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Andrew Henderson

Founder of Nomad Capitalist and the world’s most sought-after expert on global citizenship.

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Second Passport

How to Get Greek Citizenship by Descent

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The first glimpse of Athens, with the ancient Parthenon towering above the Greek capital, is a powerful reminder of the country’s ancient past and vibrant present.

For those with Greek heritage, this isn’t just a scenic view – it’s a glimpse into their own history, a connection to ancestors from centuries past.

That’s why claiming Greek citizenship by descent offers more than the legal right to a passport; it is an invitation to reconnect with a profound lineage. The good news is that it’s a process open to individuals whose Greek roots extend to parents, grandparents, or even great-grandparents, allowing the bonds of nationality to bridge the generation gap.

The steps to citizenship, involving documentation and legal procedures, are a small part of a deeper, more personal journey. At Nomad Capitalist, we’re here to guide you through each requirement, ensuring your path to reconnecting to your past heritage and present opportunity is as smooth as possible.

Situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Greece is not only a land of unmatched historical importance but also a vibrant, welcoming home to those who return. For many, gaining Greek citizenship is not just a formality but a heartfelt homecoming to a land that feels as familiar as it does ancient.

So, if you’re keen on a country that offers some of the world’s finest beaches, luxurious villas and delectable seafood, read on and reach out. Our team will help you reach your chosen destination, whether temporarily or for a more permanent move. Nomad Capitalist offers a personalised CBD program designed to help you get the travel and financial freedom you deserve without the headaches.  

Greek CBD
Become a Greek citizen through your Greek ancestry.

If you’re one of the estimated three million Americans with Greek heritage, you should take a look at the Greek CBD program which opens up many personal and financial opportunities for those deemed eligible.

Whatever your reasons for wanting to gain Greek citizenship, if you qualify, you can apply for and, if successful, access this second passport in approximately two to three years. And it won’t cost you the €250,000 that other Greek programs, such as the Greek Golden Visa program, require. 

If you want a European Union (EU) passport but don’t want to invest a hefty amount in an EU country, CBD is your best option. The most challenging part of the program is demonstrating your direct heritage and ties to the nation through your ancestry but, if you can prove your ancestral roots, this route will save you significant time and money in gaining European citizenship.

Don’t know how or where to start? Well, CBD procedures are notoriously complex, but on’t worry, that’s where Nomad Capitalist comes in. We deal with the paperwork and the foreign bureaucracy, so you don’t have to. Set up a call with us today to plan your EU passport journey.

What Is Citizenship by Descent?

What Is Citizenship by Descent
Proving Greek ancestry is one of the hardest parts of obtaining Greek citizenship.

Countries usually grant citizenship by descent via a jus sanguinis (‘right of blood’) clause in nationality laws. Such countries grant CBD to applicants who can prove their family connections to that country.  

It’s open, for exploratory purposes at least, to any one of the millions of people worldwide who have European descent and who feel the pull to reconnect with their cultural heritage. There are of course, other less spiritual, reasons for going down this route. Aside from the social benefits of obtaining a second citizenship in Europe, there are solid financial reasons to avail of one of the CBD programs out there.

So, it’s well worth going to the trouble of exploring CBD for anyone who can trace, and prove, their bloodline back to a particular European country in order get a second citizenship.  

So, which countries offer CBD? While Italian and Irish citizenship-by-descent programs are well-known, lesser-known CBD programs exist in places like Lithuania and Armenia. Each offers unique benefits and has its pros and cons. In this analysis, we’re focusing on Greece’s program, how you can qualify and who should apply. 

Greek Citizenship by Ancestry

Greek Citizenship by Ancestry
Obtaining Greek citizenship and gaining a Greek passport means proving your lineage.

Greek law operates a jus sanguinis clause for anyone wishing to take advantage of their hereditary ties to Greece. Those with parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents of Greek descent may be eligible for CBD but the main requirement is to possess an unbroken link of ancestral ties to the country. 

Having an unbroken link requires that each relevant ancestor possessed Greek citizenship at the time of their child’s birth, so that they could pass their citizenship on to the next generation. It’s fine if they later gave up or lost their citizenship as long as they still had it when their child was born. 

