UK CITIZENS LIVING OR VISITING GREECE

Whether it is for a short visit or for a desire to live in Greece for longer periods of time, Brexit will have consequences on the rights of British nationals and the formalities they will need to follow to stay in Greece permanently.

Frequently Asked Questions

Withdrawal Agreement

What has been agreed on citizens' rights?

The right for every EU citizen and their family members to live, work or study in any EU Member State is one of the foundations of the European Union. Many EU and United Kingdom citizens have made their life choices based on rights related to free movement under Union law. Protecting the life choices of those citizens and their family members has been the first priority from the beginning of the negotiation.

The Withdrawal Agreement safeguards the right to stay and continue their current activities for over 3 million EU citizens in the United Kingdom, and over 1 million UK nationals in EU countries. 

Who is protected by the Withdrawal Agreement?

The Withdrawal Agreement protects those EU citizens residing in the United Kingdom, and UK nationals residing in one of the 27 EU Member States at the end of the transition period, where such residence is in accordance with EU law on free movement.

The Withdrawal Agreement also protects the family members that are granted rights under EU law (current spouses and registered partners, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren and a person in an existing durable relationship), who do not yet live in the same host state as the Union citizen or the UK national, to join them in the future.

Children will be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, wherever they are born before or after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal, or whether they are born inside or outside the host state where the EU citizen or the UK national resides. The only exception foreseen concerns children born after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal and for which a parent not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement has sole custody under the applicable family law.

As regards social security, the Withdrawal Agreement protects all those EU citizens who, at the end of the transition period, were in a situation involving both the United Kingdom and a Member State at a time. Their family members and their survivors are also protected.

Which rights are protected?

The Withdrawal Agreement enables both EU citizens and UK nationals, as well as their respective family members, to continue to exercise their rights derived from Union law in each other’s territories, for the rest of their lives, where those rights are based on life choices made before the end of the transition period.

Union citizens and UK nationals, as well as their respective family members, can continue to live, work or study in the host state as they currently do under the same substantive conditions as under Union law, benefiting in full from the application of the prohibition of any discrimination on grounds of nationality and of the right to equal treatment compared to host state nationals. The only restrictions that apply are those derived from Union law or as provided for under the Agreement. The Withdrawal Agreement does not prevent the United Kingdom or Member States from deciding to grant more generous rights.

Residence rights

The substantive conditions of residence are and will remain the same as those under current EU law on free movement. In the case where the host state opted for a mandatory registration system, decisions for granting the new residence status under the Withdrawal Agreement will be made based on objective criteria (i.e. no discretion), and on the basis of the exact same conditions set out in the Free Movement Directive (Directive 2004/38/EC): Articles 6 and 7 confer a right of residence for up to five years to those who work or have sufficient financial resources and sickness insurance, Articles 16 – 18 confer a right of permanent residence to those who have resided legally for five years.

In essence, EU citizens and UK nationals meet these conditions if they are: workers or self-employed; or have sufficient resources and sickness insurance; or are family members of some other person who meets these conditions; or have already acquired the right of permanent residence and are therefore no longer subject to any conditions.

The Withdrawal Agreement does not require physical presence in the host state at the end of the transition period – temporary absences that do not affect the right of residence and longer absences that do not affect the right of permanent residence are accepted.

Those protected by the Withdrawal Agreement who have not yet acquired permanent residence rights – if they have not lived in the host state for at least five years – will be fully protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, and will be able to continue residing in the host state and acquire permanent residence rights in the host state also after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal.

EU citizens and UK nationals arriving in the host state during the transition period will enjoy the same rights and obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement as those who arrived in the host state before 31 January 2020. Their rights will be subject to the same restrictions and limitations, too. The persons concerned will no longer be beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement if they are absent from their host state for more than five years.

Rights of workers and self-employed persons, and recognition of professional qualifications

The persons covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will have the right to take up employment or to carry out an economic activity as a self-employed person. They will also keep all their workers’ rights based on Union law. For example, they will maintain the right not to be discriminated against on grounds of nationality as regards employment, remuneration and other conditions of work and employment; the right to take up and pursue an activity in accordance with the rules applicable to the nationals of the host state, the right to employment assistance under the same conditions as the nationals of the host state, the right to equal treatment in respect of conditions of employment and work, the right to social and tax advantages, collective rights, and the right for their children to access education.

The Withdrawal Agreement will also protect the rights of frontier workers or frontier self-employed persons in the countries where they work.

