Living in Greece

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

Greek national ID card or tautotita

t74832hdadhzcwa.jpg
© Copyrighted image Living in Greece

Everyone with Greek citizenship is entitled to a Greek national ID or police identity card (δελτίου αστυνομικής ταυτότητας/(deltiou astynomikis tautotitas), although only those permanently living in Greece really need one.

Used in all public and private transactions, it is required to get an AFM (tax number), AMKA, secure a bank account or credit card, apply for a Greek driver’s license, sign a contract (lease, work, prepaid phone or subscription, utility bills, purchase a home), take part in examinations, enroll in school or a university, see a state doctor, register for state insurance, collect unemployment, get married, receive pension payments and so much more. Greeks living abroad can also use their Greek ID to renew a Greek passport without sending for certificates to verify his/her registration in Greece.

Unlike other countries, the possession of a Greek national ID (tautotita) does not hold a higher or more exclusive status, since all of the same transactions mentioned above can be performed with a passport from any country.

All residents and visitors to Greece should carry some form of identification at all times. Failure to produce proof at the request of law enforcement officials could result in temporary detention, while your identity is established and verified.

*Article last updated January 3, 2015. However, ‘Comments’ reflect a specific case and/or whatever laws were in effect at that time.

Greek ID photo is from my personal collection and may not be reused. It has also been Photoshopped, removing vital elements to help prevent forgery.

Non-citizen residents of Greece

If you do not have Greek citizenship, you do not qualify for a Greek national ID. The act of being born outside Greece to a Greek citizen means nothing unless you, your parents or grandparents applied for your citizenship, registered and obtained a certificate. See, “Greek citizenship by ancestry.”

Citizenship is also not transferable. Therefore, being married to a Greek citizen does not entitle a spouse to a Greek passport or Greek national ID, unless he/she goes through the citizenship process. See, “Ways to acquire Greek citizenship.”

Should you not qualify for Greek citizenship, it is absolutely no problem since your passport accomplishes all of the same things a Greek national ID does. It is not a permanent residence card. Residence permit cards are only issued to non-EU citizens, as explained in “Residence-Work Permits.”

Greek tautotitaPhoto from Ta Nea

Yesterday and today

Greek ID cards (tautotites) used to be handwritten and only in Greek. Since 2000, they were changed to Greek and Latin characters to facilitate travel within EU/Schengen zone without a passport.

In June 2005, two further changes were made. The process of issuing a Greek ID was simplified, thus cutting the wait time from one year to a few minutes, and the mandatory age to get a Greek ID (tautotita) was changed from 14  years to 12 years*. Although the Greek ID is now bilingual and printed, it no longer has a fingerprint, lists no religious affiliation or spouse name, and does not contain a microchip that would facilitate passage through automated customs control now available at some international airports. The latter is one reason a new Citizen Card is under consideration, though a biometric passport achieves the same thing.

It is technically not a “European” or EU ID; it is a Greek ID concerned with designating a person by nationality and country, not by continent. All European countries have their own unique ID for their respective citizens.

It also does not meet the lawful Schengen standard, which is why many EU/Schengen members refuse to accept it as a valid form of identification and will ask for a Greek passport. Schengen countries, which include Greece, are required to issue IDs valid for a maximum of 10 years. However, most people keep the same Greek ID until they die and a June 2009 law only states that they must be replaced every 15 years.

The majority of Greek citizens feel no need to update or exchange their IDs, which causes problems for passport control, airlines and other border authorities because grown adults will have ID photos of themselves as teenagers.

However, as of 2011, enforcement of the 2009 law is being stepped up. Many police stations in Greece require that Greek citizens have a Greek national ID with Latin letters before accepting first-time and renewal applications for Greek passports.

*Many official websites and other online sources say that the mandatory age to get a Greek ID is 14 years. This is incorrect, which they should know if doing proper research and updates.

Greek Citizen Card or Κάρτα του Πολίτη

In September 2010, the interior ministry announced that the new Greek ‘Citizen Card,’ Κάρτα του Πολίτη or καρτότητα/kartotita would replace the Greek national ID by the end of 2011. However, Greece had no elected government from November 2011 and a coalition took power in June 2012.

A digital-friendly, credit card-sized ID with microchip will make it possible to complete secure transactions pertaining to pensions, prescriptions, taxes and other bureaucracy, saving both time and money. France, Germany (since 1967), Belgium, Italy and Spain have already phased in electronic cards or e-cards.

The Ministry of Interior opened the draft bill to public consultation in November 2010. Since then there have been no real action or details on the application process, only more debates in November 2012 on how and why it should be implemented.

*An article with photos will be published and linked here when known.

New identity cards from 2012 — minocp.gov.gr

New Greek police identity cards

On June 14, 2012, the Ministry of Citizen Protection announced it would begin phasing in credit-card sized national or police identity cards (pictured above), which harmonize with directive 2252/2004 and will be recognized as travel documents valid within the EU. Issuance was scheduled for Fall 2012, but thus far nothing has been made mandatory and no one is being forced to swap.

