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Greek nationality law

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Title: Greek nationality law  
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Subject: Jus sanguinis, Nationality law, Canadian nationality law, Visa requirements for Greek citizens, Sakis Rouvas
Collection: Greek Law, Nationality Law
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Greek nationality law

Nationality law of Greece is based on the principle of jus sanguinis. Greek citizenship may be acquired by descent or through naturalization. Greek law permits dual citizenship. A Greek national is a citizen of the European Union, and therefore entitled to the same rights as other EU citizens.[1]


  • Naturalization 1
  • Marriage 2
  • Naturalization by military service or monasticism in Mount Athos 3
  • Loss of citizenship 4
  • Citizenship of the European Union 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


A child of a Greek citizen acquires Greek nationality automatically at birth. The same applies to children born in Greece whose parents have lived legally and permanently in Greece for five years. Children born abroad and whose parents have lived legally and permanently in Greece for five years become Greek citizens upon successful completion of elementary education (six years). Greeks born abroad may transmit citizenship to their children from generation to generation indefinitely.

An alien born out of wedlock is automatically Greek if the mother is Greek (see matrilineality). If the father is Greek and paternity can be proven (for example, through a paternity test), the child will become Greek when an application is submitted for the child to become a Greek citizen, providing the child has not yet reached the age of 18. An alien who is over 18 may become Greek by naturalization.

A child over 18 of a Greek father does not require naturalization if they can establish a chain of Greek citizenship through properly recorded birth and marriage certificates.

An ethnic Greek born outside of Greece may acquire Greek citizenship by naturalization if they fail to qualify for simple registration as the child of a Greek citizen. (This provision excludes Greek Cypriots, who may seek Cypriot citizenship instead.) The applicant must prove that at least one parent or grandparent was born a Greek national.

Naturalization requirements are different for ethnic Greek and non-ethnic Greek aliens:

  • The alien ethnic Greek must make a declaration—in the presence of two witnesses, who must be Greek citizens—before the mayor or chairman of the village council where they live, which states they wish to be naturalized.
  • The alien may submit this declaration to the Greek consul of their domicile, who transmits it to the Ministry of the Interior with a relevant report.
  • An alien who is not an ethnic Greek must live in Greece for seven years before the declaration. They must also submit an application for naturalization to the Ministry of the Interior.

Children of a naturalized alien become Greeks if, at the time of completion of the naturalization proceedings, they are not married and are less than 18-years old.[2][3][4][5][6]

A panel of Council of State (Supreme Court) judges has ruled that the citizenship law as described above, which allows foreigners who legally reside in Greece to vote and stand in local elections, is unconstitutional as only Greeks should be allowed this right.


At present, marriage does not entail the acquisition or loss of Greek nationality. Before 1984, a woman marrying a Greek national became Greek automatically.

Naturalization by military service or monasticism in Mount Athos

Ethnic Greeks accepted to the military academies for officers or non-commissioned officers of the Greek armed forces (according to the special law governing each school) or who enlist in the armed forces as volunteers (according to the law governing each branch) acquire Greek nationality automatically from the time they enter the academies or are enlisted. Moreover, according to the Greek constitution, aliens admitted as monks in one of the monasteries of Mount Athos, become Greek automatically.

Loss of citizenship

A Greek national does not usually lose their Greek citizenship when they obtain another nationality, unless they request it. A Greek citizen may voluntarily renounce citizenship by submitting an application to the Ministry of Interior in Athens.[7] For male Greek nationals, renunciation of citizenship is subject to the completion of their military duties.[8]

Although Greek citizens can acquire foreign nationality, some countries require citizens with foreign nationality to declare, at some point upon reaching adulthood, whether to keep their Greek or foreign nationality. Any dual Greek-Japanese citizen who, by birth, acquires the two nationalities, must choose, before reaching age 22, whether to keep the European or East Asian citizenship. The Japanese Minister of Justice may otherwise demand a declaration of choice of citizenship, to the dual Greek-Japanese national, at any time.

Citizenship of the European Union

Greek citizens are also citizens of the European Union and thus enjoy rights of free movement and have the right to vote in elections for the European Parliament.


  1. ^ "Southern Europe's Immigration Test".  
  2. ^ "Citizenship law has minimal impact".  
  3. ^ "Citizenship up, ruling looms".  
  4. ^ "Court questions legality of citizenship law".  
  5. ^ "Turks of Western Thrace still struggling for rights, recognition".  
  6. ^ "How MIPEX was used to reform Greek citizenship laws".  
  7. ^ FEK 219/2004 article 18
  8. ^ "Greek Nationality Code". Ministry of Justice. 
  • Phaedon J. Kozyris, The American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 6, No. 4 (Autumn, 1957), pp. 600–602

External links

  • Ministry of Citizen Protection
  • National Gazette issue 217/2004
  • Code of Greek Citizenship
  • The Greek Who Obtains Foreign Citizenship Does Not Lose his Greek One
  • Code of Greek Nationality (alternate translation)
  • Citizenship Law of Greece
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