Additionally, when a person covered by the Withdrawal Agreement who had his or her professional qualifications recognised in the country (an EU Member State or the United Kingdom) where he or she currently resides or, for frontier workers, where he or she works, will be able to continue to rely on the recognition decision there for the purpose of carrying out the professional activities linked to the use of those professional qualifications. If he or she has already applied for the recognition of his or her professional qualifications before the end of the transition period, his or her application will be processed domestically in accordance with the EU rules applicable when the application was made. 

Social security

The Withdrawal Agreement provides for rules on social security coordination in relation to the beneficiaries of the citizens’ part of the Withdrawal Agreement, and to other persons who at the end of the transition period are in a situation involving both the United Kingdom and a Member State from a social security coordination perspective.

Those persons will maintain their right to healthcare, pensions and other social security benefits, and if they are entitled to a cash benefit from one country, they may continue to receive it even if they live in another country.

The social security coordination provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement will address the rights of EU citizens and UK nationals in social security cross-border situations involving the United Kingdom and (at least) one Member State at the end of the transition period.

Those provisions can be extended to cover “triangular” social security situations involving a Member State (or several Member States), the United Kingdom and an EFTA country (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). This will allow the rights of EU citizens, UK nationals as well as EFTA country citizens who are in that type of triangular situations to be protected.

For this to be operational, three different agreements need to be applicable: an article in the Withdrawal Agreement protecting EFTA nationals, provisions protecting EU citizens in corresponding agreements between the United Kingdom and the EFTA countries, and provisions protecting UK nationals in corresponding agreements between the EU and the EFTA countries.

Only if the two latter agreements are concluded and applicable, the article in the Withdrawal Agreement protecting EFTA nationals will be applicable as well. The decision on the applicability of this article will be taken by the Joint Committee created by the Withdrawal Agreement.

Applicable procedures

The Withdrawal Agreement leaves the choice up to the host state whether to require or not a mandatory application as a condition for the enjoyment of the rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. The United Kingdom has already expressed the intention to apply a mandatory registration system for beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement. Those fulfilling the conditions will be issued with a residence document (which may be in a digital form).

Some EU Member States have indicated that they will also apply a mandatory registration system (so-called “constitutive system”). In other Member States, however, UK nationals complying with the conditions set out in the Agreement will automatically become beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement (so-called “declaratory system”). In the latter case, UK nationals will be entitled to request that the host state issues them a document attesting that they are beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement.

The EU has attached particular importance to the existence of smooth and simple administrative procedures for the citizens covered by the Agreement to exercise their rights. Only what is strictly necessary and proportionate to determine whether the criteria for lawful residence have been met, can be required, and any unnecessary administrative burdens will be avoided. These requirements are particularly relevant if the host state opts for a mandatory registration system. The costs of such applications must not exceed those imposed on nationals for issuing similar documents. Those already holding a permanent residence document will be able to exchange it for the ‘special status’, free of charge.

Administrative procedures for applications for the ‘special status’ that the United Kingdom or Member States will set up under the Withdrawal Agreement must also respect the above-mentioned requirements. Errors, involuntary omissions or non-respect of the deadline to submit the application have to be dealt with under a proportionate approach. The overall objective is to ensure that the process is as clear, simple and non-bureaucratic as possible for the citizens concerned.

Implementation and monitoring of the citizens' rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement

The text of the Withdrawal Agreement on citizens’ rights is very precise, so that it can be relied upon directly by EU citizens in British courts, and by UK nationals in the courts of the Member States. Any national law provisions that are not consistent with the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement will have to be disapplied.

UK courts will be able to ask for preliminary rulings from the Court of Justice of the EU on the interpretation of the citizens’ part of the Withdrawal Agreement for a period of eight years following the end of the transition period. For questions related to the application for the UK settled status, that eight-year period has started running on 30 March 2019.

The implementation and application of citizens’ rights in the EU will be monitored by the Commission acting in conformity with the Union Treaties. In the United Kingdom, this role will be fulfilled by an independent national authority. This Authority will be granted equivalent powers to those of the European Commission to receive and investigate complaints from Union citizens and their family members, to conduct inquiries on its own initiative, and to bring legal actions before UK courts concerning alleged breaches by the administrative authorities of the UK of their obligations under the citizens’ rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement.

