ATHENS — United Kingdom citizens and their family members, irrespective of nationality, who are permanent residents of Greece will have an established right of residence in the country after December 31, when the transition period under the Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union comes to an end, according to a migration and asylum ministry announcement on Monday. There is also a provision for special residence permits for UK citizens and their families, irrespective of nationality, that are not permanently resident in Greece, the ministry said.
The Withdrawal Agreement calls for the issue of a new residence permit document by EU member-states that will certify the new residence status of UK citizens and their family members. Greece has opted for the fast-track process of simply confirming right of residence, rather than re-establishing the right, thus acknowledging the contribution of UK citizens to the social and economic progress of Greece.
This means that UK nationals that have been legally resident in Greece for more than five years or register as residence in Greece before December 31 and continue to stay in the country after that date establish the right to remain in the country, based on the Withdrawal Agreement.
The migration and asylum ministry, in collaboration with the citizen protection ministry, have issued a joint ministerial decision (JMD) that outlines which authorities will be responsible for issuing the new biometric residence documents for UK nationals and their family members, in line with EU requirements. These will also include a statement indicating that they have been issued in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement and making the new residence status – as well as guaranteeing the established rights – of the holders clear.
The new residence permits will be valid for 10 years for those that have established the right of permanent residence and five years in the opposite case. A five-year residence permit can be converted to a permanent residence permit after five years, provided the permitted periods of absence are not exceeded.
UK nationals and their family members can apply for the new residence document from January 1, 2021, supplying the necessary supporting documents. In the case of UK citizens, they must apply to the relevant citizen protection ministry services (nearest police aliens departments) while non-EU family members must apply to the nearest Directorate for Aliens and Migration of the decentralised administrations in their area.
The migration and asylum ministry has also arranged for the decentralised administrations to directly contact those eligible from the start of 2021 and invite them to apply for the new permit, so that the process is completed by June 30, 2021.
Non-EU nationals that enter Greece after January 1, 2021 as family members of a UK national eligible for residence under the Withdrawal Agreement can apply for a residence permit within three months of arrival.
UK citizens that are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement can remain in Greece as third-country nationals in accordance with migration law. For stays exceeding three months and depending on the purpose of their stay, they must possess either a visa or residence permit.