UK CITIZENS

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.
Below you can find answers to your main questions. If they are not answered in this page please direct your questions to the competent ministries here.

Foreign Minister George Katrougalos’ reply to the letter of the Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt on citizens’ rights

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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 29 March 2019, 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 30 March 2019 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: a Regulation currently discussed in Brussels between the European Parliament and the Council, exempts UK nationals travelling to the European Union from a visa requirement for 90 days (in a period of 180 days). The Regulation will not come into force if the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified. If ratified, it will come into force on 30 March 2019, under the condition that the United Kingdom grants reciprocal visa exemption for all EU citizens too.
    • longer-stay visas: if you wish to stay for more than 90 days you should  apply for a long term visa. More details on this issue may follow soon. Please revisit this page.

Residence & work permit

Will it be necessary for British nationals to obtain a residence permit? What will be the steps to take to obtain a residence permit?
  • 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 Article 18). They will be able to make the request according to terms and a schedule that will be specified later.
  • In case of no deal (absence of withdrawal agreement): UK nationals permanently living in Greece before 29 March 2019 and already in possession of a registration certificate (βεβαίωση εγγραφής) or a temporary or permanent residence document(πιστοποιητικό έγγραφο άδειας διαμονής), will be asked to proceed, after 1 January 2020, to the municipal authorities and submit the relevant paperwork, in order to exchange their certificates with new biometric resident cards. A draft bill is currently being prepared on British citizens’ rights in Greece that may include provisions on this issue. Details willbe communicated via this website soon.UK nationals living in Greece before 29 March 2019 but not registered with the police authorities, may need to apply for a registration certificate. After acquiring their registration certificate they will also be asked to proceed to the municipal authorities to submit the relevant paperwork and acquire their biometric resident cards.A draft bill is currently being prepared on British citizens’ rights in Greece that may include provisions on this issue. Details willbe communicated via this website soon.
What are the criteria for acquiring a residence permit?
If the Withdrawal Agreement enters into force: The criteria will continue to be 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 30 March 2019 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.
Will residence permits obtained before March 2019 still be valid after the March deadline?
  • If the Withdrawal Agreement enters into force: EU titles obtained before 30 March 2019 will continue to be valid during the transition period until 31 December 2020. However, they will have to be replaced by the new title (biometric residence cards) provided for in the agreement. Requests for the new residence cards may be submitted after 1 January 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 absence of a withdrawal agreement: Residence permits obtained before 30 March 2019 must be exchanged after 1 January 2020, according to a schedule that will be specified later. More details will be communicated shortly via this website as well as the webpages of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ministry for Citizen Protection and Ministry for Migration.
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 30 March 2019) will need to declare his change of address when he/she applies for the new biometric residence card. The date of application for the new residence card will be specified later. More details will be communicated shortly via this website, as well as the webpages of the Ministries for Foreign Affairs, Citizen Protection and Migration.

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 have settled in Greece from 1 January 2021 will be required to apply for a work permit.
  • In case of absence of a withdrawal agreement:a draft bill is being prepared on British citizens’ rights in Greece that may include provisions on this issue. More details will be communicated shortly via this website.
What are the criteria for issuing EU residence permits (first 5 years) for 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: A draft bill on British citizens’ rights in Greece is currently being prepared by the Greek government and may include provisions on this issue. More details will be communicated shortly via this website.
Will family members (third-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 this website, as well as the webpages of the Ministries for Foreign Affairs, Citizen Protection and Migration.
  • In case of absence of a withdrawal agreement: third-country nationals who are family members of British nationals settled in Greece before 30 March 2019, 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. More details will be communicated shortly via this website, as well as the webpages of the Ministries for Foreign Affairs, Citizen Protection and Migration.

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 visa requirement as of 30 March 2019. 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 30 March 2019, British citizens will be considered as third-country nationals and will be subject to further border controls.

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 France. You continue to receive benefits under the same conditions as at present until December 31, 2020.

If the Withdrawal Agreement does not enter into force: a draft bill will soon be presented to parliament on British citizens’ rights in Greece which contains various measures related to the UK withdrawal in case of no deal and may cover this issue. Please visit our website, as well as the relevant websites of the competent Ministries of Citizen’s Protection, Migration, Health, Labour, Education, for more information 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…