The way of acquiring Greek citizenship for a foreigner is changing.
According to an Interior Ministry bill that has been submitted for public consultation until September 10, foreign nationals in Greece wanting to acquire citizenship will have to sit and pass written examinations.
The 'Panhellenic' written exams which will be held twice a year, will test the foreigners (who wish to be naturalised citizens of Greece) knowledge of the Greek language, geography and history.
The Secretary General of Citizenship, Athanasios Balerbas toldTa Nea that the redesign of the structure of acquiring Greek Citizenship (Naturalisation) was deemed imperative. "When we took over the ministry, we noticed the extremely long delays in the naturalization of foreigners, who have the legal conditions to acquire citizenship, if, of course, they wish to do so."
If the foreigner succeeds in the exams, ie they manage to obtain 80% of the maximum possible score, they will obtain a "Certificate of Adequacy of Knowledge for naturalization" and have the right to apply for cititzenship.
Some 30,000 pending applications for citizenship – some of which were lodged years ago – will be examined with the new system. In order to participate in the exams, the candidates will have to pay a fee of €250.
Those who are aged over 67 or who have diagnosed writing difficulties will be able to have oral exams instead. Graduates from Greek senior high schools or universities will be exempt from the exam.
The final decision on whether citizenship is granted will be made following an interview with two officials from the ministry’s general secretariat for citizenship, and will be subject to an additional administrative fee of €550.