The Authority and the European Commission shall inform each other annually through the Joint Committee established by the Withdrawal Agreement of the measures taken to implement and enforce the citizens’ rights under the Agreement. Such information should include in particular the number and nature of complaints treated and any follow up legal action taken.

Mobility

Will UK citizens need to have passports to travel to Greece this summer? Will they need to obtain a visa to travel to Greece? Will the situation be the same for Greek citizens travelling to the UK?

Until withdrawal date, any traveller wishing to enter and stay in the United Kingdom or Greece, will need a valid passport or a national identity card. No visa is required.

From withdrawal date onwards, two scenarios are possible:

  • The Withdrawal Agreement of the UK from the EU is ratified: in this case, until 31 December 2020 (end of the transition period), travelling conditions will be the same as at present: The traveller must be in possession of a valid passport or national identity card. No visa will be necessary, either for short or longer stays;
  • No deal scenario (no withdrawal agreement coming into force): in this case, Greek or British citizens will be considered as nationals of third countries in the UK and Greece respectively and will be subject to checks at border crossings (airports, ports, land borders). Contingency measures are already being envisaged both in the EU and the UK, in order to maintain as smooth a travelling experience as possible, at least for the coming tourist season (2019). In case of no deal, British travellers coming to Greece must be in possession of a valid British passport, preferably issued after the end of 2009. The following may apply:
  • Short-stay visas: an EU Regulation proposal, currently being finalized in Brussels, exempts UK nationals travelling to the EU from a visa requirement for 90 days (within a period of 180 days). This Regulation will not come into force if the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified, it will only come into force on the withdrawal date if there is no agreement and under the condition that the United Kingdom grants reciprocal three-month visa exemption for all EU citizens too.
  • Long-stay visas: if you wish to enter and stay in Greece for more than 90 days, you could, until the end of December 2020, use your three-month visa-free prerogative to enter and stay in the EU (see above, EU Regulation proposal on visa free regime for UK citizens in the EU) and then, prior to the end of this period, apply for a Registration Certificate at the police authorities (see further Q&As below on what is a Registration Certificate and how to get it). A long-term national (EL) visa might be another option under certain conditions. Please revisit this page for more information on this issue soon.

Residence & work permit

I am a British national, a British/EU/EEA family member of a British national or a non-EU/EEA family member of a British national in Greece. What do I need to do in case of no deal?

• If you hold a residence document (Registration Certificate of Permanent Residence Document, see further below on the difference in Q&As), which confirms your right of residence in Greece under the EU rules on free movement, you do not need to do anything right now. You will be invited, at the end of 2020, by the competent authorities of the Ministry for Migration Policy, to exchange your residence document with new biometric residence permits.

• If you have resided in Greece without having obtained a residence document before the withdrawal date, you are required to register with the competent police authorities (see below).

• If you enter after the withdrawal date and until 2020 and wish to stay/reside in Greece, you are required to register with the competent police authorities (see below).

• If you hold a residence document and you wish to apply for the EU long term resident status, you will need to submit an application to the competent authorities (Aliens Department of the Decentralized Administration of your place of residence- for more information see below).

• All holders of residence documents will be invited, by the Ministry for Migration Policy, to exchange them with electronic (biometric) resident permits at the end of 2020.

The competent police authorities responsible for registering the residence of UK citizens and their UK family members are: regional Departments of Aliens in the regions of Attica and Thessaloniki, Security Sub-Divisions, Security Departments and Police Stations who handle issues of aliens in their place of residence for the rest of the country. For further information on the competent police authorities responsible for your registration, you may contact: Hellenic Police Headquarters, Aliens Division, Unit of Citizenship, Expats and EU citizens, e-mail: ad_omg.bu1@astynomia.gr .

The competent immigration authorities responsible for registering the residence of non-EU/EEA/non-British family members, are: the Decentralized Administrations) /Alien Departments of your place of residence (they can be found at http://immigration.gov.gr/contact). For further information you may contact: info_brexit@immigration.gov.gr .

  

Will it be necessary for UK citizens to obtain new documents? What will be the steps to take?

If the Withdrawal Agreement enters into force: UK nationals living in Greece before 31 December 2020 will have to apply for the new title required for in the Withdrawal Agreement (see WA, Part II, Article 18). They will be able to make the request according to terms and a schedule that will be specified in 2020.

