Living in Greece

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

Greek citizenship by Greek origin, descent or ancestry

Foreign nationals of Greek descent not born in the Hellenic Republic are entitled to lawfully stake a claim to Greek citizenship through an ancestor born in Greece.

Most people who exercise this option are non-EU citizens seeking a legal way to live and work in Greece or another country in the EU. It is unnecessary and redundant for non-Greek EU citizens to apply for dual citizenship with Greece, since there is free movement between the majority of the 28 member states (except for citizens from Croatia); it is only beneficial if seeking to acquire special privileges granted to Greek citizens, such as student housing, grants from the government or working in the public sector as a civil servant.

Be aware that males between the ages of 19 and 45 who acquire Greek citizenship will be obligated to do national service. See “Greek Military Service” for details.

*Article last updated January 12, 2015

Author’s note

This article is based on first-hand experience of individuals worldwide — including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Philippines, South Africa, the UK and United States — who got Greek citizenship via ancestry, a Greek-English translation I performed of the most current Citizenship Code in cooperation with a Greek-American lawyer, and the latest news updates.

Be warned that official websites rarely match reality, and many consular/embassy, government and EU websites offer inaccurate, incomplete or outdated information.

Many have copy/pasted sections of my article without permission, including lawyers and the Greek government, so you are not necessarily getting confirmation from different sources.

Be careful who you trust.

Who qualifies?

Who is eligible for Greek citizenship, a Greek passport and Greek national ID via ancestry, origin or descent?

a) A child born in Greece to at least one parent (biological mother/father) of Greek origin, ethnicity or descent.

b) A child born outside Greece to a mother or father born in Greece.

c) A grandchild born outside Greece that can stake a claim to grandfather or grandmother born in Greece.

If you are not of Greek ethnicity, and no one in your biological family is of Greek origin, descent or ancestry, the Greek Citizenship Code in place since March 2010 makes it possible for legal immigrants to acquire Greek citizenship after long-term residency in Greece or by attending school in Greece, in addition to paths via adoption, recognition and naturalization. See, “Ways to get Greek citizenship.”

Marrying a Greek citizen does not automatically grant a spouse the privilege of Greek citizenship/nationality, a Greek passport or a Greek national ID. You must be of Greek origin yourself and stake a claim, or go through the naturalization process described at, “Greek citizenship through naturalization.” Others opt for a residence/work permit at no cost and little bureaucracy, as explained in “Long-term permits for non-EU family members of Greek/EU citizens.”

Children born outside Greece to Greek parents

The act of being born to at least one parent or grandparent of Greek origin does not mean you automatically have Greek citizenship if you were born outside Greece. It means you are lawfully bound by policies and rights conferred by the Greek government as a Greek national but not officially recognized as having Greek citizenship.

Your parents/grandparents must have been born in Greece AND registered you in the Greek registry (dimotologio) AND applied for Greek citizenship on your behalf to acquire a certificate by the Hellenic Republic that confirms as such, if you did not register and apply for it yourself. Being registered in the family’s οικογενειακή μερίδα/oikogeneiaki merida only means that a record of your birth and relationship was established by your parents/grandparents, thus making it easier for you to stake a claim to citizenship later in life if that is your intention. It is not assumed that everyone entitled to Greek citizenship actually wants it.

Children whose parents were born in Greece after a certain date (listed below in #5 under ‘Documents’) will go through an expedited process via simple registration, which — if records are in order — can take as little as three months to complete.

Greek citizenship through a grandmother/grandfather

If your mother or father was not born in Greece, the interior ministry or Greek consulate/embassy may accept a Greek citizenship application through a grandmother or grandfather born in Greece via naturalization. Applicants should still follow the instructions listed below, but you do not qualify for the expedited process. It can take up to 2-3 years.

Greek citizenship through a great-grandfather, great-grandmother, any ancestor

There are some consulates/embassies and lawyers that claim Greek citizenship is possible through a great-grandparent or any ancestor born in Greece if the father, mother, grandmother and grandfather were not, as long as birth records can be found (aka, not destroyed in wars). But there is no law or official documentation stating this, and no one I know has done this successfully. I only know a dozen people who tried and were denied.

People dispensing this information may be misinterpreting the law and/or misleading clients as a way to earn money, which is not refundable.

Dual citizenship with Greece

Many countries allow dual citizenship with Greece, including the United States, Canada and Australia. It is of vital importance to check with authorities at a consulate/embassy or federal government office regarding your country’s stance on dual citizenship before beginning the process and possibly violating laws that will cause your current citizenship to be revoked. Do not take unofficial advice from strangers in a forum, a relative or a friend.

See, “American and Greek dual citizenship” for details specific to Americans and advice to citizens of other countries.

Many Greeks eligible for dual citizenship with a different EU country are exercising that right to simplify their lives, as Greek passports and other bureaucracy are burdensome to process. Others fear that Greece will ultimately exit the eurozone and be dropped from the EU.

Documents needed to apply for Greek citizenship

Keep in mind that each person’s case is unique and special circumstances may demand additional documentation or consultation. But, in general, the following documents are needed to apply for Greek citizenship, regardless of the foreign national’s current citizenship or location:

1. A certified copy of your printed birth certificate

2. A certified copy of your certificate of christening/baptism

3. A certified copy of your marriage certificate (if any)

4. A photocopy of your passport, which must be valid

5. Father’s  and/or mother’s birth certificate
— Outside Greece: Obtained from the city registrar
— In Greece: From the city hall or mayor’s office of the municipality where he was born and registered in the οικογενειακή μερίδα/oikogeneiaki merida (in Greece). May also be requested through any KEP Citizen Service Centre but the information must be completely accurate.

*A child born before July 18, 1982, staking a claim through a Greek father, can go through an expedited process via simple registration.

*A child born before May 8, 1984, staking a claim to citizenship though a Greek mother, can go through an expedited process via simple registration, as long as the mother had Greek citizenship at the time of her marriage or during her pregnancy.

6. Parents’ marriage certificate and marriage registration certificate (ληξιαρχική πράξη γάμου/lixiarchiki praxi gamou)
— Outside Greece: Obtained from the church and/or city registrar*
— In Greece: From the church or city hall/courthouse/mayor’s office of the municipality and/or ληξιαρχείο/lixiarcheio (registry office) where their marriage was registered.

7. A πιστοποιητικού οικογενειακής κατάστασης/pistopoiitiko oikogeneiakis katastasis (certificate of family situation, which verifies your parents are married, divorced, deceased; and you are their child)
— Outside Greece: May be requested by the Greek consulate/embassy nearest your place of residence, but not all offer this assistance.
— In Greece: Obtained from the οικογενειακή μερίδα/oikogeneiaki merida or requested from the same place through any KEP Citizen Service Centre

If your father or mother was not born and registered in Greece, then you will go through a longer naturalization process and also need:

8. Grandfather’s or grandmother’s certificate of registration (pistopoiitiko dimotologiou)
— Obtained from the city hall or mayor’s office in the municipality where his οικογενειακή μερίδα/oikogeneiaki is located and, typically, where he was born and registered
— Can also be requested through a KEP Citizen Service Centre but you must know the correct location to query

9. Grandparents’ marriage certificate and marriage registration certificate
— In Greece: From the church or city hall/courthouse/mayor’s office of the municipality and/or ληξιαρχείο/lixiarcheio (registry office) where their marriage was registered.

10. Death certificates pertaining to the relative through which you are applying for citizenship (mom, dad, grandmother or grandfather), if applicable
— Outside Greece: Obtained from the city or country registrar.
— In Greece: From the city hall or mayor’s office of the municipality where the οικογενειακή μερίδα/oikogeneiaki merida is located and/or the ληξιαρχείο/lixiarcheio (registry office) where the death was registered.

Applicants from the same family are strongly advised to submit their papers together to save time. Parents can register and apply for Greek citizenship for children aged 18 and under. After age 18, they are considered adults and should register and apply themselves in Greece or at the Greek consulate/embassy.

What happens if documents cannot be found?

— If outside Greece, take everything that can be found to the Greek consulate/embassy and ask staff for official advice.
— If in Greece, consult with the local mayor’s office (dimarxeio) or a staff member in the interior’s ministry citizenship office. Posting in a forum is not a good idea.

Apostilles and translations

All non-religious documents issued by a country outside of Greece must contain an apostille (i.e., marriage and baptismal certificates from the Greek church do not require apostilles). If you need information about apostilles and where to secure them, please see “How to get an apostille.”

After apostilles have been applied, all documents in a language other than Greek must be translated into Greek. If you are outside Greece, it is recommended that you have as many documents stamped, certified and translated by the nearest Greek consulate/embassy for the sake of communicating in a common language and convenience. See “Official translation of documents to Greek.”

Greek Orthodox marriage/baptismal certificates

When apostilles and translations are done to all possible documents, the marriage and baptismal certificates from Greek churches outside Greece must be recorded in a special Church of Greece registry in Athens, stamped/certified and signed by a Orthodox priest at the Petraki Monastery in Athens.*

  • Ιεράς Μονής Ασωμάτων – Πετράκη/
    Church of Greece — Petraki Monastery
    I. Gennadiou 14, Athens 115 21
    Tel: (210) 7212.402
    Fax: (210) 7218.543

For directions, see “How do I get to the Petraki Monastery?

Greek consulates/embassies cannot help with this; and certification by the Archdiocese in your country is nice but technically unacceptable and may cause you to pay an extra fee for a special stamp. If you have no plans to be in Greece, contact the monastery for alternative methods or consider assigning a relative via dilosi to help you.

*A religious marriage ceremony not recognized by the Greek Orthodox church may require you to provide additional or different documentation and follow an alternative process.

Marriage certificates and divorce decrees

The following documents need to be recognized, stamped and certified by the main Athens courthouse: a) Marriage certificates originating from a civil ceremony outside Greece; b) marriage certificates originating from a wedding ceremony outside the Greek Orthodox Church; c) divorce decrees issued outside Greece.

  • Πρωτοδικείου Αθηνών/Δικαστήρια
    First court of Athens/Dikastiria
    Evelpidon, Athens 10171
    Tel: (210) 8841.618

A majority of Greek consulates/embassies cannot help with this. Readers tell me they came to Athens, had a relative in Greece or hired and authorized a lawyer to take care of it. See a comment by Aris on February 13, 2012.

What you do not need

Unlike individuals of non-Greek origin, you will not need to pass an interview, pay 700 euros or prove:

  • Fluency in the Greek language
  • Residency in Greece for several years
  • Knowledge of ancient Greek history and culture
  • Possession of a suitable home
  • Good moral character
  • Good health by acquiring a health certificate and giving fingerprints

Process of Applying for Greek citizenship

In Greece:

After gathering your documents and having them apostilled in their country of origin, translated by the foreign ministry or consulate/embassy/lawyer and certified by the Church of Greece/courthouse/consulate (if applicable), you need to go in person to the ληξιαρχείο/lixiarcheio (registry office) and register them.

  • Ληξιαρχείο/Lixiarcheio (registry office)
    Mitropoleos 60, Athens 10555
    Tel: (210) 3240737

They will ask some questions, fill out papers and issue you certificates of registration pertaining to your case, which may include: a πράξης γεννήσεως/praxi genniseos (registration of birth) and/or πράξη γάμου/praxi gamou (registration of marriage) and/or πράξη θανάτου/praxi thanatou (registration of death).

Outside Greece:

Applications are provided and accepted at all Greek consulates/embassies, which are authorized by the Hellenic Republic to accept and forward citizenship applications to Greece.

Visit the Greek consulate/embassy website to see if they require you to email information in advance or make an appointment. Many locations ask that you appear in person. Those who cannot appear in person may be offered alternative methods of applying, or can opt to appoint a relative or representative through a power of attorney (dilosi) to submit their Greek citizenship documents in or outside Greece.

At some locations, applications can be expedited for a fee (cost varies) though there is no guarantee.

For males aged 19-45

Male candidates between the ages of 19 and 45, and eligible for draft by the Greek military, may be asked to submit up to four additional documents BEFORE receiving a Greek birth certificate (pistopoiitiko) that certifies Greek citizenship has been granted. *Skip this section if you are not a male aged 19-45.

1. Πράξη καθαρισμό ηλικίας/praxi katharismo ilikias (registration of age clearance)
— Obtained by submitting a copy of your birth certificate and passport to the Greek consulate/embassy nearest your permanent residence outside Greece

2. Υπεύθυνη δήλωση περί μη εγγραφής στα Μητρώα Αρρένων και Δημοτολογίο/Dilosi peri mi eggrafis sta Mitroa Arrenon kai Dimotologio (Statement no previous registration in male registry or municipal record)

3. Πιστοποιητικό μονίμου κατοικίας/Pistopoiitiko monimou katoikias (Certificate of permanent residence)
— See an example of documents required at “Certificate of permanent residence” from the Greek Embassy in Washington DC. Be aware there are two different ones — one for military use, one for regular use.

4. Αίτηση για εγγραφή στο Δημοτολόγιο η Μητρώα Αρρένων/Aitisi gia eggrafi sto Dimotologio i Mitroa Arrenon (Application to register in the municipal record or male registry)

If you are outside Greece: Everything can be done at the Greek consulate/embassy, then bundled with your other papers.

If you intend to be in Greece: These documents can be done at the Greek consulate/embassy prior to arrival in Greece or, in some but not all cases, completed while in Greece via email, fax, mail or transmission via a public sector office or KEP Citizen Service Centre. The consulate/embassy will forward the πράξη καθαρισμό ηλιακίας/praxi katharismo ilikias to the mayor’s office (dimarxeio) you listed as your place of registration.

When you’re notified of its arrival, take two passport photos and all the documents in your possession to the local municipality’s city hall or mayor’s office. Your documents will be checked and approved to go to the next step if everything is in order.

What happens next?

— The Greek consulate/embassy (if outside Greece) or local municipality (in Greece) forwards the application to the prefecture (nomarxeio) or regional general secretary (perifereia). If you are in Greece, you have the option to drop off everything yourself at the interior ministry’s citizenship office, which will issue a receipt containing a protocol number that you must keep.

— A copy of the applicant’s Type A criminal record may be requested from the justice ministry. Criminal records from your homeland and Greece have bearing, and you may be asked to provide records if for some reason they cannot be found.

— The application is then passed to the citizenship committee for review.

— You will be notified of the decision via the location you applied — the mayor’s office (dimarxeio)/city hall in Greece or Greek consulate/embassy outside Greece — at the address or phone number you listed in your contact information, or you can check on the status yourself using the protocol number. If citizenship is granted, the decision will be published in the Government Gazette and you will be invited to sign papers and take an oath within one (1) year of the publication date.

* Conflicting information: I know several people who have never taken an oath.

— You will be issued two (2) Greek pistopoiitiko gennisis (birth certificates), one of which is specifically used to apply for a Greek ID. If you are in Greece, apply right away using instructions at “Greek national ID/tautotita” then use the Greek ID to apply for a Greek passport at the same police station or at home at the Greek consulate/embassy.

— The other pistopoiitiko (birth certificate) must be filed with your family’s οικογενειακή μερίδα/oikogeneiaki merida, normally wherever their πολιτικά δικαιώματα/politika dikaiomata (voting rights) are officially registered in Greece. If your family does not have one set up, you can set one up after the process has ended. Greeks abroad can do it through their Greek consulate/embassy; those in Greece can do this through their municipality’s city hall or mayor’s office (dimarxeio), which can also be accomplished via any KEP Citizen Service Centre.

Processing time for Greek citizenship

Assuming all papers are in order and there are no complications in your oikogeneiaki merida (family records), the entire citizenship process from submitting your application to receiving an answer (approval or denial) could be:

  • From 3-9 months for the expedited process via simple registration if you qualify through a mother or father born in Greece and meet age limits specified in #5 under ‘Documents’ above; or
  • Up to 2-3 years for the longer naturalization process for everyone else.

This is an improvement compared to a waiting time of 4-9 years for persons of no Greek descent, who also had their applications frozen on November 30, 2012.

As of February 2011, there were 180,000 pending applications in the queue for foreign-born Greeks staking a claim to Greek citizenship via ancestry or descent. Approximately 10,000 cases are reviewed each year, though recent stats show significantly less for 2011 due to a number of factors that include the reorganization of municipalities

In 2012, Greece had five different governments in seven months, during which very little got done.

Each case is unique.

Three elements that will make the process go faster

a) You do as much as you can yourself: Greek consulates/embassies and lawyers/consultants have other cases and clients, and relatives may not want to be burdened with bureaucracy during transport and public sector strikes. It gets done faster if there is no middleman and you put yourself first.

b) You speak/understand Greek or bring someone with you who does: Not necessary if you plan on applying through a Greek consulate/embassy, but essential if thinking of (c) and coming to Greece.

c) You can complete the process in Greece: After gathering your documents and having them stamped and translated at the Greek consulate/embassy nearest your residence, the citizenship process will go faster if you’re in Greece. However, I only recommend this option if it’s not August when most of Greece is on vacation and (b) is true, as language barriers and unfamiliarity with Greece, transport and bureaucracy could slow you down.

Please note that none of these things are required for you to apply for Greek citizenship, so do not feel pressed or discouraged if money, language and/or knowledge of Greece are issues.

Aside from these things, there is no fee you can pay and nothing you can do to simplify the process or make it go faster. Bureaucracy takes time, it’s complicated, and everyone’s experience will vary. That’s Greece.

What if I’m denied Greek citizenship?

The applicant will be told on what grounds the decision was made to deny Greek citizenship. If the applicant has proof to the contrary, the Interior Ministry or Greek consulate/embassy will advise you about how to proceed. Otherwise, the decision stands.

If the passage of time helps you meet requirements that were previously grounds for denial, reapplying is allowed and you should consult with municipality or consular officials.

If the passage of time does not change anything (i.e. you were rejected based on criminal record or the absence of a close Greek ancestor), applying again is unlikely to change anything and hiring a lawyer may be a waste of time and money.

Do I need to hire a Greek lawyer or consultant?

Those who completed the Greek citizenship process say ‘no’ (see Comments). Many who did hire a lawyer report significant delays from procrastination and/or no positive results due to incompetence in exchange for exorbitant fees ranging from 50 dollars/hour or 600-2000 euros per citizenship. Seriously, that’s ridiculous.

Readers also report that Greek consulates/embassies have been telling them to not go through the citizenship process themselves, as it will “never be granted” under certain circumstances (untrue), after which they are recommended a lawyer in Greece. Using scare tactics, then referring a specific person that may be a friend or relative is highly unethical.

My experience over 17 years is to hire a lawyer if there is a threat of going to jail, to court or highly complicated matters such as property and inheritance. Citizenship is a straightforward process that only requires some patience and perseverance.

Retaining a lawyer or consultant is likely a waste of money for four reasons:

a) This is Greece — If you follow the instructions and provide all the necessary documents, all you can do is wait. This country has its own schedule and personality, which means two people can get vastly different results under the same circumstances.

b) How can you verify that a lawyer achieved something you couldn’t have gotten on your own for free? — There’s no guarantee a person has genuine influence or knowledge, and your money will not be refunded if you’re dissatisfied.

c) There are lawyers/attorneys who take advantage of citizens abroad by claiming they specialize in citizenship issues and charge higher than average fees. If they’re writing articles, distributing brochures and advertising themselves in the newspaper and on the Internet, how good could they be? The best attorneys are busy practicing law.

d) Lawyers do not have access to special registries, as some readers have been told. This is a lie being told to hook clients and charge higher fees.

