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Friday, December 4, 2020

Greeks of the Diaspora are looking to register marriage in Greece

Christos Iliopoulos
Christos Iliopoulos
Contributing Editor The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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A Greek expatriate lives in Australia. He was born in Greece, moved to Australia at a young age and settled there. He is of the impression that he can easily register in Greece his marriage in Australia. His intention is to subsequently register his children, born in Australia, so they obtain the much-wanted Greek / European passport. Also, the family may start some new business in Greece soon, and that is why the Australian marriage needs to be registered in Greece and the children to get their Greek passports.

In most cases, a foreign marriage can be registered in Greece, provided at least one of the persons in the marriage (bride and groom) is a Greek citizen. However, problems may arise. A usual complication is when the name of the Greek citizen is not stated in the same spelling in his/her foreign marriage, as it is in the Greek birth record. The person was born in Greece with his last/family name as Leontiadis, but married in the USA as Leon. The Greek name may have been Xydeas but in the foreign marriage, it was Xydias. Even subtle changes such as this, may block the registration in Greece of the foreign marriage, and thus discontinue the citizenship registration.

One other reason for which the foreign marriage can’t be registered immediately in Greece, is that it is the second marriage of the Greek citizen. When we take a marriage certificate from Canada, to the Greek authority for registration, we may discover that the marriage document states that it is the second marriage of the Greek citizen. Or that the Greek citizen was prior to this marriage “divorced”. In such a case, we need to find the marriage certificate of the first marriage and register this in Greece. Then, we must find the divorce court ruling or court order. If it was from a country outside of Greece, it needs to be officially translated in Greek, with Apostille or notarization by the Greek Consulate, and presented before a Greek court, with a court petition for recognition in the Greek legal order. We also need additional written proof that this foreign divorce court decision is final, meaning that the time limit to challenge or appeal it has passed without incident.

Once the court in Greece issues its decision to recognize the foreign divorce court order, the ruling is registered at the Special Registry in Athens, and then we will be able to register the second marriage of the Greek citizen, which was our aim in the first place. Then, the road to Greek citizenship or to any other legal registration in Greece is open.

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