (3) weeks to four (4) months. Passports for citizens abroad are supposed to be expedited because it is often their only form of identification, but Greece does not follow this protocol.
Whether staff will call or email you depends on the location, in-house policies and people working there. Notifications aside, you are responsible for your own affairs and can check status at, “Track the Progress of Your Greek Passport Application.”
There is nothing you can do to speed the process. Greece, its bureaucratic process and employees work at their own pace, which is why applicants are encouraged to think ahead; and Greeks abroad sometimes come to Greece to apply, then appoint a relative via dilosi to pick up the passport and send it by registered mail.
If it was a renewal, your old passport should be canceled by police or consular authorities and returned according to the wishes you stated when applying for the new one.
*I have seen cases where old passports are not canceled, but Greek authorities keep track in a database.
Urgent issuance & temporary passports
Greece offers an urgent, one working day issuance of passports but only for emergency reasons having to do with injury, serious health concerns or death of an immediate relative.
Temporary passports are typically issued to persons who had their passports lost or stolen, or for humanitarian reasons.
What if my application and/or photos is/are rejected?
If police find something wrong with your photos, or incomplete/mismatching information on your passport application, you will be notified of the reason for denial.
You will be required to visit the police station or Greek consulate/embassy again and complete another application, resubmit one to three photos (depending on your age and whether you are in or outside Greece) and pay five (5) euros. Why? Because the receipt you were originally given pertains to the rejected file and the new file must be assigned a different protocol number.
How is my Greek name written in Latin?
Latin names in Greek passports are typically transliterated from Greek, following a formula set by ELOT 743 that harmonizes with the International Standard (ISO 843). To see your Greek name transliterated to Latin, click “ELOT 743 Translator,” use the left column and enter your name in Greek.
What this means is you cannot necessarily choose how your name is spelled in Latin in your Greek passport, and it may be spelled incorrectly. It most often happens to those who:
a) Have Greek letters that do not literally transliterate to English, i.e., ψ, δ, γ, χ, ξ.
b) Have a Latin name with letters that do not literally translate to Greek, i.e., B, D, G, J, W, Υ.
c) Started with a Latin name that was translated to Greek, then transliterated back to Latin.
If your Latin name is wrong, you can inquire with a police station in Greece or a Greek consulate/embassy nearest your residence about changing it, but they will ask for documentation specified in #9 of section ‘Documents and fees’ and will charge you a fee to reissue the passport.
As of November 2011, law 401/2011 gives citizens the right to specify a transliterated name AND a translated name, which readers shared and confirmed for me. For example:
- Ευρυδίκη Σόφια, followed by Evridiki Sofia OR Eurydice Sophia (taken from a comment on November 16, 2011);
- Γιάννης, followed by Ioannis OR John (taken from a comment on January 30, 2012).
Following complaints from the Greek diaspora that they are being denied their legal right to specify alternate names to match official public documents, the Ministry of Citizen Protection says the law is mandatory, police respect the law but are inconsistent in implementation, and the ombudsman wants the law reviewed.
Where can Greek citizens go without a visa?
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a table called “Visas for Greeks traveling abroad,” which details where Greek passport holders (diplomatic, service and ordinary Greek citizens) can travel without a visa.
Germany and Greece have a reciprocal program that entitles Greek police officers at German airports to conduct random inspections, and German police officers at Greek airports to do the same as of March 2012, a measure to support in each other in minimizing illegal immigration.
Greek citizens, however, cannot purchase property in Turkey (Ynet). Dual citizenship with another country would be a way around.
U.S. visas issued to Greeks
Greece is part of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP), as of April 5, 2010. See “Greece enters the U.S. visa waiver program in 2010.”
Any previous unexpired U.S. visas are still honored by presenting the invalidated/old Greek passport bearing the original visa along with a biometric passport issued after August 26, 2006. There is no need to secure another visa.
Spouses of Greek citizens
If you marry a Greek citizen, you are not automatically entitled to a Greek passport. Non-EU or EU husbands and wives of Greek citizens who are not Greek citizens themselves must first stake a claim to Greek citizenship if they are of Greek origin (descent) or go through the naturalization process to acquire Greek citizenship. A Greek passport is technically redundant for anyone who is already an EU citizen, though in reality there are cases when the “Greeks first” rule applies but lawfully should not — i.e., university housing, public sector employment.
If you are married to a Greek citizen, are of no Greek descent yourself and interested in acquiring Greek citizenship, see “Acquisition of Greek citizenship by naturalization.”