If hiring a lawyer makes you feel better, or patience and perseverance are issues, then this is a personal choice. Ask a trusted friend or colleague for a recommendation — not a stranger or forum — or select one from a consular/embassy list, which gives you a choice and the right to complain should something go wrong.

Case studies

Examples of people who claimed Greek citizenship through a mother, father, grandfather and grandmother were moved to a dedicated article at “Greek citizenship case studies.” (coming soon)

If you would like to add your story, please leave a comment. I am particularly interested in someone who was successful in staking a claim through a great-grandmother or great-grandfather.

Contact Information

Interior Ministry Citizenship Office
31 Stadiou Street
(210) 324-9683
(210) 324-9465 alternate
(210) 324-9314 alternate

Foreign Ministry Citizen Information Office
3 Akadimias Street
(210) 368-2700

KEP Citizen Services Centres

Mayor’s Office (Dimarxeio) or City Hall
Each municipality has its own
Find one by calling KEP at ‘1500’, consulting a map or doing a Google search
(I’m waiting for municipalities to finish reorganization before compiling a list)

Greek Embassies and Consulates
Choose the one nearest your current country of residence

* Be aware that websites are primarily in Greek and often not dependable, since information is incomplete and not updated on a continuing basis. It is advised that you visit the office in person or call.


Greek Citizenship Code prior to 2010 (Informal translation in English, but very outdated)
Greek Citizenship Code from 2010 (in Greek): Ruled unconstitutional
English translation of new Greek Citizenship Code (done in my private time, not available to the public)
Greek Consulate General, San Francisco
— Detailed, first-hand experiences of commentators and friends: Nestor, Manolis, Emmanuel, Matina, CO, DN, NK and PM
Greeks opt for UK citizenship over EU exit fears” — FT

*I did not use the English translations available from “official” embassy/consular, government and EU sources because they were inaccurate, incomplete or outdated.

Related posts

Ways to acquire Greek citizenship
EU citizenship via ancestry or naturalization
Mandatory military obligations for males of Greek descent

The Author

Kat is a well-traveled American journalist and author. To learn more, see “About Me.”

  • 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 17 years experience.

Note: Please note my copyright policy and be aware that violations will be pursued.

Update pending


  NJ Greek wrote @ June 12th, 2007 at 20:29

Do you know what the rules are about getting drafted?

I’m similar to Michalis: I was born & raised in the U.S., but now that I’ve graduated college, my parents (who were both born & raised in Greece) moved back there.

I’ve heard that, even on a short visit, the local authorities can draft you against your will, even though you were neither born nor raised in Greece, and there’s nothing the U.S. embassy can do on your behalf.

I’ve heard anecdotes (nightmares, really) about it happening to other Greek Americans, and I want to make sure I can avoid a fate like that if I go visit my parents.

Kat Reply:

Yes, I do know. The draft rules are covered in my article “Mandatory military service in Greece,” which was provided as a link in this post.

I included Michalis’ case so people can see it is absolutely true that police will come to your house and draft you into the army. Michalis had a pistopoiitiko monimou katoikou exoterikou allowing him to stay under 6 months. He exceeded the 6 months to help his father with something, and this is why they came to draft him a few days later. And just to be clear, Michalis blames himself.

If you don’t have the certificate, you can only visit 30 days in a 1-year period, though I know people who have visited for up to 90 days or later with no problem. Authorities are lax with people of Greek origin. I know of no one who was drafted in under 30 days or even 90 days.

As mentioned in the military article, where you were born, raised or domiciled makes no difference; it doesn’t matter if you have Greek citizenship or a Greek passport or not. It only matters if authorities determine you to be Greek. And anyone calling themselves Greek-Americans are also admitting they are Greek.

Many people are not well-informed and for some reason don’t take the time to find the truth before putting themselves at risk. Others think they are above the law or won’t get caught, and suffer the consequences as a result. Don’t be one of those people and have a nice visit!

  NJ Greek wrote @ June 13th, 2007 at 14:25

FWIW, in all the stories I heard about people getting drafted against their will, the future draftee had offended one or more of the locals during his stay, and so in revenge, they reported him to the authorities.

Kat Reply:

Funny you should mention this. I maintain that shutting one’s mouth and listening is ultimately more wise, but too often people are full of ego and let it get the best (and worst) of them.

People also don’t mind their own business here and feel it necessary to tear down someone out of envy or jealousy, instead of using the same time and energy to improve and invest in themselves. It’s sad…and petty.

  Ted wrote @ June 15th, 2007 at 06:36

Kat: An excellent article! I am confronted often with people of Greek descent who wish to claim citizenship because, for some unknown reason, I have acquired the reputation of the “man who knows” when, actually, I know very little out of practical experience.

Two things to reinforce points you’ve already made: (1) if you are male, military conscription is a real possibility unless you’re past 50; however, this is not / not a cast iron rule. There have been cases where the persons involved were let off the hook for a fee and provided they’re of an older age (40 plus). (2) Never trust the civil servant who says “now your papers are complete;” go back 2 or 3 times to double check and also see whether a new rule has surfaced somewhere while you were preparing your application. This is very pertinent. I had two recent cases — both US citizens — who were claiming via long-departed Greek mothers and were running into a dead end … when …. suddenly, BINGO, they went back again and were informed that Article so and so had been “amended” and that from now on sworn statements of witnesses could be accepted in lieu of the mother’s birth certificate (long lost in the death and destruction of wars and other calamities).

Finally, while obtaining a Greek passport requires patience, getting one is a key to the European Union for people who might be thinking a career move to Western European countries. In this respect, it might worth all the trouble.

Again, Kat, kudos for a very informative article.

Kat Reply:

Thanks for your compliment, Ted! :)

To address the points you made:

1. As I’m not a representative of the Hellenic Republic, I stress that results may vary by case and to not assume what is true for one person is also true for another. I give the rules as written or list the exceptions, so people can understand there is variation, but not to expect it.

There is a way to legally buy oneself out of the military, as covered in my Mandatory Military Service in Greece article, which I provided as a link in this post. I’m not sure if anyone uses links based on what I’ve seen.

I know people in their mid-30s who are being chased down right now to enlist, and others who claimed an exemption, as well. They’re getting more aggressive.

2. The only amendment I saw was one that alluded (not clearly stated) to a person born after 1983 could claim through a Greek mother. But I know many other people who were denied after going through the process, and those told they couldn’t apply through only the mother from the start.

It does pay to be persistent (maybe even stubborn) and ask several public servants at different locations, without crossing the line of making someone hate you. I asked several people at several places, then had my fiance do the same thing, and we got different answers. No consensus.

As a result, I published and clearly stated that the article was guidance to assist people in their quest, not an official statement on my behalf. I avoided writing this post for months, but kept getting questions (which is ironic since I don’t have Greek citizenship and am not Greek).

  Jack wrote @ June 23rd, 2007 at 11:49

I’m 46 years old I have waited till compulsary draft age up to 45 years. I am of Greek heritage background, born overseas and am wanting to claim Greek citizenship What are my chances of getting drafted now since Greek law/rules changes quicker than a game of tennis.

Kat Reply:

I’m not a Greek man and everyone I know served their army (no dodgers in my life), so I would say if you are past the age limit and apply under the rules that exist currently, you can save yourself whatever changes come your way. The basic requirements for citizenship have not changed in decades to reflect modern times (which in many ways is unfortunate).

I would move quickly. If the rules happen to change after you apply, they cannot backdate the law to your application. And if they try, you can dispute it.

  Kris Mammas wrote @ September 10th, 2007 at 16:43

Hi and thank you for you website. It has been very helpful to me.

  F. Anna wrote @ October 26th, 2007 at 17:08

I’m a Greek-American who wants desperately to get Greek citizenship. I can verify that everything you say here is true as I was ripped off very badly by a lawyer in Athens who was a “friend” of my family and comes from the same place in Greece my grandparents came from. My problem was that I couldn’t get a birth certificate for my grandfather (my dad was U.S. born) because it was destroyed in a war. I had a document from the civil registry on the island testifying that my grandfather was known there and he was in fact a native. I still had to go through the interview process in which i was asked my religion. When I told the truth, that I wasn’t Orthodox, they were prejudiced against me and denied citizenship. This was 10 years ago.

  Xelidonaki wrote @ October 27th, 2007 at 21:08

I think you have been misinformed about the Greek citizenship processing duration. It’s not normally 2-3 years! Mine took about 3 months to complete, in all. I think what you are referring to is an exceptional case. Trust me, it’s not that hard to get a Greek citizenship if at least one of your parents is Greek (once you get past the appalling attitude displayed at the consulate office by bored civil servants that is).

Kat Reply:

I respectfully disagree. I said “up to 2-3 years,” and in fact I know people who have waited/are waiting much longer than that. Did you stop to think that perhaps you are the exceptional case? Many are staking a claim through a grandfather and great grandfather, not just parents. Since your father lives here, that may have also played a part. As I say in the post, each case is highly unique and conditions are subjective.

I base articles on dozens of peoples’ real-life experiences, not just myself or a few people. If someone has a problem-free speedy process, take joy in it instead of assuming I’m misinformed.

  F. Anna wrote @ October 29th, 2007 at 17:28

I would agree with you, Kat. I know many cases of people who tried to get their citizenship who also just gave up for that reason. The consulates here in the States ARE WORSE in my opinion than any of the registries in Greece. I have often heard many Greek Americans complain that they feel there is prejudice against them because they are Greek-“American” as opposed to just Greek.

Then again, my cousin whose father (my uncle) was born in Greece went over there and managed to get hers in a week. You are right nonetheless in what you said; my cousin’s case is also EXTREMELY EXCEPTIONAL. I’m very disappointed about my situation and don’t know whether I should try again.

  dimitri wrote @ December 11th, 2007 at 03:48

can anyone send me (or direct me to the link of) a citizenship application (Aitisi Politografisis)? i cant read the Ministries page in Greek!

Kat Reply:

The answer is in this article, which I already took hours to research, translate and write; you could have used the ’search’ or ‘categories’ option if you missed it.

I didn’t list other options or give a link because there isn’t one. If you’re looking for an online form, dream on. This is Greece, darlings, not the USA or a proper EU country.

The answer to the question you asked about military is on the military post, not the Greek passport page.

  Natasha wrote @ February 3rd, 2008 at 13:02

do you know how I could go about finding out if I have dual citizenship?

my father has been telling me my whole life that I have dual citizenship but I don’t understand how…and when I ask him I don’t really understand what he means…he tells me that I’m registered in Crete

anyway he was born and raised in Greece…and he’s never become a US citizen if that makes any difference…
he says that because he’s a Greek citizen and I’m registered (whatever that means) that I am one too despite having been born in the US…
do you know if it works that way?

I’ve read many things on many websites and haven’t really found an answer…perhaps I’m missing it, some of these things are worded in a way that I only vaguely understand

I want to go to school in Athens and I read that if you’re not a citizen you have to live at the school for 1 year before you’re allowed to find other housing…I had planned to stay with relatives which would be a lot cheaper/better but upon reading that I figured this would be a really good time to find out my standing

Kat Reply:

N – I mean no disrespect to your father, however what he’s telling you is incorrect. This is common because Greece operates a lot on rumor and hearsay because of the lack of transparency, and many times the rules on Ministry websites and KEP are incorrect/outdated/badly translated. Please see the section above entitled, “Children born outside Greece to Greek parents/ancestors.”

The nature of citizenship in Greece works differently than most countries because it is by origin, not birth (as I explain in the article). So yes, he’s right in that you have a right to claim it as a foreign born child of a Greek citizen, but it doesn’t mean you have it unless someone completed the application process and got your Greek citizenship certificate as proof; and using the word “automatically” is a very dangerous thing in Greece because one can never assume. If you were born in Greece, a birth certificate or baptism certificate would be your proof of citizenship (which is what he has). If your father doesn’t believe me, he is free to call the Greek Consulate and they will tell him the same thing.

In the USA and most countries in the world, people get citizenship by birth (not origin), which is the reason illegal immigrants are able to stay in the country by simply having a baby (“anchor babies”).

  Ginger wrote @ February 29th, 2008 at 22:50

I have a question. My mother is of greek decent, but born here in the US, both of my great grandparents on her side were born in greece and I have all their documents. I am now interested in getting my greek citizenship but want to know whether I can since it would be through my mother and not my dad who isn’t of greek decent.


Kat Reply:

The answer is already stated in the article; please take another look. Descent is also spelled with an ‘s.’

  sweet wrote @ September 11th, 2008 at 04:37

Hi Kat,
I have been devouring your website for the last 2 weeks or so. I have some questions for your vast knowledge of immigration issues, or rather would like to see if you have any suggestions.

I had been planning to stay in Greece with my kids for 10 months with my father, who is a Greek national starting in November. I expected to repatriate, but was surprised to learn at the consulate today that I was never registered as a Greek citizen. I was told by the consulate that the only way to come over for that length of time is to show I have $1M in the bank or to repatriate, and, that since I am not registered, I would have to go through the process which would take a year.

You may find this shocking, but my Greek dad blew a gasket while talking to the nice lady at the consulate on my cell phone because he is so used to the old way of doing things where no one follows the rules that he became totally belligerent and they refused to talk to me anymore. He apparently registered my birth certificate but didn’t compete the registration re me being Greek, as you had explained in previous posts, and so I am not eligible to repatriate at this time.

I know in the U.S., I could have him fill out an “affidavit of support” saying he would take care of me financially, but I couldn’t talk to them about that at the consulate because of the aforementioned loss of gasket.

What I take away from this is that there is no way for me and my family to stay 10 months in Greece starting in November, despite my family’s enthusiasm about it.

I am a divorce lawyer and could probably figure out an essential employee thing except that my degrees would have to go through the authentication process which I guess takes about a year.

I tried to review your article re residence/work permit for family members of Greek citizens, but I don’t have the password. Can you email me the password?

All the best and thank you in advance.

Kat Reply:

S – If you read the #1 post for non-EU citizens attempting to live in Greece — “How Americans/non-EU citizens can move, live and work in Greece” — nearly all of your questions are answered there. I recommend reading it now.

a) You do not qualify for a permit as a family member of a Greek citizen unless you are under 21.

b) Even if you were registered, repatriation takes longer than 1.5 months (even with connections).

c) You wouldn’t need $1M in a bank account; it’s an exaggeration. However, you do need to show 2,000 euros a month per family member and complete a process taking several months (again, it’s detailed in the article I mentioned)

d) There is no ‘affidavit of support’ option in GR because too many people lie and the justice system does not work swiftly or efficiently. It’s also wrong to apply what happens in the USA to another country.

e) Two months is not enough time to complete any bureaucratic process having to do with Greece, unless you are well connected. Even in very organized countries where people are accountable and the process very clear, immigration or repatriation can take several months to a year.

f) Enthusiasm for living in a country does not bypass bureaucracy. If it was, immigration would be lawless and border control simply chaos.

g) Last option is detailed in “Overstaying your visa in Greece.” aka, You could still come here and stay “freely” as long as you pay a fine when you leave.

The laws have not changed, they’re just being enforced now. Greece chose to be a member of the EU, chose to take millions in EU subsidies and chose to be a part of the euro single currency. Therefore, telling the EU to ‘F’ off is unjustified.

Please use the Search option, Categories option or Links list to search for future answers before asking a question, as I detailed in “Comments, Questions and Contacting Me.”

** Do not listen to “Endaxi’ about exiting to Turkey and crossing back into Schengen. It does not work and accomplishes nothing.

  endaxi wrote @ September 13th, 2008 at 14:23

Hi Sweet,

Why don’t you go w/ the 3month visa and before it expires go on one of those day cruises to Turkey? You could do that a few times. … I did that a few years ago – that still should be doable. It may seemlike a hassle w/ kids but I think that would be easiest. … Of course it depends I guess where u are in Greece. I was staying on Rhodes at the time, so it was, if I remember correctly, only like 45 min. ride on the Hydrofoil. When u enter Greece & they if ask you any questions ( no one asked me any) just say your visiting family for a bit — lie! Don’t tell them how long you plan on really staying!

Turkey is GREAT! The people were so friendly … and cheap! Eh, if your father has an ‘issue’ with you going to Turkey though ….

Good Luck

P.S. I was in Greece for the first time from March – October. I only went to Turkey once, so when I left in October for Israel my visa was expired ( I actually let my visa expire the first time I left Greece, my visa expire in Isreal– and then again let it expire in Greece; I returned to Rhodes from Hafia. I was never fined! No stamp/mark in my passport. … Though I wouldn’t advise doing that. In Greece I didn’t get to much of a hassle leaving, I aruged w/ them for about 10 min. & the guy just let me go. In Israel it was a lil bit more of a hassle and they guy threated to take my luggage of the ship etc., but after about 45 min. he let me go as well ( eh didn’t hurt I was a “hot’ tomale :)

Kat – I just found this site a few days ago — love it! Brings back memories … I am suppose to return to Rhodes at the end of January to visit an ex. I am excited but at the same time, finding your site is bringing back a lot of not to nice memories as well!

Wish you success wherever you end up!

Kat Reply:

E – Exiting and re-entering worked many years ago, but Greece entered Schengen and is enforcing it, so your advice is moot. One should never assume that what worked years ago or even last month is still relevant. In the future, please read up on rules and regulations before dispensing advice that can be damaging to others.

The rule is a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period, therefore exiting and re-entering only works if you are in Greece for 90 days, exit and stay out of the entire Schengen area for 90 days and then re-enter. You can read all about it by using the link for “Overstaying a visa in Greece” listed above. The assessment of fines is at the discretion of whoever is passing judgment at the border. Just because you weren’t fined doesn’t mean other people won’t be, and it has nothing to do with the hot tamale factor. In fact, the latter could work against you.


  sweet wrote @ September 13th, 2008 at 19:10


Thanks for all your insight. I read all of those posts, but I suppose my sophistication in these matters has increased in this last week.

I am looking into getting a lawyer to try to ram something through with connections, but their charges seem really outlandish. Lawyers have also told me the 2K/mo, so I am surprised the consulate asked for $1M, although not really so surprised.

Thank you again for taking the time to elaborate, and I have really enjoyed your site. I haven’t seen a lot of good expat resources. You do us a great service. I also read your history of apartments. You deserve a break!

  Jay (Jennifer) wrote @ September 14th, 2008 at 09:14

Kali Mera Kat!

Your site is impressive! Thanks for posting all this information.

This is not a response to this post, rather a request for clarification on a couple of things related to naturalization through ancestors and work permits through EU/Greek spouse. I read your instructions on comments and questions twice, so here goes!

Briefly here’s my story: I am Greek-American, married to a Greek national. We want to move to Greece. My mother’s father was born in Athens so my mother could claim citizenship (if she can locate all the right paperwork in Greece, which is another story, and NOT part of the question for you). My parents were married in the US in a civil wedding — not in the church.

My question: In your post called “FAQ: Greek work and/or residence permits” you offer a question “Can I get a residence/work permit as the non-EU spouse of my Greek/EU wife?” and your answer says “The residence/work permit granted to non-EU spouses and children (under 21) of Greek/EU citizens is only for pure non-EU citizens of no Greek origin” however, in your post about gaining citizenship through a grandfather born in Greece, you state that the church marriage license for the parents is a requirement.

If I read this correctly I may be out of luck on both counts, because of my parents’ decision 36 years ago (not to mention that I think it’s somewhat unlikely we can locate my Grandfather’s certificate of registration from the municipality, where he was born and registered).