In case of no deal (absence of withdrawal agreement): According to Law 4604/2019, a “grace period” is established, beginning from the UK’s withdrawal date and ending on the 31st of December 2020. The grace period is a transition period during which existing rules regarding residence, as set out in the Free Movement Directive, will broadly apply to the following persons:

(a) UK nationals and their family members legally residing in Greece prior to withdrawal date

(b) UK nationals and their family members that are already settled in Greece but not yet registered prior to withdrawal date

(c) UK nationals and their family members that enter and wish to remain in Greece from withdrawal date until 31 December 2020.

The validity of the residence documents issued for UK citizens and their family members in Greece prior to withdrawal date (under the Free Movement Directive) will be extended until the end of 2020. These documents will be considered as temporary national residence permits. Residence documents issued during the grace period (after withdrawal date and until the end of 2020) will also be used as temporary national residence permits.

All residence documents will expire on 31 December 2020.

As of 1 January 2021, they will be replaced by biometric residence permits, issued in the common format of Regulation (EU) 1030/2002. Residence document holders will then be invited by the Ministry for Migration Policy, at the end of 2020, to exchange their documents with the new biometric residence permits. More information on this issue will follow in the BREXIT website and the Ministry or Migration Policy website later.

What is the difference between a Registration Certificate and a Permanent Residence Document?

According to existing rules for EU Citizens (see P.D. 106/2007 and Free Movement Directive, which, according to Law 4604/2019, will also apply to UK citizens and their family members until 31 December 2020 in case of no deal):

• The Registration Certificate (beize document) gives holders the same rights of residence and work as the Permanent Residence Document (blue document, see below). In Greece the Registration Certificate is a compulsory document, that allows holders to acquire permanent residence in Greece – after a continuous period of five years. For EU citizens (and now, according to Law 4604/2019 for UK citizens and their family members in Greece until 31 December 2020 in case of no deal), continuity of residence with a Registration Certificate is not affected by temporary absences, not exceeding a total of six months a year or by longer absences for important reasons.

• The Permanent Residence Document allows holders not to lose their right of permanent residence, even if they have been away from the host country for two consecutive years. The permanent residence document is not compulsory. But it can be useful when dealing with the authorities or for administrative formalities. The authorities may no longer require to prove having a job, sufficient resources, health insurance, and so on.

UK citizens and their British/EU and EEA family members wishing to acquire a registration certificate or a permanent residence document from withdrawal date until the 31 December 2020, will need to apply to the competent police authorities (see Q&A on how to obtain new documents above).

UK citizens’ non-British/EU/EEA family members will need to apply for a residence document from the competent immigration authorities (see Q&A on how to obtain new documents above)

Both documents will be replaced by new biometric residence cards at the end of 2020 (see also Q&As below).

What are the criteria for acquiring a residence permit?

If the Withdrawal Agreement enters into force: The criteria will continue to be broadly the same as current ones for recognising a right of residence to an EU citizen. UK citizens will have to justify that they fall into one of the following categories:

  • exercise a professional activity (or have performed such activity and are registered as jobseekers);
  • have sufficient resources for oneself and one’s family, as well as health insurance;
  • study or follow a vocational training course and have health insurance;
  • be a family member of a UK national living in Greece before January 1, 2021 and having a right of residence (spouse, child, ascendant, partner, cohabiting partner or family member supported or part of the household). 

 In case of no deal (absence of a withdrawal agreement): UK citizens will be asked to justify having resided in Greece before withdrawal date according to the following grounds of right of residence:

  • exercise a professional activity
  • have sufficient resources for oneself and one’s family as well as health insurance
  • study or follow a vocational training and have health insurance
  • be a family member of a British citizen living in Greece before 30 March 2019 and having a right of residence and continue to meet these criteria.
What are the criteria for acquiring the right of permanent residence ?

The right of permanent residence in Greece can be acquired by UK citizens who have lived in Greece legally for a continuous period of 5 years. If you fulfil this requirement, you can apply for  a permanent residence document, which confirms your right to live in the country permanently, without any conditions.

With regard to the right of permanent residence, two options will be  available to UK citizens: the EU Long Term Resident Status (without integration requirements) or the national permanent resident status for UK citizens (issued upon condition of continuous stay of 5 years and a criminal record control for reasons of public order and security). 

Applications for the EU long term resident status can be submitted any time after the withdrawal date on the condition that the person has lived legally in Greece for an uninterrupted period of five years. Periods of absence can be taken into account when calculating this period. Further requirements are: a stable and regular source of income and health insurance. Long term EU residents enjoy the same treatment and rights as nationals in certain areas and can benefit from the possibility, under certain conditions, to move from one EU member-state to another. UK citizens with permanent resident status will enjoy equal treatment to Greek nationals, as provided for in existing legislation applied to EU citizens.

