Legal Articles & Media

UK Citizens Residency Rights in Greece Post Brexit

By 19/02/2021 No Comments

UK Citizens are entitled to apply for and issue:

a. a 10-year residence permit provided that they resided legally in Greece for a continuous period of 5 years before the end of the transition period or

b. a 5 – year residence permit provided that they resided legally in Greece for a period of less than 5 years before the end of the transition period.

 

Preamble

On 19 March 2019, the Hellenic Parliament approved Law 4604/2019 (published in the Official Government Gazette/ΦΕΚ 50/A/26-3-2019) which guarantees, in articles 123, 124, 125, 127 and 128, UK citizens’ rights in Greece after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

Subsequently, Greek Law 4652/2020 “Provisions regarding the withdrawal of United Kingdom from European Union and other provisions” (published at Gov. Gazz. A’ 9/23.01.2020) adopted on 23 January 2020, abolished Articles 123-127 of Law 4604/2019, regulating the legal status and the rights of British citizens as of the date of UK withdrawal until 31 December 2020 both in the case of ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement and in the case of no deal scenario. The Withdrawal Agreement was ratified and put into force on 31 January 2020. Hence, the provisions of the above Greek Law referred to no deal scenario are not applicable.

Therefore, as of 01 January 2021 the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement are applicable. The residency rights of the UK citizens are stipulated under the Article 18 “Issuance of Residence Documents” which is embedded into the national legislation in virtue of the Ministerial Decision No. 4000/1/113-a’.

In particular, on 19.10.2020 the Ministerial Decision No. 4000/1/113-a’ (published in the Official Government Gazette/ΦΕΚ B’ 4610/19.10.2020) “Designation of competent authorities for the issuance of residence documents of UK citizens and their family members and specific considerations on the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement of the United Kingdom from the European Union” was issued stipulating the requirements for the issuance of residence documents to UK citizens residing in Greece before the withdrawal.

Which UK citizens can legally reside in Greece as of 01 January 2021?

Pursuant to Art. 1 of the Ministerial Decision No. 4000/1/113-a’ UK nationals who exercised their right to reside in Greece in accordance with Union law before the end of the transition period, namely before 31 January 2020, and continue to reside there thereafter are entitled to apply for and issue:

  1. a 10-year residence permit provided that they resided legally in Greece for a continuous period of 5 years before the end of the transition period or
  2. a 5 – year residence permit provided that they resided legally in Greece for a period of less than 5 years before the end of the transition period.

Continuity of residence is not affected by temporary absences not exceeding a total of six months a year, or by absences of a longer duration for compulsory military service, or by one absence of a maximum of twelve consecutive months for important reasons such as pregnancy and childbirth, serious illness, study or vocational training, or a posting in another Member State or a third country

Which UK citizens had the right to legally reside in Greece for a period longer than three months according to Union Law before the end of the transition period?

Before the withdrawal of UK from EU, and in particular before the end of the transition period, UK citizens were entitled to reside for a period longer than 3 months in Greece provided that one of the following requirements was met:

(a) were workers or self-employed persons in Greece; or

(b) had sufficient resources for themselves and their family members not to become a burden on the social assistance system of Greece during their period of residence and had comprehensive sickness insurance cover in Greece; or

(c) were enrolled at a private or public establishment, accredited or financed by Greece on the basis of its legislation or administrative practice, for the principal purpose of following a course of study, including vocational training; and – had comprehensive sickness insurance cover in Greece and assured the relevant police authority, by means of a declaration, that they had sufficient resources for themselves and their family members not to become a burden on the social assistance system of Greece during their period of residence; or

(d) were family members accompanying or joining a Union citizen who satisfies the conditions referred to in points (a), (b) or (c);

(e) were workers or self-employed persons who, at the time they stopped working, had reached the age laid down by the Greek law for entitlement to an old age pension or workers who ceased paid employment to take early retirement, provided that they had been working in Greece for at least the preceding twelve months and had resided there continuously for more than three years;

(f) workers or self-employed persons who had resided continuously in Greece for more than two years and stopped working there as a result of permanent incapacity to work. If such incapacity was the result of an accident at work or an occupational disease entitling the person concerned to a benefit payable in full or in part by an institution in Greece, no condition should be imposed as to length of residence;

(g) workers or self-employed persons who, after three years of continuous employment and residence in Greece, worked in an employed or self-employed capacity in another Member State, while retaining their place of residence in Greece, to which they return, as a rule, each day or at least once a week.

(h) Irrespective of nationality, the family members of a worker or a self-employed person who were residing with him in the territory of Greece, if the worker or self-employed person had acquired himself the right of permanent residence in Greece on the above basis.

3

UK citizens who were residing in Greece in virtue of one of the above reasons were entitled to issue a Registration Certificate (the so called “brown card” or “beige card”) by lodging an application to the competent Police Department.

