Easiest Countries to Immigrate to as Citizens of Greece

1. Does Greece have strict citizenship requirements for immigrants?

Yes, Greece has strict citizenship requirements for immigrants. These requirements are outlined in the Greek Nationality Code and include criteria such as legal residence in Greece for at least 10 years, fluency in the Greek language, good moral character, and sufficient knowledge of Greek culture and history. Applicants are also required to renounce their previous citizenship(s) if they hold dual citizenship.

2. How long does it take to become a citizen in Greece?

The length of time it takes to become a citizen in Greece varies depending on the individual’s circumstances. In general, the timeline can range from 7-10 years.

For those who have Greek ancestry and wish to apply for citizenship through the process of naturalization, the requirement is typically 3-5 years of continuous lawful residence in Greece. However, this timeline may be extended if an individual has lived abroad during their period of residence.

For individuals who are married to a Greek citizen, the requirement is also typically 3-5 years of continuous lawful residence in Greece before they can apply for citizenship.

In some cases, applicants may be eligible for an accelerated process known as “naturalization by exception,” which reduces the residency requirement to just 2 years. This is available for individuals who have made significant investments in Greece or who possess exceptional skills or contributions to Greek society.

It’s important to note that these timelines may vary and are subject to change based on current laws and regulations. It’s recommended to consult with a legal professional or contact the Greek Embassy/Consulate in your country for specific information regarding your case.

3. Is Greece open to accepting refugees as citizens?

Yes, Greece has undertaken a number of measures to accept and support refugees. According to the latest data from the Greek state, there are currently about 118,000 recognized refugees in Greece. Additionally, Greece has also implemented programs such as the EU relocation program and reunification schemes to enable resettlement of refugees from other EU countries. The country has also taken steps to provide integrated services such as housing, healthcare and education to refugees. In June 2021, the Greek parliament approved a law granting citizenship to the children of immigrants born and raised in Greece. While this doesn’t directly address refugee citizenship, it does show efforts towards integration and inclusion of immigrants into Greek society.

4. What type of visas are available for those looking to immigrate to Greece?

There are several types of visas available for those looking to immigrate to Greece. These include:

1. Schengen Visa: This is a short-term visa that allows individuals to stay in the Schengen area, including Greece, for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

2. National Visa: This is a long-term visa that allows individuals to stay in Greece for more than 90 days. It can be used for various purposes such as work, study, family reunification, or retirement.

3. Residence Permit: This permit allows non-EU nationals to reside in Greece for an extended period of time (usually one year or more). It can be obtained through various channels such as employment, investment, or family reunification.

4. Golden Visa: This is a residence permit program for non-EU nationals who make an investment in Greek real estate. The minimum investment amount is €250,000 and this visa allows individuals and their families to live and work in Greece.

5. Work Permit: Non-EU nationals who wish to work in Greece must obtain a work permit from the Greek embassy or consulate in their home country before entering the country.

6. Student Visa: This visa is required for non-EU nationals who wish to study at a university or educational institution in Greece.

7. Family Reunification Visa: Close family members of EU/EEA citizens who are already living in Greece can apply for this visa to join their family member.

8. Investor Visa: Non-EU investors who plan on investing and creating jobs in Greece can apply for this visa.

It’s important to note that the requirements and application process for each type of visa may vary and it’s recommended to consult with the Greek embassy or consulate in your home country for specific information and guidance.

5. Are there any specific job opportunities or industries that make immigration to Greece easier?

The Greek government has introduced several measures in recent years aimed at attracting highly skilled workers, entrepreneurs, and investors to the country. These include:

1. Startup Visa: In 2013, Greece introduced a new ‘Golden Visa’ program targeting entrepreneurs and investors who wish to start a business or invest in real estate in the country. This visa allows non-EU citizens to reside and work in Greece for up to five years if they invest at least €250,000 or create 10 jobs.

2. Skilled Workers Visa: The Greek government has also implemented a points-based immigration system for highly skilled workers from non-EU countries. This visa is granted to individuals with specific skills and qualifications that are in high demand in the Greek labor market.

3. Special Categories Visas: There are also specific visas available for certain categories of workers, such as researchers, artists, athletes, seasonal workers, and others.

