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Expert Tips on How to Get Greek Citizenship By Descent

how to get greek citizenship by descent

Dreaming of a Greek Passport? If you have Greek roots in your family tree, you could be eligible for Greek citizenship by descent!

Being born to descendants of Greek nationality may be your pathway to Greek citizenship. The government of Greece offers descendants of its native sons and daughters the chance to claim Greek citizenship through “jus sanguinis” or “right of blood”.

Today, we will explore how to get Greek citizenship by descent, so you can gain a better understanding of the qualifications and application process. So, if you’re ready to start your journey to Greek citizenship, unlocking a whole new lifestyle for you and your family, let’s dive in!

Understanding Citizenship by Descent (Jus Sanguinis)

Jus Sanguinis is a principle meaning that citizenship can be determined through parents or ancestors. It is a legal concept that enables Greek citizenship by descent. So here’s what you need to know about Jus Sanguinis:

What does Jus Sanguinis mean?

Jus Sanguinis is the principle that the nationality of children is the same as that of their Greek parents, irrespective of their place of birth. This is common across European countries and applies to Greek law.

The Importance of Jus Sanguinis in Greece

This law helps people of Greek descent maintain a connection with their cultural heritage, ensuring that they may still have access to Greek citizenship, even if their parents themselves were not citizens.

This broad eligibility criteria leaves the door wide open for descendants of Greek emigrants. Now, you can explore your Greek heritage and reconnect with your roots!

Understanding Jus Sanguinis is vital for those considering applying for Greek citizenship by descent. This is a testament to the importance Greece places on heritage and maintaining familial connections.

Eligibility Criteria for Greek Citizenship by Descent

how to get greek citizenship by descent

So, you’re still reading, which means you must think Greek citizenship by descent may be a valid option for you – great! Next, we must ensure you are eligible for this pathway to Greek citizenship. Here are the main criteria you must consider:

Greek Ancestry

Having a Greek ancestor is fundamental when applying for Greek citizenship by descent. This can be a parent, a grandparent, a great-grandparent, and can go even further back. Depending on how far back your ancestor is, the process may get a little more tricky.

Unbroken Citizenship Line

If you’re applying for Greek citizenship through a grandparent or more distant relative, each relative ‘in-between’ must also have Greek citizenship before you can qualify. So, if they have not yet obtained their documentation, now may be the time to convince them to do so!

No Generational Limit

Usually, there should be no limitation on how far back through your family lineage you can go to claim citizenship. Bear in mind that it is essential that no matter how far back you need to go, you don’t break the unbroken citizenship line rule. 

Of course, when applying for Greek citizenship there is paperwork involved. To prove your lineage, you will have to provide Vital Records as well as other legal documents.

Now that we have run through the eligibility criteria for Greek citizenship by descent, do you check all of the boxes that we have mentioned? If so, it’s time to start thinking about the application process! Everybody’s circumstances are different so we suggest that you speak with our dedicated legal team to see what the process might look like for you.

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Documentation for Greek Nationality by Descent

Now it’s time to dive into the documentation you will need for a successful application:

Birth Certificates

Birth certificates of your Greek ancestors and all direct descendants in your lineage, including you, are essential.

Marriage and Death Certificates

If applicable, you must also present marriage and death certificates for each generation between you and your Greek ancestor.

Naturalization Records

You must present documents showing if and when your ancestor became a citizen of another country. This is essential as it helps determine that they retained their Greek citizenship until the birth of their descendants.

Additional Documents

Next, you may need additional documents depending on your specific circumstances. Each case is different, so it is best to speak with a legal expert to see what other documents you require. For example, you may require a certificate of your legal residence in Greece, if you are applying from there.

Translation and Legalization

Besides your passport, every document you are submitting must be translated into Greek by a sworn translator. In addition, both the original document and its translation must be legalized.

So there you have a quick overview of the documents you will require if you plan on getting Greek citizenship by descent. Bear in mind that the completeness and accuracy of these documents are essential, so be sure to double and even triple-check everything.  

A Step-By-Step Guide to Apply for Greek Citizenship by Descent

As you may be aware, applying for Greek citizenship involves several essential steps. Let’s break these down:

  1. Confirm Your Eligibility: Firstly, of course, ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for Greek citizenship by descent. To do this, be sure to review your family history and the specific requirements to ensure you qualify.
  2. Research and Gather Documentation: Next, collect all of the necessary documents. These include the aforementioned birth, marriage, and death certificates. Remember to ensure they are correctly translated and legalized.
  3. Make Your Appointment at a Consulate: Once your documentation is in place, reach out to the Greek Consulate or Embassy with jurisdiction according to your place of legal residence to schedule an appointment. Waiting times can be lengthy, so the sooner you can arrange your appointment the better.
  4. Submit Your Application: When you get your appointment, you will submit your application along with the compiled documents. The consulate staff will review everything to verify it meets the necessary standards.
  5. Wait for Processing: Now you’ve done most of the hard part, so the key here is patience. Processing times can vary significantly, often stretching to several months or more, so hang tight while your application is being reviewed.
  6. Receive Your Citizenship: If your application is approved, you must complete any remaining necessary procedures, such as taking the Oath of Greek Citizenship. You can then apply for your Greek passport and gain access to the benefits of Greek citizenship.

