Foreign Assistance in Greece

NON GREEK MARRIAGE IN GREECE
(CIVIL & RELIGIOUS)

I will require the following:

1) Photocopy of passport

2) Birth certificate translated here by the foreign ministry

3) Certificate of NO IMPEDIMENT: Translated here at the foreign ministry.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

The original birth certificate and letter of no impediment is a must; not photocopied, or an exact duplicate. Both BIRTH CERIFICATES and letters of NO IMPEDIMENT MUST contain the stamp of the APOSTILLE CONVENTION of Hague treaty 1961

I don't need a power of attorney to process the license.

** IMPORTANT if you are living outside of your native country, then the CERTIFICATE OF IMPEDIMENT must be applied for in the country in which you have stayed for OVER 21 DAYS

** If your country does not belong to the Hague treaty then a stamped signed verification by your foreign ministry or the Greek consul will take the place of the apostille stamp."

Now let me clarify the 3 requirements mentioned in the beginning:

The birth certificate must be an original ; however, in countries where the original is on the computer at city hall, you can use a verified copy of the original stating it is a true copy of the original, stamped and signed and in color. For countries that do not have this option, the original must be sent. Donít worry, it will be returned to you.

Letter of no impediment.  Many will be confused by this. It is nothing more than a legal statement or document stating you are free to marry. How can you get married when you are already married? This is the idea. In many countries it may just be a simple affidavit  from your nearest  notary public where you swear: I am not married, never was married, and therefore free to marry in Greece 2007. If you are legally divorced, then just state you are and include the divorce paper you send me. Once again, original, not photocopied. If your country does not have a notary public, then this same paper or a certificate from the foreign ministry or city hall saying the same thing will do.

The Apostille stamp:  This is the stamp of the Hague convention of 1961. This stamp makes the document legal. No document going from one country to another is legal without it. In the U.S., the U.K, and some other countries it takes the form of a blue or yellow glued-on stamp. The words Hague convention are mentioned on the document. For most countries, including Greece, however, itís just a rubber ink stamp placed on the document itself. There is no difference. You can get this at a city hall or the State Dept., or  foreign Ministry of your country. If your country is not a member of the Hague convention, believe it or not, Canada isnít, then you can by-pass this with a stamp from the foreign ministry or  the State Dept.

Your passport does not need either the apostille stamp or the original. Just a clear photocopy will suffice.

In essence, these are the 3 steps. Please donít forget; if you are confused in any way, or you need more information, I will guide you step by step along the way either by e-mail or phone. It really is easy.

                                                   STAGE 1

This is the legal aspect and my job. I receive the papers, only by courier, and proceed to screen them for accuracy. Even one misspelled word or name can throw the entire process behind, create problems which need to be corrected. This is because all Greek marriages are legal, valid, and recognized all over the world, and given that Greece is extremely bureaucratic, she is very picky and peculiar as far as accuracy  pertaining to legal paperwork.

When I see they are acceptable, I proceed to take them personally to the foreign ministry for official translation. No other translation will do. (Mayors love to see the official stamps and signatures from the government, it gets them off the hook and they can enjoy their ouzo at the end of the day better) The ministry is pre-paid and they take up to 8 days for the translation.

                                                  STAGE 2

Here is where my associates (agents) take over. Usually the couple has already had some ideas about venues (where to get married). I strongly recommend an island instead of Athens. This is for two reasons: less bureaucracy and itís more romantic.  A wedding in Athens entails your being at the city hall personally to sign the application at least 2 weeks before they  find a date for you. It also means we have to place an announcement in a daily paper 3 weeks before the application, and you have to have a residence here, even some friendís house or something, and you have to produce two witnesses, one who will act as a translator, at the wedding. If youíre not planning to spend at least one and a half months here, donít do it. Another case against Athens is that it is very polluted and noisy; hardly a romantic atmosphere you would want for such an important occasion.

Conversely on an island, the application can be made out without you actually being on the island. The announcement is placed at the town hall 8 days before the wedding; no newspapers involved. You donít have to spend a month or more here , even a few days or less, and you worry about nothing except how to have a great honeymoon, or for the bride, what style to wear her hair. The agent does the following:

1)  Arranges the date with the mayoral office.

2)  Places the announcement at the town hall.

3)  Arranges all transfers, accommodation, taverna, photographer, and anything else that you may want, all the way to , yes, hairdressers.

4)  Registers the marriage.

5)  Arranges for the witnesses

The formula is quite easy to understand: The less the bureaucracy and hassles, the more the beguiling experience of a lifetime.

Which islands? I work primarily with three, and there are good reasons for this. Sifnos, and  Santorini and Lesvos. I have good contact with the agents there and for the last 5 years all our marriages have been completely successful and unforgettable for the bride and groom. Many mayors  at other places either are unaware of the law, donít care, or try to make it difficult just to prove their position or to show off. This unfortunately happens much too often.  The other reason is that these islands are majestic, beautiful each in its own way. Personally I have spent many summers on Sifnos and will continue to do so.  Santorini is wild, incredible nightlife, beautiful , expensive but well worth it. Sifnos, on the other hand, is more family oriented,  very, very pretty, quaint, colorful,  fantastic beaches, wonderful food. And yes pottery, itís the potterís island of the Cyclades. I love it. Lesvos is one of the most popular islands and I have a really great relationship with Joanna at Sappho Travel in Skala Eressos.

The protestant Alternative.  There is  a protestant church in Athens where Iíve arranged many weddings. I know the minister well and all our marriages have been very successful. If you are protestant, then the St. Andrews church  is for you. The church itself is really remarkable inside and the organ playing before and after the very short,( 30 min.) ceremony  makes it a viable alternative. Here we still have to place the announcement in the paper but you donít have to be here for this, nor do you have to sign before.  In fact, you can sign the marriage certificate after the ceremony. It is fast, legal and  just like any protestant ceremony elsewhere in the world; therefore, 2 witnesses are needed and  you have to have been baptized.  If you are not baptized, then a letter from your local church stating that you are a member of good standing. I think it means that you have paid your yearly dues. The ceremony is, of course, in English.

Don't forget: A civil or religious marriage in Greece is valid all over the world; thus the precise paperwork required.

Wishing you the best for the future

Dorian Kokas

For more about weddings visit Matt Barrett's Wedding Page

 

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