Rising number of foreign nationals with Bulgarian roots discover the benefits of having Bulgarian citizenship. One of the many opportunities that comes along is European citizenship and free movement in the European Union.
- Legal basis
According to the Bulgarian Citizenship Act, Bulgarian citizenship by origin may be obtained by the following categories:
- persons of Bulgarian origin;
- persons adopted by a Bulgarian citizen under conditions of full adoption;
- persons of whom one parent is a Bulgarian citizen or has deceased as a Bulgarian citizen.
According to the Bulgarian Citizenship Act, a person of Bulgarian origin may acquire Bulgarian citizenship if he/ she meets the following conditions:
- is an adult or a minor represented by its parents/guardians;
- has not been convicted of a deliberate crime of a general nature by a Bulgarian court and no criminal proceedings have been instituted against him/her for such a crime, unless he/she has been rehabilitated.
The documents are submitted in person to the Ministry of Justice or to the diplomatic/consular mission of the Republic of Bulgaria in the country of origin or in the country of residence of the foreign national. The list of documents to be presented includes among other standard documents also:
- Application form, written in Bulgarian;
- Birth certificate;
- Criminal record.
In the proceedings for acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship by origin, the application shall be accompanied by official documents issued by Bulgarian or foreign authorities, by which the applicant certifies that he is related to at least one person – his ascendant up to and including the third knee, who is of Bulgarian origin. The documents must contain information on the name of the ascendant and his/her relationship to the applicant.
The documents submitted by the foreign national should be translated in Bulgarian language and legalized.
The applicant is neither requested to renounce his/her original citizenship nor to pass a test in Bulgarian language.
- Procedure for obtaining a Bulgarian citizenship by origin
The process for obtaining a Bulgarian citizenship includes several main steps.
- Submission of documents to the Ministry of Justice or to the diplomatic/consular mission of the Republic of Bulgaria
The documents should be submitted in person to the Ministry of Justice or to the diplomatic/consular mission of the Republic of Bulgaria in the country of origin or in the country of residence of the foreign national. For minors, the application shall be submitted and signed by their parents or guardians.
When the documents are submitted, the applicant is interviewed in Bulgarian language. When the applicant does not speak Bulgarian language, he/she shall be accompanied by a translator. The interview is conducted by an official of the Bulgarian Citizenship Directorate or by an official of the relevant diplomatic or consular mission. When the applicants are minors, they should be accompanied by their parents or guardians.
- Proposal of the Minister of Justice to the President of the Republic of Bulgaria
Following an expert assessment of all relevant documents, the Minister of Justice makes a proposal to the President of the Republic of Bulgaria to issue a decree for obtaining Bulgarian citizenship.
According to the Bulgarian Citizenship Act, the Minister of Justice shall make a proposal for the issuance of the decree within 9 months of the application in the Ministry of Justice.
- Issuance of a decree for obtaining Bulgarian citizenship
The acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship by origin is obtained by a decree of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria.
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