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What You May Not Know About Greek Immigration

Greek immigration authorities have continued to run EU citizens, along with their spouses and families, through procedures which are not required by Greek law as it implements an EU law that went into effect in 2007. According to that law, EU citizens and non-EU citizens married to them who wish to reside legally in Greece permanently are required only to register with their local municipalities at their local city halls. They must show proof of health insurance, proof that they receive an income of at least the amount of the minimum Greek pension and proof of residing in the municipality where they are applying.
The registration document issued to them is called a "Βεβαίωση Μόνημης Κατοικίας" which translates exactly to "Certificate/Confirmation of Permanent Residence". It is stamped by the municipal police-- NOT by the state police (to whom applicants used to be sent for residence permits). This is absolutely ALL that is required by current Greek law (according to the government gazette FEK #....) for people in the categories mentioned above for residing legally and permanently in Greece.

In direct contradiction of this law, Greek authorities are still sending EU citizens to the state police in their municipalities to apply for residence permits. My husband was one of these people, who was told that since the house he lives in belongs to a friend, he must get a legal statement from the owner regarding both his friend's ownership of the house and his hosting my husband in it. He was also told to bring in his bank book and show at least 8,000 Euros in his account.

According to the new law detailed in the FEK, the state police should not be issuing any kind of residence permit or registration (the registration process is handled by city hall), the proof of a basic income does not require showing a large amount in one's account, and the proof of residence can be demonstrated by bringing in some old phone or electric bills.

I, in turn, as a non-EU national who had recently married this EU citizen, was told by the local immigration employee to apply for a 5-year residence permit based upon my marriage. Although I was not asked to prove the exorbitant annual income required for renewal of my previous one-year residence permit, or to pay the 150 Euros in fees I had had to pay on submitting my papers annually, I was told that the new process would end with an interview of my husband and myself in the prefectural offices. This would have required spending about 40 Euros in boat tickets and making a trip requiring a good part of one day. More than a year after my marriage and submission of my application, I was told by this employee that the head office wanted an exact copy of my husband's residence permit, for which he would have to visit the state police (as detailed above).

This employee, the local mayor, and the state police here where I live have since been given a copy of the FEK which establishes unequivocally that all of these procedures are NOT in line with Greek law and have not been for at least five years. All unwitting victims of this lack of compliance by Greek authorities have gone through far too much unnecessary hassle, loss of time, and also money. It appears that the flunkies making people jump through these same old hoops really don't know that most of these hoops were supposed to have been thrown out some five years ago.

The above account has been sent in by one of our readers.
Thursday, May 24, 2012