MARRIAGE LAWS AND PROCEDURES
Greek law number 1250 governs both civil and religious marriage ceremonies in Greece. This law also legalizes all civil marriages performed abroad between a Greek citizen and an alien prior to coming into force of this law.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED TO OBTAIN A GREEK MARRIAGE LICENSE
The original of the following:
- Passport or other travel document
- Certified copy of Birth Certificate
- If previously married, a certified copy of the divorce decree, or a death certificate if married ended due to death of spouse.
- Confirmation that there is no impediment to the marriage.
- This confirmation is issued in the form of an Affidavit of Marriage signed under oath before a Consular Officer in Athens or Thessaloniki, and must be completed in English and Greek.
- A copy of the newspaper in which the wedding notice was published. Wedding notices should be published in one of the local newspapers in the Greek language before the application for a marriage license is submitted.
In small towns where newspapers are not published, notices are posted by the mayor or president of the community at the City Hall Community Office.
All the documents must be endorsed with an official Apostille Stamp if the the person marrying belongs to the country which is a party to the Hague convention. All documents in English (except passport) must be officially translated into Greek. This may take up to a week, so plan to give yourselves extra time.
However, the paperwork may take up to several weeks to process.Either a civil or a religious ceremony (or both) may be performed in Greece.
All documents must be taken in person to the City Hall (Demarchio) or the President of the Community (Proedros Kinotetos).
The marriage license is issued seven days after the submission of the application and is good for six months. The civil ceremony may be performed anywhere in Greece. Upon issuance of the marriage license, the concerned persons must jointly submit another application to the Mayor or President of the Community where they will marry. The official then sets the date for the wedding ceremony. Two witnesses, provided by the marrying couple, must attend the wedding ceremony, one of whom must serve as an interpreter. Witnesses should have their passports or Greek identification cards with them.
Greek law does not provide for the religious marriage of a Christina to a non-Christian. All documents must be taken to the priest who will perform the ceremony. The priest will then apply for and obtain the marriage license.
- Both parties must show evidence of the Christian faith and baptism.
- The couple must meet with the Pastor for a series of pre-marital counseling sessions, or must have a letter from their Pastor declaring that the counseling has been received.
- The couple is responsible for making arrangements to have flowers in the church and/or the services of an organist.
- One of the persons involved must be a Protestant, and neither can be of the Greek Orthodox faith.
Two witnesses must be available to attend the wedding ceremony.
ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
- Each party must present the following certificates: baptism (from the church in which it was performed), confirmation, and freedom to marry.
- Banns need not be posted in the case of non-residents of Greece.
Special privilege is required in the case of mixed marriages. The non-Catholic party to the marriage must obtain certificates of birth, baptism, and freedom to marry form his or her church. Divorce is not recognized.
- A certificate of freedom to marry, issued by the senior Rabbinate of the area of residence, must be presented.
A Jewish marriage ceremony may be performed only if both bride and groom are of the Jewish faith.
REGISTRATION OF MARRIAGE
- Marriages in Greece must be registered at the Vital Statistics Office (Lixiarhio) of the city where performed. This applies to all marriages, whether civil or religious, and must be done within 40 days following the ceremony.
- Marriages can be registered by either spouse, or by a third party who is in possession of a power of attorney signed before a Notary Public.
Marriages which are not registered have no legal validity.
MARRIAGE OF FOREIGN NATIONALS IN GREECE
Foreign nationals in Greece may be married either in a civil ceremony by a mayor, in a religious ceremony by a priest, or other.
Although there is no residency requirement for foreign national wishing to marry in Greece, the bureaucratic procedure may take several weeks to complete before a marriage certificate may be obtained.
- Marriage licenses can be obtained from one's current place of residence, prior to coming to Greece, and are generally accepted by the Greek authorities.
- This only applies, however, if neither the bride nor the groom is resident in Greece.
- Foreigners should be in possession of a residence permit if they reside permanently in Greece, or if the length of their stay in the country exceeds the residence permit-free period.
- The following documents are required to obtain a Greek marriage license for marriage ceremonies performed in Greece which involve foreigners:
- A passport or other travel documents.
- A certified copy of the birth certificate, along with an official translation.
- If applicable, documentary evidence as to the termination of a previous marriage (death certificate or final divorce decree) along with an official translation.
- For minor under 18 years of age, a court decision approving the marriage is required.
- The affidavit must be completed in English and Greek and must be notarized in the embassy in Athens or Thessaloniki.
- The Consulate General performs Notorial services.
The fee for the affidavit is $10.00 or the equivalent in drachmas.
A copy of the newspaper in which the wedding notice was published. Wedding notices should be published in one of the local newspapers in the Greed language (the manes should be phonetically written in Greed and not in latin characters) before the application for ta marriage license is submitted. In small towns where newspapers are not published, notices are posted by the mayor or president of the community at the City Hall or Community Office.
TIME & COST
- The translation of all the documents may be done at the Greek consul abroad.
- The certificate of no impediment will take 15-30 days and will cost 60 Euros.
- The Town Hall will take about 8 days to grant the license
- The letter of No impediment is a paper which states that the persons are free to marry; ie. still not married or not "quite divorced" from a previous marriage.
- If the country is not part of the Hague convention, then a certified letter, from the city hall of the state of the person wishing to marry stating that the document is valid and true may be obtained.