More information can be found at: https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/legal-migration/long-term-residents_en and http://immigration.gov.gr/web/guest/adeia-diamonis-makras-diarkeias (in Greek).

To get a document certifying your right of permanent residence, you must submit proof that you have been living legally in the country for 5 years. You need to provide, along with your application, different supporting documents, depending on your situation (employed, self-employed, jobseeker, pensioner, student). These include:

• a valid registration certificate issued when you arrived
• evidence that you’ve been living in the country, such as utility bills and rental contracts
• evidence such as payslips, bank statements, tax returns that you’ve been working, studying, self-employed, self-sufficient or looking for work.

The authorities must issue the permanent residence document as soon as possible .The document is automatically renewable without any condition or requirement.  

Applications for the new permanent resident status (new biometric residence cards) of UK citizens and their family members can be submitted at a later stage towards the end of 2020. UK citizens having a permanent resident status will enjoy equal treatment with the Greek nationals, as provided for in the existing legislation applied to Union citizens. The permanent resident permit for UK citizens will have a duration of five years. Interruption in residence not exceeding three consecutive years will not affect the validity of the new biometric permanent residence card.

For more information see Q&A for the difference between Registration Certificate and Permanent Residence Document above.

Will residence permits obtained prior to withdrawal date still be valid after withdrawal?
  • If the Withdrawal Agreement enters into force: residence documents obtained before withdrawal date will continue to be valid during the transition period and until 31 December 2020. However, they will have to be replaced by new titles (biometric residence cards) provided for in the agreement. Requests for the new residence cards may be submittedat the end of 2020, according to a schedule to be specified later. More details will be communicated via this website as well as the webpages of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ministry for Citizen Protection and Ministry for Migration.
  • In case of no deal (absence of a withdrawal agreement): the validity of the residence documents (Registration Certificate and Permanent Residence Document) issued for UK citizens and their family members in Greece prior to withdrawal date (under the Free Movement Directive) will be extended until the end of 2020. These documents will be considered as temporary national residence permits.

    Residence documents issued during the grace period (after withdrawal date and until the end of 2020) will also be used as temporary national residence permits.
    All residence documents will expire on 31 December 2020.

    As of 1 January 2021, they will be replaced by biometric residence permits, issued in the common format of Regulation (EU) 1030/2002. Residence document holders will then be invited by the competent authorities of the Ministry for Migration, at the end of 2020, to exchange their documents with the new biometric residence permits.

Will a British national, permanent resident in Greece, be obliged to exchange his permanent residence card if he / she changes address in Greece?

With or without Withdrawal Agreement:Any UK national with a residence permit (issued before withdrawal date) will need to declare his change of address when he/she applies for the new biometric residence card. The date of application will be at the end of 2020. More details will be communicated shortly via the BREXIT website, as well as the webpage of the Ministry for Citizen Protection and Migration Policy.