Do you have any insight on this situaton?

Thanks so much!
Jay (Jennifer)

Kat Reply:

J – Hello there! I write articles as the law states the requirements, so I’m not going to repeat what I’ve already said. However, as you know, Greece sometimes is very strict about following them and lenient at other times, depending on who you are and how they feel at that moment.

Last I checked, all of the same documents were required for Greek citizenship. The worst that could happen is you apply without the church document and you’re denied; it costs you nothing, but time. Many times people check the municipality of an ancestor’s last residence or original birthplace, and the oikogeneiaki merida and birth certificate are there. It doesn’t hurt to try.

Same goes for the permit as a spouse of Greek citizen. If you apply for Greek citizenship and are denied, you would then have reason to apply for the permit and they might give it to you on those grounds. Again, it costs you nothing but time.

You must first exhaust your possibilities one-by-one before assuming defeat.

If you doubt or want to verify the information I’ve given, you are free to check with the Greek Consulate nearest you and see if they have additional or different advice.

  Jayesh wrote @ September 19th, 2008 at 04:12

I didn’t read any content in regards to what I am about to ask you so I don’t think this question would be redundant. Plus, since you haven’t posted in a while in regards to this particular subject.

Okay, here goes…My mom lives in Greece, was born in Greece and is a Greek citizen, both her parents were Greek.

I am going to go visit and stay with her. I think I want to stay over 90 days! I am also about to start the paperwork for my Greek citizenship, which is my birthright.

I know I will have to serve in the military when the process is complete.

If I am in the process of gaining my Greek citizenship (In other words, I have claimed Greek citizenship and the papers are moving through the system), I wonder if this allows me to stay more than the 90 days per 180 days allotted by US passport holders.

Thank you, and have a wonderful, wonderful day!

BTW, I do speak Greek very well if that means anything, but that would probably just carry “pionts”, if any from a discretionary standpoint.

Yasu Kooklitsa!!!

Kat Reply:

First, if a post has not been updated lately, it’s because there is nothing new to add; this one was updated quite recently, which in my opinion is rare given that articles from other sources are never updated.

I also don’t post redundant articles to create more work for myself and a goose chase for readers, in an attempt to get more hits as other websites do. It makes more sense to me to have one solid article.

The length of legal stay in Greece without being drafted is 90 days as an American citizen of Greek origin with or without Greek citizenship OR less than 180 days as a dual American-Greek citizen with the ‘permanent resident abroad’ certificate secured from the Hellenic Republic. You could have found this answer in, “Mandatory Military Service in Greece,” which is the second link quoted in the article above.

If you do not care about being drafted, you can stay an infinite amount of time in Greece as long as you have Greek citizenship. However, if you do not have Greek citizenship before arriving in Greece AND the process does not complete before your 90 days comes due, you do risk overstaying your visa as a sketo American citizen of Greek origin, entering an illegal resident status and will potentially pay a fine if you leave, which is detailed in, “Overstaying a visa in Greece.” Or if you don’t leave Greece, you’ll need to abstain from any official transactions until you get Greek citizenship.

There are no bonus points for speaking Greek. You are expected to speak Greek if you enlist in the army.

  Manolis (Mitch) wrote @ February 9th, 2009 at 06:29

I found your amazing website while searching google for a food recipe and have been reading for hours… all I can say is FANTASTIC I will be letting my Greek American friends on Facebook know about this invaluable information…

You asked about getting citizenship through my Greek born mother – That would be me and of course I have a story. (became a Greek citizen Feb 2008)

My name is Mitchell J Manuel M____ (Manolis Ioannis ______ — more on the name game later) and I am the youngest of 4 children, and we were all born in New Jersey USA. My parents were both born in Greece, married in Greece in 1956 and decided to go to America for a better life. After having us 4 kids and working for a few years in NJ, when I was 3 (1967) my dad got a business opportunity to run the first hotel on the island, so he packed us all up and moved us to Karpathos Greece where we stayed for 6 years (yea junta! ha ha) and then came back to NJ. Unfortunately, for unknown reasons my parents, did not “register us kids in the books” even though we went to the public school system there, etc.

After working most of their lives in NJ, they retired to their beloved island of Karpathos in 1990. My mom passed away in 2000 and my dad still lives there; he is now 82 and going strong.

In June 2006, I was living in the USA when I got the call dad was not doing so well. Not having seen him for a few years and only visiting Greece 3 times since I was a kid, I decided to take this as a wake-up call and go be near him for a while and help out.

After a while, dad recovered from a triple by-pass and, to make a long story short, I decided to apply for Greek citizenship to be able to come and go as I see fit without time restrictions. Also possible business opportunities in the EU, George W, etc.

Spoke to the Greek consulate in my home area who advised me about forms and application procedures from the USA or from Greece. It sounded like the USA route was easier, but I was spending more time in Greece so I started there. I also thought it would be a good experience to brave through the bureaucracy and see what i am in for…

The Adventure Begins
First I needed to find the dimatologia or ikogeniaki merida of each parent. Turns out dad was born in 1926 on the Island of Karpathos. The only problem with that is Karpathos at that time, along with the other 11 islands of the Dodekanisa, belonged to Italy. By the time the Dodekanisa came back to Greece, dad was not on the island and they wrote him down in the books as American because his dad was an American citizen – Anyway he officially became a Greek citizen in 1997, even though he was born (1926) and married (1956) in Karpathos. Oh well, dead end for me there.

They would not let me make my claim (etisi) from my dad because the law states he had to be a Greek citizen before i was born…(my dad was furious and wanted to fight the system but i had no interest – that’s his battle if he wants to deal with it)

So I had to file for my claim using mom’s info. After some confusion about what city she was born in, we found her info in Korydalo. Her family merida had some empty fields and incorrect information. It showed her parents born in Karpathos, and my mom and her 2 brothers born in Athens but only the youngest brother had the correct fields denoting eliniki ipikotita and eklogiko arithmo etc.. for the other 2 it had blank fields and “endiktiki egrafi” (not sure on the spelling) but anyway the dimo in Karpatho would not accept this as it does not prove my mom’s Greek citizenship. After weeks of this, I gave up and went back to the USA before my 90 days was up. I let my sister take over because she lived in Greece (married a Greek man in 1981 and moved to Pirea)

-Greek Miracle #1-
After a few months, my sister calls me up and notifies me that the dimatologia have been corrected and mom is now displayed as a Greek citizen. How? My sister begged, pleaded and became a pain in the arse to the point where the office staff called a retired lady who used to work at that office and remembered my mom and was able to correct the situation. (The ikogeniaki merida was incomplete and it did not make sense that the parents and 1 kid of the 3 were correct etc.. so they knew someone was lazy and did not fill in all the fields – kind of like here is one with all the fields ditto on the other 2 – even though its not allowed).

So in December 2006, i got my 4 required documents (1)my apostatized birth certificate translated to Greek by the ipourgio exoterikon sto monastiraki, 2)a copy of my USA passport, 3)my parents wedding certificate and 4)my moms Greek info paperwork stating she was born a Greek citizen. I had to present this in person to the Dodekanisa normahio which is in old town on the island of Rhodes and sign the etisi in person. I took this opportunity to discuss my name situation. I told them that I wanted my name to be Emmanouil Ioannis ____ and not Mitchell J Manuel _____ because my parents name is _____ (with proof), and I was baptised Emmanouil in Karpathos when I was 4 years old (humiliating experience).

They could look up my baptism and my middle initial is J for John or Ioannis and Manuel in my birth certificate. They told me the law says we have to use whatever the translation to Greek was from the ipourgio… so this would have been Mihalis for Mitchell then my dad’s first name of Ioannis then _____ for my last name. But she said because I was nice and she saw my point after looking at the other documents in my application – she would try and help out – no promises) OK!

At this point, the office in Rodo told me they have to research all this information including my dad’s strange problem with citizenship. I asked why include my dad since I am petitioning for citizenship from my mom Sophia – the response was this is Greece and how we do things here – so i kept quiet. I asked how long this was going to take and if I should stay in Greece or leave. They basically in so much Greek double talk that if i leave the country I will need to come back anyway to sign some other papers or I could stay while they are processing even though I will go over my 90 days (I then found out this has to do with the army), and I did not know about the Schengen fine till I read the article on your website recently.

I decided to risk it and stay, and after about 3 months the research ended and my application was accepted in Rodo

-Greek Miracle #2- My name change was approved too!!
Now Rhodes creates protokolo file and sends it to the arhiko lixearhio in athens where they write me into the books there (dimatologia) and then send my file back to Rhodes and a copy to me (waiting in Karpathos with my dad). Rhodes then sends it official courier to Karpathos dimo where the mayor (a friend of my dad’s) has to sign it. Then I sign an epefthini dilosi stating how many times i have entered Greece my entire life. So I did, and the Karpathos Dimo sends it by Dimo courier back to Rhodes.

ROAD BLOCK – Rhodes claims the ipefthini dilosi is not good enough – I have to present them with an official afixion ke anahorision from the time i was 11 years old to today. This document can only be provided by the Greek consulate in the USA city I last resided. They cannot write me in the mitroa arenon without it. I call up the consulate and they want proof in the form of passports plane tickets etc.. since I was 11 or no-go it all stops here. I figured there is no way i can get this document – the only proof i have is my current passport and that’s it.

-Greek Miracle #3-
Turns out the lady I was talking to at the consulate is the niece of the man that was next to my dad during the heart surgery a few months back… roadblock avoided!

The normahio in Rhodes wrote me in then sent it back to Karpathos where I was given a new ikogeniaki merida (dad thought this was wrong should go under his but didn’t) and I got my Greek ID taftotita at the police station (need a witness with Greek taftotita) no oath needed.

Kat Reply:

M – Hi there and thank you for your nice compliment and sharing your story with us. I opened this post and transferred the relevant portion of your original comment here because others may benefit, and I left the military portion back on the military post. Also, your surname(s) were removed to protect your privacy, which I assure you is an issue on this website.

Just so you know, I was looking for someone to share a story about claiming Greek citizenship through a single/divorced Greek mother without a Greek father. Why? Many people I know born before 1984 who only have a Greek mother and not a Greek father were denied Greek citizenship.

Being as your dad is of Greek origin and born in Greece and married in Greece, it’s not quite what I was looking for. However, it’s a very good story about the length of time it can take to claim Greek citizenship and also illustrates how a lawyer is not necessary but record keeping, connections and patience are definitely factors in the process. I’m very grateful you took the time to write out such detail. It provides a good balance.

I’m glad you persevered and, in the end, everything worked out and you’re in Greece. Looking forward to having your continued readership and that of your friends! :)

  Lauren wrote @ March 6th, 2009 at 02:04

Your site is so extensive and has a lot of useful information! I’m finding it very helpful. I have a question about something that was mentioned in the article: “The act of being born to at least one parent/grandparent of Greek origin does not mean you have Greek citizenship if you were born outside of Greece.” My mother was born in Greece but moved to the United States when she was a child, obtained American citizenship, and has lived there ever since. She married an non-Greek man. I was born outside of Greece, which means I don’t have Greek citizenship, but I could apply for it by claiming Greek origin. Am I understanding this correctly? I am currently living in London. Would I need to return to the United States to apply for Greek citizenship? What are some reasons people are denied citizenship? Thanks in advance for your help! :)

Kat Reply:

The answers to your three questions (not one) are:

1) Yes, the article says this;
2) Under “Applying for citizenship outside of Greece” in this article, it says you can apply for Greek citizenship at any Greek Embassy or Greek Consulate;
3) As I’m not Greek and all Greeks in my life have citizenship, I assume denial has to do with missing documents, poor criminal record, interpreting the law incorrectly, i.e., trying to claim through a great grandfather or any ancestor (law does not say this, as I say above), not being Greek Orthodox (see commentator ‘F’ above).

  Germaine wrote @ May 26th, 2009 at 17:20

hi, love your info this it is very helpful, i have query though my mum is greek she got it through her mum, my granma (who is deceased) also has the greek passport too, my mum’s sister and her whole family (kids husband) live in Athens.

I have the Egyptian passport though i was born in kuwait and and living in Dubai, UAE. My question is, i want to apply for the greek passport, so which category would i go under, applying for a cizitenchip by greek origin or this would not be considered so? and will have to go through the long procedure of living in greece and learning the language and all the rest then???!!

Thank you for your propmt reply and help. :)


Kat Reply:

Hi Germaine. Well, here’s the thing; you didn’t give me enough information to help you, so I’ll give you two options and hope that one of them suits you.

1) If you could somehow apply via the method I describe above “by Greek origin” through a grandfather or father born in Greece, that’s the easiest and fastest way; it sounds like your mother was not born in Greece, so you couldn’t apply through her.

2) However, if your father and both your grandfathers were not born in Greece, or they cannot find birth records for them for whatever reason (war, poor recordkeeping, etc.), then you could still get it “by naturalization” from your maternal grandmother, as your mother did without having to learn the language and living in Greece. To see what I mean, please look at ‘Lukas’ comment on the article “Greek citizenship by naturalization.” He’s also mentioned in the article above. You’ll wait a little longer to be processed, but you’ll eventually get it and bypass most of requirements normally demanded if it’s proven you’re of Greek origin, which of course you are.

Use the article above on Greek origin to start gathering your documents, get your apostilles and translations (if applicable); perhaps your mom has most of them already or knows where to get them. Then go to the Greek Consulate/Embassy nearest you, get an application and start the process. It is also important to note that Egypt does allow dual citizenship, and that is the first thing everyone should check before starting down the road toward another citizenship — checking if the country of your current citizenship allows it. Good luck.

  Michael wrote @ May 26th, 2009 at 19:27

When I ask for information from the Greek Embassy in the USA, I am either ignored or sent tourist packets.
I’m trying to gain dual citizenship through my parents who were born on the Island of Skopelos. My father was registered at birth in the City Hall, but my mother was born right before 1900, so she was a non-person then and not registered.

When I went to the INS Office in Athens, they were so rude that I would not entertain anyone going there. I had a Greek national with me to serve as an interpreter, as well, as my Greek is passable but far from fluent.

How have the laws changed by now in 2009?

Kat Reply:

Hi Michael, the way you were treated has nothing to do with the law or language skills, that’s just how it is. And anyway, why would you want the law to change? You qualify for Greek citizenship through your father. Unless you already have all your documents (birth certificates, marriage certificates, baptismal certificates, apostilles, translations, etc.), all you need from the Interior Ministry or any local Mayor’s office or City Hall at this point is an application.

Use the article I provided as a guide to gathering your documents, get an application and realize that this is just the tip of the iceberg if you intend on dealing with Greece and Greek public services.

  Nikos wrote @ June 16th, 2009 at 14:55

Great website I must say!

I wanted to ask a few questions, and this is my story. My father is Greek (born and resided in Greece). I hold a Greek passport and Greek ID, does this make me a citizen of Greece?

If yes, will I lose this citizenship if I don’t attend the army? I am currently studying in University and I have two more years to complete. Can I finish these two years and then serve?

Thank you!

Kat Reply:

You could have found the answer by reading the above article more carefully or “Greek passport” or “Greek ID/tautotita” and “Greek military service,” which are all links offered in the article. In short: a) yes, b) no, c) yes.

  Renita wrote @ June 16th, 2009 at 19:08

I am just beginning to try for dual citizenship. I am American-Greek. My grandfather was born in Greece. I have read so much information on going about with the procedures to obtain the citizenship. I have read and reread many websites talking about what you need and the risk of military drafting. Since I am not male, the military draft doesn’t affect me right? Women are not held to military service like men are, correct?

My one big question that I seem to not find any answers or questions about is, If I obtain Greek citizenship, will I have to pay taxes to Greece also? I have read the downsides to the process, but still it seems to easy a deal once granted. What are the catches in having the dual citizenship. If getting the citizenship will I have to abide by the laws for taxes and whatever else the government puts on its people. Even if I don’t live in Greece? What if I want to buy property there. Will I be treated like any citizen and be able to go about my business like anybody else?

Kat Reply:

Hmm, that wasn’t one question. In any case, most of your questions are already asked and answered on this website, and most of those articles are linked in the above article.
a) Military for Greek females: Read, “Greek military service” (in article)
b) Taxes: Read, articles under “Taxes.”
c) Guidelines for American-Greek dual citizens: Read, “American and Greek dual citizenship” (in article)
* Please search or read more carefully next time or your questions won’t be published, per my policy.

d) Downsides? This is a very subjective question. Depends on what you consider downsides.
e) Buying property: You’re subject to laws and bureaucracy just like any other person who buys property here.
f) Will you be treated the same? In theory, yes. In reality, no. If you read the comments attached to many posts on this website, many repatriated Greeks say they are discriminated against for not being Greek enough (aka, born in Greece, speak Greek, raised in Greece, never left Greece).

  Nestor wrote @ June 27th, 2009 at 15:44


Great site Kat! It’s really helped me!

I just finished the process of becoming a Greek citizen due to a claim of ancestry through my father. It only took me a little over three months to get citizenship and a Greek ID in my hands, but it was extremely aggravating at times. This is why I would like to share how I did it to help others avoid the aggravation and confusion that I suffered.

First, in the US

I went to the courthouse where my parents were married to take a copy of their marriage certificate. Along with this I took a copy of my birth certificate to the state capital to get apostilles for them.

In Greece

I took my American documents to the translation office in Psiri, Athens and then I went to the δημαρχειο (city hall) where my father was registered and I got his birth certificate and a πιστοποιητικο οικογενειακης καταστασης (certificate of family situation?). When my American documents were ready I took my parents marriage certificate to the main courthouse in Athens for a stamp and a signature. After that I took everything to the Ληξαρχειο (registry) on Mitropoleos in Athens to be registered. After providing them with everything and answering a few questions they gave me a πραξη γεννησης (registration of birth) and a πραξη γαμου (registration of marriage).

Then I sent a copy of my passport and birth certificate to the Greek consulate in the US so they could send a πραξη καθορισμου ηλικιας to the δημαρχειο. When that arrived I took everything and two photos to the δημαρχειο, where a nice woman put everything together for me and sent me with the package to the Νομαρχειο (interior ministry) to drop it off and receive a receipt.

After an month and a half, or two, they had everything ready at the Νομαρχειο and they sent a decision to the δημαρχειο. I went to the δημαρχειο, signed a paper and returned after two days to pick up a πιστοποιητικο γεννησης (birth certificate) which was specifically for a ταυτοτητα (ID).

With my new birth certificate, four photos and my father as a witness I signed up for an ID, which I picked up the next day.

The whole process took three months and one week, with remarkable confusion and a lot of footwork. If everything is translated, you get a καθορισμο ηλικιας , you bring a Greek friend and you know what you’re doing it will definitely take less time than that because if you have Greek origins, you are already Greek, so it’s not very complicated. I would like to stress again the importance of having a Greek friend accompany you, I really, really appreciated having someone accompany me.

Anyway, that’s what I did. I hope this could help somebody.

Kat Reply:

Thank you for taking the time to write everything out and share your story, Nestor. I appreciate it and may use some parts to update the article to include more detail. Along the way, I’m glad this website was also able to assist you. All the best :)

  Tony wrote @ July 28th, 2009 at 09:40

Why do I need a baptism certificate, Greece is a secular country right? Both my parents are born in Greece, but i haven’t been baptised, what does this mean for me?