All Greek citizens will be required to replace their current blue national/police ID card (pictured at the top of article) in chronological and alphabetical order. Meaning, the oldest cards in circulation would be swapped first by year and surname.* The process to apply will be the same.

Current ID cards will continue to be valid until replacement.

*I will update when/if it it changes.

Where to apply

In Greece

Greek ID cards are only issued in person by local police stations in Greece on behalf of the Ministry of Citizen Protection.

To find a location nearest you, look in a map book available for sale at any kiosk (periptero) or use the List of Greek Police Stations from the Greek Passport Center website, which provides the address, map, phone number and hours of operation for each location:

According to the official website*, Identity Offices or Γραφεία Ταυτοτήτων/Grafeia Taftotiton are open daily from 7:30-14:30, except Wednesday when they operate 14:00-20:30. On Saturdays, hours are 8:00-13:00 during which only students can apply.

*In reality, many police stations do not follow the schedule set forth by the Ministry of Citizen Protection.

Outside Greece

It was agreed in September 2011 that a special unit would be set up at consulates in Germany to issue Greek ID cards to the diaspora;  and in December another was announced for Cyprus.

The official press release did not specify which locations in Germany would handle applications, only that 18 police officers would be dispatched and rotated out every three (3) months.

No other Greek consulates/embassies are currently authorized to accept applications for or issue Greek national IDs/tautotites.

*I am looking for someone who had a Greek police identity card issued in Germany or Cyprus and can share their first-hand experience in Comments.

new greek idPhoto from To Vima

Getting your first Greek national ID

Everyone applying for a Greek ID for the first time must go in person and bring a witness*, not just minors who need to be accompanied by a parent/guardian. There are no online applications.

1. Go to the police station or consulate (in Germany and Cyprus only) to issue a Greek national ID. Some require appointments; others do not. If police need to request your Greek citizenship records, it may take a few days and you will be asked to come back.

2. Police may ask you to fill out and sign a dilosi (statement of facts) stating your intention to secure a new ID and/or the presence of a witness.

*Special thanks to readers who alerted me of the change several months before the official website amended their article in Greek.

Documents required:

1. A certified Greek birth certificate or travel document that shows your surname/name and your father’s name
— Police will automatically request it from your οικογενειακή μερίδα/oikogeniaki merida via fax or electronically. If they cannot find it or police at that location do not provide this service, only then will you be asked to secure an original and it must specifically state that it will be used for the issuance of your Greek ID.
*Depending on when and where you apply, mainland or an island, it can take up to 2-3 days to receive the document
— Must be issued within 90 days of application

**If you are a naturalized or foreign-born Greek citizen, they may ask for:
a) a certified and printed birth certificate from your homeland translated to Greek. See, “Official translations to Greek” if you require one; OR
b) a Greek passport as a secondary identification; OR
c) a signed declaration/dilosi that you are from abroad, even though the law as written does not state this.

All Greek citizens from abroad report different variations at different times in different locations. This is Greece, everyone’s experience can vary, so please do not ask me which they will ask you for.

2. Two (2) black-and-white photos “for a Greek ID”
— Must show your entire face with an expression that is neither smiling or frowning; hair must be pulled away from the face, face must be matte and mouth closed.
— A reader who acquired a Greek ID in June 2010 says the photo’s measurements are 35 mm x 35 mm.**
— It is not a passport photo, and photographers will typically ask why you need photos. Just say ‘gia taftotita.’
*Some were asked for three (3) photos, others were asked for four (4). I always carry extras because it’s better to have too many than too few.
**Greek Police website now says 36 mm x 36 mm, but their update was posted nearly a year after my readers checked in.

3. Proof of residence — One (1) photocopy
— If you live in Greece, utility bill (DEH, OTE, EVDAP) of current residence, if you live in Greece
— If you live outside Greece, utility bill of a relative or you may be asked to sign a dilosi that you live abroad (monimos).

4. Alternate name documentation for applicant, if applicable
— Dual Greek citizens who have a name different than the transliterated Latin name should provide a photocopy of a non-Greek passport or birth certificate or other official document, and the original to show Greek authorities.
*Effective November 7, 2011. See section below called, ‘How is my Greek name written in Latin?’ for more information.

5. Pay 0.30 euro cents fixed stamp tax (χαρτοσήμο/xartosimo)

6. A document stating your blood type, issued by a private doctor, lab or IKA (Optional)

Replacing an outdated, lost or stolen Greek ID

According to the Ministry of Citizen Protection, an amendment passed June 2009 states that a Greek national ID or ταυτότητα (tautotita/taftotita) must be replaced if any of the following apply:

— Information on the ID card has changed;
— Your ID card does not contain Latin letters;
— It is worn or damaged;
— It has been 15 years since your current one was issued.
— It has been lost or stolen.

The process:

Some police stations issue Greek national IDs on the spot if you bring everything with you. Some require appointments. If the location you visit requires you set an appointment, you will complete the two steps below, then come back on a different day to turn in required documents.

You need to bring a witness if:
a) The information on your ID has changed (i.e., name); or
b) You are updating your Greek-only ID to a Greek ID with Latin letters; or
c) It has been 15 years since your current one was issued; or
d) You are a minor and must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.