As an illustration, let’s say you want to claim Greek citizenship through your grandfather, who moved to the United States from Greece. If he fathered your parent (máma or babás) before giving up his Greek citizenship, he could pass on his citizenship to your parents so you can claim CBD as long as there aren’t any other disqualifying factors.

This article will deep-dive into the exact qualifications so that you’ll have a good idea of whether or not you qualify for this citizenship route. But, in short, not only your parents but also your grandparents and great-grandparents (in some cases) can qualify you for Greek citizenship.

If you have identified an ancestor that could qualify you for citizenship, the next step is to prove your eligibility.

How to Obtain Greek Citizenship

How to Obtain Greek Citizenship
There’s some effort needed to obtain Greek citizenship and qualify to hold a Greek passport.

Unfortunately, you can’t simply take a DNA test to demonstrate that you’re Greek. Sure, this test may show that you have Greek roots but it won’t show how close your heritage can be tracked or whether you qualify for Greek CBD. 

A paper trail linking you to a qualifying Greek ancestor is the only way to solidify your claim to Greek citizenship by descent. Failure to establish your claims can result in the Greek government rejecting your application. 

In other words, you can’t just claim that your mother told you stories about how your great-grandmother came over to Australia from Greece on a boat. That’s a great story, but Greece needs you to prove it – there’s no room for interpretation.

Eligibility Requirements for Greek Citizenship by Descent

Eligibility Requirements for Greek Citizenship by Descent
There are several requirements you need to meet to qualify for a Greek passport.

Now that we’ve established what citizenship by descent is and how to ensure approval, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of how to qualify. Some of the eligibility criteria involving a single Greek parent or Greek ancestor include:

• If the applicant was born before June 16, 1982 to a Greek father and a foreign mother who were married, he is considered to have acquired Greek citizenship at the time of birth. 

• If the applicant was born after June 16, 1982 to a Greek father and a foreign mother, married or unmarried, he is considered to have acquired Greek citizenship at the time of birth.

• If the applicant is born to a Greek mother and a foreign father (irrespective of nationality) out of wedlock before August 5, 1984 he is considered to have acquired Greek citizenship at the time of birth.

• If the applicant is born to a Greek mother and a foreign father (irrespective of nationality), in or out of wedlock, after August 5, 1984 he is considered to have acquired Greek citizenship at the time of birth.

• If you have a Greek grandfather or grandmother who was born in Greece or was naturalised, you are considered to be eligible for Greek citizenship. 

• If you have a Greek great-grandfather or great-grandmother who was born in Greece or was naturalised, you are considered to be eligible for Greek citizenship. You can apply through a great-grandparent only if your grandparent(s) is still alive and they apply for citizenship first. 

If you’re applying through a grandparent or an even more distant relative, the relatives in-between you and them may first have to go through the process of obtaining Greek citizenship, if they haven’t done so already.

For example, suppose you have a Greek grandmother, but your relevant parent isn’t Greek. In that case, they may have to go through the CBD application process first and become a citizen before you can apply.

This might seem a little excessive, and in many ways, it is. 

Other countries that offer citizenship by descent to long-lost citizens don’t have this many requirements simply because not everyone might want to reclaim their citizenship. Greek citizenship is one of the most highly coveted European citizenships on offer, so it’s no wonder they’re a little picky when it comes to their approval methods. 

Application Process for Greek Citizenship by Descent

Application Process for Greek Citizenship by Descent
The process of gaining Greek citizenship by descent can be a bit tricky.

If you’ve successfully established your bloodline and collected the relevant stack of paperwork to prove it, the next step is the application process.

The positive side of Greece’s program for those hoping to become Greek citizens is that it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

On the other hand, the timeframe isn’t applicant-friendly. If all the evidence is in place and there are no disputes in your family records, the whole process could be completed in three months for individuals with Greek birth parents. Those applying through more distant ancestors or relatives will likely need to wait two to three years. 