Kat Reply:

I’ve heard of cases, including F. Anna above, where people are denied Greek citizenship if not baptized Greek Orthodox. The challenge in dealing with issues like these in a country with flexible rules is you never know what’s going to happen in your case. Maybe something, maybe nothing.

  TG wrote @ September 8th, 2009 at 07:49

Very confusing. My Greek grandfather died in 1941, more than 20 years before my birth so obviously he didn’t register me anywhere. Would I be denied ??

Kat Reply:

Just because your grandfather or father didn’t register you, doesn’t mean you can’t gather the documents listed above, stake a claim and register yourself or create your own oikogeneiaki merida. People much younger than you have done it.

Ancestry is the absolute easiest path to Greek citizenship with no demand for language fluency, years of residency in the country, knowledge of ancient Greece, years of waiting or a 1500-euro fee.

An oikogeneiaki merida is a depository of papers, such as birth certificates, marriage/divorce records, where a family has their voting rights. It’s normally created at City Hall or the Mayor’s office where the eldest living male was born, though younger male family members can break off into their own and register/transfer elsewhere once they get married. So if your grandfather was born in Larissa, his oikogeneiaki merida and all documents relating to his life are probably there. You can access them by contacting the Mayor’s Office (Dimarxeio), Greek Consulate/Embassy nearest you or KEP.

Greece does not work like other countries, and getting things done will require you to be proactive and very patient. You can’t be denied if you never apply.

  Olga wrote @ September 8th, 2009 at 23:09

So I went to the Dimarheio to get the Aitisi Politografisis (I have a photocopy)… I was then told that because my parents were born in Greece I dont need this Aitisi (this is for people from Albania/Bulgaria etc) and from the tone of the aitisi that is what it seemed like. Apparently I need to now go to the Leksiarheio in Athens because I have all the documentation and Apostille and it will only take a few short moments with a wait of 2-3 weeks… IS THIS TRUE?!

Kat Reply:

Nope. You’re not even half way through the process, and I think you mean lixiarcheio. You can take a look at Nestor’s comment above. His parents were born in Greece much like yours, and he did what you’re trying to do.

If you’re going to embrace citizenship and everything Greece has to offer (good and bad), you must decide who you’re going to believe and persevere, take your chances and enlist a lawyer/relative/friend to help you, or go forward on your own and learn the hard way. Please feel free to choose other sources, if you doubt the information I’ve presented. Good luck!

  Annie wrote @ September 9th, 2009 at 11:13

Hi, What a fantastic and useful site. I am South African, my father is registered in Greece. He has never returned to Greece and does not have a Greek passport. I was not registered in Greece, I am now married with 2 children (South African) and would like to apply for my Greek passport. I am wanting to move to Greece with my husband and children. My family owns property and we are hoping to do something on the tourism side. What would you suggest is the best course of action? I look forward to hearing from you. Again, this site is a wealth of information. Take care.

Kat Reply:

As I say in “Comments, Questions and Contacting Me,” I cannot offer personal consultation (free or paid) because I have a full-time career, family and life of my own. This site was created out of charity in my free time to help thousands help themselves. Once in Greece, you’ll find very little assistance that is accurate and up to date (especially for free), so it’s good to get used to being proactive.

You didn’t provide enough info to give you a starting point. Assuming your father or grandfather was born in Greece, you could start by applying for Greek citizenship for you and your children since you can’t get Greek passports otherwise, as the above article says. Aside from that, there are articles on this site about getting a Greek passport (link in article), Greek national ID (link in article), how to get a permit for your husband and “Starting a Business in Greece“. All are listed on the front page. Good luck!

* This post will be temporarily closed to questions and comments because — aside from Manolis (Mitch) and Nestor who were kind enough to make contributions — people keep asking questions that have already been answered. It makes more sense that I spend time publishing new information that benefits everyone, than repeating existing info that benefits no one.

  Lydia wrote @ November 9th, 2009 at 11:38

My grandfather was born in Greece, Salonika in 1921. I don’t know if he applied for Greek citizenship or not but when he was 6 they moved to Turkey. On his Turkish id it said Thessaloniki as a birth place but when the id’s renewed they had changed it to Izmir. Do I have a right to apply Greek citizenship if I prove that my grandfather was born in Greece?

Kat Reply:

Because your grandfather was born in Greece, you have the right to claim Greek citizenship through him as long as you gather the documents above and follow the process through to the end. It does not matter where he emigrated after that.

  Bill wrote @ May 13th, 2010 at 03:08

My kids expressed interest in becoming Greek citizens. I was born in Greece and when I went to Greece and tried to establish an “oikogeniakh merida” the bureaucracy sent me to the lixiarxeio then KEP and to the Mitropolis. That was May 2009. I told them they would soon go bankrupt. My prediction came true.

I became an American citizen without an apostille, by simply having a travel agent, translating a Greek birth certificate and then going to a Notary Public, filing in an application and getting fingerprints from the local police. A much simpler process. And as Einstein said “make it as simple as possible”.

Greece is synonymous with corruption and endless bureaucracy. I am glad I left. It is a beautiful country but a terrible place to deal with the choking bureaucracy.

I am retiring in Hawaii. To hell with Greece.

  Emanuel wrote @ August 13th, 2010 at 01:15

My grandfather was born in Mytilene – Lesvos – Greece. He got married in Greece to a Greek woman, for awhile he travelled and spent sometime in Brazil, where he met my grandmother. They never married but he registered my mother as his daughter. After her birth he moved back to Greece for the family he already had there and transferred his documents to Athens after getting back to Greece.

So my question, is having his birth certificate that includes also his death, his marriage to his official wife and all the other information about the children he had in his marriage, and the army certificate, do you think will be possible to apply for my citizenship?

The consulate in my city already provided the translations and stamped the following documents:
My mother’s birth certificate, my parents marriage certificate, my father’s death certificate, my birth certificate, my mothers id, my id, my mother’s negative certificate of criminal records from Brazil, my negative certificate of criminal records from Brazil. also they asked for two passport pictures and I guess there will be papers for me to sign as an application.

So the consulate told me to go first to Athens and register all the documents at the lixiarxeio, and then go to Lesvos were my grandfather was born to try to do the citizenship at the Perifereia there.

As my grandfather moved to Athens and so his documents, do you think I should follow the steps I was told? The Greek consulate here thinks going to Lesvos will be an easier way because in Athens there will thousands of requests, but I am feeling pretty insecure. I am travelling august 23th, so I have been studying greek as I expect many people will not understand me in english, french or portuguese.

Please if you can advise me and give me any further information I would be so grateful! I don’t know how the law will take a child born outside the marriage.

Thank you so much in advance

Best regards


Kat Reply:

What I’m about to say is purely my opinion based on current documented laws, the experience of others who went through the Greek citizenship process, and my knowledge of Greece. I am not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be one.

Your grandfather registered your mother as his daughter, so that means he legally recognized her. Recognition is one way by which your mother could receive Greek citizenship even though she was not born in Greece. Whether your grandmother was married to your grandfather is irrelevant.

You need to follow the advice of the Greek consulate in your city, purely because it was dispensed by staff representing the Hellenic Republic. It’s hard to say whether it’s right or wrong for two reasons:
a) Getting bureaucracy done between July and beginning of September is a gamble because people are on vacation. There are more applications in Athens but also more staff than Lesvos;
b) this is Greece, where results may vary and there’s no way to know what will happen for better or worse.
You are correct in thinking you’ll need to speak some Greek or be accompanied by someone who does.

You didn’t say if your mother had applied for Greek citizenship, but your application may be processed a bit quicker if she did. One thing you should keep in mind is the Greek Citizenship Code changed on May 28, 2010 (a 52-page document I’m translating right now), and they may ask you to meet more requirements and/or be a bit more cautious in reviewing your application.

There’s no way I can answer if you’ll be granted Greek citizenship, as this decision is rendered by a committee. The first step is trying, and you’re doing that. Have patience and perseverance to the end.

If you remember me or would like to give back to this website, please take notes of your experiences, come back and tell us how it went. It’d be of interest to learn how the process has changed (or not) since the new law took effect and also because your case is unique. All best.

  Angela wrote @ August 17th, 2010 at 06:27

I am trying to get dual citizenship with Greece and need dad’s Cerificate of Registration, but the staff in Rhodes say he doesn’t have one; I live in Australia.

My dad was born in Rhodes. Went to the consulate yesterday and they tell me dad has been removed from the register in Rhodes and is no longer recognised as a citizen there. They faxed a letter to the Consulate in Sydney (I have a copy) but there is no reason stated, only that it happened in 1968 and was a decision made by the Prefecture of Dodeconese. Dad has no ideas about it or why. I thought you remained a citizen unless you renounced it. I don’t know if names have been confused or not, but the consulate say it is dad and i can go no further in obtaining citizenship. I find this hard to believe.

Where do I go now? What can I do? Any ideas?

Kat Reply:

The information you provided was limited, so my ability to advise you reflects that.

“Removed from the register in Rhodes and is no longer recognised as a citizen there.” I don’t necessarily interpret this as he’s no longer recognised as a Greek citizen in the whole country of Greece, just not in Rhodes.

I never intend on being a Greek citizen or heard of anyone encountering this specific situation. But common sense says the first thing to do is for your father to contact city hall or mayor’s office in Rhodes and ask why he was removed from the register and how he can fix it. You cannot go further until he does, and I would think he wants to remedy this since it concerns permanent records. It’s not the consulate’s job to act as a liaison in these affairs; it must be done by the person it concerns. He should have ready any documentation of his Greek citizenship as proof: Birth certificates, setting up an oikogeneiaki merida, marriage certificate, baptism, anything.

  Karen wrote @ August 17th, 2010 at 18:33

Thank you so much for this information.

I have been studying it, and I am getting my documents organized to send for apostille. For one requirement it seems not to apply to me, but I wanted to check:
A pistopoiitiko oikogeneiakis katastasis—a certificate of family situation for my parents, obtained from the oikogeneiakis merida via the KEP or the Greek Consulate. If I am staking claim based on my grandfather (born in Greece) and mother (born in the US), is my parents marriage certificate (U.S. issued) and my grandparents marriage certificate what I need, and not the certificate of family situation?

Do you have any insight on this?
Thanks so much,

Kat Reply:

You didn’t provide enough information for me to advise you properly, so unfortunately I need to give you a general answer and send you elsewhere.

If your father was born in Greece, you need a certificate of family situation issued in Greece (no apostille required).

If your father wasn’t born in Greece and you are staking this claim through your grandfather, be aware that the new Greek Citizenship Code that took effect May 28, 2010 says there is a longer process for anyone of Greek origin/descent/ancestry not staking a claim through a mother/father born in Greece. The information above does not reflect these changes because I am still mucking through the 52-page law, as I note at the beginning of the article.

Gather as many documents as you can on the list and seek out the official advice of the Greek consulate or Greek embassy nearest you.

  emanuel wrote @ August 20th, 2010 at 00:49

Dear Kat

Thank you so much for your answer, I am actually taking with me a procuration of my mother, registered and stamped by the consulate, so I will keep myself positive and I will follow all the steps the Consul and what you have posted here. As soon as I know the way it will take I will let you know!

Once again thank you for helping all of us trying to get in touch with our roots!
Best regards

Kat Reply:

People who are kind, grateful and willing to give back to the website instead of just taking information all the time or helping a competitor make it worth it for me. Thank you for being one of those special people. I look forward to hearing what happens.

  Peter_Montreal wrote @ August 25th, 2010 at 00:27

Hi there, I am first generation Canadian, my parents, grandparents, great grandparents etc..were all born in Greece. I was lucky enough to learn our beautiful culture, and spent 10 years studying Greek. I would like to apply for citizenship in Greece, I was baptized Greek orthodox and still have a very tattered original copy, as well as a new one but this is from the government of Quebec. My parents were married in Canada when they first arrived here about 47 years ago. What papers do I need to present to the Greek consulate? Should my parents have registered me in Greece? Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated :)

Kat Reply:

Help and advice other than the 3000 words compiled above? I get the feeling you didn’t read the article because the answer to your first question about what you need to take to the Greek consulate is meticulously detailed in the section, “Documents needed to apply for Greek citizenship.” The answer to your second question is ‘yes,’ but you can register yourself if they did not (also written in the article). Commentator ‘Nestor’ also described on June 27, 2009 that he registered himself.

All best.

  Peter_Montreal wrote @ August 25th, 2010 at 07:06

Ok thanks Kat, yes a ton of stuff to read but unfortunately I just skimmed through it, appreciate your help.

Kat Reply:

This article has saved thousands of people time, money and lawyer’s fees. If you don’t wish to read what’s written above, or benefit from the experience of those who successfully did the same thing, feel free to decipher the 18,000-word Greek Citizenship Code or just go straight to the Greek consulate. All best.

*Note to everyone: Around this time last year, I closed this post to comments and questions because people kept violating the policy stated in, “Comments, Questions and Contacting Me.” I reopened this post less than 2 weeks ago, and it’s happening again. My special commentators and I did all the hard work for you, but the info can only help you if you want to help yourself.

  mardge wrote @ September 8th, 2010 at 22:03

Thank you for a great and informative website. My father was born in Greece and was registered there but left with his parents to emigrate to the US when he was a child. He did not return to Greece to fulfill his mandatory military service and therefore lost his registration/citizenship (this could explain similar situations in the posts above). An easy way to rectify the situation would have been for him to reapply for Greek citizenship which, if granted, would have made it very easy for me to obtain the same. But my father passed away a few years ago.

I do have a grandfather who was a Greek citizen, completed his military service, and was registered in Greece. I was told by a lawyer that because my father is no longer registered that this breaks the link. Do you agree, or do you think I can still make a claim based upon my grandfather (and even my father who was born and had been registered in Greece?

The lawyer thinks I will need to apply for Greek citizenship via the naturalization process as a person of Greek origin, but I would then be subjected to having an interview at the consulate, speaking Greek, knowing Greek culture, etc. Although I can do this, I believe that given my grandfather’s citizenship and even my father’s Greek birth and citizenship, that I should be able to obtain my Greek citizenship through the easier process. Do you agree, or recommend the naturalization process for me? Thank you so much for your advice.

Kat Reply:

I’m not a lawyer nor do I pretend to be one, so please take what I say as an opinion based on knowledge of the current Greek Citizenship Code and the experiences of others completing the citizenship process.

The Greek Citizenship Code changed a few months ago. Those staking a claim to Greek citizenship via a mother or father born in Greece go through an expedited process. Those staking a claim through a grandfather or grandmother born in Greece go through a shorter naturalization process, with less bureaucracy and fewer eligibility requirements than the full naturalization process required of non-EU citizens or EU citizens of no Greek origin. (In the near future, I will create separate articles to address these changes).

Your father was born in Greece but lost his registration and citizenship. Your grandfather retains his status. If you are processed purely through your grandfather, you will go through the shorter naturalization process, not the expedited process; it has nothing to do with breaking the link/chain. If you read comments attached to “Greek citizenship via naturalization,” commentators Lukas and Jason are doing it now.

You don’t need a lawyer. My recommendation is to seek official advice from the Greek embassy or consulate nearest your current residence because your father’s status makes yours a special case. I am not in a position to agree or disagree.

Thank you so much for sharing your story and, if you think of it, please let us know what happens as you move through the process.

  Mari wrote @ September 15th, 2010 at 12:54


I’ve been told my whole life our family’s ancestry is from Greece. The story goes…my great grandfather migrated from Athens to Haiti, then my grandfather migrated to the USA.

…so that’s how when, people see my last name, then they see me (I’m black of course)..they get thrown off! ;-) (it’s very funny now actually).

I’ve played college and professional basketball overseas in Europe and EVERYONE is always on me about ‘Why don’t I get a Greek passport?’…I’ve been in Greece now for almost 3 weeks meeting with teams who would do anything to have me as a Greek player…but none of them have a clue themselves how I could get a passport with now papers.

I’ve really enjoyed Greece and would love to help connect my family with its roots through my being here (I learned that my uncle named ‘Leonidas'; is the king of Sparta’s name… from the movie 300!…that was cool to learn). And, it confirmed that, the Greek roots aren’t too far behind us…though NO ONE ‘alive’ in our family knows any more information about my great…great grandfather besides that he’s from Athens (I’m in Athens now, its huge!) and his name was Dora ____ (they said he changed it when he got to Haiti for some reason). ;-?

Is there like a blood test or something they do on men to prove where they are from (I’m not joking, I saw it on a PBS special about tracking down ancestry)…b/c I think that’s the only shot I’ve got!

Thank you in advance.

PS. Why doesn’t anyone in Greece know anything about getting passports?..its so frustrating!…also, b/c of Haiti’s dictatorships and recent earthquake…documents have been destroyed…especially the ones from the late 1800’s-early 1900’s.!

Kat Reply:

Hi Mari,

In order to get a Greek passport, you need to have Greek citizenship as the first step. So you’re commenting on the correct post, but the process for claiming Greek citizenship through a great-grandfather is not usually processed if no other ancestors born outside Greece claimed Greek citizenship before you. For example, if your grandfather claimed Greek citizenship through your great-grandfather, or your father claimed Greek citizenship through your grandfather or great-grandfather, it’d be much easier for you to have it processed.

Having a Greek name and a blood test, unfortunately, aren’t enough to stake a claim. So what are your options? You need to find out where your great-grandfather’s documents are located in Athens, if they weren’t destroyed or lost. People usually keep them at the city hall or mayor’s office in the municipality they were born or spent most of their life.

Without your great-grandfather’s documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate, baptism record), it’s highly unlikely you can stake a claim to Greek citizenship if your grandfather (born in Haiti) and father (born in the USA) were not born in Greece and/or didn’t already stake a claim to Greek citizenship. In this case, your only path to Greek citizenship and a Greek passport is through naturalization, which takes considerably longer and involves far more requirements. See “Greek citizenship through naturalization.”

If a team is serious about taking you on as a player, it can be done without Greek citizenship or a Greek passport. Josh Childress played for Olympiakos Piraeus and never had Greek/EU citizenship; his team simply got him a Greek residence/work permit.

Many people in Greece dispense suggestions without knowing the law or bureaucracy involved. They have a lawyer handle it, don’t remember what they did years ago, won’t look it up or have their mommy/daddy/husband handle their affairs, even though they’re perfectly capable adults. There’s also the issue of transparency and laws changing often, though that’s getting somewhat better. And a small minority like to stonewall foreigners, believing Greek citizenship and Greek passports are only for pure Greeks.

  Mari wrote @ October 3rd, 2010 at 01:24

Thank you, you were very helpful. I am already on a team in Greece, so that’s not an issue. I think what they were hoping is that I could play on the National team.

Anywho, looks like an enigma, but we’ll see…I’ll do my best, besides, it’s been fun learning more about my ancestry ;-)
Thank you,

  Andriana wrote @ October 4th, 2010 at 17:33


I recently started the process of obtaining my citizenship, I have submitted my paperwork to lixarheio in Athens and the next stop as I was told was to go to the area where my father is registered, which in Karditsa. My question is that I live in Athens and dont have much ties there, can I go to my local KEP here in Athens and have them transfer my information to Athens and be registered here? I dont see the point of me going to Karditsa when I will have them transfer me here in Athens as well? Is there anyway I can avoid going there and taking care of things through KEP?

Kat Reply:

You didn’t say why you were being sent to Karditsa, so I’m not sure how to answer your question. All I can do is guess and give you some general information.