1. Go to the police station and fill out a dilosi (statement of facts) that states your intention to cancel and issue a replacement ID
— If your ID was stolen, you must present evidence of this fact (e.g., a police report) and give a statement under which it occurred.
— If it concerns a name change, bring documentation of this fact (e.g., court document, marriage certificate).
— Police will provide you with a dilosi and tell you what to write in all cases

2. Hand over your current Greek ID to police.
— Make a front and back copy if you wish for sentimental purposes before going to the police station since you will never get it back
— If you are required to set an appointment and come back another day, make sure you won’t need it for any transactions or have other means of ID (passport, driver’s license).

Documents required:

1. A certified Greek birth certificate or travel document showing your surname/name and your father’s name
— Police will automatically request it from your οικογενειακή μερίδα/oikogeniaki merida via fax or electronically. If they cannot find it or police at that location do not provide this service, only then will you be asked to secure an original and it must specifically state that it will be used for the issuance of your Greek ID.
*Depending on when and where you apply, mainland or an island, it can take up to 2-3 days to receive the document
— Must be issued within 90 days of application.

**If you are a naturalized or foreign-born Greek citizen, they may ask for:
a) a certified and printed birth certificate from your homeland translated to Greek. See, “Official translations to Greek” if you require one; OR
b) a Greek passport as a secondary identification; OR
c) a signed declaration/dilosi that you are from abroad, even though the law as written does not state this.

All Greek citizens from abroad report different variations at different times in different locations. This is Greece, everyone’s experience can vary, so please do not ask me which they will ask you for.

2. Two (2) black-and-white photos “for a Greek ID”
— Must show your entire face with an expression that is neither smiling or frowning; hair must be pulled away from the face, face must be matte and mouth closed.
— A reader who acquired a Greek ID in June 2010 says the photo’s measurements are 35 mm x 35 mm.
— It is not a passport photo.
*Some were asked for three (3) photos, others were asked for four (4). I always carry extras because it’s better to have too many than too few.

3. Proof of residence — One (1) photocopy
— If you live in Greece, utility bill (DEH, OTE, EVDAP) of current residence, if you live in Greece
— If you live outside Greece, utility bill of a relative or you may be asked to sign a dilosi that you live abroad (monimos).

4. Alternate name documentation for applicant, if applicable
— Dual Greek citizens who have a name different than the transliterated Latin name should provide a photocopy of a non-Greek passport or birth certificate or other official document, and the original to show Greek authorities.
*Effective November 7, 2011. See section below called, ‘How is my Greek name written in Latin?’ for more information.

5. Pay 0.30 euro cents fixed stamp tax (χαρτοσήμο/xartosimo)
OR
5. Pay 9.00 euros fixed stamp tax (χαρτοσήμο/xartosimo) if your ID was lost or suffered wear and tear due to being abused (forces of nature, such as earthquake, hurricane, shipwreck are excluded)

6. A document stating your blood type, issued by a private doctor, lab or IKA (Optional)

What happens next?

Police stamp, verify and enter the information into a computer, three copies of an application form are printed out and the new ID is created while you wait or you will be asked to come back the next day to pick it up (depends on location)*. Sign the papers and ID card, which is then laminated and given to you.

If reissuing an updated or new ID to replace a former one, a completely new ID number will be assigned — you do not keep the same number. However, the old and new numbers are cross-referenced to identify you as the owner of both. The old card is held on file.

*Ask if they issue the same day or next day before submitting your papers, if time is an issue for you.

How long does it take to get a Greek national ID or tautotita?

Many police stations can issue a Greek ID on the spot without an appointment, as issuance only takes a few minutes if the right documents are found or provided.

However, some locations demand that you make an appointment and come back the next day or in a few days. It depends on the police station and how long it takes to receive Greek citizenship records, if you do not provide them yourself.

What information does it list?

Front side:
Photo
Blood type (A, B, AB or O) — Optional
Rhesus (positive/negative)
ID number
Date and place of issuance
Signature and stamp

Back side:
ΕΠΩΝΥΜΟ (Greek)
Surname (English) — Option for ‘OR’; i.e., Tzonson OR Johnson
ΟΝΟΜΑ (Greek)
Given Name (English) — Option for ‘OR’; i.e., Evridiki OR Eurydice
ΟΝΟΜΑ ΠΑΤΕΡΑ (Greek)
Father’s Name (English)
ΕΠΩΝΥΜΑ ΠΑΤΕΡΑ (Greek)
ΟΝΟΜΑ ΜHΤΕΡΑ/Mother’s name (Greek)
ΕΠΩΝΥΜΑ ΜHΤΕΡΑ/Mother’s surname (Greek)
ΗΜΕΡΟΜΗΝΙΑ ΓΕΝΝΗΣΗΣ (DATE OF BIRTH) — DD/MM/YYYY
ΤΟΠΟΣ ΓΕΝΝΗΣΗΣ/Municipality of birth (Greek)
ΥΨΟΣ (Height) — In centimeters
ΔΗΜΟΤΗΣ/Dimotis — Place of voting rights and registration (Greek)
ΑΡΧΗ ΕΚΔΟΣΗΣ ΔΕΛΤΙΟΥ ΤΑYΤΟΤΗΤΑΣ/Municipality issuing the ID (Greek)
Stamp and signature of police (Greek)

It does not list address or phone number, nor does the current version list the mother’s name in English.

