Greek nationality law

Greek nationality law
Coat of arms of Greece.svg

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.



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 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. The Greek ancestor's baptismal certificate and certificate of parents' marriage in a Greek Orthodox Church are required, along with the applicant's baptismal certificate, and the baptismal certificates of all generations in between to prove the relationship between the applicant and the person of Greek citizenship.

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 year old.


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

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. (FEK 219/2004 article 18)


  • Phaedon J. Kozyris, The American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 6, No. 4 (Autumn, 1957), pp. 600–602

External links How to obtain a Greek passport.

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