A residence/work permit for Greece for a non-EU wife or husband and the minor children of a Greek or EU citizen can be obtained with almost no waiting period, no fluency in Greek and no fee, if you apply and pass an interview. See, “Permits for non-EU spouses of Greek/EU citizens.”
Do I need a lawyer?
Those who already went through the process say ‘no.’ In fact, many who hired a lawyer to help with Greek citizenship and passports suffered significant delays from procrastination and paid exorbitant fees of 600-2000 euros. Seriously, that’s ridiculous. My experience over 14 years is to hire a lawyer, only if there is a threat of going to jail, to court or for highly complicated matters, such as property and inheritance. Getting a passport is a straightforward process that only requires patience and perseverance.
Retaining a Greek lawyer is likely a waste of money because:
a) This is Greece — If you followed instructions and provided the necessary documents, all you can do is wait. It is a ‘results may vary’ country, where two people applying under the same circumstances can have completely different experiences.
b) How can you verify whether a lawyer achieved something you couldn’t have gotten on your own for free? — You can never know if a person has genuine influence or knowledge, until after you hire him/her and pay money that will not be refunded if proved otherwise.
c) There are lawyers who take advantage of citizens abroad by claiming they specialize in Greek citizenship issues, overstate qualifications, use info from my website and charge exorbitant fees. If they’re writing articles and advertising on the Internet, how good could they be? The best attorneys are busy practicing law.
If hiring a lawyer makes you feel better, that is a personal choice. My advice is to select one based on a referral or from an consular/embassy list, which gives you the right to complain should something go wrong.
Note from the Author
The only source available in 2007 was the Greek passport website, with the Greek version not matching reality and the English version poorly translated and barely readable.
My May 2007 article was created with documentation received at the police station and the first-hand experiences of Greek citizens, then updated over the years with news articles, information from friends via email, and readers’ experiences shared in Comments.
In August 2011, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs plagiarized this article in part for its passport page in English, reusing my translation and first-hand details I collected from Greek citizens. The info was then republished without permission by several Greek embassies and consulates, including London, UK; Toronto, Canada; Johannesburg, South Africa; and nearly all Greek missions in the United States.
– First-hand experience of an American-Greek couple acquiring passports for their three children in 2009 and February 2012
– First-hand experience of a Greek citizen renewing her passport in Greece, 2012
– First-hand experience of my Greek partner, who applied for and received a biometric Greek passport in 2007 and 2012
– Details via email from Greek-American (L.T.), who applied for a Greek passport after being granted dual citizenship in 2013.
– Personal accounts of Greek-American/British friends living in Greece and abroad in New York, California, London, Italy and Florida, who agreed to share their stories with me
– Readers in ‘Comments’ who generously shared their experience
– Interviews and data-gathering from Greek consulates/embassies in the USA
– “Στην Ελλάδα τα διαβατήρια με μικροτσίπ” — Eleftherotypia
– First-hand information from C.E.O. on requirement of Greek ID in Latin letters in 2011, and Greek passport handout in 2012
– “Hungarian nationals caught with counterfeit Greek passports”
– “Αναγκαία η επανεξέταση του τρόπου αναγραφής στοιχείων στα διαβατήρια” — To Vima
– “Γερμανοί αστυνομικοί για τους λαθρομετανάστες” — Ta Nea
– “Γάμος με ψηφιακά παράβολα” — To Vima
– “What’s the best passport for travelers?” — SMH
Used for comparison only
– National Passport Center of Greece website: passport.gov.gr or diavatiria.gr. The English version was rewritten in 2011 but is now laced with jargon. Also note that these websites are not updated regularly to show the latest information
In the News
“Man with fake Greek passport obtains six driver’s licenses in Australia” — The Age
“Feds arrest suspects in vehicle-fraud ring with fake Greek passports” — Washington Examiner
“Student given fake Greek passport to run money” — MSNBC
“Convicted fraudster used fake Greek passport in scam” — Daily Mail
“Greek embassy in London grinds to a halt” (partially plagiarized) — BIJ
“One of Russia’s richest men caught with fake Greek passport” — This is Sussex
Kat is a well-traveled American journalist and author. To learn more, see “About Me.”
- Livingingreece.gr was created in 2007 to present meticulously researched original articles that fill a gap left by traditional media, government portals and commercial websites/forums run by people without credentials.
- @LivinginGreece is a Twitter feed curated from recognized Greek and international news agencies to provide breaking news about Greece, plus real-time updates and insider tips mined from 15 years experience.
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