How is my Greek name written in Latin?

Names in English/Latin letters on police identities or national ID cards 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.

Variations typically occur when you:
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.

As of November 2011, law 401/2011 gives citizens the right to specify a transliterated name AND a translated name, as long as you present documentation specified above in #4 in ‘Documents required’. For example:

  • ΣΤΕΦΑΝΙΑ, followed by STEFANIA OR STEPHANIE (taken from a private email);
  • ΠΑΝΑΓΙΩΤΗΣ, followed by PANAGIOTIS OR PETER (taken from a private email).

Expiration date

The old Greek ID has no expiration date, but the Ministry of Citizen Protection says it must be replaced every 15 years. Therefore, you should count 15 years from the date it was issued and enter this on the airline form.

If your Greek ID hasn’t been replaced in the last 15 years, you are legally obliged to apply for a new one per a 2009 law that says all citizens should swap.

Can I still travel within the EU/Schengen using my old Greek ID?

Everyone with an updated Greek national ID in Greek/English is permitted to travel within the EU and Schengen zone as of April 2010; plus FYROM, as of August 7, 2007. Those who have the older ID (in Greek only) can still use it as a valid form of identification but must swap for a new ID. Why? Because Schengen requires Latin letters and Greek laws in place since June 2009 say that Greek IDs must be replaced every 15 years, so everyone should have done it by now. Otherwise, Greek citizens should be in possession of a biometric Greek passport to travel.

Article 5 of European Parliament and Council directive 2004/38C on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely in the territory of Member States says: “Without prejudice to the provisions on travel documents applicable to national border controls, Member States shall grant Union citizens leave to enter their territory with a valid identity card or passport and shall grant family members who are not nationals of a Member State leave to enter their territory with a valid passport.”

Note that the phrase “Without prejudice to” means the directive is not binding and leaves room for any member state to allow its own laws to override those of the EU. Therefore, an EU member state can refuse to recognize a national ID as a valid document and request a passport.

The Greek national ID or police identity card also does not follow the Schengen rule of being valid for a maximum of 10 years, which means Schengen member states can refuse to acknowledge it as a legal document for the purpose of identification or travel within its territory.

Official ministry websites in several EU member states acknowledge these gray areas, saying that EU citizens should have a national ID card or a biometric passport “as appropriate,” giving airlines, ferry companies and border authorities the right to ask for either.

*Note that some travelers report that they were able to use their Greek ID to travel between all EU member states, even if it was an old Greek ID without Latin letters. However, some were asked for a biometric passport instead.

Can I use my Greek ID to travel to/from the UK?

The UK Border Agency says that EU citizens must show a national ID card or a passport.

However, note in ‘Comments’ that Sandra was told that her British-Greek children require passports to travel, not just a Greek national ID card. Tracey shares her experience in being told by UK border/passport authorities that a Greek ID is not valid for travel, though two of her children were allowed passage at other airports in the UK. And UK border authorities wanted Elizabeth to show a Greek passport, not a Greek ID, when traveling from Paris on Eurostar.

Based on Article 5 and EU directive mentioned in the previous section, UK authorities and airlines are within their right to ask for a biometric Greek passport issued after August 26, 2006. For example, in “Ταξιδεύω στο Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο” (I’m traveling to the UK), Olympic Air says that passengers traveling to/from the UK are required to present the following information at check-in: Name, Gender, Date of Birth, Nationality, Passport Number, Passport Expiration Date and Country Issuing Passport. Half of these elements cannot be provided by a Greek ID alone.

Readers are free to inquire at the nearest UK consulate/embassy to receive advice. However, this is not a foolproof method since different locations and staff members dispense conflicting information.

*Hat tip to readers and commentators for providing first-hand experience, and trusted confidante CEO for sending me links & his private consultation on the above sections.

The “Official” article

My June 2007 article is based on documentation received at the police station before official government websites existed in any language, combined with the first-hand experiences of Greek citizens in my life, then updated over the years with the news articles and press releases listed below and readers’ experiences shared in comments.

After my article was published, the Ministry of Public Order website offered a poorly translated English version, which was followed by an inaccurate page by the Ministry of Citizen Protection and a third version by the Greek police website in late 2010 that does not match the requirements stated in the Greek version.

Official websites, in general, are unreliable, inaccurate and rarely updated. A Wikipedia entry also appeared years after my article and contains incorrect information.