4. Highly-Skilled Workers Scheme: The Greek government has recently introduced a new scheme designed to attract highly skilled professionals from abroad by offering tax incentives and fast-track residence permits.

In addition to these programs, there are certain industries that may have a higher demand for foreign workers due to skill shortages or because they are considered strategic sectors for the country’s economy. These industries include technology and IT, tourism and hospitality, healthcare (especially doctors and nurses), construction, agriculture, and renewable energy.

Overall, while opportunities for immigration may vary depending on an individual’s skills and qualifications, there are many options available for those looking to immigrate to Greece through work or investment opportunities. It is recommended to consult with an immigration lawyer or an official government agency for further information on specific job opportunities or industries that make immigration easier.

6. Does Greece offer any special programs for entrepreneurs or investors looking to immigrate?

Yes, Greece offers several programs for entrepreneurs and investors looking to immigrate, including the Golden Visa program and the Greek Startup Visa program.

The Golden Visa program allows non-EU citizens to obtain a residence permit in Greece by investing in real estate. The minimum investment required is €250,000 and the permit is valid for five years, after which it can be renewed as long as the investment is maintained.

The Greek Startup Visa program aims to attract foreign entrepreneurs who want to launch innovative startups in Greece. It offers a fast-track process for obtaining residence permits and includes access to mentorship, networking opportunities, and other benefits to support the growth of their businesses in Greece.

Additionally, there are special programs for investors such as the Investment Incentives Law, which offers tax incentives and grants for large investments in specific industries, and the Developmental Law, which provides subsidies and loans for businesses investing in certain regions or sectors.

7. What are the minimum language requirements for citizenship in Greece?

The minimum language requirements for citizenship in Greece are as follows:

1. Basic knowledge of the Greek language: Applicants must demonstrate basic understanding and speaking ability in Greek.

2. Basic understanding of Greek history and culture: Applicants must have a basic knowledge of Greek history, culture, and values as this is considered an important aspect of being a citizen.

3. Passing a language exam: Applicants may be required to pass a language exam, such as the Certificate of Attainment in Greek Language, which is administered by the Hellenic Culture Centers.

4. Exceptions: Some individuals may be exempt from the language requirement, such as refugees or individuals with disabilities that prevent them from learning the language.

It is recommended to check with the Greek authorities or a legal advisor for specific and up-to-date information on the language requirements for citizenship in Greece.

8. Can I bring my family with me when immigrating to Greece?

Yes, you can bring your family with you when immigrating to Greece as long as they are legally allowed to accompany you according to Greek immigration laws and regulations. This may include immediate family members such as spouses, children, and elderly parents, but specific requirements may vary depending on the type of visa or residence permit you are applying for. It is recommended that you consult with the Greek embassy or consulate in your country for more information about bringing family members with you during immigration.

9. Are there any age restrictions for obtaining citizenship in Greece?

Yes, there are age restrictions for obtaining citizenship in Greece. A person must be at least 18 years old to apply for naturalization. Children under 18 can obtain citizenship through their parents’ naturalization or by birth if one parent is a Greek citizen. Children between the ages of 14 and 21 may also be eligible for citizenship if they have been living in Greece for at least five continuous years and meet other requirements.

10. Is there a points-based system for immigration in Greece?

Yes, Greece has a points-based system for immigration known as the Golden Visa program. It allows non-EU citizens to obtain a residence permit through investment in real estate or other qualifying investments. The number of points required varies depending on the type of investment and other criteria such as education level and language proficiency.

11. How does the cost of living in Greece compare to other countries, and how does it impact immigration?

The cost of living in Greece is generally lower compared to other countries in Europe, such as Germany or France. However, it is still relatively high compared to other European countries like Romania or Bulgaria.

The cost of living in Greece has a direct impact on immigration, as it may deter potential immigrants due to the higher expenses of daily life. This can affect the decision-making process for individuals or families who are considering relocating to Greece for better opportunities.

At the same time, the lower cost of living may be an attraction factor for immigrants from more expensive countries. For example, retirees from Northern Europe may choose to move to Greece for a more affordable lifestyle.

Moreover, the current economic situation in Greece also impacts immigration patterns. As the country has experienced a financial crisis in recent years, some people have left due to limited job opportunities and economic instability. As a result, there has been a decrease in immigration to Greece over the last decade.

