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Greek Nationality - express information

The end of an era and the beginning of another socio-ethnic development of the country is now a fact, as we can see with the publication of Law 3838 / 24.03.2010 "Current provisions for Greek citizenship and political participation of expatriates and permanently residing immigrants, and other settings".

Important changes:

a)  the creation of new ways of acquiring Greek citizenship by birth or  by attending Greek schools (Article 1):
•   Children of foreigners that are born and continue to live in Greece, whose parents reside permanently to the country legally for at least five years, acquire Greek citizenship by birth if the parents submit a joint declaration and registration form to the Registrar General municipality of residence, within three years from the birth of the child. In case of late submission of declarations and applications, citizenship is acquired by their submission. If the child was born before the completion of five years of legal residence of both parents in the country, the Joint Declaration and the application for registration are submitted with the expiry of five years of uninterrupted legal residence of the second parent, and the child acquires the Greek citizenship by submitting them.
•    A foreign child who has successfully completed at least six classes of Greek school and resides legally in the country acquires the Greek citizenship by completing the six-year study by a joint declaration and registration form at Municipal roll of the municipality of residence, submitted his parents within three years from the completion of this time. In case of late submission of the declaration and application and until the child reaches adulthood, citizenship is acquired by submitting the declaration and application.  Citizenship is acquired by foreign children with a statement of their parents, according to the provisions of the paragraphs above, and only if both parents reside in Greece, under the relevant legal title in force.

b) reduce of the deadlines for applying for naturalization (Articles 2 and 3):
•    For foreigners the required period of legal stay has decreased from 10 to 7 years, and in some cases up to 5 years.
•    For citizens of EU Member States, who are married to Greek and have custody of a child who has Greek citizenship and for recognized political refugees - stateless - this period is up to 3 years.
•    There is no deadline for submitting the application for naturalization for the expatriates, and for those who were born and live in Greece.

Foreigners, who at the time of the entry into force of this law, complete at least five years of legal residence in the country, may apply for naturalization in accordance with Articles 5 and following of the Greek Citizenship Code, as modified by these two provisions and 3 of this Law, provided that they present with their statement and request any valid residence other than temporary. (Article 25).

c) changes of the required documents for naturalization (Article 4):
•    Fee for an alien who wants to be naturalized as a Greek: 700 €.
•    For resubmission of the application for naturalization the fee is 200 €.
•   For expatriates, the holders of nationality of a Member State of the EU,  and the recognized political refugees and stateless persons, the fee for the application is 100 €.

d) the process of naturalization (Article 5):
•    The committee of the Regions calls the alien for an interview at a specific place and time. Then the alien is required to provide the Commission Naturalization with information showing that they know the Greek language, and as well as any other information useful to substantiate that there are in him the material conditions of naturalization.
•    There is a need of proof for calling the alien to an interview. His non appearance is justified only for reasons of objective weakness.
•    In case of unjustified non-appearance, the naturalization application is rejected by the Minister.
•    The Commission may conduct a specific test in accordance with the specific terms of the Joint Ministerial Decision referred to in paragraph 3 of Article 5A.
•   Naturalization Committee prepares a record which contains the questions and answers of the persons appeared to the interview.
•   Then the introduction of Committee, accompanied by the record and  the complete case file, is forwarded to the Ministry of Interior, Decentralization and e-Government and communicated to the applicant who has the right to submit written objections to the content, in the Citizenship Board, within 15 days.

e) the decision for naturalization is made by the Minister of Interior, Decentralization and is published in the Gazette. The decision on the application for naturalization is not justified under the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Code. The new application for naturalization is allowed after one year of the rejection of the previous.

f) whoever acquires the Greek citizenship by declaration after attaining majority gives the oath of Article 1A of the Code of Greek Citizenship, within a year of this declaration.

g) there is a Naturalization Committee in each area and one can serve this Committee as a member for only 2 years.

h) the Citizenship Council decides over the objections submitted by foreigners against the recommendation of the Committee on Naturalization and gives opinion on issues of citizenship (Article 11).

i) for naturalization there are the following specific deadlines (Article 12):
•   Six (6) months from the filing of application for naturalization up to the call of the person concerned in an interview before the Committee on Naturalization. During this time the competent service of the region must seek the documentation required and the opinions of the security services of the Ministry of Citizen Protection. If the application is incomplete, the period begins upon completion of the relevant documentation or the complete resubmission of the application. Any delay in the dispatch of documents does not inhibit further inquiry into the matter.
•   4 months after calling the applicant for an interview until the submission of a recommendation by the Minister of Interior, Decentralization and e-Governance.
•    2 months for the adoption of the decree and its publication in the  Gazette.
•    In the case of application for determining the citizenship, there is a deadline of 18 months from the date of application to the decision.
•   The above deadlines as well as the naturalization process, suspend pending criminal proceedings for offenses punishable by deprivation of liberty more than one year, and for other offenses, the sentence for which is an obstacle for naturalization. The submission of objections by the applicant before the Council of citizenship, as well as the referral of the case to the Minister, have also an inhibitory effect.

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