Sources

— First-hand experience of three Greek citizens, plus documentation they collected and notes I took while accompanying one of them
— Specific experiences of Greek and non-Greek EU commentators
— Government Gazette circular FEK 1440/2005, which I translated from Greek to English
Article 5 of European Parliament and Council directive 2004/38C — Europa.eu

Updates from:

Σε μέγεθος πιστωτικής κάρτας οι νέες ταυτότητες” — Ta Nea
Ξανά στην ουρά για νέες ταυτότητες” — To Vima
Έκδοση Δελτίου Ταυτότητας” — Astynomia.gr
Νέα δελτία ταυτότητας για το αστυνομικό προσωπικό” — passport.gov.gr
Κάρτα του Πολίτη αντί αστυνομικής ταυτότητας” — To Vima
Από σήμερα μέχρι της 12 Δεκεμβρίου η δημόσια διαβούλευση για την Κάρτα του Πολίτη” — Imerisia
Χωρίς ευαίσθητα στοιχεία η κάρτα του πολίτη” — Ta Nea
Cancellation of identity cards” — UK Identity and Passport Service
Ταξιδεύω στο Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο” — Olympic Air
Έκδοση δελτίων ταυτότητας Ελλήνων πολιτών σε Κύπρο και Γερμανία” — Naftemporiki
Σε μορφή πιστωτικής κάρτας οι νέες αστυνομικές ταυτότητες” — Ta Nea
Τον Σεπτέμβριο ξεκινάει η διάθεση των νέων δελτίων ταυτότητας” — To Vima
Γερμανοί αστυνομικοί για τους λαθρομετανάστες” — Ta Nea
Αντιδράσεις Χρυσής Αυγής για την «Κάρτα του Πολίτη»” — Naftemporiki
UK Border Agency
— Government Gazette circular FEK 1253/2009, which I translated from Greek to English
— First-hand information from C.E.O. in 2011 and 2012
— Readers’ contributions below in Comments

In the News

“UK border agency adept in spotting forged Greek ID cards” — Weston Mercury (article no longer archived)
Man arrested in Athens over stealing 9 million files, including Greek ID data” — Reuters
Men caught with fake Greek IDs” — Cyprus Mail

Related posts

Greek passport
Converting to a Greek driver’s license
Certify a photocopy, dilosi or other document in Greece

http://bit.ly/GreekID

115 Comments

  Christos wrote @ June 1st, 2010 at 04:22

HI, i have a greek id card and a american passport. if i travel to greece from the usa, can i use my greek id card to pass customs? my greek passport is expired. thank you

Kat Reply:

I see you couldn’t wait for an answer and posted the same question in a forum two hours later. Of course I was sleeping at 4:00 a.m. and couldn’t reply.

You can potentially use a Greek ID to travel within the EU/Schengen zone, but it’s not acceptable between the USA and Greece. For example: If airport previous to landing in Greece is in the EU/Schengen zone, you can use a Greek ID just for that leg. If the airport previous to landing in Greece was in the USA, you cannot.

In “American Greek dual citizenship” under ‘Which passport should I use?’ the official advice given by the U.S. Department of State and Attica Citizen Centre in Greece is those with both a U.S. and Greek passport should use the U.S. passport to exit America, enter Greece with the Greek passport, exit Greece with the Greek passport then re-enter America with the U.S. passport.

However, since your Greek passport is expired, it is perfectly fine to travel on the U.S. passport for the entire time, as long as your trip is less than 90 days. My friend Mitsos is a Greek-American living in Greece, and he’s never had a Greek passport. He says that his Greek ID and U.S. passport do everything he needs.

  Chris wrote @ June 13th, 2010 at 19:20

I’m going to Greece for this exact reason.

I’m foreign born but I have a Greek passport. Are you saying that I still need a birth certificate for an identity card and NOT my passport? Ownership of a passport, by default, assumes the owner already has had his citizenship verified.

Thank you

Kat Reply:

Yes, that’s what I’m saying. This post is based on first-hand experience of my Greek partner and two friends, all born in Greece. It didn’t matter that they had biometric Greek passports and valid, existing Greek ID cards. They still had to get birth certificates from their oikogeneiaki merida that specifically stated they were for the issuance of a Greek ID.

I understand the logic behind your thinking because lots of us think the same way, but the system doesn’t work that way here.

  foto wrote @ June 19th, 2010 at 17:19

My experience this past week (20 june 2010) suggests otherwise. I am foreign born, I have Greek citizenship/meritha/passport, etc…except the tautotita.

My local police station (suburban athens, with no personal connections!) were happy to request via their office the oikogeniaki meritha (so no wasted time running to peireaus) and were happy to accept my greek passport as an alternative to translated/certified birth certificate from australia.

According to my mother’s id card, listing blood type is not mandatory on the card (issued 2004)….and my police official didn’t request that info from me either.

I collect my card on monday – if otherwise I will send an update post. best of luck to all trawling the system – turtle paced, it IS getting better.

foto

Kat Reply:

Your experience doesn’t suggest otherwise; it is exactly as written. The office requested your Greek birth/citizenship certificate from your oikogeneiaki merida to verify Greek citizenship; and your Greek passport was accepted as a secondary identification in lieu of your Australian birth certificate/citizenship.

As I understood the question posed above by Chris, he asked why a Greek passport alone wasn’t enough to establish Greek citizenship in lieu of a Greek birth certificate.

That’s true, blood type is optional.

Whether the system is getting better depends on who waits on you and who you are. Not everyone enjoys equal treatment and competent service.

