Civil registration


Country Report: Civil registration Last updated: 08/06/23


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According to Article 20(1) L 344/1976, the birth of a child must be declared within 10 days to the Registry Office of the municipality where the child was born.[1] The required documents for this declaration are: a doctor’s or midwife’s verification of the birth and the residence permit of at least one of the parents. A deferred statement is accepted by the registrar, but the parent must pay a fee of up to € 100 in such a case.[2]

As for the birth registration, beneficiaries of international protection have reported to GCR that if they do not or cannot obtain a certified marriage certificate from their country of origin, the child is declared without a father’s name. Lately, the Asylum Service started -in very few cases- issuing family status certificates. Another difficulty is the fact that according to Greek Legislation the father’s first name cannot be used as the child’s surname. This is a very common mistake made by many mothers and interferes with the name-giving (ονοματοδοσία) of the child, especially when the child’s father is not residing in Greece. In these cases, it is hard to prove that the person that signed the authorization to the mother for the name-giving is the declared father of the child in the birth certificate and, since the name-giving is one of the essential rights of a legal guardian, a court must make a decision concerning the removal of the parental responsibility of the parent not residing in Greece in order for the other parent to be able to proceed alone to the name-giving. This is a lengthy and uncertain outcome of legal procedure since the Greek Civil code provides strictly for the reasons of removal of parental responsibility.[3] With the new Ministerial Decision 9169 ΕΞ 2022-10.3.2022, the name-giving (ονοματοδοσία) could be done electronically through the Greek government’s official webpage.[4] However, in order to access the electronic site of the Greek Government (, the beneficiary would need to verify his phone number though e-banking. The system theoretically allows the usage of taxisnet codes (taxation/fiscal electronic codes used for the submission of tax declaration). In practice, after a couple of steps, if the beneficiary’s phone number is not verified through e-banking, the system shuts down. This means that a large number of beneficiaries de facto cannot access this new electronic name-giving system.

A marriage must be declared within 40 days at the Registry Office of the municipality where it took place; otherwise the spouses must pay a fee of up to €100.[5] In order to get legally married in Greece, the parties must provide a birth certificate and a certificate of celibacy from their countries of origin.[6] For recognised refugees, due to the disruption of ties with their country of origin, the Ministry of Interiors has issued general orders to the municipalities to substitute the abovementioned documents with an affidavit of the interested party.[7] However, asylum seekers and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection are still required to present such documentation which is extremely difficult to obtain, and face obstacles which undermine the effective enjoyment of the right to marriage and the right to family life, in some cases leading them to obtain a court order for the officiation of their wedding ceremony .[8]

Civil registration affects the enjoyment of certain rights of beneficiaries of international protection. For instance, a birth certificate or a marriage certificate are required to prove family ties in order to be recognised as a family member of a beneficiary of international protection and to be granted a similar residence permit according to Articles 22 (2) and 23 (3) Asylum Code(see Status and Rights of Family Members).

In practice, the main difficulties faced by beneficiaries with regard to civil registration are the language barrier and the absence of interpreters at the Registration Offices of the municipalities. This lack leads to errors in birth or marriage certificates, which are difficult to correct and require a court order.




[1] L 344/1976 on Civil Registration Acts, Official Gazette 143/A/11.6.1976.

[2] Article 49 L 344/1976.

[3]  Article 1514 and 1532 Greek Civil Code

[4] Ministerial Decision 9169 ΕΞ 2022-10.3.2022 (Official Gazette Β’ 1210/16-03-2022).

[5] Article 29 L 344/1976.

[6] Article 1(3) PD 391/1982.

[7] See e.g. Ministry of Interior, General Orders to municipalities 4127/13.7.81, 4953/6.10.81 and 137/15.11.82.

[8] Single Member Court of First instance of Athens 6459/2009,3581/2010 Single-member Court of First Instance of Kos 390/2013 and Athens Magistrates’ Court 91/2017.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation