UK citizens and family members in Greece to be granted permanent residency rights

UN citizens and their family members residing permanently in Greece will be granted the right of residence in the country, regardless of their country of birth, nationality, after the end of the transitional period of the EU-UK Departure Agreement.

The relevant announcement issued by the Ministry of Immigration, also provides for special residence permits for those citizens of the United Kingdom and their family members, regardless of nationality, who do not reside permanently in the country. The transitional period provided for in the United Kingdom Exit Agreement with the European Union expires on 31 December 2020.

The Brexit Agreement provides for the issuance of a new residence document by the EU Member States, which will certify the new residence status of UK citizens and their family members, regardless of the birthplace. According to the statement, Greece has opted for a ‘fast-track’ verification procedure for the UK of the right of residence and not the process of “re-establishment” of the right, recognising the contribution of these people to social and economic progress in the homeland.

In this context, the citizens of the United Kingdom and their family members, who reside in Greece under EU law or come to reside until 31.12.2020 and continue to reside after that date, establish the right of residence in the country, as per the UK Exit Agreement.

The Ministry of Immigration and Asylum in cooperation with the Ministry of Citizen Protection issued a joint ministerial decision, which identifies, among other things, the competent authorities for issuing new residence permits for UK citizens and their families. The new residence permits will be issued in accordance with EU technical standards for uniform residence permits, incorporate the biometric characteristics of the holder, and include a declaration that they have been issued in accordance with the Departure Agreement, making clear the new residence status of these persons which will guarantee their acquired rights.

The validity of the new residence permits will be ten years, provided that the right of permanent residence has already been acquired, and five years in other cases. A five-year residence permit can be converted into a permanent residence permit, as soon as five years have elapsed from the beginning of the family member’s residence in Greece, provided that the permitted periods of absence are observed.

Citizens of the United Kingdom and their family members protected by the Agreement can obtain the new document by applying from 1 January 2021 to the competent authorities, accompanied by the required supporting documents. They should contact the local authorities of the Ministry of Civil Protection, while family members of UK citizens who are third-country nationals should contact the Aliens and Immigration Service of the Decentralised Administration of their place of residence.

The Ministries of Immigration and Asylum, the competent services of the Decentralised Administrations of the country will contact directly the beneficiaries, inviting them from the beginning of next year to submit the application for the new residence permit and the whole process will be completed by 30 June 2021.

Citizens of the United Kingdom who are not covered by the Brexit Departure Agreement may reside in the country as third-country nationals in accordance with the provisions of immigration law. For stays longer than three months and depending on the purpose of their stay, they must have a national visa and/or residence permit.

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