If you were being asked to request documents from Karditsa, you can request your birth certificate or pistopoiitiko oikogeneiakis katastasis through any KEP as long as the information you give them is accurate. If it’s not, nothing will happen.

If you’re being asked to register your Greek citizenship paperwork there, you can also have that taken care of via KEP. They’ll fax the necessary documents to the city hall or mayor’s office in Karditsa where your father is registered.

You don’t need to go to Karditsa.

About being registered in Athens, this is the way I understand it. You must stay with your father’s oikogeneiaki merida until you are married, and then you can break away and be registered and have your own oikogeneiaki merida wherever you and your spouse prefer.

I hope the information I provided from first-hand experience was helpful, and you’ll come back and correct me if it was not. All best.

  Eleni wrote @ October 13th, 2010 at 07:08

Gia Sou!
I am a Canadian Citizen trying to obtain my Greek Citizenship. All 4 of my grandparents where born in Greece, married and registered in Canada, and had their children in Canada. It is unclear if their marriages are registered in Greece, but neither of my parents are registered in Greece. I have an apartment there, my boyfriend is there, and I finally found a job there-I just want to live in Greece! I have contacted the Greek Embassy in Canada and have sent every paper they have asked for. Now I feel like they are playing games. What are my rights? What should I do? You advice and guidance is appreciated!

Kat Reply:

Only people claiming Greek citizenship through a mother or father born in Greece qualify for an expedited process, as it says in the article. Because you are staking a claim through your grandparents, you must go through the slightly longer naturalization process, as I said in the article and to other commentators above you.

You didn’t say how long you’ve been waiting, but look at the comments left by Greeks doing the same both above and on “Greek citizenship via naturalization” and see that some have been waiting several months to more than a year. It’s wrong to expect the same speed and efficiency you enjoy in Canada from Greece. It has nothing to do with playing games. That’s how it is, unless you or your boyfriend have connections and work them.

Your rights? As a person of Greek origin generations removed, you are already enjoy far more rights than non-EU citizens like me who must live in Greece continuously for several years, pass four tests, pay a lot of money and learn the language fluently before even applying for Greek citizenship. You also won’t need to serve military duty, as your male counterparts do.

Having rights in Greece is also theoretical since they often mean nothing if the government isn’t taking responsibility and honoring them.

  Nina wrote @ October 14th, 2010 at 05:08

So I have been in this 2 year process of gathering documents to get Greek citizenship. I am going through my Papou (my dad’s father) who was born in Greece and I have his birth certificate from Greece. I also have finally collected all the other necessary documents as follows:

My birth certificate, my parents’ birth certificate, my parents’ marriage certificate from the church/and state, my baptism certificate (Greek Orthodox). The one thing that I am not sure if I really need to get citizenship is the marriage certificate for my grandparents from the church. I have their marriage certificate from the state. They got married in Boston, Mass and I have the certificate which states their names, date, where, and who married them( it was a Greek clergy man).

I was in Greece a few months ago and I went to some office to ask questions and to apply for citizenship, but the woman said that I need a marriage certificate from the church that my grandparents got married in. However, i don’t think that they did get married in a church…no one in my family knows. Your website says that you don’t need the marriage certificate from the church for the grandparents, so must I have it still?

Thank You!

Kat Reply:

Hi Nina,

There was a delay in getting back to you because I needed to do a bit of research, and I still do not have a definitive answer to your question. As I understand, all Greek church documents (baptismal, wedding) need to be certified by the Church of Greece in Greece; having them certified by the Archdiocese in a country outside Greece is not enough. However, because you don’t know if they were married in a church or not, I don’t know how to advise you.

You need to get in contact with and follow the official advice given to you by the ministry of foreign affairs or interior ministry in Greece or a representative at the Greek consulate/embassy nearest your residence. My article offers people guidance in gathering documents and is constantly being refined over time based on people’s real-life experiences, plus Greek bureaucracy (as you may know) is never black and white. There are several shades of gray, and each person’s case is highly unique.

  Tim wrote @ October 18th, 2010 at 00:00

I love your website. I am American born citizen, seeking Greek citizenship via Greek origin by my grandfather, who was born in Spoa, Karpathos in 1890. Would you know how I may find his birth certificate? Should I contact the civil authorities in Karpathos, or go to the Greek Consulate in San Francisco for assistance?

Thank you, Tim

Kat Reply:

Please take a look at the article above, which dispenses guidance on where to obtain different documents you need to start the application process for Greek citizenship, including Greek birth certificates. The Greek consulate can help, but it’s often quicker to do it yourself.

  Andriana wrote @ November 7th, 2010 at 22:22

Hello! I wrote to you on Oct. 4th regarding the citizenship process and thank you for responding. In regards to my paperwork being registered in Karditsa I went to KEP like you said and registered through them and they faxed my information to dimarheio. What is the next step? do I wait to hear from KEP or should I call the dimarheio regarding the process?

Kat Reply:

Hello again. You can check with KEP to make sure the transmission went through, or call Karditsa and make sure your papers were accepted. No one will call you.

Regarding status of your citizenship papers being processed, that’s a different matter. I cannot advise you properly because I don’t know where you are in the process based on the two comments you left, as no details were given. For example, have you already been issued a πράξης γεννήσεως/praxi genniseos and/or πράξη γάμου/praxi gamou? Did you already send a copy of your passport and certificate to the Greek consulate/embassy where you’re originally from? Did they send a πράξη καθαρισμό ηλιακίας/praxi katharismo ilikias (age clearance) to the dimarxeio?

All of these steps are listed in the article above as part of the process.

  maria wrote @ November 10th, 2010 at 10:28

Hi Kat,

Thanks for your great website! I, too, am and have been in process for quite some years! I am a US-born Greek, with a father born in Lowell, Mass to Greek parents, and a mother born in Greece who immigrated in 1956, married in 1958 in an Orthodox wedding. In fact, my parents were second cousins, which in Greece would not have been allowed!

I married in Sparta in 1978 to a native Spartan. He has only a Greek passport and, with his new identity card in 2007, we were told that I must get my card, that this is required for him, and the Greek consulate had them put on his taftotita that he is married (eggamos), when they had continued putting unmarried (agamos) on his previous IDs. I have explained repeatedly that the problem is my paternal grandfather legally changed his name and my grandmother’s, but I still cannot find the papers, as this was done by naturalization before 1920. He was a famous musician and crisscrossed the US, so I need to locate where the papers were filed. I have a woman at Boston State House researching this and found out that the children were registered with the new name for the 1920 census, but the problem is their names were never legally changed. My father later changed his name to a third name, so the Greek consulate and the dimarcheio want these papers to prove that these are my relatives, in spite of the fact my parents have conducted affairs at the consulate and in Greece with the later 2 names.

Last year, I got stuck for one year in Greece because my husband was in hospital, and I could not work or leave the country for my mother’s funeral or my aunt’s illness or funeral, since after the first 3 months I had no status there. I went to the police to ask for the necessary papers, and was told I could not get anything because I was already Greek. Of course, I did not know if I would be fined upon leaving Greece, and had the money in euros.

I have been told that I cannot get citizenship through my Greek-born mother because I was married in Greece before 1982. The dimarcheion finally said — due to a nice lady and a second one who is Canadian-born — they would give me a paper as a foreigner (allodape), as long as I had health insurance and my husband’s vevaiosi that the marriage exists. We left before I could get this, and now I hope to go the route through the grandfather. Up until 2003, they would not write me in the oikogeniaki merida, even though (belatedly) my husband, living there for an extended time, had to open up his own because of a land sale. At that time, he was listed as single, even on his taftotita, then my husband got sick and was swindled out of his land. I pointed out to the nice lady that perhaps some questions would have been raised if he was listed as married, with my name there. She went on about my papers and the problem with the names, to which I answered, ” Perhaps I will never find my papers. Why should my husband, with a 1978 marriage, be listed as single?” She then put me in edndiktika, where it stands today.

As for your reader Nina, she does not say when her grandparents were married, but having the priest’s name may be of some help. They may not have been married in a church if one was not available, or the records could be missing. The episkopi in Brookline may know and see if there is an alternate paper they could give, as the church in the US had many factions in the early part of the 20th century! The Boston Cathedral is quite old!

Kat Reply:

Hi Maria,

Wow, your story made my head spin! Kudos to you and your husband in being patient and persistent in dealing with the challenges you’ve faced with Greek citizenship, Greek IDs, Greek health system, permits, property and inheritance (my lawyer tells me the latter two are the most complex). I’m sorry to hear your husband lost his land, but I hope the other issues get sorted somehow, sometime.

If there’s something I or this website could help with, give a holler. In the meantime, I appreciate you taking the time to write out and share your story, as it illustrates how each case of Greek citizenship is unique.

All my best to you. – K

  Kosta wrote @ November 12th, 2010 at 05:34

Hello. Very thorough information. I am from Australia but both parents were born in Greece. I have to say I breezed through the process. Probably cause I did my research, collected all the paperwork required prior to my consulate visit. I suppose I am also a ‘cut and dry’ case and I can speak Greek fluently so this was helpful when I needed to follow things up. My relatives back in Greece all know the Town Hall officials so a bit of name dropping helps too. All up just under 3 months.

Kat Reply:

Speaking Greek isn’t necessary in staking a claim to Greek citizenship via ancestry since there is no test or certificate required as demanded in Greek citizenship via naturalization, but it’s good to hear it helped you. Most people who take the time to do research and follow the steps I outline in articles on this website usually report smooth handling — unless it’s a special case — because they’re all based on real-life experience.

Because your mother and father were born in Greece, you qualified for the expedited process. People whose parents were born in Greece and had no connections also reported receiving their citizenship in 3 months or less, so connections and name-dropping count much less in today’s Greece.

Thank you for leaving a comment.

  Pistiko wrote @ November 12th, 2010 at 16:32

You may be right on the Greek language part… BUT…I have to say though that Greek language skills do help…I feel that someone that can’t speak Greek, has an obscure great, great giagia on Texan born dad’s side (but god damn it I’m American so I’m entitled to it!) trying to apply for a Greek Citizenship — lets not BS here are really just vying for an EU passport — tends to be very obvious to Greek Immigration. Gotta say it also clogs up the system with enquiries from people that haven’t got a clue what the person is saying on the line (both ways)…this creates more work for those poor public servants because and we all know that that is the least that Greece ‘s public service needs at the moment in these hard economic times …Just saying…Greeks have a good sense of the BS factor.
Follow-up: Interesting psychology there Kat. I leave your blog on a final note…”it’s in the blood”…Straight up no BS LOL! Peace to you also. Love Kosta and Pistiko xxx
Follow-up 2: Actually there is a lot of LOLS here! A non Greek xeni passing judgement on a Greek citizen that has: language, religion, baptism. heritage. marriage, blood, and property..I will allow my extensive (born and bred) Greek family to be the ones that actually judge me on just how Greek I am – not some deluded bitter Californian ‘xeni’…I’m the Mary…You’re the Rhoda xxx

Kat Reply:

Note to readers: Kosta and Pistiko are the same person.

The Greek Citizenship Code does not require speaking Greek, visiting Greece, and knowledge of Greek culture and history as elements in claiming Greek citizenship via ancestry.

Your comment is tinged with anti-Americanism for some reason, and that’s fine because it only reflects badly on you. But let’s remember that plenty of Australians (like you), Canadians and other non-EU citizens around the world with a Greek ancestor are seeking the same thing by staking a claim, as are many children/grandchildren of ancestors from other EU countries. It’s not BS, as you called it, and it’s not a contest to see who is more Greek. It is a non-discriminatory legal right jus sanguinis that helped you achieve dual citizenship without being born here, long-term residency in Greece, classes, tests, certificates, tax statements, interviews or fees.

Speaking Greek to civil servants or Greek consular staff isn’t a guarantee that things will get done…well, that’s if they answer the phone. And it has nothing to do with hard economic times, the system being clogged or them being poor.

With regard to your last sentence, there’s an old saying that goes, “Takes one to know one.” Just saying.

Wishing you peace.
Follow-up: That’s a nationalistic statement to which some psychology should be applied. There are also a number of Greeks in Greece who would not consider you Greek enough, as you were not born here, so blood alone isn’t necessarily enough. Straight up, no BS and no LOL.

Follow-up 2: I never passed judgment on you. I said that Greeks born in Greece, serving army, living and working here are the ones who would deem you not Greek enough because you weren’t born and raised here.

You say you’re superior and the approval of your family is all you need, but the progressive name calling and insults say otherwise and make you look bitter, not me.

  Matina wrote @ December 30th, 2010 at 18:34

Hi Kat,

I just wanted to thank you for providing a comprehensive article on how to obtain Greek citizenship.

After reading your article I took the step and am happy to say that the process took just on 2 months. It did involve two trips to Greece (luckily I live in Europe), but the end result was I now have my Greek ID and my daughter has her pisotpoiitiko to get her Greek passport.

As for my sons there is still some more paperwork to do, and they too should get their passports in the next few months.

I was extremely lucky to be looked after by two great govt employees at the Lixiarheio in Athens (at Mitropoleos 60, 5th floor) and a fabulous lady the Dimarhio in my mother’s village.

For anyone wanting to go to Greece and do it themselves then it is fairly straight forward. This is what I did.

The first day I went to the villages where my parents were born, looking for their oikogeniaki merida. I found my mother’s but not my father’s.

The next day I
1. Went to the Lixiarheio in Athens at Mitreopolis St (near Monastiraki).
2. After having my paperwork looked at (no apostille on the birth certificates but a translation from a Greek consulate stapled to a certified copy of my birth certificate) I was sent to the Iera Synodou ( 3 Iasiou st near Evangelismos metro) to get baptism and wedding certificates stamped and signed by a priest. This can be done before going to the Lixiarheio.
3. Then went to the courts at Kipseli – the lixiarheio tells you which one – for more stamps and signatures.
4. Back to the Lixiarheio where birth and marriage were registered. My passport was needed as was my parent’s lixiarhiki praxi gamou and either parent’s birth certificate or oikogeniaki merida.
5. Half hour later I have my lixiahiki praxi genisis and gamou as well as my daughter’s lixiarhiki praxi genisis.
6. I faxed the paperwork to the dimarhio at my mother’s village which I had gone to the day before to get my mother’s oikegiaki merida.

On my next trip I took my son’s birth and christening certificates to the lixiarheio in Athens. I was then sent to the Iera Synodou but NOT the courts. A short while later I had their lixiarhiki praxis genisis.

The next day I went to my mother’s village where I took the paperwork and opened my oikogeniaki merida and had my kids added to it. At first they were reluctant to do anything as my father’s papers could not be found but after I pointed out that I could apply through my mother then it was straightforward. Within half an hour I was given a pistopoiitiko to go and get my Greek ID and a pistopoiitiko for my daughter to apply for a Greek passport.

I was also told the forms that the boys -older than 19 – need to fill out and that once that was done at the consulate I could fax them to her and then their pistopoiitika to apply for a passport would be ready to pick up on my next trip there in a couple of weeks time.

These forms were

1. Ipefthini Dilosi peri min egraphis se Mito Arrenon kai Dimotologio
2. Praxis Katharismou Ilikias
3 Pistopoiitiko Monimou kattikias
and for males
4. Etisi gia Egraphi sta Dimotologia i Mitroa Arrenon (males only)

These four forms have to be done at the Greek consulate where you live.

This process was definitely made faster by being able to not only speek Greek but to go in person.

I hope this information can be of some use to anyone wishing to get their Greek passport or ID.

Kat Reply:

Hi Matina,

I’m glad my article inspired you to action. You deserve credit for perseverance and patience, and yes there are a few good civil servants out there.

True. I do say in this article and the Greek passport article that the process of applying for Greek citizenship is straightforward, which is why I recommend against hiring and paying a consultant or lawyer. For the benefit of people who may not have the option to come to Greece, it is not necessary to be in the country though I know it goes faster that way because applicants have a dedicated and vested interest, rather than a consular or embassy employee who has many cases to handle.

What I’m going to do is refine the article with details you gave and create a section for males of Greek origin who are 19 and older. Please accept my heartfelt thanks for taking the time to write everything out and give back to the website by sharing your experience so I can continue to help others. I’m touched when people like you come along.

  Shannon wrote @ January 12th, 2011 at 08:40

Hello, my great grandfather was born in Greece. He then came to the United States and had my grandmother. she became a US citizen and never claimed her citizenship in greece. I have all of the documentations of my great grandfather and his greek citizenship. Is there any way that i ( a great grandchild) of a greek citizen can apply for citizenship in greece? My family is there and i want the opportunity to reconnect.

Kat Reply:

I already address the subject of Greek citizenship via a great grandfather in the section “Greek citizenship through any great-grandfather, great-grandmother, any ancestor.”

There’s no harm in trying to apply, and you can take your documents to the nearest Greek consulate/embassy to be advised. Be aware that they may ask you to fulfill more requirements than listed above (see “Greek citizenship via naturalization“), since you do not qualify for the expedited process.

  juan wrote @ January 15th, 2011 at 22:41

mucho gusto de saludar kat , muy convencido de que este sitio es el mejor que he leido , mi consulta es la siguiente yo e presentado toda documentacion asta llegar a mi bis abuelo griego , y ya tengo numero de protocolo en el ministerio del interior griego , yo actualmente estoy con visa de turista en grecia con mi familia y a sabiendas de la ley decidi venir para poder agilizar el proseso de naturalisacion , hoy por hoy el pueblo en donde vivo me a ayudado bastante y estamos tratando el permiso por 3 meses mas de visa , debo mensionar que mi pais no necesita visa para entrar en grecia , yo e leido el codigo bien y en el articulo 5 letra a y b es categorico , pues yo al momento de presentar en la embajada de mi pais mis antecedentes penales no figura ninguna anotacion , cosa distinta es el registro de lo penal que emite mi pais de tipo a ya que ay figuran anotaciones de lesiones y un robo el año 1991 , esto lo averigue estando en grecia ya que la policia griega lo pide a la policia de mi pais de origen , la ley dice que el extranjero de origen griego no debe tener anotaciones en la ultima decada , y al parecer mi situacion es ya de 19 años atras , a mi la embajada de mi pais me recibio todos los antecedentes y yo reunia los requisitos suficientes para que fueran enviados a grecia osea al ministerio del interior y a mi no me figura nada ya que obtuve el beneficio de omitir condenas por el tiempo de 19 años a la fecha , segun su basta experiencia kat que criterio debieswe tomar la autoridad griega con mi caso , ya que la ley es categorica al establecer que no debe haber anotaciones penales en la ultima decada no mayores a 1 año , .. gracias por situar este grandioso sitio de apoyo social p.d disculpe errores ortograficos.

#2: gracias por su consejo pero no es una bisabuela es mi bisabuelo, mi primer apellido es el mismo el de mi abuelo soy tercera generación y me hijos estan bien llevan mi apellido con

Kat Reply:

Hola Juan,

Tenga en cuenta que mi consejo se basa en el conocimiento y experiencia. Yo no soy un abogado o un funcionario público.

En “La ciudadanía Griega por naturalización” en la sección de Criterios Básicos, # 2, dice:

– No se espera de una sentencia de deportación
– En 10 años antes de la fecha de solicitud de la ciudadanía, no debe haber sido condenado a seis (6) meses a un máximo de un (1) año para el crimen peligrosas, tales como el homicidio, la violación, la violencia física, el tráfico de drogas, lavado de dinero , sustracción de menores, etc

Autoridades griegas no pueden ver lo que pasó 19 años ir cuando solicitan los antecedentes penales de su país de origen. Pero si lo hacen, no tienen razón para descalificar a usted, basado en los antecedentes penales. En mi opinión, tienen razón para negar porque la ley no técnicamente decir que usted puede reclamar la ciudadanía griega a partir de una bisabuela o un bisabuelo. De todos modos, usted no pierde nada por intentarlo.