Will residence permits issued in Greece allow mobility in other EU countries?
  • In the event of the Withdrawal Agreement entering into force: Residence permits issued in Greece will allow free movement in other member-states of the Schengen area for periods not exceeding three months. But they will allow installation only in Greece.
  • In case of absence of withdrawal agreement: Residence permits issued in Greece will allow circulation in other member-states of the Schengen area for periods not exceeding three months. But they will allow installation only in Greece.
Will UK nationals have to obtain a work permit in order to continue their professional activity in Greece?
  • In the event of the Withdrawal Agreement entering into force: UK nationals having started their professional activity in Greece before 31 December 2020 will not need a work permit. Only those who will settle in Greece from 1 January 2021 will be required to apply for a residence document which will entitle the holder to work, unless other EU-UK or bilateral arrangements are put in place until then.
  • In case of no deal (absence of a withdrawal agreement): according to provisions of Law 4604/2019, UK nationals already residing in Greece and those that will come before the 31 December 2020 will have access to the labour market broadly  as before the withdrawal date, under the condition that they have a valid registration certificate. Those who settle in Greece from 1 January 2021 will be required to apply for a residence document which will entitle the holder to work, unless other bilateral or EU-UK arrangements are put in place until then.
What are the criteria for issuing residence permits for employed or self-employed workers?
  • In the event of the Withdrawal Agreement entering into force
    A UK national exercising an independent professional activity before 31 December 2020 must prove by any means the regular, effective and sustainable exercise of his activity. The supporting documents to be provided are the same as those currently listed on the website astynomia.gr for issuing a residence permit to EU citizens exercising a self-employed activity.
  • In case of absence of withdrawal agreement: according to Law 4604/2019, a UK national exercising an independent professional activity before 31 December 2020 must prove by any means the regular, effective and sustainable exercise of his activity. The supporting documents to be provided are the same as those currently listed on the website astynomia.gr for issuing a residence permit to EU citizens exercising a self-employed activity.
Will family members (non EU/EEA country nationals) of UK nationals have special status?
  • In the event of the Withdrawal Agreement entering into force: Third-country nationals who are family members of British nationals settled in Greece before 31 December 2020, will continue to benefit from the status deriving from their family ties. Their family ties will be recognized via a new card they will need to request, according to procedures to be specified later. More details will be communicated shortly via the BREXIT website, as well as the webpage of the Ministry for Migration Policy.
  • In case of absence of a withdrawal agreement: non-EU/EEA country nationals who are family members of British nationals settled in Greece before withdrawal date, will benefit from the status deriving from their family ties. Their family ties will be recognized via a new card they will need to request, according to procedures to be specified later. See General information for Law 4604/2019 in central page as well as relevant Q&As above. More details will be communicated shortly via the BREXIT website, as well as the webpage of the Ministry for Migration Policy.

Travel arrangements – Visas – Passports

Will I need a visa to travel to Greece this summer?

If the Withdrawal Agreement comes into force, the legislation governing the movement of persons will remain the same as at present until 31 December 2020.

If the Withdrawal Agreement does not enter into force, British travelers will not be subject to a short-term visa requirement as of the withdrawal date. EU emergency measures (review of the EU Visa Regulation)  exempt British travelers from short-stay visas, subject to reciprocity on the part of the United Kingdom.

Will British citizens now have to use their passport to travel to Greece?

If the Withdrawal Agreement enters into force: Until the 31 December 2020, to enter and stay in Greece, the traveler must be in possession of a valid passport or a valid national identity card. No visa is necessary.

If the Withdrawal Agreement does not come into force: to enter and stay in Greece, the traveler must be in possession of a valid passport. No visa will be necessary (see above). But as of withdrawal date, British citizens will be considered as third-country nationals and will be subject to further border controls.

Driving Licences

Driving Licences

If there is a deal between the EU and the UK, there will be a transition period during which all EU rules and laws will continue to apply to the UK. If there is no deal between the EU and the UK, a new minsterial decree will enter into force that will allow all UK citizens to use their UK driving licences in Greece. A new legal provision is also being prepared that will ensure that UK professional driving licences will also be recognized in Greece in the case of a no deal Brexit.

Healthcare

I am insured at NHS and I wish to go on holiday in Greece during the summer of 2019. Will I be able to benefit from health care in an emergency and under what conditions?

If the Withdrawal Agreement enters into force: your health insurance coverage and the conditions under which you are insured do not change. The current European social security coordination rules will continue to apply during the transition period (until 31 December 2020). In this case, if you are a pensioner of a member-state and reside in the territory of another member-state, the member-state that pays your pension takes care of your health expenses. Your health care costs in Greece are therefore covered financially by the United Kingdom. To do this, you must apply for the portable document S1 “Registration to benefit from health insurance cover” (equivalent to the old E 121 form) from the British pension fund that pays your retirement pension. This document will allow you to register with the health insurance fund of your place of residence in Greece. You continue to receive benefits under the same conditions as at present until December 31, 2020.

In case of a no deal scenario: Law 4604/2019 provides for short-term transitional measures regarding healthcare coverage, according to Regulations (EC) 883/2004 and (EC) 987/2009, for UK citizens and their family members legally residing in Greece before the withdrawal date. UK nationals and their family members that legally reside in Greece before withdrawal date will continue to enjoy healthcare benefits as before (public health services and in public hospitals), from withdrawal date until the end of 2019 .

UK citizens that enter and stay legally in Greece, from withdrawal date until the 31st December 2019, will also enjoy temporary healthcare coverage (in public hospitals and for public services) which will need to be paid by private insurance or private funds but at very low rates (same as state pricing for insured individuals in Greece). This temporary measure complements Regulation (EU) 2019/500 which was recently approved at EU level and establishes contingency measures in the field of social security coordination, for the no deal scenario.

