The non-recognition of the extension of residence permits disrupts the naturalization process too

On June 24, a document of the Secretary-General of Citizenship was published to provide clarifications on the extension of residence permits relating to naturalization and second generation citizenship procedures.

Based on these clarifications, “since for the submission of an application for Greek citizenship, both in the naturalization process as well as in procedures based on the provisions of Law 4332/2015 (birth/ school attendance in Greece) the applicants are required to have a final title of a valid residence permit, it is not possible to submit a request for acquisition of Greek citizenship with a Residence Permit that has expired while its renewal is pending abovementioned”. Also, this document states, among others, that “for reasons of compliance to the principle of legality, the residence permit must be valid at the time of issuance of the final act, namely the decision on acquisition of Greek citizenship”.

In practice, this means that two basic procedures pertaining to the acquiring of citizenship are frozen, for those whose residence permit has been extended due to COVID-19. It is not possible to submit a new application and at the same time no pending decisions are issued. The specific instructions to the competent Citizenship Directorates are an unpleasant surprise and raise the following issues:

    1. What is provided in the document of the Secretary-General of Citizenship comes, first of all, in direct opposition to the Decision of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum, which provides for an extension of validity until the end of 2020, to all residence permits that expired from 11/03/2020 to 30/06/2020. The legal validity of the Ministerial Decision is not substantially recognized.
    2. In fact, this extension is supposed to have universal validity, as the relevant services of the General Secretariat for Migration Policy have repeatedly assured us. This means that all Ministries and services must take it into account and are obliged to proceed with all necessary administrative procedures concerning third-country nationals.
  • This restriction on submission of new applications and the “freezing” of naturalization and second-generation citizenship decisions, for those beneficiaries whose residence permits have expired, further undermines their rights. Third country nationals who live in Greece for years, have developed the strongest living ties with the country and meet the conditions set by the state for the acquisition of Greek citizenship, are once again, without any guilt of their own, trapped in the state’s negligence, which is not able to guarantee access to procedures for the acquisition of the Greek citizenship.

We call the co-responsible General Secretariats of Citizenship and Migration Policy to take into account the above issues, which essentially arise from the actions and omissions of the administration itself. First of all, we request the immediate compliance with the Ministerial Decision for the extension of the residence permits. We also call for a final solution to the issue of residence permits renewals, which has caused many other serious problems.

At some point, we have to take a serious look at how to finally stop the suffering of third-country nationals and the continuous obstacles to their guaranteed rights. In the long anticipation for the naturalization process to be completed, not a single brake can be added!