El comité tiene un año desde la fecha de presentación de sus documentos para decidir su caso. Si rechazamos su solicitud, la ley dice que debe explicar por qué, porque usted es de origen griego.

Usted puede impugnar la decisión en el plazo de 15 días tras la presentación de su queja por escrito y cualquier evidencia que apoye su caso a la comisión la ciudadanía en el Ministerio del Interior (ver “Información de Contacto”). Si usted todavía cree que la decisión es incorrecta, entonces usted necesita para encontrar un abogado.

Gracias por su pregunta y palabras amables. Lo siento por mi español.

#2: La ley no dice que usted puede reclamar la ciudadanía griega con un bisabuelo o una bisabuela, por lo que no puede disputar la decisión de si se niega su solicitud para ello. No importa si usted tiene el mismo nombre o primer apelido.

  Esteban wrote @ January 19th, 2011 at 18:42

Hola buen dia , Mi nombre es Esteban ( stefanos) y vivo en Argentina ( cordoba).
Mi consulta es la siguiente , Mi abuelo materno era griego y vino a la Argentina en 1926 desde Malona Rodas. En ese tiempo la isla de Rodas estaba invadida por Italia.
Mi abuelo vino y poseo en mis manos su pasaporte, pero es un pasaporte italiano y dice que mi abuelo es griego.
Resulta ser a travez de un primo mio , fue a la municipalidad del pueblo a averiguar , pero le dijeron que no habia registros de mi abuelo. Pero podia averiguar en el Obispado de Rodas sobre mi abuelo , ya que mi bis abuelo fue Sacerdorte en el pueblo.
La pregunta es , puedo aplicar para la ciudadania griega teniendo solamente el pasaporte “italiano” que dice que mi abuelo es griego?

Gracias por responder !

Kat Reply:

Hola Esteban,

De acuerdo con la ley, no está autorizada a aplicar para la ciudadanía griega con sólo un pasaporte extranjero diciendo que su abuelo es el griego. Debe haber un certificado de nacimiento griego, registro, certificado de bautismo o de otra prueba de nacimiento en el país.

Si no me cree o necesita una segunda opinión, ir al consulado griego / embajada más cercana a usted.

  Joe wrote @ January 22nd, 2011 at 08:00

Hi Kat,

You’re website has been such a great help to me as i have been preparing to apply for Greek citizenship.
I am Australian born and will be in Greece soon to apply in person.
I have a question about my certificate of christening.
I was christened her in Australia and have my certificate which is written in both Greek and English.
I noted you wrote in your article
* All Greek church documents must be stamped and certified by the Church of Greece in Greece after they are translated. The Greek embassy/consulate, as I understand, cannot help with this.

Because i was issued the certificate here in Australia my question is, do i have to get an apostille before i leave?
Or is it enough just to have it stamped and certified by the Church of Greece in Greece after they are translated?

Once again, thanks for such a great and helpful website,


Kat Reply:

Hi Joe,

You and another commentator asked the same question about Greek church documents at the same time, so I took that as a sign to revise and update the article to be more clear. Please take a look at the new section “Marriage and baptismal certificates” above and my notes under “Apostilles and translations.”

You do not need to translate documents already in Greek.

If you remember me and feel like sharing your experience afterward, I’d be interested in how it went and if anything you encountered was different than the article. In the meantime, thank you for your kind words, and all best.

  Diana wrote @ January 25th, 2011 at 23:44

Hi, Wonder if you could advise on my situation. I lived with and had a daughter with a Greek man. We did not marry and seperated when she was born. Although he called himself her father he did not take responsiblility or care for her either emotionally or financially over the past 18 years. She now wishes to have Greek citizenship. Is her first stop the Greek embassy? We have the grandparent names and addresses and have details of his name and work place (one year ago). Look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards

Kat Reply:

Because you were not married at the time of her birth, the only way your daughter could obtain Greek citizenship through her biological father is if he officially recognized her as such before she turned 18, either in a court or by registering her in his family records (oikogeneiaki merida). If he never did this, she is not eligible for Greek citizenship, not through her biological father or grandparents.

Having his name, workplace, and his parents’ names and addresses have no bearing as you can see from the list of documents required to apply. Like most countries, you cannot access his/their family records if you were never married or registered as his wife. And your daughter can’t either if he never officially registered or legally recognized her as his daughter.

If he did legally recognize and register her, she can use the directions provided above to complete the Greek citizenship process herself as she is over the age of 18.

The only benefits she would enjoy as a dual UK/Greek citizen are Greek-specific, i.e., If she lives full time in Greece and wanted preferential treatment to student housing or to work as a civil servant. It is otherwise redundant.

You are free to get a second opinion at the Greek consulate/embassy nearest you, but their answer should be the same unless you tell them something different than what was disclosed in your comment. All best.

  courtenay wrote @ January 27th, 2011 at 22:10

1st: I am currently trying to gain dual citizenship through my fathers heritage. He was born in Athens in 1940. I have all the paperwork from here including me and my mothers birth certificates, marriage certificates etc. I also have my fathers birth certificate from Greece. I am having trouble however locating his birth registration. according to the certificate i have he was registered in the municipality of athens, in athens at 2 pallados street. I want just confirm that I am looking in the right place and that they have him registered there but I am having trouble contacting them. Any advice would be great. Thank you.

2nd: I am an American trying to apply for Greek Citizenship (my father was Greek, born in Athens). I have a birth certificate for him stating that he was born and registered in the Athens municipality in Athens. However I have also heard that he might be registered in his fathers municipality Anastasious Drakos (which we have no clue where it is, but we think Athens). We have endless information on my grandmother who was from Ikaria but really have little to no information on my grandfather would this service be useful? Also rumor has it that my grandfather was involved in politics (ie worked for the queen prior to deposition and ran for mayor of athens at some point) is there someplace where I might be able to track down that information and thus find his records? Thank you.

3rd: Hello, I am currently trying to acquire dual citizenship with Greece (Born in the USA). My father was born in Athens to Greek parents and moved to the US when he was five with my grandmother. Both grandparents and father are now deceased. I have been trying to work with a lawyer to get this done but have recently been questioning his reliability. I was informed my fathers registration in Greece was no longer valid (I have his birth record as well as his registry in Athens for the Army (invalid now) and supposedly my lawyer found his other registration on Samos. He also claimed that my parents marriage was registered in Greece now and that I had to go to the consulate and have an interview to “see how Greek I feel”? When I went to the consulate they told me this was not the case as I have documentation of my father and grandmothers Greek nationality (her passport and his birth records and registration). I am currently living in Scotland and would like to take more control of this process as I have gotten a lot of inconsistent information from consulates and from lawyers. I speak very basic Greek but am trying to learn more. Is there an English speaking service in the Greek ministry I can contact directly? Am I eligible for the expedited service? I have all necessary documents from the US, certified translated and apostatized. Is there a consistent list of all the document I need just to be sure? Does the regulating body have any way to contact them directly? Thank you for any advice you can give.

Kat Reply:

Answers 1 & 2:
I received both your questions. However, I’ve already provided an extensive amount of information in the above article and cannot provide free, unlimited consultation on individual cases for the reasons stated, which is why I closed comments. All best.

Answer 3:
All five questions are already answered in the article.

In ‘Three elements that can make the process go faster,’ I say that speaking Greek is necessary when dealing with institutions in Greece. If you don’t, go through the consulate/embassy, find a friend/relative, etc.

In #5 of section ‘Documents needed to apply for Greek citizenship,’ I say who qualifies for the expedited process. Same info is referenced in section, ‘Processing time for Greek citizenship.’ If you fit, yes. If not, no. You cannot pay to make it go faster or simpler.

I also warn against using lawyers and consultants and why in section, ‘Do I need a lawyer or consultant?’ Therefore, you should not have been surprised. If you’re unhappy, take control (as you say you want to) and change lawyers or do it yourself.

The list of documents above was compiled based on real-life experiences of dozens who successfully completed the citizenship process. There is variation based one’s family history and there is no way to cover each and every one because there are millions. I also say this several times.

If you’re looking for a black-and-white system, look outside Greece. Results vary here. Combine that with your own unique family history, and there’s no way everyone’s experience can be identical.

Contact information for the relevant offices is found in section, ‘Contact information.’

The 4000-word article is a guide to taking control of the process from beginning to end, helping people to help themselves.

This is the third time you persisted in finding a different open post because this one was closed, ignoring the advice/information and asking (redundant) questions. I answered this time as a courtesy, but in the future will adhere to the policy stated in the final note on why I closed this post to questions and comments. Good luck.

  Dean wrote @ January 29th, 2011 at 04:33

Thank you for all the info. I do have a question relating to ID cards and citizenship, but the citizenship thread was closed but it sort of applies here.

Having researched and personally done all the leg work last summer, I have:

1. Received certified birth cert of all my immediate family with apostilles including my marriage.

2. Had them translated and stamped in the NYC consulate. Also received age clearance paperwork there.

3. Received official cert of my marriage and bapt cert for me, wife, and kids from the NYC Archdiocese (I know in one of your articles you said it has to be signed by the church in athens, but my archdiocese copies worked for me).

4. Brought everything to the lixarchio in athens, and received greek birth certs for the family, greek marriage cert, and they took the archdiocese papers, made me pay a couple of hundred euros for a special orthodox stamp which they then sent out (i guess the step of going to the church in athens can also be accomplished this way?)

5. Brought the lixarchio paperwork to the city halls, where after registering me and my wife on our parents meridas respectively, they sent everything out to the county goverment.

That was it in greece.

6. two months later, back in the US, I received a letter from the consulate stating that I have to come down and speak to the military liason about military service and how to establish permanant residency outside of greece. So I’m figuring all the paperwork I did in greece actually went through.

7. Asked family in greece to go to city hall, where they received a copy of my own personal oikogeniaki merida where myslef and my wife are 1 and 2, and are kids are listed below.

So… my questions is, are we now officially greek citizens? Me, my wife, our kids, have are own merida / registry. So, is that it? We never took an oath or signed anything specifically granting citizenship as far as I can remember.

And question two, when I go next summer to apply for a tautotita, do i need to present my american birth cert again, even after i registered in the lixarchio and received a greek version?

When city hall sent the paperwork to the county, did it go before a citizenship board, or did they just register us and not officially grant citizenship? is there a way to find out, or are we good to go?

Thank you for the time it takes to put this all together.

  Sir wrote @ February 27th, 2011 at 22:21

Hello, I’m a regular reader of the news in this site thank u very very much for your work that u do here. By accident I came up to this topic I’ve tried to read all the information that is placed here. And now I’m confused a little bit.My story is quite old. If it is possible help me to come up to the right path. I’m armenian and currently studying in Greece.

From my childhood I remember my grandfather and grandmother speaking with each other in greek. As years passed and by learning my mother country’s history I understood that many armenians also my ancestors have been suffered and deported from motherland many years ago. They found peace in Greece and stayed to live in Greece in Kalamata. My father’s grandfather was a priest in a church and he died in Kalamata. Years passed my grandparents were born in Greece and they lived more then 15 years in Greece. Then my grandparents decided to go to Armenia.

Indeed to collect the documents of my grandparents will be difficult because when they came back to Armenian ( it was the time when Armenia was one of the unit of Soviet Union ) they have been suffered at that time also. As I know they don’t have birth certificate but in their passport if is written that they were in Greece

To be short my Question is – can i start ( do I have a right) try to collect the documentation for getting citizenship in greece.

Thank u very much!!!

Kat Reply:

If you’re trying to apply for Greek citizenship through your grandparents because they were born in Greece, you need to follow the instructions above and collect the documents listed. I cannot be more clear than that.

If you cannot find certain documents, ask advice from the Citizenship Office. All best.

  Surbitonvalley wrote @ March 30th, 2011 at 17:20

Hello. I have a dual Canadian/ Greek citizenship and live in England. I was born outside Greece. I was wondering whether it was possible to apply for a Greek citizenship for my daughter. She already has French citizenship through her father, so for me it is not a question of simplifying her life here, but rather to honour the Greek roots, as silly as it sound ;).

Kat Reply:

Please read the article to determine if she qualifies, then follow the detailed instructions on gathering the appropriate documents and how to apply for Greek citizenship.

  peter wrote @ May 4th, 2011 at 16:50

My wife had both her parents born in greece why would they need her marriage certificate to me. I am pretty certain I do not get any extra status as her husband in regard to extended visa stays and would be booted from greece after my 90 days have passed like any other tourist. Am I wrong? or does it mean that she now has all the extra work of getting an apostille for our marriage certification and a translation for a document that has no relevancy towards her Greek citizenship.

Kat Reply:

Your wife could certainly try applying without the marriage certificate. However, being registered as a Greek citizen in Greece requires that she disclose all relationships in her family record (oikogeneiaki merida — she’ll know that this is); other people ran into trouble by not keeping their records updated when trying to renew their passports or completing other official transactions related to their status.

Should you already or ever have children, it also lays a foundation for them to claim Greek citizenship later in life if that’s what they want. And should you as the spouse ever live in Greece or want to stay beyond 90 days in any 180-day period, it would speed the process of getting a residence/work permit.

  HA wrote @ May 4th, 2011 at 22:19

Hello ,
I have a question , I have a greek orgin from my father’s side , and my last name show’s that , what kind of processing that I have to make in the greek embassy here in Jordan to get the greek nationality again ?

Kat Reply:

Requires more than having a last name. Read the article, follow the instructions.

  katerina wrote @ May 17th, 2011 at 15:13

Hi Kat,

Thanks for the help you are providing for so many people. I remember reading your site way back in 2007 when I started this nightmare process of trying to obtain greek citizenship through my greek mother.

For the last 4 years, I have been bounced around and given conflicting information. Around 2009, my application was returned because my grandmother’s name was spelled differently on two different documents. I resubmitted (amidst other hassles and different consulate officials telling me different things) and have been waiting still to hear. Last I heard, the prefecture I am trying to register in has no director, and they are rezoning etc etc, so yeah my stuff has been sitting in a box this whole time.

So for those of you in my boat, I feel you. It sucks.

An added insult is that, since I was born in August of 1982, I am caught in a weird loophole of the law that would make any child born of a greek mother automatically greek (I think its pre July 1982 and then 1984 and on). What the HELL. I wonder does the new document remedy this ridiculous flaw??

Thanks again for all you are doing,

Kat Reply:

Hi Katerina,

The exact dates you’re referring to are listed under #5 in ‘Documents needed to apply for Greek citizenship.’ The 2010 law does not change them.

Yes, authorities are particular about names when completing something official. If you try to list your name as Kat, and your paper says Katerina, or John instead of Jonathan, they assume this is a different person even if everything else is the same. Ironically, when you point out that they made an error in spelling your name while it’s happening in front of you — as the official translation department did with mine — they dismiss it (i.e., you’re a woman, you’re foreign, it doesn’t matter), make you submit all kinds of documents, fill out papers and wait quite a long time to correct it. So I feel for you.

Wow, you remember me from 2007. This Greek citizenship post has evolved in more detail since then, as readers contribute their experience and help me to gauge real-life changes and help others.

I’m glad you said hello because it gives me a chance to thank you for being with me for four years. Thank you :)

  Elene wrote @ May 26th, 2011 at 19:27

This site is indeed very informative and helpful. Thank you all for keeping it so. I have read the posts above, but unfortunately they do not fully answer my questions.

My daughter’s father is holding Greek citizenship, but he was born outside of Greece. We have never been married, and my daughter was also born outside of Greece. Can I still claim Greek citizenship for her, considering that her father is noted in her birth certificate? The father is holder of Greek passport/citizenship, but his birth certificate is issued by other country.

What documents do i need to collect and submit? Thank you so much in advance,
best regards.

Kat Reply:

All of your questions are answered above. However, based on the information you provided, your daughter does not qualify for Greek citizenship. Why?

a) You were not born in Greece;
b) Her father was not born in Greece;
c) Your daughter was not born in Greece;
d) She cannot claim Greek citizenship through another potential Greek ancestor (grandfather/grandmother) because you and the father were not married at the time of your daughter’s birth.

Therefore, the only way she could qualify is to legally live in Greece or attend school here for a number of years and go through the naturalization process, as explained in “Ways to acquire Greek citizenship.”

You are free to verify my answer at the Greek consulate/embassy nearest your current residence. All best.

  Yiannis wrote @ May 28th, 2011 at 07:09

my maternal grandparents were both born in Greece, but me and my mum were born in Australia. I have my grandfather’s passport that he used to get into Australia, and I could somehow dig up him and my grandma’s birth certificates and marriage certificate, but because I am only 16 would I have to do time in the military, how could I avoid that? Email me if you reply!

Kat Reply:

In order to apply for Greek citizenship through your grandparents, you’re going to need more than their certificates. Take a look above for the entire list of requirements and the process.

Regarding military duty, read “Mandatory military service in Greece” and its comments, where previous commentators ask the same question.

As stated in “Comments, Questions and Contacting Me,” I do not provide free personalized consultation by email, Skype or in-person meetings. Leaving comments open, doing translations to English, writing/researching/updating ad-free articles, curating a news feed, paying for the domain and web hosting, and not charging for my time is the extent of my assistance.

  AB wrote @ June 10th, 2011 at 16:29


I am a U.S. citizen and came to Greece on a travel visa 3 months ago and was able to extend my visa for 3 more months. I am currently working on obtaining my Greek citizenship, however my mom needs to be registered first and she is coming in July and then I’m not sure how long the process is for me to get registered. I would like to extend my stay in Greece beyond my 3 month extension and am not sure if I should go to the Aliens Office and tell them I’m applying for my citizenship and request another extension (and I’m not sure what documentation they would require to prove this) or whether I should go back to the U.S. and apply for a 1 yr resident’s visa. However, if I do the latter, will I not be able to come to Greece for 90 days once I leave?

Thanks for a very informative website!

Kat Reply:

You didn’t provide enough information, which makes it difficult to give you an accurate response.

As an American citizen, you came to Greece visa-free via the Schengen agreement that allows you to stay 90 days in any 180-day period, as explained in “Countries that enjoy visa-free travel to Greece.” Yes, that means you must stay out of the Schengen zone for 90 days before re-entering.

I’m unclear how you got a visa extension for two reasons:
a) They’re normally only granted under extenuating circumstances, such as hospitalization;
b) you’re of Greek ancestry and this is typically not allowed because you have the option to apply for Greek citizenship, as explained in “Overstaying a visa in Greece.” Further, if you are a Greek male of military draft age of 19-45, Greek authorities should have denied you from even submitting an application.

If you’re working on getting Greek citizenship, you should have educated yourself on the process above and checked in advance if your mother/ancestors was/were registered by contacting the nearest Greek consulate/embassy in the USA or called the relevant mayor’s/local office BEFORE arriving in Greece.

I doubt they’d give you another visa extension based on waiting six months to even start the Greek citizenship process since — if you qualify for the expedited process via simple registration described above — you could have had Greek citizenship granted in approximately 90 days. There should have been no reason to extend your visa once, let alone twice.

