Information for people with refugee status or subsidiary protection.
If you have refugee status or subsidiary protection in Greece, you may eventually be able to apply for citizenship.
If you obtain Greek citizenship, you will get a Greek ID and enjoy the same rights as Greeks and other European Union citizens. For example, you will be able to live in another EU country, which is something you cannot do as a recognized refugee. Also, you will be able to vote in Greek elections.
That said, the application process can be tough. You may want to consult a lawyer.
When can I apply?
In order to apply for Greek citizenship, you need to wait until 7 years after the date you got your refugee Residence Permit. You have to prove you have lived legally and continuously in Greece during the entire 7 years.
If you plan to apply for Greek citizenship and your Residence Permit is about to expire, lawyers suggest that you apply for renewal at least four months before it expires. Find out how to renew your Residence Permit here.
Any other requirements?
Yes. To apply for Greek citizenship, you also must:
- Be over 18
- Have a clean criminal record
- Not be in the deportation process
Those aren’t the only requirements for getting Greek citizenship. During the process, you will also have to show that you know Greek and have integrated into Greek society.
How to apply
First, you will have to take part in the written examination to obtain the Certificate of Adequacy of Knowledge for Naturalization. The written examination includes language, Greek history and geography, as well as Greek culture and institutions tests. If applicants are above 62 years old or have a certification of disability above 67% issued by a Disability Certification Center or can prove diagnosed learning difficulties can obtain the Certificate via an oral examination. The cost of participation is 150 euros, and they take place twice a year, during May and November. The exact dates, the application for the exams and the database of topics can be found here.
Applicants who have successfully attended 9 years of primary and secondary school or six years of secondary school, have graduated from a Greek University or have obtained a master’s degree from a Greek university, provided that the program is in Greek, or have obtained a PhD by a Greek university, provided that the dissertation was written in Greek.
Following successful participation in the examination mentioned above, go to the Foreigners Department of Decentralized Administration to you submit an application for Greek citizenship. Attach to the application all the following documents:
- One color ID photo
- A copy of your Residence Permit
- Certificate of Adequacy of Knowledge for the Naturalization
- A copy of your passport or travel Document, or another identification document
- Your birth certificate (if you are a recognized refugee and you can’t get this document from your country of origin, you can submit the decision granting you asylum instead)
- Copies of the tax declarations from the past 7 years (provided that you have been a residence permit holder for the past 7 years)
- Your AMKA number
- Fee (paravolo) of €100 or €550 depending on whether you have been granted refugee or subsidiary protection
- Additional documents proving that you have been well integrated in the economic and social life of the country (e.g., certificates of school attendance/vocational training, participation in civil society activities etc.)
Refugees pay a reduced fee of €100 (fee code 2161), whereas beneficiaries of subsidiary protection pay a feed of €550. Non-refugee applicants pay much more. If you get rejected, you will have to pay €200 more to submit a second application.
The competent regional Directorate for Citizenship examines the documents submitted with the application and the fulfilment of the formal requirements such as age, 7 years of lawful and continuous residence, valid residence permit, etc. (as mentioned above). If the formal requirements are met the authorities will perform a security clearance. If they are not met, a negative decision is issued, otherwise, the procedure continues.
Following this, the caseworker of your file will issue a reasoned opinion on whether to accept or not the application for citizenship based on the fulfilment of both the formal and substantial requirements and a draft of the relevant decision, which will be forwarded to the Head of Regional Directorate of Citizenship for assessment and signature. If there are doubts regarding the fulfilment of economic and social integration, you will be called for an interview. In case the call for an interview cannot be notified twice or if you don’t attend your interview and cannot provide proof of the objective why you could not do so, the application for citizenship will be rejected.
In case of a negative decision, an annulment application can be submitted within 60 days from the day you will be notified. A new application can be submitted after one year after the negative decision.
In case of a positive decision, a summary of it will be published in the Official Government Gazette and within a year, you must be invited to take an oath in order for the procedure to be completed.
How long will the decision take?
The waiting time may vary significantly, depending on the area you live in and the bureaucratic obstacles you may have to overpass.
Will my children also obtain Greek citizenship if I get a positive decision?
Yes, in this case, if children are still minors and unmarried, they will automatically obtain Greek citizenship.
Citizenship for children born in Greece
Being born in Greece does not give Greek citizenship to a child who is not of Greek descent or origin.
Also, just being born in Greek territory doesn’t give you the right to apply for Greek citizenship.
When both parents are non-Greek, their child who was born in Greece can get Greek citizenship only if:
- Both parents have lived legally and continuously in Greece for at least 5 years before the child’s birth and
- the child has been registered at a Greek primary school
Who needs to submit the application for a child?
The application should be submitted either: - By both parents acting on the child’s behalf. - By the single parent who has exclusive custody of the child. - By the adult assigned as the legal guardian of an unaccompanied minor.
I am under 18 and alone in Greece. Can I apply for Greek citizenship?
If you are an unaccompanied child and beneficiary of international protection, you can apply for Greek citizenship 7 years after the date you get your refugee Residence Permit. You will have to prove that you have lived legally and continuously in Greece during the entire 7 years.
Your guardian should apply on your behalf.