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Equalization of Cohabiting Partners with Spouses of a Greek Citizen - New Law for Granting A Five-Year Residence Permit

The new Law No4540/2018 (Government Gazette NoA91/22.05.2018) concerning the adaptation of Greek legislation to the provisions of Directive No2013/33/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 about the standards for the receiving of applicants for international protection, modifies, inter alia, the provisions of the current Immigration Code (Law No4251/2014) concerning granting residence permits to third-country nationals who have concluded a cohabitation agreement with a Greek citizen, which until now has been regulated by the Joint Ministerial Decision No23443/2011. Article 18 of the Law No4540/2018 states that from 22.08.2018, the Joint Ministerial Decision No. 23443/2011  is hereby repealed and the applications for the residence permit of third country nationals who have concluded a cohabitation agreement with a Greek citizen, henceforth, should be submitted to competent decentralized administrations of the relevant Office for Foreigners and Immigration.

As defined in the Article 31 of the new law, which modifies the article 1 (l) of the Law No4251/2014, the category with the  spouse of a Greek citizen, now includes all the same the third-country nationals who have concluded a cohabitation agreement with a Greek citizen, provided that the cohabitation agreement  has been concluded in Greece or in a Greek consular institution. Therefore, according to the new law, the cohabitation agreement is fully and completely equivalent to marriage, as the third-country national  who concludes a cohabitation agreement with a Greek citizen can now receive a residence permit of five years’ duration, just ike the spouses of Greek citizens. Mention should be made that previously the residence permit for citizens of third countries that entered into a cohabitation agreement with a Greek citizen was provided by the Ministry of the Interior, and initially had a duration period of one (1) year, with its further renewal for another two (2) years.

An important novelty of the above-mentioned law is that henceforth children of a third country citizen, i.e. a spouse under a cohabitation agreement, his blood relatives in a straight line up to 21 years, or regardless of age, if they are on the maintenance of a Greek citizen or his partner (that is, parents, grandfathers, grandmothers, grandchildren), as well as any other family member of a third country national who is on the maintenance of a Greek citizen or his foreign partner and who has health problems, for which the assistance of a Greek citizen is absolutely necessary, can apply for a residence permit for a period of five years, which is something that is also applied for the relatives of the Greek citizen's spouse in marriage.

At Paragraph 10 of the same article is defined that Article 82 of Law 4251/2014 is amended and it states that like the spouse of a Greek citizen, the cohabiting partner with a cohabitation agreement can apply to the competent Decentralized Administration of Foreigners and immigration to grant a residence permit within three months from the date of his/her entry into the country or within two months from the date of conclusion of  the cohabitation agreement, which was drawn up in Greece, provided that the family relationship with the Greek citizen is in writing evidenced.

Paragraph 11 of the same article provides that a cohabiting partner has the right, just like the spouse, after the termination of the cohabitation agreement, to submit a application for residence permit, provided that the cohabitation agreement lasted for at least three (3) years, of which one (1) year in Greece or if after the termination of the cohabitation agreement the custody of acquired children has been legally assigned to the cohabiting partner  who is a citizen of a third country.

The submission of the relevant applications will now be made to the competent Decentralized Administration of the Aliens and Immigration and not to the Ministry of the Interior, while the supporting documents will remain the same.

As it is known, the cohabitation agreement is concluded before a notary  under the personal presence of the parties, while the third-country national must be holder of a passport in force and a visa of any type. The cohabitation agreement becomes effective upon its registration at the relevant registration office . After this, the third-country national partner should be registered at the Greek citizen's register, from which the couple can obtain a marital status certificate, which is one of the basic documents for the submission of an application for a five-year residence permit as a family member of a Greek citizen.

The international law office of Mrs Svetlana Kasatkina-Kouskou provides services for full qualified legal support of the process and obtaining a residence permit for third-country nationals who have entered into a cohabitation agreement with Greek citizens - from submitting an application to obtaining a permanent residence permit - representing the interests of a third country citizen in migration services of decentralized administrations of Greece. Many years of experience of our law firm, as well as consistency, decency, methodicalness and punctuality in work allow us to ensure the successful completion of the procedure for issuing your residence permit in a short time

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