Bulgarian citizenship

Bulgarian citizenship is governed by the Bulgarian Citizenship Act, the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria and the international agreements in force at the time of occurrence of the facts or events related to citizenship. The following article represents the different cases and conditions of acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship.

A. Acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship by origin:

If at least one of my parents is a Bulgarian citizen, I shall acquire a Bulgarian citizenship by origin.

B. Acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship by place of birth:

If I’m born in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, unless I have acquired foreign citizenship by origin, I shall be a Bulgarian citizen by place of birth.

C. Acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship through naturalization:

I may acquire Bulgarian citizenship if as of the date of filing an application for naturalization:

  1. I’m above 18 years old.
  2. I was granted permission for permanent residence in the Republic of  Bulgaria not less than 5 years ago.
  3. I have not been sentenced by a Bulgarian court for a premeditated crime of a general nature and have not been the subject of criminal proceedings for such a crime unless I have been rehabilitated.
  4. I have an income and occupation enabling me to support myself in the Republic of Bulgaria.
  5. I have a command of the Bulgarian language subject to verification in accordance with a procedure established by an order of the Minister of Education and Culture.
  6. I was released from my previous citizenship or I will be released from my citizenship as of the moment of acquiring the Bulgarian citizenship.

If I’m not a Bulgarian citizen but I satisfy the conditions 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and not less than 3 years as of the date of filing the application for naturalization, I was granted permission for permanent residence in the Republic of Bulgaria I may acquire Bulgarian citizenship if I also meet one of the following requirements:

  • I have been for at least 3 years, and still I am legally married to a Bulgarian citizen.
  • I was born in Bulgaria.
  • I was granted permission for permanent residence before I became 18 years old.

If I have a refugee status not less than 3 years before the date of filing the application for naturalization, I may acquire Bulgarian citizenship if I meet the requirements under “Acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship through naturalization” sub-paragraphs 1, 3, 4 and 5.

If I’m without citizenship I may acquire Bulgarian citizenship if I satisfy the conditions under “Acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship through naturalization”, sub-paragraphs 1, 3, 4 and 5 and, not less than three years as of the date of filing an application for naturalization, I was granted permission for permanent residence in Bulgaria.

I may acquire Bulgarian citizenship through naturalization not subject to the provisions of “Acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship through naturalization”, sub-paragraphs 2, 4, 5 and 6 if I meet one of the following requirements:

  • I’m of a Bulgarian origin.
  • I have been adopted by a Bulgarian citizen on terms of full adoption.
  • One of my parents is a Bulgarian citizen or has passed away as a Bulgarian citizen.

I may acquire Bulgarian citizenship if I have an interest in my naturalization or if I made a special contribution to Bulgaria in the social and economic spheres, in the field of science, technology, culture or sports.

If I’m a child of up to 14 years of age I shall acquire Bulgarian citizenship if my parents or the surviving parent acquire Bulgarian citizenship or if only one of my parents does so in case the other parent is a Bulgarian citizen. Under the same conditions if I’m of 14 to 18 years of age shall acquire Bulgarian citizenship if I wish so.

If I’m a child of up to 14 years of age, and only one of my parents is a Bulgarian citizen, who do not hold Bulgarian citizenship, I may become Bulgarian if both my parents or the surviving parent agree to give their consent /to that end/ in writing. There shall be no requirement for the consent of my parents if they have been deprived of their parental rights. If I’m of 14 to 18 years of age, I may acquire Bulgarian citizenship under the same conditions if I wish so.

My application meeting the requirements for acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship through naturalization shall be refused if there are serious grounds to believe that due to my conduct I may be a threat to public order, public morals, public health or national security.

(*) The article aims to explain basic rights under Bulgarian law and it is not to be considered as a legal advisor. We strongly advise you to hire a lawyer, if you experience trouble understanding and using these rights. (*)

Author:

Reni Hristova

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