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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, this is my first post on the forum :) I moved to Greece from the USA at the end of June of this year. I'm not of Greek descent so I'm here on a special residence/work permit (1yr, renewable). This is not a problem, and I'm able to live here and work legally for now. But my fiance (who is Greek) and I are wanting to get married some time in the next few years. I have done some research online and talked to people (including at the Ministry of Interior) and have come up with the following (and don't know if it's all correct... or what is missing...):

1) I can get married as a foreigner living in Greece as long as I have a valid residence permit through the end of the same calendar year.

2) I can get married as a foreigner living in Greece as long as I have a valid residence permit for the 3 months after the wedding date.

3) Two months after the ceremony, I have to officially change my residence permit from a foreign residence permit with specific work privilege (1 yr renewable) to a spousal residence permit with open work privilege (5 yr renewable).

About #3, the permit I have now is from Athens but we will register the marriage in Thessaloniki - so I have to change it in Thessaloniki, correct?

4) I have read that my family members πρώτου βαθμού can then be entitled to stay longer than a 3 month Schengen visa allows - I don't have many but my mother is very interested in staying for longer, possibly for years. Any truth to this? My fiance says this is a very new (last few months perhaps) law.

Does anyone know anything about the marriage (foreign to citizen) process? We had our 3 year anniversary yesterday so I am sure that if they want proof of a "real" relationship that will not be a problem, but what do they really want? Do we have to do separate interviews like in the USA? If so, can we do that sort of thing in Thessaloniki? I have read online about an affidavit swearing we are not getting married for the wrong reasons, but is this something we have to do privately with a lawyer, or at city hall, when we actually get married or at the time when I change my residence permit...? We want to do a Greek Orthodox church wedding but will probably do a civil wedding first. Anything else I should know about the marriage issue?

Also does anyone know how to get documents officially translated (birth certificates, etc - for the marriage license) in Thessaloniki?

Being a non-EU national living in Greece is complicated and I've been extremely careful to do everything by the book. We want to make sure we don't set our wedding date for the wrong time! I don't want to end up forced to leave the country after the wedding if I don't do things properly, but we also have family insisting we give them a long lead time before the wedding so they can buy plane tickets with good rates :) Thanks for any help.

Oh one final question - is it overkill to hire a lawyer to deal with all of this? We are not wealthy and I don't mind doing the legwork myself, as long as I can do it right. We're both fluent in Greek but not lawyers!
 

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I just got married in Greece last July. I am an American Citizen and my husband is dual (American and Greek). If you marry a Greek citizen you can easily be given a 5 year residence permit. Also, I read that you can become a Greek citizen after you have been married for 3 years. We were married in the church and needed a few papers stamped and notorized by the government and a lawyer. The first paper stated that I understand that I must become Greek Orthodox. The other paper had to come from the church I belong to in the states which says that I am a single woman eligible to marry. I dont' think your wedding date will be a problem. We were engaged for 4 years. I think it's the paperwork you need to do before the wedding that will give you a headache.
 

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One more thing....... it doesn't matter if you are both fluent in Greek. You still have to have the papers made official with certain stamps and so on. The Greek government will not accept them otherwise. It seemed as though we had to pay 50 euros to each lawyer that drew up the papers for us. It can be costly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Amis, thanks for the replies!! I see you are in Korinthos - I used to work there :) It is very encouraging to hear that getting the permit itself happens easily, even if there is a lot of paperwork involved. And thanks for the warning about the lawyers. My fiance's cousin is a lawyer, so maybe she can help with that. The church thing might be a problem... I'm not an active member of a church in the US, but I've never been married. Just curious - since as a spouse you can become a citizen after 3 years, do you think you'll do that? It would be nice not to have to renew the permits every few years, and having an EU passport is always convenient. I'm not sure whether I would do that, I definitely don't want to jeopardize my American citizenship because I have family there and my parents are elderly so I need to be able to get back there with no visa formalities. Just wondering :)
 

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Amis, thanks for the replies!! I see you are in Korinthos - I used to work there :) It is very encouraging to hear that getting the permit itself happens easily, even if there is a lot of paperwork involved. And thanks for the warning about the lawyers. My fiance's cousin is a lawyer, so maybe she can help with that. The church thing might be a problem... I'm not an active member of a church in the US, but I've never been married. Just curious - since as a spouse you can become a citizen after 3 years, do you think you'll do that? It would be nice not to have to renew the permits every few years, and having an EU passport is always convenient. I'm not sure whether I would do that, I definitely don't want to jeopardize my American citizenship because I have family there and my parents are elderly so I need to be able to get back there with no visa formalities. Just wondering :)
I definitely will apply for my Greek citizenship after 3 years. You can have a dual citizenship with the US and Greece.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ι excavated at the arch. site, so not exactly Korinthos, technically Arxaia Korinthos, but close enough ;) I think if getting Greek citizenship won't put me in danger of losing my USA citizenship, I'll go for it too. It would be nice not to have the stress of paperwork in my life! (or at least, a little less.)
 

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a little permit help . . . I hope

Hi,
I'm also a US citizen living in Larisa. I married my husband (Greek) this summer in the US, so I'm can't be helpful as far as the Greek wedding process goes. We just completed our permit application a few weeks ago even though we began it the first week of August. Getting the translations can take some time . . (especially when they mistake the date of the wedding due to the difference in how we write our numbers:).

We have a friend who is a lawyer and who was extremely helpful to us in being a go between with the translator. Also, most documents also need to be stamped by a lawyer to show they are authentic, including photocopies of your passport. I don't think it is overkill to hire a lawyer especially since you are going to need to services of one for at least a few documents and they can be helpful with other things like translations.

With regards to proof: I will say that one of the things we had to include in our permit application was a statement that the marriage was done for valid reasons. This was a form that was provided by our lawyer on which my husband had to write that we were married in good faith. This was stamped by the lawyer for validity. We will have an interview in a few months but the statement was all that was needed for the initial application.

Other than that I would suggest visiting the Immigration Reception Office in your area. They can provide you with a list of exactly what you will need to apply for the spousal permit so you can start getting certain things prepared beforehand. It is pretty straightforward but a lawyer can answer any questions.
 
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