Regulation (EU) 2019/500 will be complemented by a new national legislative act which will include some further temporary measures on social security coordination for UK citizens and their family members residing in Greece prior to withdrawal date. The legislative act will soon to be presented before parliament and also concerns the case of no deal BREXIT. More information on this to follow in the BREXIT website soon.

Greek Nationality

Can UK nationals permanently living in Greece acquire Greek citizenship?

Yes they can. The criteria and relevant processes are described below:

In the event the Withdrawal Agreement enters into force:

UK nationals permanently living in Greece until 31 December 2020 and wishing to acquire the Greek citizenship, will be able to follow the procedure below:

  1. Criteria for EU nationals eligible to apply for Greek citizenship: After three (3) years of permanent and legal residence in Greece
  2. Who cannot apply: Those that don’t hold a registration certificate or a permanent residence certificate of a EU citizen. Those that have been convicted into sentences of more than 6 months, for certain types of crimes, or for more than 1 year for intentionally committed crimes.
  3. Documents needed:
    1. “Declaration of Naturalisation” at the municipality of my residence
    2. Application of Naturalisation
    3. Registration certificate or a permanent residence certificate of EU citizens, provided by the immigration departments of the Greek Police
    4. Passport
    5. If I have been born abroad, a birth certificate, authenticated and translated into Greek/ If I have been born in Greece, a Greek birth certificate
    6. Personal tax audits for recent years.
    7. Social security number (Α.Μ.Κ.Α.)
    8. Other document proving my relations to Greece and the Greeks
  4. Where do I apply? At the Directorate of Civic Status of the Decentralised Administration of the area where I
  5. How much does it cost? 100 euros for first time application (includes all relevant fees)
  6. How long should I wait for a decision according to Greek law? From one to four years.

In case of absence of a withdrawal agreement

Interim arrangements might apply for those UK nationals that arrive after 30 March 2019, according to procedures to be specified later. More details will be communicated shortly via this website, as well as the webpages of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Ministry for the Interior.

For information purposes, the procedure below is followed for third-country nationals wishing to acquire Greek citizenship:

  1. Criteria for third country nationals eligible to apply for Greek citizenship:
    1. 7 years of permanent and legal residence in
    2. 3 years of permanent and legal residence in Greece provided that I’m married with a Greek citizen and have a child with him/her.
    3. 3 years of legal and permanent residence if I have an underage child that holds the Greek citizenship  (not applied to those who acquired the citizenship because they attended a Greek school)
    4. 3 years of legal and permanent residence in Greece, if I am a refugee or have been recognized as a stateless person by the Greek authorities.
  2. Who cannot apply: Those that don’t have a residence permit or only possess temporary permits. Those that have been convicted into sentences of more than 6 months, for certain types of crimes, or for more than 1 year, for crimes that have been committed intentionally.
  3. Documents needed for third country nationals to apply for Greek citizenship:
    1. “declaration of Naturalisation” at the municipality of my residence
    2. An application of Naturalisation
    3. A residence permit of the following types as: a) Long-term residence permit or second generation one, b) for spouses of Greek or EU citizens, or a parent of an underage Greek citizen, c) a political refugee, or with subsidiary protection, d) as a stateless person
    4. Passport
    5. If I have been born abroad, a birth certificate, authenticated and translated into Greek/ If I have been born in Greece, a Greek birth certificate.
    6. Personal tax audits for recent years.
    7. Social security number (Α.Μ.Κ.Α.)
    8. Other document proving my relations to Greece and the Greeks
  4. Where do I apply? At the Directorate of Civic Status of the Decentralised Administration of the area where I reside.
  5. How much does it cost?700 euros for the first – time application. 200 euros for the second application and for all those that may follow. 100 euros for the first application and for all those that may follow, if I am a refugee or a stateless person.
  6. How long does it take to acquire citizenship? One to four years.

Elections

I am a British national, can I be a candidate for the next European and municipal elections?

As of March 30, 2019, British nationals residing in Greece will no longer be able to participate in the elections ofrepresentatives of the European Parliament or n the municipal elections. Having the nationality of an EU Member State is a prerequisite for participating in either election and will no longer apply. British nationals who also have Greek nationality will not be affected and they will be able to stand in or vote for the European or municipal elections, provided they are registered on the electoral list of a municipality as a Greek citizen.

More Questions and Answers to follow soon…

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