GREECE – New Residence Permit System Causing Delay
The Ministry of Interior Affairs in Athens has distributed a circular indicating that delays are likely to occur in the coming weeks due to the implementation of the new residence permit system, following the new law 4018/30-9-2011.
Changes to the Residence Permit System
Biometric Residence Permits
The new law implemented last year introduced biometric residence permits to Greece, in line with EC regulations 1030/2002 and 380/2008. The new residence permits contain a digital photograph and fingerprints, compulsory for all applicants aged 6 and over.
One Stop Service Administration Offices
Additionally, the new law amended the place of application for non-EEA national permits, both for initial applications and for renewals. Applications are now submitted to decentralised “one stop service” administration offices rather than to the local municipality in the region of the Greek entity. There are four new “one stop service” offices in Attica:
- Athens A
- Athens B
- East Attica
- Peireaus – West Attica
The circular sent out recently by the Ministry of Interior warns of excessive workloads at the “one stop service” offices, leading to general delays, the potential for the staff at the offices to turn non-urgent applications away, and an inability to provide official receipts for payment of the government stamp duty.
Renewals - New Type A Receipts Replacing Blue Receipts
Residence permit renewal applications in Greece can take some time to be processed, and because of this, it is standard for the authorities to issue a receipt acknowledging the application, which acts as a proof of the holder’s legal immigration status in Greece Effective immediately, this acknowledgement will be issued as a “Type A Receipt”, which replaces the previous blue receipt. Type A receipts will be valid for up to one year, after which time, if the residence permit still has not been issued, a new Type A receipt will be issued. The circular indicates that all blue receipts should be replaced with the new Type A receipts no later than September 2012. This means that, for residence permit renewal applicants who have not yet been issued with new residence permits by August 2012, it may be necessary to make new applications, in order to be issued with the new receipt.
- Anticipate severe delays with the issuance of residence permits, both for first time and renewal applications, in the coming weeks
- Note the new Type A receipts now issued for renewal applications, and that blue receipts will cease to be valid from September