12. Are there any special benefits or perks for immigrants who become citizens of Greece?

Some potential benefits and perks for immigrants who become citizens of Greece may include:

1. Right to work: As a citizen, you will have the right to work in any job or profession in Greece without needing a work permit.

2. Access to healthcare: Greek citizens are entitled to free or subsidized healthcare through the National Health System.

3. Education benefits: As a citizen, you and your children will have access to free education at public schools and universities in Greece.

4. Social welfare benefits: Citizens may be eligible for various social welfare benefits, such as unemployment benefits, child support, and pensions.

5. Voting rights: Citizens have the right to vote and participate in political processes in Greece.

6. Travel privileges: As a citizen, you can travel freely within the European Union without needing a visa.

7. Citizenship for children born abroad: If you have children while living abroad, they may also be eligible for Greek citizenship through descent.

8. Dual citizenship: Greece allows dual citizenship, so becoming a Greek citizen does not necessarily require renouncing your current citizenship.

9. Property ownership: Citizens can own property in Greece with no restrictions or special permits.

10. Consular protection: As a citizen of Greece, you can seek help from Greek embassies or consulates when traveling abroad if you encounter any problems or emergencies.

11. Job opportunities within government institutions: Some job opportunities within government institutions may only be available to citizens rather than permanent residents.

12. Access to scholarships and grants: Citizens may have access to scholarships and grants offered by the Greek government for education, research, or other purposes.

13. Does having a college degree or specialized skills make it easier to immigrate to Greece?

Having a college degree or specialized skills does not necessarily make it easier to immigrate to Greece. While having a higher level of education or specialized skills may make you a more attractive candidate for certain types of visas or work permits, ultimately the decision to allow someone to immigrate to Greece is based on a variety of factors, including the country’s current immigration laws and policies, the applicant’s individual circumstances and qualifications, and the availability of job opportunities in Greece.

14. What is the public healthcare system like in Greece, and how does it benefit immigrants?

The public healthcare system in Greece is based on the Social Insurance Institute (IKA) and the National Health Service (ESY). It provides universal coverage to all Greek citizens, as well as to individuals who are legally residing and working in Greece.

As an EU member state, Greece also provides access to its public healthcare system to other European citizens with a valid European Health Insurance Card.

For immigrants who are not eligible for coverage under these systems, there are free or low-cost health clinics run by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or local municipalities that provide basic health services. Immigrants may also have access to subsidized healthcare through private insurance plans or employer-provided coverage.

One of the main benefits of the public healthcare system in Greece for immigrants is its universal coverage. This means that regardless of their background or income level, immigrants have the right to receive health care services at no cost or at a reduced cost. Additionally, healthcare services in Greece are generally of high quality and available throughout the country.

Moreover, Greek law specifies that all emergency medical treatment should be provided to anyone in need, regardless of their immigration status. This means that even undocumented immigrants can receive emergency medical care when needed without fear of being reported to authorities.

In recent years, there have been efforts to improve access to healthcare for immigrants in Greece by providing translation services and culturally sensitive care. However, challenges still exist in terms of language barriers and discrimination against certain groups.

15. Are there any cultural assimilation classes required before becoming a citizen of Greece?

Yes, there are mandatory cultural assimilation classes for those applying for Greek citizenship. These classes cover various aspects of Greek culture, history, customs, and values to help applicants better understand and integrate into Greek society. The duration and format of these classes may vary depending on the applicant’s background and level of knowledge about Greece.

16. Can I apply for citizenship while still living in my home country or do I need to be physically present in Greece?

You do not need to physically present in Greece to apply for citizenship. However, you will need to provide proof of residence in Greece and meet any other eligibility requirements set by the Greek government.

17. What is the current political climate regarding immigration and citizenship in Greece?

The current political climate regarding immigration and citizenship in Greece is highly polarized and contentious. On one hand, there is a growing conservative and far-right movement that opposes mass immigration and calls for stricter border control measures. This movement has gained strength in recent years due to the influx of refugees and migrants entering Greece from neighboring countries.

On the other hand, there are also voices advocating for more inclusive policies towards refugees and migrants, arguing that Greece has a humanitarian obligation to provide them with protection and support. This includes various leftist parties, NGOs, and grassroots organizations.

