The Council of State (Supreme Administrative Court) has decladed unconstitutional the law on acquiring Greek citizenship voted in 2010. "As a result of the final decision of the plenum of the supreme judicial institution, all procedures granting Greek citizenship after the enactment of the law in 2010 until today are expected to be cancelled. The law entitled the children of immigrants who were born in Greece and studied at a Greek school for six years to Greek citizenship. Along with this, the results of local elections in the municipalities where immigrants from non-member countries of the European Union voted are likely to be revised under the same law again. In the reasoning for its decision, the senior judiciary states that the provisions of the law are contrary to the Constitution because the conditions for the acquisition of Greek citizenship regulated by them are formal and insufficient. They are related to the applicant or his family’s time of residence in Greece, the attendance of a Greek school for a certain period of time and a clean criminal record. According to the Supreme Administrative Court, the most significant gap in the law is that it does not provide for a procedure to demonstrate the relationship of the applicant with the Greek nation. Furthermore, the magistrates add that the Constitution entitles only Greek citizens to vote and run in elections. Therefore, it is not possible for people who are not Greek citizens to be entitled to it without making the relevant amendments being made to the Constitution." [1]

The Ragousis Law (Law n.3838/2010), named after former Interior Minister Yannis Ragousis

- permits voting rights to local elections to second-generation immigrants (Art.14);

- introduces  jus soli by granting automaticallty Greek citizenship to children born in Greece if at least one parent is also born in Greece (Art. 1);

- grants Greek citizenship to persons being born to immigrant parents that have been living in Greece legally for five years if they have studied at a Greek school for at least six years (Art.1A). [2]

The last provision (Art.1A) was questioned by the Council of State, which questioned in a ruling "whether these criteria were suitable for deciting a person's citizenship and wheter stronger ties with Greece should be required". Furthermorethe Council of State "deemed unconstitutional the part of the law [Art.14] that allows non-Greek citizens to vote and stand as candidates in local and regional elections", adding that a consitutional review is necessarey for the application of this legislation. However, the ruling does not automaticaly lead to repeal of the law, since it could be appealed at the Supreme Court [3].

Representatives of second-generation immigrats denounced the decision of the Council of State. Nikodimos Maina Kiniua from African organization ASANTE said: "The relationship between immigrants and Greek society can be obtained only through the children of immigrants who are born here. The court's decision is based on the right of blood. They do it in order to limit the cases of granting citizenship to immigrants. But they should know that second-generation immigrants have no intention either to leave here, or to make concessions in terms of their rights" [4].

Greek Ombudsman has declared that the suspension of the Citizenship law is illegal [5].


  1. GRReporter, 6.2.2013, The Supreme Court cancels the law on the acquisition of Greek citizenship,, Accessed on 7.2.2013.
  2. Government Gazette of Greece, 24.03.2010, Law N.3838, Current provisions for Greek citizenship and political participation expatriated and regally  residing immigrants and other settings, Accessed on 23.11.2012.
  3. Kathimerini English Edition, 13.11.2012, Court casts doubt over migrant citizenship law, Accessed on 23.11.2012.
  4. GRReporter, 20.11.2012, Immigrants will sue Greece for attacks by Golden Dawn, Accessed on 23.11.2012.
  5. Lawnet, 6.12.2012, Παράνομη η αναστολή του νόμου περί ιθαγένειας, σύμφωνα με τον Συνήγορο του Πολίτη (Illegal suspension of the law on citizenship, according to the Ombudsman),, Accessed on 24.2.2013.