Common Challenges and Solutions You May Encounter

As with anything in life, it’s important to expect the unexpected. Sometimes, roadblocks may appear during your application process, so you should aim to be well-informed. 

Here are some that spring to mind:

Missing/Incomplete Documentation

It’s more common than you may think to discover some gaps in your family’s documentation or to find that some documents are incomplete or even missing.

Lexidy Tip: Begin your research early and be as meticulous as possible. Contact family members, local registries in Greece, or even consider hiring a professional researcher.

Lengthy Processing Times

Due to the high volume of applications and bureaucratic processes, the wait can take a while – sometimes even years.

Lexidy Tip: Keep your patience. You can check in with your consulate for updates, and if you are asked for additional information, be sure to submit it promptly.

Language Barriers

When dealing with official documents, the language barrier can become an issue if you are not fluent in Greek.

Lexidy Tip: Reach out to a professional translator or a citizenship service.

While you may encounter one of these issues, remember why you are applying for Greek citizenship in the first place. Remain patient and keep consistent communications with your consulate for a smooth process.

The Benefits of Greek Citizenship

European Exploration

Greek citizenship opens up a world (or more specifically, Europe) of travel options. Imagine the ability to travel freely across the continent, discovering the natural, cultural, and historical wonders Europe has to offer!

Economic Opportunities

Whether you’re exploring seeking employment opportunities or exploring your next big investment, Greek citizenship can unlock endless opportunities. Do you want an office overlooking the Aegean or your next property in Crete? Now, you have more options than ever before.

Continue the Lineage

Once you have applied and successfully obtained Greek citizenship, you are now making life easier for your offspring to do the same. Now, they have instant access to all of the same opportunities as you!

Excited by the appeal of Greek citizenship, but descent isn’t the pathway for you? Don’t worry, there are other options!

Other Pathways to Greek Citizenship 

Of course, citizenship by descent isn’t the only way to become a Greek citizen, so let’s take a quick look at the other possibilities:

Greek Citizenship by Birth: As the name suggests, if you are born on Greek soil, you automatically qualify for Greek citizenship.

Greek Citizenship by Naturalization: This option opens the possibility of citizenship for those who have adopted Greece as their home for a period of time. EU citizens need to live in Greece for at least three years, while non-EU citizens, like Americans and Australians, must spend at least seven years living in the country.

Greek Citizenship by Marriage: Another avenue to Greek citizenship is through marriage (which we hope is only an additional benefit!). To qualify, you must have lived in Greece for at least three years or have a child with your spouse.

Greek Citizenship by Investment: Qualify for Greek citizenship through the Golden Visa Program. With an investment of €250,000 in Greek real estate, you can pave your way to citizenship. You’ll still need to live in Greece for a set period to qualify.

So, there we have it. These are the main pathways you can consider if you want to apply for Greek citizenship. Still considering it? Check out this article to discover more about relocating to Greece in 2024!

Frequently Asked Questions

how to get greek citizenship by descent

Do you need to speak Greek to get Greek citizenship?

No, you do not need to speak Greek to obtain Greek citizenship by descent, especially if you are applying for citizenship by descent. 

How do I prove my Greek ancestry?

To prove your Greek ancestry, you will need to provide documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and possibly death certificates, as well as passports or identity cards of your ancestors.

What is the test for Greek citizenship?

There is no specific ‘test’ for Greek citizenship by descent. It is mainly based on your documentation. However for Greek citizenship by naturalization, you must demonstrate knowledge of the Greek language, history, and culture. 

Can Lexidy Help Me Get Greek Citizenship By Descent?

Have you done your research and believe you qualify for Greek citizenship by descent? Or are you feeling the burden of the documentation and the high attention to detail that is necessary? 

No matter what your situation is, the team at Lexidy is here to help make the process as straightforward as possible!

At Lexidy, we understand that no two cases are the same, so let us take care of the details. From determining your eligibility to assisting with applications and addressing your concerns – we’ve got you covered.

So let’s take the next step together! Just fill out your details below and a member of our team will be in touch.

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