Thanks so much for sharing your experience. It helps me learn if things have changed.

  foto wrote @ June 23rd, 2010 at 17:06

Hi all,
Kala nea, tautotita done – NO MORE PAPERWORK!
Xtipa xulo!
About the passport tautotita issue. Actually the official notice at the police station is explicit that original birth certificate is required for first time tautotita. There is no indication that greek passport is sufficient or that even oikogeniaki meritha satisfies the requirement. For a foreign born citizen, that can mean literally Oringinal Birth Certificate from home country, certified translation and stamp from your local greek consulate. That is general path for externally sought paperwork. Thus my surprise when contra to the public notice, the police officer was happy to accept greek passport and faxed thru for meritha. I was also fortunate to come across a pleasant and helpful officer who was working in a crappy, poorly facilitated office. We joked that the back up system to the computer facility was “me xeris?” “se xero!”

On a lighter note, I was shocked when my local photo shop suggested it would take 24hrs to process the tautotita photos. I said to him “I hope you are going to make me look beautiful if you take that long”. I was joking! Anyway, I asked if he would mind doing a little faster bc i wanted to get papers finished and he said “no prob – be back in an hour”. Back in an hour, I collected my photos and was truly shocked when I saw that he had touched up the photos for astinomia!!!!!! The photo was so light on the b/w contrast and soooo washed out and there wasnt a suggestion of a wrinkle – think pale plastered goth!….I never imagined that anyone would dare tamper with official photos!
Tous efage i omorfia tous!

giasas, ’til the next paperwork!

Kat Reply:

The official government circular I sourced for my article and answers to questions is the same one you saw posted by police, and it says that they automatically request your certified original Greek birth certificate from your oikogeneiaki merida via fax or electronically. This is why they faxed your merida. I never said a merida or Greek passport alone is sufficient.

What you encountered with your photo is something I’ve heard amongst many people when getting a Greek ID or Greek passport, which is why I mentioned it in the Greek passport article. Therefore, it isn’t unusual. Their intention is to fix photos to ensure they meet requirements; otherwise, you’d need to take and pay for them again.

  Kleonas wrote @ July 2nd, 2010 at 17:01

Hello,

I have a dire issue. I live in the UK and have had a Greek Taftotita for some time, but I recently lost it. Do I have to go back to greece to cancel it? Can i do this at the consulate in London?

Please help
thanks

Kat Reply:

You did not provide enough information for me to dispense an answer specific to your situation, but I’ll give a general response and hope it sets you in the right direction. When you lose your Greek ID, you need to report this to police in whatever city/country it occurred as a matter of record. Get a copy of the report and then show it to Greek police in Greece when applying for a replacement ID card.

I’ve never heard of anyone needing to report this to a Greek embassy/consulate, since they don’t issue IDs and aren’t a policing authority. Passports, yes. Greek IDs, no. However, you are free to call and ask.

Thank you for your question.

  Jennifer wrote @ July 2nd, 2010 at 22:45

I’m traveling to Greece this summer to complete the process of getting my passport and ID card. I find it easier to take care of as many things as possible in my home country (US), rather than run around my town during August where many stores are closed.

My question is about the photograph for the passport and ID. I’ve found plentiful information regarding the passport photo requirements, 4 x 6 cm, color, no smile, white background, etc.

I have found NO information regarding the photo requirements for the ID card other than I need four and they must be black and white. If someone could provide the size requirement and anything else so I can print them ahead of time that would be most appreciated.

Follow-up: It is possible to ask someone who has recently obtained their ID card to measure the picture so I can take one that’s somewhat close?

And if possible confirm the black and white and not color?

Thanks!

Kat Reply:

Countries are usually more specific about photos for passports because each country has different requirements, and passports are biometric.

This isn’t the case with Greek IDs, and no one amongst people I know have had trouble. Official government circulars and literature posted at the police station don’t give parameters for the Greek ID photo, nor does the police and citizen protection website. If they did, I would have included them above.

Follow-up: As I say in the article, as Greek police say, as the citizen protection website says, it’s black and white. If you don’t believe what’s written, feel free to choose another source.

I spent my unpaid free time translating, researching, updating and making this information available in English for everyone’s convenience, then repeated the same information to answer questions. Seriously? I’m not going to measure my Greek partner’s ID card.

If someone with a Greek ID would like to measure their picture in millimeters (mm) or centimeters (cm), please post a comment with the dimensions.

  foto wrote @ July 11th, 2010 at 17:37

My tautotita was issued in June 2010 and the photo is 35mmx35mm.

Enjoy the August nights and don’t spend too much time on passport – you can always get that done at your home consulate/embassy without time pressure. Keep your humour – always – and remember in August the police and passport people would also prefer to be at the beach!

Kat Reply:

Foto,

Did they ask you for a local address in Greece when you applied for your Greek ID? Or was your address in Australia acceptable?

I realize the address is not listed on the ID or anywhere on the documents you turned in, but I’m wondering if they asked you for an address on the application. Could you let me know?

  sandra wrote @ July 24th, 2010 at 17:12

I just want to know if children can travel from greece to the uk with their greek id cards, someone told me that children need to travel with passports not id cards, the children are 12 and 14.

