Update from June 2022:
A new National Population Census was conducted between October and November 2021. The questionnaire recorded information on citizenship and included the categories ‘without citizenship’ and ‘undetermined citizenship’, but the results regarding these categories have not been published yet. UNHCR reported 4,488 stateless people under its mandate in Greece at the end of 2021, and the Greek authorities published updated statistical data on international protection procedure, removals, relocations, acquisition of residence permits, and other data. Regarding stateless people these data contain potentially overlapping categories as Greek authorities do not use a standardised system to identify and register the citizenship of third country nationals.
There were no major legal or policy reforms in 2021.
The naturalisation procedure was amended in 2020 to provide that applicants, including stateless people, must undergo an examination procedure to obtain a ‘Certificate of Knowledge Adequacy for Naturalisation’, for which the payment of an administrative fee of 150 EUR is required.
New resources on Greece now available include:
- 2021 Statelessness Index Survey
- Country briefing on access to protection for stateless refugees from Ukraine in Greece
- Asylum Information Database (AIDA): Greece (May 2022)
- Greek Council for Refugees & Oxfam, Detention as a default: How Greece and the EU are generalising the administrative detention of migrants (November 2021)
- National Commission for Human Rights, National Report on the situation of human rights of migrants at the borders (July 2021)
- National Commission for Human Rights, Οbservations on the Decision of the Minister of the Interior Νο. 29845/2021 regarding the presumptions for the economic and social integration of the foreigner applying for Greek citizenship (2021)
- Refugee Support Aegean, Beneficiaries of international protection in Greece: Access to documents and socio-economic rights (March 2022)
The legal and policy framework relating to statelessness in Greece is a mixed picture. There are some areas of good practice, but in many areas, improvements are needed. Greece has a relatively good record of accession to international human rights instruments, but it is party to only one of the four core statelessness instruments. Some limited and partial data is available on the stateless population, but different agencies use different categories in their data collection, and there is no standard guidance for identifying citizenship.
There is a definition of the term ‘stateless’ in Greek law, statelessness may be identified in some administrative procedures, but there is no Statelessness Determination Procedure in place, and naturalisation is somehow facilitated for stateless people but there are still significant barriers. There are also gaps in the legal framework to prevent the immigration detention of stateless people.
On the prevention and reduction of statelessness, legal safeguards are in place to prevent statelessness among children born on the territory and foundlings, but practical barriers may hinder or delay their implementation. There are barriers to birth registration for Romani people. Reforms have been implemented in recent years seeking to address some of these barriers, but some measures were revoked in 2020. Provisions on loss and deprivation of citizenship contain explicit safeguards to prevent statelessness. In cases where there is no explicit safeguard against statelessness, it is implied in law that the person in question already has another nationality. Children born in Greece are issued with birth certificates.
Information below by theme was last updated in March 2021.
Katerina Komita, Greek Council for Refugees