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The acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship is
regulated by the relevant law. It provides several
opportunities to become a Bulgarian citizen:
Based on Art. 8 and 9 of the Law on Bulgarian citizenship, persons who have at least one parent - a Bulgarian citizen, can become Bulgarian citizens. Also, people with proven Bulgarian origin can apply for citizenship on this ground. To prove it, you must first apply to the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad to obtain the appropriate certificate. It is issued on the
basis of documents confirming the presence of Bulgarian ancestors.
When obtaining citizenship on this ground, you do not need to give up your old citizenship, take an exam in the Bulgarian language and confirm your ability to provide yourself on the territory of Bulgaria. Waiting for a decision, you can stay outside the country. If you wish, you can get a residence permit or permanent residence permit and live in Bulgaria until
the decree on granting citizenship is issued.
PLACE OF BIRTH
Art. 10 and 11 of the Law on Bulgarian citizenship provide for the possibility of obtaining citizenship by people born in Bulgaria. An important nuance: this applies only to those who do not receive another citizenship on the basis of their origin. Children of foreign citizens who were born on the territory
of Bulgaria receive citizenship by their parents.
Children found in Bulgaria, if their parents cannot be found, are considered to have been born in Bulgaria. In this case, they are
entitled to obtain Bulgarian citizenship.
TO OBTAINING A PASSPORT FOR
SPECIAL SERVICES BEFORE THE STATE)
For those who do not fit the above reasons, there is a third way - naturalization. This is the most affordable option for most foreign citizens, although in this case a number of special requirements are imposed on them: foreigners need to prove that they deserve to become citizens of Bulgaria. Art. 12 of the Law on Bulgarian citizenship lists the conditions that must be met in case of
obtaining citizenship on the basis of naturalization:
- Age over 18 years old.
- Obtaining permanent residence status (long-term residence status) at
least five years before the submission of documents.
- Not to be under investigation for an intentional crime of a general nature, not to have a criminal record in Bulgaria for an
intentional offense (the only exception is rehabilitated persons).
- Availability of income. An alternative option is to have a
profession that allows you to support yourself.
- Knowledge of the state language of Bulgaria.
- Renunciation of the previous citizenship before obtaining the Bulgarian citizenship.
If, for any reason, Bulgaria is interested in obtaining Bulgarian citizenship by a specific person, then compliance with all these conditions is optional. For example, if a foreigner has special services to the country, then instead of collecting a package of documents, it is enough just to sign a written agreement on the readiness to become a Bulgarian citizen. There is no explanation of what is specifically meant by special merit in the law. Only areas in which these special services can be made are indicated: science, technology, culture, economics,
sports and the public sphere. Certain categories of applicants are
exempt from the obligation to renounce their previous citizenship. These are:
- Spouses of Bulgarian citizens.
- Citizens of the European Union, Switzerland, countries of the European Economic Area.
- Citizens of countries that have entered into an appropriate agreement with Bulgaria.
Proof of proficiency in the Bulgarian language is not necessary for those who have received a permanent residence in the country as an investor and their families. In this situation, there is also no need to renounce the old citizenship. If a foreign citizen has been educated in Bulgaria in the Bulgarian language, he may not pass the language exam. In other cases, you will have to pass a free exam for proficiency in the Bulgarian language at a sufficient level. The exam is taken in Sofia by appointment. Based on the test results, a certificate is issued,
which is attached to the application when it is submitted.
It is possible to obtain citizenship under the accelerated procedure, i.e. before the expiry of the five-year period of residence with the status of a permanent residence permit or a long-term residence permit if you are married to a Bulgarian citizen. The marriage must be concluded no later than three years before the submission of documents, and not dissolved within this period. You can also not wait five years if a permanent residence permit or a long-term residence was obtained before reaching the age of majority. In such cases, the right to apply for citizenship appears three years after receiving a permanent residence
permit or a long-term residence.
Citizenship can also be applied for by persons who have received refugee or asylum status at least 3 years before the filing of documents, and who meet all the conditions, except for the last one concerning renunciation of old citizenship. The same applies to those who received humanitarian status at least five years before the filing. It is enough for stateless persons to live for 3 years with a permanent residence permit or a long-term residence
in order to qualify to become Bulgarian citizens.
Obtaining Bulgarian citizenship is also available to adult foreigners who have received permanent residence on the basis of investments at least a year before submitting the documents. In this case,
the following requirements must be
1. Foreign citizens should not be convicted of deliberate criminal acts.
2. Investments must be increased in accordance with the requirements of Art. 14a of the law on citizenship and subject to all the conditions specified in this article.
Obtaining citizenship on the ground of naturalization is also available to foreigners of Bulgarian origin; those who were adopted by Bulgarian citizens, as well as those who have at least one parent - a Bulgarian citizen (including those who have already died). As in other cases,
a prerequisite is the absence of a criminal record for an intentional crime.
Important:even if a person meets all the
conditions for obtaining citizenship by
naturalization, his application may be rejected if
there are serious reasons to believe that the
applicant poses a serious danger to national
security, public order, morality or public health.
ORDER OF OBTAINING
To obtain citizenship, you must personally apply
to the Ministry of Justice of Bulgaria with a
Attached to the
- copy of the identity card;
- documents confirming the basis for obtaining
citizenship and compliance with the
The list of such documents varies depending on
the basis on which the foreigner plans to become
a citizen of Bulgaria. For example, ethnic
Bulgarians must attach a certificate of origin,
investors - relevant certificates, and foreigners
who have permanently resided in the country for
5 years - papers proving this fact, a certificate of
passed language exam and other certificates
provided by law.
If citizenship is awarded for services to Bulgaria,
then the proposal is made by the minister of the
relevant region and considered by a special
commission. The applicant does not need to
collect documents, it is enough to confirm his
readiness to become a citizen of Bulgaria.
An interview is conducted upon application. In
the case of minors, the interview is conducted
with their parents (if the child is under 14 years
old) or in the presence of the parents (if the child
is over 14 years old). The questions asked during
the interview allow assessing the degree of the
applicant's acquaintance with the history,
culture, and political system of Bulgaria. In some
cases, the interview is done with the help of an
The decision is made by a special commission
under the Ministry of Justice. Based on the
results of the commission's work, the President
of Bulgaria issues a decree on the granting of
citizenship. The decree comes into force from the
date of publication.
The term for consideration of the application is
from three months (citizenship by merit) to one
and a half years (citizenship by naturalization).