Kat Reply:

Hi Sandra,

I couldn’t find any laws prohibiting children from traveling with a Greek national ID, so I suspect they’re telling you a passport is necessary for reasons specified above in the article under “Can I travel in EU/Schengen with a Greek ID?” and “Can I use a Greek ID to enter/exit the UK?”

According to some laws and directives, national IDs are supposed to be valid forms of ID for the purpose of travel within all EU countries. But according to other laws and directives, Greek ID cards are only valid for travel within the Schengen zone, as long as they have Latin letters. The UK is in a gray area because it’s not in Schengen (see “Current Schengen countries“), and the Greek ID is in a gray area because it doesn’t meet EU standards. So authorities are within their right to ask for either.

  Chris wrote @ September 10th, 2010 at 16:48

Hi, (also wrote in June 2010)

I just got back from Greece (Sept. 2010) and if I were to go from what I experienced there I can say that the information that I printed from this site in June is mostly wrong or dated. I went to two police stations, one from my mother”s village and one that was the new headquarters building in a major city. The latter had a poice receptionist (unusual) and an office specifically for issuing identity cards only. So I can only assume the lady working in this office knew what she was talking about. I speak fluent Greek and here is what I learned that was COMMON to BOTH police stations:

1. “Passport” photos are NOT valid. “Passport” implies passport photos and mine were rejected out-right because of the incorrect paper type. You have to get your B & W photos in Greece and specify that they are for an identity card!
This is because the photos are printed on SUPER THIN paper – it is much thinner than we are used to putting in our printers and official passport paper is way too stiff and thick. They showed me examples and indeed the paper was super thin- I’ve never seen paper this thin before. Also the size of you face in an identity card is much smaller than in a passport. For a Greek passport the vertical dimension of your face must be from 30 – 35mm. This was also an issue with my passport photos.30mm seems to be the upper limit.

2. As someone has also mentioned, blood type would be nice but NO LONGER neeeded.

3. You DO NOT need a birth certificate from your non-Greek country (but you never know and it would not hurt to bring one).

Here is what was NOT COMMON to both:

1. The lady who does this for a living at the headquarters building told me that for first time identity card applicants, I must have a WITNESS. A “guarantor” as they say here in Canada – someone who knows you. (This was not required at the village station location).

2. At the village station a FAXED Greek “birth” certificate was adequate (where I’m registered – Father’s village) which must be stamped and certified by the office people receiving it. In other words any government office in Greece can have your certificate faxed to you. (A certified copy at the headquarters location was required which she could have easily arranged if I had my witness).
If you want to save hassles just have the original mailed to you provided it is not older than 90 days (might be 3 months).

3. At the village station I needed to declare in writing that I lived overseas (“monimos”).

Well, in the end I never did get my identity card because I got tired of the whole thing.

Incidentally, you may be wondering why I want a Greek identity card. The reason is that it makes passport renewal in Canada easier. If you don’t have an identity card you need to have this 90 day registration certificate mailed to you from Greece. That’s all.

Chris

Kat Reply:

Hi there,

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience as an example of how similar people doing similar transactions can encounter different requests in different locations at different times. I remember you.

In response to what you wrote, you must have printed an older version of this article because I don’t see how my article is “mostly wrong” since it doesn’t differ from your info.

Common to both:

1. My article says black and white photos. It does not say passport, but the official government website once used the word ‘passport’ before changing it to “for id” (months after your comment). The dimensions 35mm x 35mm were given to me by commentator ‘Foto’ who successfully got his Greek ID in July 2010.
2. The article does list blood type as ‘OPTIONAL.’
3. Again, this does not differ from what the article says. Some people were asked for a birth certificate, some a passport, others nothing.

Not common:
1. The official website once said “a witness/guardian/parent for minors,” which I mention above. No one else I know encountered this as an adult, but I see the official website has changed their text as of October 2010, requesting that all first-time applicants have a witness.
2. The Greek police website says that a faxed or emailed birth certificate is automatically requested. My article says the same, plus I added through first-hand experience that in some cases people need to get an original through KEP or via mail (though not everyone has a mailing address as you did) from their oikogeneiaki merida if police requested such or there was an issue. The text has always said within 90 days. Therefore, the article doesn’t differ from what you encountered.
3. Never heard of this, and commentators from abroad did not mention it, but I will add this as a sidenote to the article.

Let’s face it. This is Greece. Anyone, anywhere can ask for everything or nothing. I state this in my “Warning and Disclaimer” as a characteristic of dealing with bureaucracy in a country where “results may vary.”

Nothing wrong with wanting a Greek ID for any reason if you’re entitled, but it’s a bureaucratic marathon for some people as you learned. Good to know that it makes Greek passport renewal easier — will add that above. I appreciate your contribution!

