Legal Assistance

U.S. Embassy Athens prepared the list of English speaking attorneys in the box to the right as a service to U.S. citizens.  We welcome both favorable and unfavorable comments concerning the performance of the attorneys listed.  Such comments will assist us when reviewing the list every three years.

The U.S. Embassy does not have the authority to legally represent U.S. citizens or to get them out of legal difficulties. Consular officers cannot interfere in Greek judicial affairs, provide legal advice, seek preferential treatment, or assume any responsibility as guarantor, surety, or supervisor.  For legal matters, please consult with an attorney.

In choosing a lawyer, the interested party may wish to take jurisdiction into account, although Greek attorneys may practice throughout the country.

Legal System in Greece

According to the Greek Constitution there are three categories of courts: civil courts, penal courts and administrative courts.

  • Civil courts have jurisdiction over private losses and cases of voluntary jurisdiction.
  • Administrative courts deal with administrative differences.
  • Penal courts deal with crimes such as felonies, misdemeanors etc. If you are the victim(s) of a crime, you should file a police report or register your complaint with the local police or the Public Prosecutor.  In practice, if a crime is reported immediately the police may apprehend the perpetrator and place him/her under custody without the need of an arrest warrant. If the perpetrator is not arrested within 24 hours of the crime, then an arrest warrant must be issued by the investigating judge.
  • Greek courts are backlogged; a criminal case may take up to 18 months to come to trial.  Victims are expected to appear in court to testify or provide testimony at a Greek Embassy in the United States.

Common Questions

  • How can I apply for a Greek residency permit or Greek citizenship?
    • For short-term residency, contact the Aliens Bureau in Attica:  Central 24 Petrou Ralli St., Tavros Tel. 210 34 05828-29; Marousi: 15 Agiou Orous St., Tel. 210 68 75176; Elliniko Proin Anatolikos Aerolimenas Athinon Tel. 210 96 01341-96 90293; Aigaleo 21-23 Marmara St., Tel. 210 53 19298; Piraeus 37 Iroon Politehniou Tel. 210 41 28607, 4174855
    • For long-term residence permits, contact the Municipality or City Hall of the area of residence of the individual concerned
    • For Greek citizenship, https://www.ypes.gr/en/special-secr-for-citizenship/special-secretary-s-office-front-page
  • Does the Embassy provide translations services in Greece?
  • Can I get an apostille on my U.S. birth certificate (or other state-issued document from the United States)at the Embassy?
    • The Embassy does not have the authority to issue apostilles.  These stamps on U.S. document are given by the respective U.S. State’s Secretary of State. To find the addresses of Secretaries of State and more detailed instructions on the procedure to be followed, see:
  • For Greek documents, an apostille may also be obtained through KEPS (Citizen Service Centers in Greece) http://www.ermis.gov.gr/portal/page/portal/ermis/KepIndex

For more information on legal considerations, please see:
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal-considerations/judicial/service-of-process.html

For information on arrests, please see the Arrest of a U.S. Citizen webpage on this website, and the Arrest or Detention of a U.S. Citizen Abroad webpage on the State Department website.

Notarial Services

See our Notarial Services webpage for all information on the services provided by the Embassy.