The Greek government’s stance on immigration and citizenship has also been closely tied to its relationship with the European Union (EU) and its policies on migration. In recent years, Greece has faced criticism for its treatment of asylum seekers at its borders as part of EU’s external border control strategy.

Additionally, there have been ongoing debates about granting legal status or citizenship to undocumented immigrants who have been living in Greece for an extended period of time. While some politicians call for stricter enforcement of immigration laws, others argue for more lenient policies that would provide these individuals with legal recognition.

Overall, the issue of immigration and citizenship remains a major topic in Greek politics, with strong differences among political parties and stakeholders.

18. How long do I have to live in Greece before being eligible for citizenship?

According to Greek law, an individual must have been legally and continuously residing in Greece for at least seven years before being eligible to apply for citizenship. This requirement can be reduced to five years if the person is married to a Greek citizen or has been recognized as a refugee by the Greek government.

Additionally, individuals must also meet other requirements such as having a clean criminal record and being able to demonstrate knowledge of the Greek language and culture.

19. Does dual citizenship exist in Greece, and if so, what are the rules and regulations surrounding it?

Yes, dual citizenship is recognized in Greece. According to the Greek Citizenship Code, a person may acquire Greek citizenship by descent, birth or naturalization. This means that a person with at least one parent of Greek descent (even if born outside of Greece), a person born on Greek soil, or a person who has fulfilled the requirements for naturalization may hold both their original citizenship and Greek citizenship simultaneously.

However, there are certain limitations and requirements that must be met for dual citizenship to be granted in Greece. These include:

1. Proof of Greek descent: In order to acquire dual citizenship through descent, an applicant must provide documented evidence of their connection to a Greek ancestor.

2. Age restrictions: Individuals who are over 18 years old can apply for dual citizenship on their own behalf, while minors under 18 years old can only do so through the consent and application of their parents or legal guardians.

3. Tax status: Applicants who have not fulfilled their obligations to pay taxes in Greece will not be eligible for dual citizenship.

4. Residence requirements: Applicants must be permanent residents in Greece for at least seven years before they can apply for naturalization as a means of acquiring dual citizenship.

5. Military service: Male applicants between the ages of 19 and 45 may be required to fulfill military service obligations unless they can prove that doing so is impractical or impossible.

It is important to note that individuals from countries with which Greece does not allow dual citizenship may have to renounce their original nationality in order to acquire Greek citizenship. Additionally, some countries restrict the acquisition of foreign nationality by their citizens without prior approval from their government. Therefore, it is recommended that individuals interested in obtaining dual citizenship consult with both the Greek consulate and the embassy/consulate of their original country before proceeding with any applications or actions related to dual nationality.

20. Why is immigration to Greece an attractive option for individuals wanting to settle down permanently?

There are several reasons why immigration to Greece can be an attractive option for individuals wanting to settle down permanently:

1. Relaxed Immigration Policies: Greece has relatively relaxed policies towards immigration, making it easier for individuals to obtain permanent residence or citizenship.

2. Affordable Cost of Living: Compared to other European countries, Greece has a lower cost of living, including housing, food, and healthcare. This makes it an affordable option for those looking for a comfortable life in a Mediterranean climate.

3. Beautiful Scenery and Culture: With its stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, Greece offers a desirable lifestyle for many people seeking a change of scenery.

4. High-Quality Education System: Greek universities are well-respected internationally, offering high-quality education at an affordable price. This makes Greece an attractive option for students and families with children.

5. Growing Economy: Despite the economic crisis it faced in recent years, Greece’s economy is steadily growing again. This creates opportunities for employment and business ventures.

6. Citizenship by Descent: If an individual has Greek ancestry or is married to a Greek citizen, they may be eligible for citizenship by descent.

7. Proximity to Other European Countries: As part of the EU Schengen Zone, living in Greece allows individuals to travel easily and freely within 26 other European countries without needing additional visas.

8. Ease of Integration: The Greek people are known for their warm hospitality and welcoming attitude towards foreigners. For this reason, many immigrants find it easy to integrate into Greek society and feel at home.

9. Health Benefits: The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest in the world, which may contribute to overall well-being and longevity for those who choose to live in Greece.

10. Employment Opportunities: While job opportunities may not be as abundant as in other European countries), there are still various industries where skilled workers are needed in Greece. These include tourism/hospitality, agriculture, technology, and healthcare.