Application Procedure

The application shall be submitted before the designated immigration authority as of 31.01.2021 until 30.06.2021. Pursuant to Art. 1 par. 3c of the aforementioned Ministerial Decision the application can be submitted through a proxy lawyer, spouse, relatives in the ascending line or adult relatives in the descending line.

The competent authorities are the Aliens Departments of the Hellenic Police for those who reside in the area of jurisdiction of the General Police Directorate of Attiki and Thessaloniki and the competent Services handling alien’s matters for those who reside in the area of jurisdiction of the rest of the General Police Directorates.

Documentation

Following the above, for UK citizens who have already issued the Registration Certificate (“brown card” or “beige card”) before the withdrawal of UK, the following documentation shall be submitted before the designated authority:

  1. Four (4) recent colored photographs under the technical specifications set forth for the passport photographs (40×60 without frame/high definition/in white background/neutral expression);
  2. Certified true copy of a valid passport or travel documents recognized by Greece;
  3. Registration Certificate (“brown – beige certificate”);
  4. Supporting documents proving that he/she fulfils one of the aforementioned requirements (a to h).

On the other hand, UK citizens who resided in Greece without having issued a Registration Certificate (“brown card” or “beige card”) and continue to reside in Greece shall submit to the competent authority the following supporting documents:

  1. Four (4) recent colored photographs under the technical specifications set forth for the passport photographs (40×60 without frame/high definition/in white background/neutral expression;
  2. Certified true copy of a valid passport or travel documents recognized by Greece;
  3. Supporting documents from which shall derive that he/she was residing in Greece before the end of the transition period;
  4. Supporting documents proving that he/she fulfils one of the aforementioned requirements (a to h).

Fingerprinting

The designated authorities, namely the Aliens Department of the Hellenic Police for those who reside in the area of jurisdiction of the General Police Directorate of Attiki and Thessaloniki and the competent Services handling alien’s matters for those who reside in the area of jurisdiction of the rest of the General Police Directorates, after the completion of the registration procedure and provided that they decide the issuance of the residence permit, transmit a copy of the decision for the issuance of the residence permit and summon the UK citizen to provide his/her biometrics.

After the fingerprinting, the Services transmit, through courier services, a copy of the decision for the issuance of the residence permit, a copy of the fingerprints and the details of the UK citizen to the National Passport and Secure Document Center of the Hellenic Police Headquarters.

The National Passport and Secure Document Center prints the residence permit within 15 days from the receipt of the decision and the supporting documents and transmits it to the designated authorities (as above).

Family members

A residence permit can be granted to third country citizens, who are family members of a UK citizen who legally exercised his/her right to reside in Greece according to Union Law before the end of the transition period, provided that the following requirements are fulfilled:

(a) they are third country citizens who resided in Greek territory before the end of the transition period as long as they submit the following supporting documents:

  1. Four (4) recent colored photographs under the technical specifications set forth for the passport photographs (40×60 without frame/high definition/in white background/neutral expression);
  2. Certified true copy of a valid passport or travel documents recognized by Greece;
  3. Residence Permit and supporting documents proving the family relationship with the UK citizen
  4. Residence Permit of the UK citizen issued according to the above.

(b) they have a direct family relationship with a UK citizen and resided outside Greece before the end of the transition period, provided that they are direct descendants of the UK citizen under the age of 21, or are dependants and those of the spouse or partner of the UK citizen, at the time they seek residence in order to join the UK citizen;

(c) they were born to, or legally adopted by a UK citizen after the end of the transition period, whether inside or outside Greece, and they are direct descendants of the UK citizen under the age of 21, or are dependants and those of the spouse or partner of the UK citizen at the time they seek residence in order to join the UK citizen and fulfil one of the following conditions:

— both parents are UK citizens who exercised their right to legally reside in Greece before the end of the transition period;

— one parent is a UK citizen who exercised his/her right to legally reside in Greece before the end of the transition period and the other is a Greek national; or

— one parent is a UK citizen who exercised his/her right to legally reside in Greece before the end of the transition period and has sole or joint rights of custody of the child, in accordance with the applicable rules of family law of a Member State or of the United Kingdom, including applicable rules of private international law under which rights of custody established under the law of a third State are recognised in the Member State or in the United Kingdom, in particular as regards the best interests of the child, and without prejudice to the normal operation of such applicable rules of private international law;.

The family members of UK citizens, who are third country citizens shall lodge an application for the issuance of a residence permit to the One-Stop-Shop Services of the Directorate of Aliens and Migration Issues of the Decentralized Administrations of the state nearest to the place of their residence.

UK Citizens who didn’t reside in Greece before the end of the transition period are eligible to move to Greece post Brexit?

As of 01 January 2021 UK citizens are third country nationals, hence they are eligible to apply for the issuance of a residence permit according to the provisions of Greek Immigration Law (L. 4251/2014).

For further information & clarification, kindly contact us directly.

You can email us:  or call/text us directly at: +306908351705 (WhatsApp/Viber)

Athens, December 2020

Follow us on