There’s no such thing as a residence visa, which I say several times in several articles, including the ones you read. And if you’re of Greek ancestry, I would be surprised if they gave you one because (as I said previously) you have the option to apply for Greek citizenship. If you’re male of military draft age, I don’t see it happening unless it’s on the basis of studies. Read “Mandatory Greek military service” if that applies to you.

  Kat wrote @ July 14th, 2011 at 01:24

As almost every other person here I’m seeking greek citizenship. I’ve had your list of docs needed up in my room and I’ve been ticking each one off as I go. Just a question or two about them (to contextualise my application, i’m Australian born, seeking to apply through my dad who was born in Samos, and has a birth cert and greek id already):

1. You mentioned a ‘pistopoiitiko oikogeneiakis katastasis’ is a required doc, however saying that sometimes they’re not available from your local greek embassy. Is it a required document then? It’s available only from your embassy of permanent residence, is that right? (Victorian Greek embassy does do it, but they’ll take over 4 months and I don’t have that long so wondered if it’s worth trying to apply without)

2. Criminal records checks – do they need to be notarised, apostilled and translated as well?

3. Is it true you can only apply for Greek Citizenship from the embassy of your permanent residence? The Greek Embassy in London (where I currently live), has posted that only English/non-Greeks can apply through them, and after quering they’re refusing to let me apply through them as an Aussie (referring me back to Aus Greek Embassy, yet other websites claim all Greek Embassies should be able to accept citizenship applications from anyone).

4. With the current economic and political situation in Greece, I know it may be guesswork on your behalf, but do you believe it still worthwhile pursuing an application for Greek citizenship?

I have all docs needed except the no.1 notarsied and apostilled, the plan being to come to Greece and get them translated, registered, stamped and then apply in August 2011.

Any advice is much appreciated, thanks for all your info

Kat Reply:

That’s five questions.

1. It’s required, whether or not Greek officials help you get it. What’s stopping you from calling, faxing or emailing the appropriate location in Greece to get it yourself? The article advises you where to get it.

2. Criminal records are usually requested through embassies and consular channels. The applicant signs a consent form, as I understand, and has no part in its processing to avoid tampering.

3. No. However, I don’t know what you could do to force them if they won’t. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the London location.

4. That’s a personal choice based on what you plan to do with it. As I say above in “Processing time for Greek citizenship,” there are 180,000 applications in the queue and the overwhelming majority (almost 90 percent) are from people seeking to stake a claim via ancestry, descent and origin. They typically review 10,000 applications a year, and I understand from recent stats that they reviewed less than 2,500 from January to June so it’s going slower than normal.

Applying in August is not the best idea as the entire country goes on vacation, and you will find many offices closed or operating on a skeletal staff. You’ve been warned.

  Blanch wrote @ July 17th, 2011 at 12:28

Comment 1: I married a Greek man born in Greece and had a baby boy with him, who was born outside Greece. This marriage is recorded in my country and in Greece too, and we have dimous family record, which includes my name and his name. I have a Greek marriage certificate and child birth certificate from my country and also from Greece.

When I went to Greek consulate to get a paper from him to prove that the child is a Greek citizen, they refused and said that he should be recorded in dimous and he should have a passport and the only one who can do that is the father but the father refused to do anything.

What can I do? We already got a divorce.


Comment 2: I am usually a friendly person who appreciates people and is grateful to them, so I should thank you from the beginning but sorry that I forgot because of my problems. I owe to you an apology.

I am the lady wrote to you the question regarding marriage Greek man have child from him. Well, I read well your answer. Thanks a lot for replying me but it also gives me more frustrating feelings.

But from your answer it’s clear you are a person that likes to help other people. So please tell me if there is any door I can knock? Like there is a Lawyer who told me we can go to court to do that and the father agreements are not necessary. Is that right or he will only take my money and will charge me a lot before he starts anything?

Also please where is the human rights and the legal rights for the child who came from a legal marriage, but the father pays nothing since he was born or even seen him. I have seen enough in the embassy or consulate that they do not help in any way, and this child will not breathe air to grow and he needs money for his food, school and so on…

I am a lady in a difficult financial situation with no family to support me, so what can I do? Believe me I seal all what I was have & all my heritage from my family I work for 17 hours per day to support the child. I need to improve my child rights. I can’t believe there is no law to force such man like that to pay for his son???

Please please tell me any thing can help me regarding financial provision for the child and his citizenship.

Thanks a lot for your time and patience.

Comment 3: Thanks a lot for all your words & your time. May God bless you and all your family.

The main reason I want Greek citizenship for my son is so I can apply to send him to Greek school under Greek system in my country, and many other reasons:
— It will be good for his future if he knows the Greek language & studies in that school.
— To give him a better future when he grows up.
— So he will be aware & does not make the same mistakes I made because I didn’t know Greek while I was living with his father.
— The Greek system is much much cheaper than the normal system in my country and of course I will not be able to pay for him if I applied to the normal system.

Thanks a lot for all the information and your time too. I am grateful to you a lot. Bye

Kat Reply:

Answer 1: Because your baby wasn’t born in Greece, there’s no way he can have a birth certificate from Greece. And because you are not of Greek descent and the baby wasn’t born in Greece, the only way to stake a claim to Greek citizenship is through the father. However, the Greek father can remove the child from his family register and not allow the child to gain Greek citizenship. You may think this is unfair, but your country grants you the same legal right.

Even if you were still married, the only way for a child under the age of 14 to get a Greek passport is with the in-person consent of both parents, as it says in “How to get a Greek passport.” This is common in many countries to help prevent child abduction, though it doesn’t always work. If one parent does not consent, no passport.

Therefore, you can do nothing. You are free to call authorities to verify what I’ve said is correct.

Answer 2: It’s clear that you have more important things to worry about, and it’s not necessary to be grateful to receive advice but there are limits to what I can do.

Claiming citizenship for your son and getting alimony or child support are separate, unrelated issues. It sounds to me like the main issue is financial support for your child, not citizenship.

Getting Greek citizenship through his father will not help your finances or your son, except give him the right to live and work in the EU when he’s old enough. If there are other benefits in your country, I’m not aware of them. Being the non-EU mother of an EU baby does not grant you any rights to live/work anywhere in the EU because your baby wasn’t born in Greece and you never lived/worked here or held a residence permit before you divorced.

Forcing a father to recognize a child and claiming Greek citizenship is typically done through a court if: a) the child is under 18; b) the baby was born outside of marriage. I don’t know of any cases where a father was forced to recognize a child born to a woman he married. Therefore, I cannot say whether a lawyer is promising something real, or only hoping to take your money by giving false hope.

Even if your baby is given Greek citizenship, he cannot get a Greek passport because the father’s consent remains a legal requirement until your son turns 14. This is why many babies and their mothers are trapped in Greece after divorce.

Taking a father to court to pay alimony and child support is a real possibility. However, there are some drawbacks:
— Courts work slowly in Greece, sometimes taking several years to hear one case;
— Lawyers charge a lot of money;
— Even after you spend a lot of time/money to pursue child support and win, you may still not see any money as the father can refuse to pay and you will need to file an appeal and other claims, which will cost more time and money. I know this because a Greek woman/friend living in Greece is for years chasing her ex-husband (also Greek) and filing papers against him. She works but her daughter has multiple sclerosis and needs extra care, and he has money but “forgets” to pay.
— You are at a disadvantage because you live in another country.

No matter what legal rights you and your child have, Greece is a country where the law is not always implemented even if your rights are recognized and proven in court. This is why I advise people to investigate the law and make decisions before getting married and having a child. There are too many cases I know where a baby and his mother are not allowed to leave Greece or they’re forced to live apart in different countries. In a way, it is a blessing that you and your son are together in your own country.

I realize that much of what I’m saying sounds negative, but I think it’s important for you to understand the obstacles you face if you decide to hire a lawyer and pursue this in court. You must decide if it’s worth the time and money or find another solution to move on without him.

  Yesim wrote @ August 5th, 2011 at 03:41

I just discovered the website, very useful, thank you for your effort.

My parents were born in Greece and immigrated to Turkey when they were 2 years old. My grandparents were born there as well.

There is no Greek in the family (my uncle still lives in Greece (originally he is Turkish on Greek citizenship) and neither my parents nor grandparents have Greek citizenship.

I am not quite sure I can obtain Greek citizenship and passport, but I would like to try after ‘hopefully’ obtaining birth documents from the municipality my parents are from.

I currently live in London. Do you think I can make Greek passport (initially Greek citizenship) application from London Greek embassy?

Many thanks

Kat Reply:

Step-by-step instructions are provided above on documents/requirements for Greek citizenship and where to go, all compiled with research, translations to English and first-hand experience of readers who successfully went through the process. There’s no point thinking about applying for a Greek passport when you don’t even know if you can get citizenship.

I don’t represent the Greek embassy in London. You need to call them direct.

  Eleni wrote @ January 8th, 2012 at 21:30

Hello Everyone :)

Kat, thank you so much for all the work you do! Your site is amazing!

I just want to let everyone who is trying to get their Greek Citizenship to not give up! After 485 days of being extremely patience I received my Greek birth certificate!
The story:
My grandparents had both moved from Greece to Canada back in the ’60s. They got married in Canada (Greek Orthodox wedding of course) and had my mom in Canada, but never registered either events in Greece. Fast forward to 4 years ago, while on vacation in Greece I met Niko, an Albania national, and fell in love. My family wanted nothing to do with Niko or my plan of moving to Greece.

I began to ask around the offices of Athens. I was left with the conclusion that no one knows anything here. I was at last told of the process of ‘naturalization.’ -Yes there is a way!

Back in Canada I contacted the Greek Consulate in ____. They advised me not to go through the process because if I am not granted citizenship I will NEVER get my citizenship. They also informed me that I was entitled to Greek citizenship because my mother was born of two Greek citizens making her a Greek national, and weather or not she wanted to extend her right to citizenship she could not take away my right. They referred me to a lawyer here in Athens.

To my surprise the lawyer got to work right away. She had to get approval from the ministry and find out exactly how to proceed with my case.
The documents I needed:
The marriage registration of my grandparents
My moms registration of birth
My moms registration of marriage
My birth registration
Not the small cards mind you, the full version. These documents needed to be authenticated by the Secretary Generals office (of your province). They were then sent to the Greek Consulate for their authentication.
Once all of these papers were in Greece the process could begin.

Unfortunately for me the documents had a few flaws:
The registration of my grandparents marriage was incorrectly filled out-who can blame them? They didn’t know how to read or write english at the time. Luckily for me the church record was correct(it had to be stamped by the metropolis in Toronto and only the priest can send and receive it). I also ran into a slight problem with my name. My father had originally given me the name Adrianne, but my mom wanted to name me Eleni. Eleni is the name that I was baptized with and it had forever stuck! I had my name annulled years ago at the registry. The Greek authorities would not accept this name change because it was not done in a court of law. In the end they accepted my baptism certificate.
These ‘flaws’ accounted for a lot of lost time, as did the elections, and strikes.

It really did not have to be so complicated. My grandma could have gone to the consulate and registered her marriage and the event of my mothers birth and *poof* it would have all been done. I am glad I went through all of this though, it taught me so much and made me a much stronger humanbeing-which you really need if you want to live here!

Everything is possible my friends! Never give up!


Kat Reply:

A few things come to mind when reading your case.

First, everything you needed to know about claiming Greek citizenship through your grandparents is written out above, step by step, since 2007, improved over the years with details from people who went through the process. Most people in Greece don’t know what it takes to stake a claim because they were born with it, and official websites do not give accurate (if any) information.

Second, the Greek consulate lied to you. Going through the process and being denied is not cause under any circumstances to never grant you citizenship. My opinion is they used this as a scare tactic, so you’d be inclined to hire a lawyer they recommended. Also, recommending a certain lawyer that may be a relative/friend is unethical; a diplomatic mission should give you a list from which to choose one yourself. However, because cronyism is rife in Greece, they probably saw nothing wrong with their actions.

Last, no one needs ‘approval’ from the ministry, so the lawyer exaggerated or lied (not sure which one). She could have easily done a Google search to find my article, take the information and charge you money. And to be honest, I believe your case could have completed much sooner had you truly done it yourself.

It’s not true that ‘everything is possible’ in Greece.

As long as you got what you wanted and feel satisfied, that’s all that matters. Thank you for sharing your story.

  Christina wrote @ January 23rd, 2012 at 03:01

Hi, I have always wanted to obtain Greek citizenhship to honor my grandfather and because I am very proud of my Greek roots. He came to the USA from Greece when he was a teenager. To this day he remains the only member of the family that came to America. We still keep in touch with everyone there and visit about once every 5-10 years (due to the expense). I live in America and have no intention of moving to Greece, but it is still important to me to do this. Last year my mom died suddenly from undiagnosed cancer. She loved Greece and felt very connected to it. However, she was born in the USA and never took the initiative to obtain Greek Citizenship. Will this restrict me from receiving dual citizenship? Is there a specific form(s) that I would need based on these circumstances? I don’t have much paperwork but I do have my grandfather’s original US naturalization papers. Thank you for any help you can provide. -Christina

Kat Reply:

In a word, ‘no’ to both questions. But you’re going to need a lot more documentation to stake a claim to Greek citizenship through your grandfather. All the help I can provide is in the above article, based on real-life experience of people who were successful. Good luck.

  Aris wrote @ February 13th, 2012 at 15:58

I wanted to give additional information regarding citizenship that occurs IF your father was previously married. This situation occurred with me, as well as a friend of mine in the last 7 months combined (after I received mine).

I went to apply for my Greek citizenship through the Boston Greek Consulate through the simple process and had all the necessary papers. My father was born in Greece and my mother was born in the USA. My parents were married in the USA.

Yay! Great, right? Wrong. The woman said everything is here and then “uh oh”. She noticed my parents marriage certificate stated that my father was previously married so it listed ‘second marriage’ on the document. Well, as you can imagine this caused issues because they wanted to see the marriage certificate for the first marriage as well as the divorce papers…okay fine (had those just in case and didn’t present them with everything…never give more than you need with them!)

What I did not expect was that I needed to have Greece recognize the divorce. What!? Oh yes. She told me I had to find a lawyer in Greece that specialized in this and managed to find one that would do it for a flat fee with no hassles of any sort or schedule yourself and appear. They basically had to have the Greek court recognize my father’s divorce and have the lawyer as a proxy for my father so it could be recognized by Greece How much did it cost? My lawyer was about 500 euros. Could my father have gone to Greece and sat in front of a court, sure! However, the flight over there would have cost about $1100-1300 so we opted not to do that. Technically, it costs very little to get citizenship, usually just translation fees, apostille fees, requesting documents etc.

Once Greece recognized my father’s divorce, got the paper, had it entered in the system; the process took about 5 weeks, I could then apply through the simple process to get my citizenship which actually only took about 16 weeks post divorce recognition (shocking). Also, if your parents were married in the USA, that marriage certificate gets recognized by Greece automatically as part of the application.

I thought this process may be a fluke because I couldn’t find anything on the web about it, so I didn’t bother reporting it here. Fast forward to my friend’s application and he had the same problem and had to go through the same exact process.

The key piece here is that this process occurs if your father/mother was married/divorced in outside Greece. If he/she was married/divorced in Greece it is automatically recognized and this step is omitted.

Anyways, finally glad to have it.

Kat Reply:


I know we already exchanged messages on Twitter, but I wanted to let you know that the article has been updated and enriched to reflect the information you provided on marriage certificates and divorce decrees issued outside Greece.

Did you or any of your friends apply for pistopoiitiko monimou katoikou exoterikou and issue a pistopoiitiko stratologikis katastasis Typou B’ to exempt you from Greek military service? I’m looking for two more men to share first-hand notes. If not, no worries.

Thank you again for being proactive and generous in sharing details I didn’t have. They benefit everyone now. All best.

  Alexandra wrote @ March 2nd, 2012 at 03:21

Thank you so much for this site. My dad was born in Olympia, but immigrated with my aunts and grandparents to the U.S. when he was 9 years old. My family with the exception of my dad and a cousin are all in Greece (everyone returned to Greece except my dad) and we still have my grandparent’s home in Olympia. I am a permanent resident in the UK, but a U.S. citizen. I am starting the process of obtaining Greek citizenship through my father. I have his birth certificate and nearly everything that is required. I am hoping my case will be a bit more straight forward and will not take the many years I have read about!

Kat Reply:

See the section, “Processing time for Greek citizenship.”

  Thomas wrote @ March 8th, 2012 at 16:43

I am an Australian currently in the process of applying for citizenship through both my maternal and paternal grandparents who were all born in Greece. I thought that my developing story might be of use to you and your website.

Like Lukas, my mother (as well as father) are to be registered before my application begins, but I have the feeling they are going to send them off all together – still unclear. My sister is also required to register, which I found interesting.

I am still in the process of gathering documents to support my application. The Greek consulate has actually given me an official list of required documents specific to unregistered Australian citizens which might be useful for you look at. There has also been no mention of apostiles or translations – so I have a feeling the process for Australians may be different from that for Americans, just maybe. If you’re interested in a copy of that document, pop me an e-mail.

Now, I am unsure about what to do regarding baptism certificates. My roots are in Florina, so this is where it gets a little messy. My mum was baptised in a Greek Orthodox church, we have no idea about my dad (possibly Bulgarian Orthodox for some bizarre reason), and both my sister and I have been baptised in the Macedonian Orthodox church.

I imagine this is going to be an issue. Our certificates are in Macedonian and English. Can my application be denied on this basis? Should I just state my sister and I are unbaptised? I don’t like the idea of lying.

I’ll keep you up-to-date, if there is anything else you’d like to know about my situation let me know! :-) Thanks for your hard work.

Kind Regards,

Kat Reply:

Of course there are bound to be variations depending on what Greek consulates/embassies are willing to do (or not), plus you have no idea if the list is correct and complete because none of you have finished the process yet. I’d appreciate if you took notes and filled in the blanks, then report back when everything is done. I would indeed be interested, and thank you for offering.

The list of documents and entire process I detail at “Greek citizenship via ancestry” is based on first-hand information from Greeks worldwide, so I’m not sure why you think it only applies to Americans.

My advice is to not lie and see what alternatives they offer. Lying would be grounds for denial.

P.S. The consulate you’re dealing with has plagiarized information from me in the past. Just an FYI.

  Shari wrote @ March 16th, 2012 at 22:29

Wow! You have a wealth of information on your site. I am quite shocked at how much I have learned by reading your citizenship information.

I have read everything, as well as comments, yet I could not find the answer to my specific situation. When you get a moment, if you can take a look at this post, I would greatly appreciate it. I understand you are busy and cannot always do so. Thanks for any help you can give. :)

My dad was born in Kefalonia in 1945 and moved to the US at about age 12. He thinks he has his Greek birth certificate and is sure that he has his original expired passport.

He and my American mom were married at a civil ceremony in the US in 1968 and divorced about 10 years later. I am fairly certain that he did not register either the marriage or my birth. I was baptized in a Catholic church in the New Orleans. (Any record I might have had of that was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina.)

(My dad remarried my stepmom in a Greek Orthodox church and my brother was baptized Greek Orthodox.)

My dad did not serve in the Greek military because he left Greece before he was old enough. He is now 65.

I am worried that the fact that he did not serve in the military will keep me from completing the citizenship process. Is it still possible for him to register me 40 years later?

He is also wondering if he can take his old passport and birth certificate to a consulate and get a current passport and would that help?

His parents lived and died in Greece.

Thank you so much for your time reading this and all of the energy you spent on the citizenship info. I learned so much!