  Lazaros wrote @ October 5th, 2010 at 02:26

Hello,
I have a major problem and i need you to help me out. I’m Greek and i’m studying at Cardiff, Wales. Today i just found out that i have lost my ID and i also don’t have a passport. I want to return to Greece for some days in 2 weeks. Please give me some advice about what i should do. Are there anyways to get a new one from here? If yes, who should i contact with?
Thanks for your time

Kat Reply:

Hi Lazaro,

The only place you can get a Greek ID is at a police station in Greece. If you don’t have a Greek passport, you need to make contact with the nearest Greek embassy/consulate, explain your situation and let them advise you of possible options. Unless your return to Greece in two weeks is an emergency, you may be asked to postpone your trip until a Greek passport is issued.

If you haven’t done it already, you need to report your Greek ID as lost and get documented evidence of it because the Greek police will ask for proof when reissuing another. Sto kalo.

  Tracey wrote @ October 20th, 2010 at 14:50

Kat, firstly thanks for all this info.

I recently travelled with my daughter to Doncaster airport, UK and was told that she couldn’t go through with her Greek ID card although they did eventually let her through as she’s a minor. I was told Greek ID cards are not valid for travelling to any UK airport although my eldest daughter got through, no questions asked, on the same day at Bristol airport, UK!! My son who now lives in the UK has travelled on his Greek ID card for many years with no problems.

After reading all the info you’ve given, I can see that a Greek ID card doesn’t officially cover as a passport to any UK airport as the UK is not a Schengen state. As i’ve many friends who have children travelling back to the UK for holidays in the upcoming weeks/months, I advised them to check this out. Do you know if they can be refused entry if they do travel with a Greek ID card instead of a valid British/Greek passport?

Thank you.
Tracey

PS. I did contact the both the British and Greek embassies before travelling and was told Greek ID cards were valid to travel into UK with. Obviously there’s a lot of bad information out there!

Kat Reply:

Hi Tracey,

Some Greeks pass in/out of the UK with their Greek ID and no Greek passport; some were denied entry with an ID alone and asked for a passport. There’s a gray area because an EU directive says national IDs are acceptable in all EU countries and the UKBA says either is fine, but there are Schengen and other laws that say otherwise.

Technically and legally, anyone without the proper travel documents can be refused entry. There’s no way to definitively answer your question because it’s not black and white — it depends on who you get, what mood they’re in and what knowledge they have. I can’t imagine they’d refuse to repatriate one of their own, but they are within their rights to do exactly that.

I appreciate you taking the time to share your experience. It illustrates the variation in how border authorities are interpreting conflicting laws.

P.S. The accuracy of information coming from Greek embassies and consulates depends on which location you contact and the person you talk to. British embassies and consulates are only required to know the law as it pertains to UK issues.

  Paul wrote @ November 8th, 2010 at 11:07

Hi Kat,

Do you know if you are required to supply a Greek address to get the id card? I’m an Australian born Greek living in France and would like to obtain the id card so I can work here in France.

Also, do I need to go to the police station in the municipality where I’m registered or can I go to any?

Thanks,

Paul

Kat Reply:

Hi Paul,

Two excellent questions.

— Do you need a Greek address? I don’t know for certain. Official literature doesn’t say, and everyone I asked is a Greek living in Greece with a local address or a Greek using the address of a relative if he/she doesn’t live here permanently. Being as it’s an ID card associated with designating someone by country, it would be logical to require someone have an address in that country. However, you are a Greek national no matter where you live, the Greek ID does not list an address, and commentator ‘Chris’ above said he was asked to sign a dilosi stating he lived abroad (“monimos”).

— Do you need to go to the municipality where you’re registered? The official literature says, police station nearest one’s residence. Everyone I know went to a police station near their work or home, not where they’re necessarily registered, and they weren’t turned away.

I know these answers aren’t black and white, but I’m sure you know Greece is a “results may vary” country and the experiences of others above you confirm those shades of gray.

Thank you so much for challenging my knowledge and stopping by. I’d be interested to hear your experience, if you fancy sharing it after you have your Greek ID.

  Andrea wrote @ November 10th, 2010 at 19:11

Dear Kat,

I’m writing to you through an open comment to thank you for the enormous amount of information you have made available on the web. It is a priceless resource!

I know very well the amount of effort it must have taken! I lived in Greece from 1970 to 1999. During those years, I was part of several groups — and knew several individuals — who tried to create such a resource. Perhaps some of us even did create the bare-bones prototypes you may have seen, like the old book “Living in Greece.” We all worked from the same heartfelt mission — to make information available, clear up misinformation, and share our experiences in hopes that living in Greece could become simpler and more joyous for others.

Fortunately I found your site — I’m caught in a paperwork nightmare. My Greek “tauftotita” dates back to 1981, I haven’t got an AMKA; I didn’t change my name when I got divorced from my Greek husband, my name still appears in his “oikogeniaki merida” … etcetera. I always planned to sort it out one day.

My wake up call came this week when I received a notice regarding changes in the bank’s processing of my “syntaxi.” For that I need an AMKA — which, of course, is linked to all of the above.

That’s what brought me to your site. Thank you so much for posting so much clear information, all in English. I’ll use it to plan my trip to Greece to sort this all out.

I hope this message reaches you! Congratulations on the astonishing job you’ve done, and sincere, heartfelt thanks.

All best wishes,

Andrea

Sorry, comments are closed at this time.