Brexit: The residence status of British nationals in Greece

Brexit: The residence status of British nationals in Greece

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Just a couple of weeks remain until the end of 2020. This also marks the expiry of the transition period for Brexit. As such, many British nationals living in Greece are still uncertain about their residence status and the actions they need to take to safeguard their rights. Below is a brief guide for British nationals and their families, intended to shed some light on this process.

Actions until December 31, 2020
During the transition period, British nationals will continue to enjoy the right to lawfully reside in Greece under the Free Movement Directive (2004/30/EC) as (i) employees, (ii) self-employed persons, (iii) financially self-sufficient persons or (iv) students. British nationals who already reside in Greece and belong to one of the above groups should hold a registration certificate or a permanent residence certificate—the latter if they have been living in the country for at least five years. Both certificates are issued by the competent Police Department for Aliens of the applicant’s area of residence and provide evidence of their right to live in Greece until the issuance of the residence permit that will be required in 2021.

Actions as from 1 January 2021
In the period from January 1 to June 30, 2021, British nationals who have already been living in Greece before December 31, 2020 are required to hold a residence permit which can be issued at the competent Police Department for Aliens. The residence permit will have a 10-year duration if the applicants have been living in Greece for five years or a five-year duration if they have been living in the country for less. British nationals who are already living but have not registered in Greece by December 31 2020 will also be entitled to apply for such residence permit. However, in this case, they will have to provide proof of their prior lawful residence in the country.

Family rights
Family members of British nationals – irrespective of their nationality, whether British or any other – are also entitled to a residence permit, which can be issued following a similar process.

Applications for Greek citizenship submitted by British nationals within 2020 will be handled with priority and will incur a reduced cost, as until the end of 2020 said applications will be treated as applications by EU citizens. Starting January 1st, 2021, they will be treated as applications by third-country nationals. Applications for citizenship by EU citizens require a minimum 3-year presence in Greece and adequate knowledge of the Greek language, history and culture.

Travel rights
Finally, the EU Member-States have included the UK in the list of countries that will enjoy a visa-waiver regime in the EU as from 2021. This will allow British nationals to visit Greece for short-term tourist and business purposes without a visa for up to 90 days within a rolling 180-day period.

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