Kat Reply:

As I say in the article above, each person’s case is unique. Therefore, there is no way I can cover every single one. No one can.

The questions you asked are already covered on this website.

You or your father or another family member can fix your family’s records and registrations at any time. This is something I’ve told other commentators on the post above.

Your father is beyond the age of conscription and cannot be considered an evader, as explained in “Mandatory military service in Greece.” If he was penalized another way, there’s no way I can know. You/your father should know by checking the oikogeneiaki merida.

Your father can follow instructions at “Greek passport” to issue a new passport.

  James5489 wrote @ March 17th, 2012 at 05:22

Hey there,

Just curious to know, I have all my papers ready to apply for my Greek citizenship via ancestory and the Greek consulate where I’m located in aus are just being really difficult and honestly “just a pain in the ass” really unhelpful and I don’t want to deal with them anymore if I don’t have to. I do have cousins and so forth in greece and I was curious to know if they are able to lodge my papers for me due to being a relative and or using a solicitor if needed ?? Where are they to be lodged or sent to?? And am I able to send them myself or do the papers have to go via an embassy??



Kat Reply:

Your cousins can process some transactions, but your signature is required at many points in the process so this is why the applicant must be present or authorize representatives via dilosi. The only exception is a parent acting on the behalf of a minor.

Documents can be posted back and forth to/from Australia and Greece, but (again) your signature will be required at some points. The entire process is detailed above, complete with addresses and phone numbers, so I’m not sure why you’re asking where.

I already discuss solicitors in the section ‘Do I need a lawyer or consultant?’

  emmanuel wrote @ April 8th, 2012 at 20:19

Would you be able to suggest me a good lawyer that could make things work out for my citizenship process, it has being over 6 months I left my things in the Athens perifereia, as they promised that should be all done in six months and still they didn’t sign my papers! All the documents are ok and they have all they need from me. i really need a good lawyer that could just push this people. I ook forward to hear from you! Many thanks

I apologize for asking such a thing but I really have no idea of who I could ask for that.

Kat Reply:

Unless you qualified for the expedited process via simple registration and did everything yourself, six months is a very unrealistic time frame for completion based on the real-life experience of readers who did it. See the above section, “Processing time for Greek citizenship.”

I do not recommend lawyers for reasons given in “Do I need a lawyer or consultant?” in addition to the ‘Recommendations’ policy set in “Comments, Questions and Contacting Me.”

Greece is operating under a coalition government since November; and many ministries stop working until after elections in May and were already backlogged due to reorganization, lack or staff and general discontent. That’s Greece.

  Panagiotis wrote @ May 3rd, 2012 at 18:38

Hi, I would like to know. I was born in Greece, now I am a US citizen, living in US since I was 4 years told and never went back to Greece. My both parent born in Greece also, but they passed away, now I got marry with Costa Rican woman and she is also a US citizen. We had two boys born in US and they are still minors. Could you tell me please how can my sons become Greek citizen or what are the steps for them to become Greek. Thank you.

Kat Reply:

Assuming you declared your military status (if you’re between the ages of 19-45) AND you reported the birth of your sons to the Greek consulate/embassy when they were born AND your oikogeneiaki merida is up to date, you collect the documents and follow the steps outlined above to stake a claim to Greek citizenship for your sons, who will be subject to mandatory Greek military obligations. Good luck.

  Dawn wrote @ May 22nd, 2012 at 22:34

I want to thank you for putting all of this information together. I had begun the process of obtaining dual citizenship with Greece by contacting the Greek Embassy in Boston a year and a half ago. The only way to get this done was to hand carry the documents while visiting Greece two weeks ago. The only lessons learned from this would be to make sure that if you are getting this through parents, that they must have their marriage registered in Greece and that it needs to be a Greek Orthodox marriage. Their Catholic marriage was a problem. Once that is done, the registration of my birth was easier.

  Christina wrote @ July 4th, 2012 at 05:30


I am reading all of this information and getting a bit overwhelmed. I am considering acquiring dual citizenship. I am 37, married, and my father was born in Crete. I have his official birth certificate from his xorio (thankfully). I have all the documents you listed as being necessary to apply. I did notice that there was a section saying it can be sped up via a shorter process if born before 1984, which I am. I simply do not know where to begin! And as read all these entries, I am getting disheartened. I was hoping to have it expedited within a few months, now I see years? Can you shed some light on where I should start and if you think this will take years? just curious …

I want to do this so I can purchase a second home there. I was told to be a Greek citizen could make the process much quicker. Is this true?

Your website is awesome. Thanks for doing it :)
Na se kala…

Kat Reply:

See the section “Processing time for Greek citizenship.” As I already stated, “Each case is unique.” No one can predict how fast or slow yours will go. We’ve also had five different governments since November 2011.

Want to make the process go faster? See the section “Three elements that will make the process go faster.”

A person’s nationality has no bearing on quickness of buying a home. A person’s persistence, financial standing, understanding of the real estate/tax process or ability to hire someone who does has more relevancy.

Because you mentioned the list of necessary documents, I know you read the article above, saw comments were closed and went to “American Greek dual citizenship” to leave questions, even though I specifically discourage this. Further, you asked redundant questions, which (ironically) is the reason I closed this post to comments/questions. I answered as a courtesy.

  Thomas wrote @ July 18th, 2012 at 00:43

I read about your Greek Citizenship case studies and I would like to be included if you are still planning on them.

Kat Reply:

Thank you for your note. I’d be happy to add you, if you would be so kind to write out what happened and any helpful details (docs requested, places you visited, how long it took, challenges faced, etc.) on your quest to acquire citizenship. Feel free to use any open post, and I’ll transfer the information and contact you with any questions via email before it’s published. All best.

  Mike wrote @ August 17th, 2012 at 08:09

My father was 100% Greek and was the only one of his 9 brothers and sisters born in the USA. I was born in the States as well. Where do I start this process, and what paperwork do I need?

Kat Reply:

By definition of the Greek Citizenship Code, your father is not 100 percent Greek if he was born in America. Therefore, you will need to stake a claim through a grandfather or someone else born in Greece.

Read the article and follow its instructions.

  Stamie wrote @ August 28th, 2012 at 01:26

Kat, thank you so much for all of the invaluable information, resources and insight you provide. The impact of the Greek citizenship information on my life, at this particular moment, provides no words to express the gratitude I am feeling. My Greek mother passed away in recent days but not before I was able to mention that I learned of my Greek citizenship possibility. Upon her death, my father was able to hand to me EVERY necessary document, already with the Greek government seal that I will need to make it happen. I am feeling so blessed and so full of gratitude that I found my way way to your website. Thank you so much and I will continue to use your site as a resource and help save the turtles, too! from Florida…lots of turtle groups and my daughter is a Delta Zeta…more turtles as it is their mascot! Blessings to you and yours! Hope to be Greek citizen and living in Greece very soon! Stamatia Turner

Kat Reply:

I’m sorry to hear about your mother, but I’m glad you still have your father and daughter. Small blessings.

A lot of credit goes to generous readers who took the time to share their first-hand experience with me, so I could compile and improve the article over the years to help others. It’s very easy to help people like you, and thank you for your kind words.

Turtles in Zakynthos and everywhere need help more than ever!

  Spiro wrote @ February 28th, 2013 at 10:52

I would like to share my experiance experience in getting passport.

Last February 2012. i attended the Greek Consulate here in Sydney with all docs required to obtain greek citizenship, My birth certificate, parents marriage certificate, baptism certificate.current Australian passport,copies of parents birth certificates, Both my parents born in Greece, and i had my sister in Greece who put in a simple request to get parents birth was straight forward appointment, he copied all docs, paid my $123.00 to organise Greek birth certificate, thus on way to Get my greek passport. Made a follow up call in october 2012 to Consulate, he advised me, with current situation, things could take a year to 16 months, be patient he said.

Now just shy of a year.I got my grrek greek birth certificate from Zakynthos, All i have to do now is book an appointment and apply for passport with Consular official. I found them to be straight forward and polite.

Moral is , get all docs sorted, apply and wait.

Hoping all go well with passport appointment, but so far, pretty stress free.

PS. I Just turned 45, so Military service was no longer a hurdle either.

Kat Reply:

Your comment was transferred because what you describe is the process of claiming Greek citizenship via descent, not the actual application for a passport. I appreciate you sharing your experience, but all you did was repeat info already given in the article with a lot less detail and this isn’t terribly helpful.

The ‘moral’ is also shortsighted. More than half of people going through the system experience issues, ranging from rude service to Greek authorities losing all their papers after 2 years waiting and having to start from zero. What you experienced is exceptional, not the norm. All best.

  Constantine wrote @ May 7th, 2013 at 06:58

Comment 1:
I am Greek-American born in New York. My father was born in Greece and registered in the dimotologio/mitron arrenon in his birthplace. I have the certificate saying so. So I am applying through him as the son of a Greek citizen. I gathered all documents (parents marriage etc..) and I went to the Greek Consulate on 79th St and everything went well except that my birth certificate has my middle name “George” on it while my U.S. Passport does not have “George”. The lawyer in Athens who is helping expedite this says passport should match name on birth certificate exactly. Instead of adding George to passport or deleting from birth certificate, can I just get a “pistopitiko taftoprosopias” that says I have a middle name but don’t always use it? I didn’t know middle names would cause such a ruckus :(

Also, when applying for the certificate of resident abroad/type B paper I need to show documents proving U.S. residency ( I am 27). My tax returns and W-2′s don’t have middle name, my college transcript has the middle initial “G.” and my high school transcript has my full middle name “George”…Will that be an issue in getting the certificate issued or will a “taftoprosopias” solve the issue.


Comment 2:
Your comments are rude, but nevertheless thank you for your response. Obviously, people who post here are confused about Greek bureaucracy (me) and are looking for some reassurance in their quest. And yes, I have a lawyer helping but I wanted another opinion. Why do you help them and then mock them when you don’t like their questions? I would love to give back to the website, if you let me. I have many stories about my citizenship process/Greek consulate in NY and the public sector in Greece. Please let me know how I can help. Your website is great by the way.

Kat Reply:

Answer 1:
What I know is you ignored everything I say in the last comment on this post. This is the third time you’ve sought help and wasted my time, yet not once offered to give back to the website. The other two times you disregarded my policy in ‘Comments, Questions and Contacting Me‘ and ‘Frequently Asked Questions‘ on my portfolio website, which has nothing to do with Greece, then contacted me on February 25 with a self-entitled agenda on LinkedIn, a professional networking tool. One word: Inappropriate.

Now you have and pay a lawyer, but still want free advice from me? I wonder if you can see how absurd that is. Please stop.

Answer 2:
As it says in ‘Comments, Questions and Contacting Me‘, a website with 300+ articles maintained out of goodwill is not an invitation to unlimited free personal consultation (advice, opinions, reassurance, counseling, etc.) on any subject. That’s the job of the consulate/embassy and civil servants, which my taxes pay for.

As it says in ‘About Me,’ the mission of this website is to teach self-reliance. Hundreds Thousands of people have used the article above to get Greek citizenship without the help of a lawyer or asking me questions. All it took was some patience and perseverance.

Please consider that you crossed the line three four times before I finally said enough — twice on LinkedIn (which is why I blocked you) and here two months later. Again I asked you to please stop, and again you come back but this time criticize me for not doing more? *sigh* Telos.

It’s ironic that I’m obliged to keep being polite while readers disrespect me, then called ‘rude’ when I point it out.

  SoHo wrote @ May 14th, 2013 at 20:43

Congratulations on your blog! Having grown-up visiting Greece and living here now for a couple years, your knowledge and talent in conveying it are truly amazing! I came across your blog about 3 years ago when I was trying to figure out how in the world to get my Greek citizenship. Thanks to your info I got a long way, but unfortunately I haven’t managed to reach my goal.

I’m desperate for your advice, opinion and any further knowledge you have to help my situation. Before I go any further, I live in Greece and I would be honored to treat you, pay you or help you, with or without any of your help! Please keep this in mind as I mean it sincerely.

Where to start. I am a second child of four, born in Minnesota to an American mother and Greek father who have never legally married but who have lived together for over 30 years. My father have recognized me as his child. However, much to my dismay, my father never listed his children (in Greece).

Two years ago I started the process you so nicely have listed in another section. Basically what I have managed to do so far is to submit an application to the “periferia” with all the required documents in January 2012. As you know they are backed-up and my situation has not progressed. The problem is that I have been living in Greece, so my 3 month visa as a US passport holder has expired.

There are so many details that I wish I could speak them to you, of course at any compensation you would like, but I think I am wondering the following:

Since I have the appropriate documents to prove I was born to a Greek, out of Greece, and that I have submitted an application for citizenship, regardless of my American passport, am I legal to stay in Greece without any other documentation?

I think I may have a unique story that may and to your knowledge bank and I would be happy to share if you think that is the case. Or contribute to your cause in anyway that would be useful to you.

Thank you for all your time and hard work, I would greatly appreciate anything you can give me and would be honored to give back to you.

P.S. I had to post here because the pertinent article was closed to comments!

Kat Reply:

Please read the answer given to ‘Kat’ on October 28, 2012 at 12:41 under, “American and Greek dual citizenship” to address many of your concerns.

Your claim to Greek citizenship is in question because your parents never legally married and your father did not officially record you in his oikogeneiaki merida. Therefore, you cannot say “I have the appropriate documents.” The Greek government determines that (not you), just as they decide whether you actually qualify under law to receive citizenship, and this decision can take 2-3 years as disclosed in section,’Processing time for Greek citizenship.’

Submitting an application for Greek citizenship grants you no rights or permission, just as submitting a job application doesn’t mean you have a job or salary. You are a non-EU citizen. Period. Therefore, you need a residence permit to live in Greece. Since you don’t have one and already overstayed your Schengen visa, you are an illegal resident. This “problem” was created when you interpreted the law to suit your situation instead of inquiring whether you actually had permission BEFORE coming to live in Greece.

P.S. Comments are closed because people keep asking redundant questions and requesting personal consultation beyond what I already offer for free, much as you did. I state this in the last comment (below).

  Xian wrote @ July 13th, 2013 at 13:10


Thanks for compiling all of this useful information. I hope to apply for Greek citizenship through ancestry (my grandfather) however I was never christened or baptised – is this a requirement of Greek citizenship?


Kat Reply:

Please see the last comment on this post.

  James wrote @ September 20th, 2013 at 21:05

Firstly you have a wonderful website, secondly i apologise for the lack of relevance in my question to the current topic and finally i have enjoyed and digested reading your articles on citizenship.

The question is regarding my Greek parents in-law. They have applied for the Greek passport over 8 years ago through ancestry which they have proven documentation for. They are Greek residents, have been for 20 years, having never left the country in this period. They were born in Albania and migrated to Greece around 23 years ago, they were issued Greek ID papers and had their marriage re-ordained in Greece to have a Greek marriage license and they were baptised as Greek Orthodox. Both their daughters (including my wife) have received the Greek passport in the last 2 years, I am a British national.

The problem in their current application in the names on their Albanian birth certificates do not match the names registered with the Greek ministry – a problem i believe you have some kind of experience with. They have dealt with the ministry who have not offered any real help, they have tried using an ombudsman with a similar lack of success and have made the mistake of paying various lawyers to not do anything useful.

There really does not seem to be too many solutions that i can find, sometimes it is a great help for a fresh perspective or advice when you feel a trail has gone cold. Many thanks in advance for your time and expertise.


Just to expand on the names problem, it was both the first name and family name that was altered from the original names. There is also the major problem that the date-of-births the Greek ministry have for my PIL are different from those on the Albanian birth certificates. So the whole headache with the citizenship case is the names/d.o.b for the birth certificates – this is what is holding up the process and the Greek ministry has not made any suggestions to resolve it.


  Petros wrote @ October 1st, 2013 at 00:15

Hi I just want to say a big thank you for all the info on your website,,, here is my question I m a Greek citizen I live in Nigeria with my wife (Nigerian) and we just had a son does my child qualify for Greek citizenship? if yes how do I file for the application because there is nothing on the Greek consular website in Nigeria. pls help

Kat Reply:

Follow the 4000-word article, which gives instructions on how to apply for Greek citizenship, where to apply, what documents to collect; and also answers FAQ.

  Christos wrote @ June 5th, 2014 at 16:46

I am wanting to become a greek citizen. My farther father is greek and still lives outside athens. I myself have been was born and raised in england. I just want to know how and what i would need to do this and get a greek passport.


Kat Reply:

Follow the instructions above.

Also be aware that you will obliged to serve in the Greek military or file for an exemption.

  Patty wrote @ June 24th, 2014 at 02:33

We are thinking of retiring to Greece from the US. We can apply for dual citizenship, as my husband’s grandfather came from Greece. Last summer we located his relatives in Pyrgos, Ilya. Any thoughts?

Kat Reply:

If your husband wishes to stake a claim to Greek citizenship via his grandfather, he must complete all steps above.

If not opting the Greek citizenship route, and assuming you’re non-EU citizens (you didn’t say), you may also apply for residence permits that entitle you to retire here by following instructions at, “How to apply for a visa and residence permit for Greece.”

Both articles are listed on the front page and come up #1 in a simple Google search. All best.

  Steen wrote @ December 20th, 2014 at 12:00

I am a Danish citizen and my father is greek. I would like to apply for dual citizenship which means I would like to also have a greek citizenship. I was born in Denmark and live in Denmark – but in the future I might settle down in Greece with my familiy. Can You send me a link to the applicationform, and do you see any problems obtaining greek citizenship?

Regards, Steen

Kat Reply:

Each case is uniquely different, and there’s no way I (or anyone) can answer your question based on knowing nothing about you or your family records.

The 4000-word article above with step-by-step instructions and answers to commonly asked questions, based on first-hand experience and official documentation, is the extent of free advice I’m willing to offer. Please give it a read. All best.

  Kat wrote @ December 20th, 2014 at 18:30

Note to readers: Comments are closed on this post as of April 2011 due to people asking redundant questions and expecting unlimited, personal consultation beyond 300+ articles I already offer for free.

If you have a question, you can:
— Ask a relative or Greek-speaking friend to help you;
— Call the Greek consulate/embassy nearest you;
— Contact the citizenship division of the Interior Ministry in Greece (info listed in ‘Contact Information’).
I strongly advise NOT hiring a lawyer for reasons given in section ‘Do I need to hire a lawyer/consultant?’ Navigating bureaucracy, solving problems and following directions is all part of becoming a Greek citizen.

— People whose family records are NOT current, consistent and showing all relationships/marriages/divorces/births/etc. will encounter unique circumstances.
— People whose family records ARE in order will follow the exact process in the 4000-word, step-by-step article above based on extensive research and contributions from generous readers who went through the process and shared their experience with me.
I said it in the article, I’ll say it again: Each person’s case is unique, and you may be asked for additional documentation specific to your family. No article and no amount of answers can cover millions of variations.

If you ignore this message and find a different article with comments open or try to contact me via another method, I will:
— Direct you back to this message;
— Transfer your comment to this post but provide no guidance;
— Reserve the right to delete your question.

I’m not interested in stories unique to your family/city/state/country, venting, bribes or info that repeats what I wrote. I’m only accepting corrections to above requirements that concern all applicants, sourced from people who took detailed notes on their first-hand experience from beginning to end, as a way to enrich the article and give back to the website in exchange for the free assistance I provide.

Good luck.

Sorry, comments are closed at this time.