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Greece: Whether a child of foreign nationals, who has lived legally in the country for the majority of his or her life, loses the legal status when he or she becomes an adult; if the status is lost, information on the process that follows (2012-July 2013)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date 30 July 2013
Citation / Document Symbol GRC104538.E
Related Document Grèce : information indiquant si l'enfant de ressortissants étrangers qui a vécu légalement dans le pays pendant la majeure partie de sa vie perd son statut juridique en devenant adulte; s'il perd son statut, information sur le processus subséquent (2012-juillet 2013)
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Greece: Whether a child of foreign nationals, who has lived legally in the country for the majority of his or her life, loses the legal status when he or she becomes an adult; if the status is lost, information on the process that follows (2012-July 2013), 30 July 2013, GRC104538.E , available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/53b139ec4.html [accessed 10 December 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

1. Legal Status in Greece

In a telephone interview with the Research Directorate, an official of the Embassy of Greece in Washington D.C. stated that, in her opinion, a child of foreign nationals, who has lived legally in Greece for the majority of his or her life, does not lose the legal status when he or she becomes an adult (Greece 29 July 2013). The official added that all family members could extend their legal status if they are in Greece, but noted that it might depend on what kind of status they had (ibid.). The official indicated that, in her opinion, if the family is abroad and the child reached the age of 18, he or she should not lose his or her status in Greece as long as his or her residence permit is still valid (ibid.). According to the official, he or she would need to go back to Greece in order to renew the permit (ibid.). However, it depends on the type of permit the child and the family had and for how long they have been living abroad (ibid.). The official indicated that if the residence permit expires while the family is abroad, all family members lose their permanent status (ibid.). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

2. Naturalization

The law on citizenship was amended in 2010 and the rules regarding naturalization were modified (OECD 2013, 256). According to Article 1A of the Greek Citizenship Code of 2004 (consolidated version 2010),

2 [a] child of foreign nationals that has successfully completed the attendance of at least six school grades at a Greek school in Greece and lawfully permanently resides in the Country acquires Greek Citizenship upon completion of the six-year period of school attendance by common declaration and application for registration at the City Registry of the city of his or her permanent residence to be submitted by his or her parents within three years after the completion of that period. In case of posterior submission of the declaration and application and until the child reaches the age of majority, the citizenship is acquired upon submission of the relevant declaration and application.

3 Greek Citizenship is acquired by children of foreign nationals by declaration by their parents according to the provisions of the previous sections of the present article only in the event that both of their parents lawfully reside in Greece on the basis of relevant valid legal title. (Greece 2004, Art. 1A)

However, in a telephone interview with the Research Directorate, an associate professor at the Department of Political Science and History of the Panteion University of Athens, who specializes in issues related to citizenship, migrants, minorities and human rights, indicated that in February 2013, Article 1A of the law, including the acquisition of Greek nationality by the parents' declaration, was declared to be "unconstitutional" by the Greek Council of State and that it is "not valid anymore" (Associate Professor 29 July 2013). Other sources also report that the Council of State declared the 2010 citizenship law "unconstitutional" (RIEAS 24 Feb. 2013; Kathimerini 5 Feb. 2013). The US Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012 indicates that on 30 November 2012, the minister of the Interior ordered the suspension of the processing of all citizenship applications by migrants in anticipation of the Council of State's ruling (US 19 Apr. 2013, 20). Similarly, the Athens-based newspaper Kathimerini reports that authorities stopped granting Greek citizenship in December 2012 in anticipation of the ruling (5 Feb. 2013). However, the Country Reports 2012 added that 7 mayors, including the mayor of Athens, said they would continue to implement the existing legislation until "the decision was officially registered" (19 Apr. 2013, 20). Information on whether the process for naturalization is still suspended could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response. According to the Associate Professor, the citizenship law is in the process of revision (Associate Professor 29 July 2013).

The Associate Professor indicated that a child of foreign nationals, who has lived legally in Greece for the majority of his or her life and reached the age of 18, must apply for Greek citizenship via "regular" naturalization procedures for immigrants in Greece (ibid.). The Associate Professor further noted that an application cannot be submitted to the mission abroad; an individual must submit an application in Greece (ibid.). According to the Associate Professor, the naturalization procedures are outlined in Section V of the Greek Citizenship Code and they are still valid (ibid.). A copy of the 2004 Greek Citizenship Code (consolidated version 2010) is attached to this Response.

Further information on acquisition of Greek citizenship by a child of foreign nationals, who has lived legally in the country for the majority of his or her life and has reached the age of 18, could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and History, Panteion University, Athens. 29 July 2013. Telephone interview.

Greece. 29 July 2013. Embassy of Greece, Washingtong D.C. Telephone interview with an official.

_____. 2004 (amended 2010). Greek Citizenship Code. Translated by Haris Psarras, PhD student, University of Edinburgh. [Accessed 23 July 2013]

Kathimerini [Athens]. 5 February 2013. "Court Orders Citizenship Law to Be Scrapped." [Accessed 29 July 2013]

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 2013. "Greece." International Migration Outlook. [Accessed 30 July 2013]

Research Institute for European and American Studies (RIEAS). 24 February 2013. "Immigration to Greece (January-February 2013)." [Accessed 29 July 2013]

United States (US). 19 April 2013. Department of State. "Greece." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012. [Accessed 30 July 2013]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Attempts to contact the following persons and organizations were unsuccessful: academics at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute; Greece - Council of State, Greek consulates in Boston, Chicago, Toronto and Vancouver, Ministry of the Interior; lawyers in Greece.

Officials at the Embassy of Greece in Ottawa were unable to provide information within the time constraints of this Response.

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International; Athens News; Athens Times; Factiva; France - Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication; Freedom House; Greece - Consulate General of Greece in New York, Consulate General of Greece in San Francisco, Council of State, embassies of Greece in London, UK, Ottawa, ON and Washington D.C., Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of the Interior; Greek Herald; Hellenic League for Human Rights; Minority Groups Research Centre; Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences; Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute; United Nations - Refworld; United States - Department of State.

Attachment

Greece. 2004 (amended 2010). Greek Citizenship Code. Translated by Haris Psarras, PhD student, University of Edinburgh. [Accessed 23 July 2013]

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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