I really would appreciate any help.

My dad was born in Greece in 1951. Both his parents were born in Greece. He moved to South Africa to work for a relative in 1965, when he took up residence the same year. He met my South African mother, they married and I was born in 1972.

In 2009 we tried to do an application in order for us children to get a Greek passport. The application was rejected as The South African Department of Home Affairs made a mistake by omitting one letter in his surname. Therefore, my maiden name was incorrect as per the Greek Authorities. We were told that my father had to apply for Residency again under his correct surname, then marry my mother again, then have our birth certificates re-issued, in order for the process to be successful.

Then I have to re-marry my husband with the correct maiden surname and have my children's birth certificates re-issued.

  1. Is there a way one can apply for an ancestral visa, and ultimately obtain a Greek passport?
  2. Does one have to give up your current citizenship?
  3. Is dual South-African / Greek Citizenship allowed?

I really would appreciate any advise I can get. Thank you

  • Have you considered appealing?
    – phoog
    Feb 28, 2017 at 19:52

1 Answer 1


According to Greek nationality law,

A child of a Greek citizen acquires Greek nationality automatically at birth.

From what I can see, you would have been both a Greek citizen and a South African citizen at birth (and still are).

The difficulty, as I see it, is that when your father took up residency in 1965, his name was recorded incorrectly by the South African Department of Home Affairs. Therefore, his name on your birth certificate is incorrect according to the Greek authorities, and so is your own name, so they refused your passport application.

That sounds like a terrible mess and it seems like you've identified a brute-force plan to fix it by reissuing a number of official documents under the correct names. If that's what the Greek authorities require, then that must be the way it is.

To answer your questions:

  1. I don't see anything like an "ancestral visa" for Greece. Since Greece normally considers children of Greek citizens to also be Greek citizens, there normally wouldn't be a need for such a thing.

  2. According to how I'm reading the laws, you already are both a Greek citizen and a South African citizen. So if you succeed in getting a Greek passport, you don't have to give up your South African citizenship (as you normally would if you voluntarily acquired another foreign citizenship). Applying for a passport of a country where you are already a citizen is not the same as acquiring a new citizenship.

  3. South Africa does not normally allow dual citizenship, except for cases like yours where you already have more than one citizenship at birth. See South African nationality law for lots of details.

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