But it doesn’t need to be a nuisance if you can dedicate the time to it or have someone helping you with the process. If you become a Nomad Capitalist client, we will make this often-challenging process a breeze. 

In order to begin your application, you’ll need to put together a stack of legal documents, including: 

  • Your passport 
  • Your birth certificate
  • Your christening or baptism certificate, if applicable
  • Your marriage certificate, if applicable 
  • The birth certificates of your children, if applicable
  • The baptism certificates of your children, if applicable
  • The relevant paperwork for the ancestor through which you’re applying for citizenship: birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, if applicable, and their municipal registration.

Even though the sheer volume of all the required documents and paperwork mentioned above might seem overwhelming, there are some upsides. You won’t need to attend any interviews, pay huge fees or prove that speak Greek fluently, as you would with other paths to Greek citizenship. 

Individuals who don’t have any Greek heritage and wish to be naturalised also have to demonstrate their knowledge of Greek history, as well as prove that they’re of good moral standing and excellent health. 

So, all in all, the process of citizenship by descent should be straightforward if all of the required documents are readily available. Once submitted, your application will pass to the regional general secretary, who will order an international criminal record check. 

After that, your application will be forwarded to the citizenship committee for decision-making. Only people with genuine ties to Greece will be approved. If you’re one of the lucky ones with a legitimate claim for Greek citizenship, you’ll be issued a Greek birth certificate, which you can then use to apply for a passport. 

Congratulations – you’re now a Greek citizen holding full citizenship rights.

The Pros and Cons of Being a Greek Citizen

The Pros and Cons of Being a Greek Citizen
Greek citizenship affords many benefits, but it may not be for everyone.

For all the benefits you receive with citizenship of another country, there are usually some drawbacks as well. 

Let’s start with the good news. 

The most significant benefit of Greek citizenship is that you’ll become the holder of the world’s sixth most powerful passport – and a European Union passport at that. Greek citizens can travel visa-free, visa-on-arrival or via eTA (electronic Travel Authorisation) to 175 countries.

That gives you full rights to live, work, study and travel anywhere in Europe and its Schengen zone, so there’s no need for a visa if you decide to hop on a plane for a weekend in Paris.

However, there are also a few downsides you should consider when applying for Greek citizenship. Unfortunately, Greece doesn’t allow your spouse to jointly apply for citizenship by descent unless they also have Greek heritage. This is in contrast to some other CBD programs, like Croatia’s, which offers such an option. 

So, if you obtain your Greek citizenship and wish for your spouse to join you, they’ll have to go through the entire residence permit and possible naturalisation process. 

Another negative aspect of Greek citizenship relates specifically to men between the ages of 19 and 45, who are required to join the military and serve for up to 12 months.  

While mandatory military training is quite common in Europe, there are also exceptions that can help one circumvent the requirement.

So, Is Greek Citizenship by Descent Worth Your While?   

So, Is Greek Citizenship by Descent Worth Your While   
Should you become a Greek citizen if you qualify?

When potential citizenship is on the table, do you take it or leave it?

While we’ve done our best to cover the ins and outs of Greek citizenship by descent, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution and, after all, Greek citizenship may not be for everyone. 

An excellent first step to take in deciding whether the program suits you is to weigh the requirements and potential pros and cons against your personal situation and desires. 

With its marble structures, sandy shorelines and rich historical background, Greece seems like a paradise to many. But it’s also a distinct culture with different customs and norms that many people may not relate to or find challenging to adjust to. So, while Greek citizenship checks off most of the boxes for desirable citizenship in our book, you need to consider it from your unique perspective.  

Fortunately, by applying for citizenship by descent, you’ll avoid much of the bureaucracy and complicated requirements mandated for citizenship by naturalisation. That’s why this program is worth looking into if you think you can prove your lineage and have always considered Greece a place you’d like to live. 

Additionally, if you’ve always wanted to invest in European real estate, your Greek citizenship would allow you to do so without limitations.

In other words, more financial and personal options are always better than fewer options. So, what are you waiting for? Our exclusive CBD Plan helps you reconnect with your roots and secure a second passport while you’re at it. Set up a call with us today to get your EU passport by descent.

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