Citizenship Overview

Can I Become a Bulgarian Citizen?

There are different ways to apply for Bulgarian citizenship, based on your circumstances:

Bulgarian Citizenship by Origin
Like almost every other country in Europe, Bulgaria grants citizenship at birth based upon the principle of jus sanguinis (right of blood), in which citizenship is inherited through parent or parents.
Bulgarian Citizenship by Birthplace
Birthplace citizenship in Bulgaria is the right of everyone born in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria citizenship (provided that there is no other citizenship).
Bulgarian Citizenship by Naturalization
Apart from the Bulgarian citizenship acquired by origin or birthplace in Bulgaria, one can become a citizen through a naturalization process. Naturalization is the process by which Bulgarian citizenship is issued to an applicant after he/she meets the requirements provided by the Bulgarian Citizenship Act.

If an individual was not born a citizen, he/she must be naturalized to become one. To become a naturalized citizen of Bulgaria, an applicant must meet the set of standard eligibility and residential requirements.

  1. A person who – by the date of completing the form for naturalization – has:
    1. to be 18 years of age or over
    2. been granted permanent residence in the last 5 years
    3. no crime on record
    4. enough funds to be financially self-sufficient
    5. to prove sufficient proficiency in Bulgarian language
    6. given up their current citizenship
  2. A person who has been issued permanent residence within the last 3 years and meets one of the following requirements:
    1. has been married for Bulgarian citizen for a period of no less than 3 years
    2. was born in Bulgaria
    3. has been granted permanent residence before the age of 18
  3. A person who received refugee or protection status over the last 3 years and meets the requirements from 1.1, 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5
  4. A person who has been granted humanitarian status within the last 5 years and meets the requirements from 1.1, 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5
  5. A person who has been granted permanent residence permit within the last 3 years and meets the requirements from 1.1, 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5
  6. A person who meets the following requirements without the presence of the conditions under 1.2, 1.4 and 1.5 (Bulgarian birthright citizenship, issued by the State Agency for the Bulgarians Abroad, must be presented with the application form):
    1. are of Bulgarian origin
    2. are to be adopted by a Bulgarian citizen under the legal framework of child adoption
    3. have at least one parent who is/was a Bulgarian citizen
  7. A person who has made special contributions to Bulgarian society in areas such as science, sport, technology, and culture.
  8. A person under the age of 14 who has parents with Bulgarian citizenship. Under the same conditions, children between the age of 14 and 18 can be issued citizenship if they undergo the application process.
  9. A person under the age of 14 who has a parent with Bulgarian citizenship (and meet the requirements described above) can apply for citizenship when written consent from both parents is given. Consent by a parent who has lost parental rights is not needed.

Citizenship Documents I Must Provide

There are some documents that your local Migration office requires from every applicant no matter what the grounds for the citizenship application are. Make sure you have all these documents available when submitting your application. The standard documents are as follows:

  1. A completed citizenship application form
  2. A government-issued ID card or passport
  3. Recent photo - (the standard passport size - must measure 45 millimeters (mm) high by 35mm wide)
  4. Criminal background check - details of any immigration, criminal or civil offenses you might have committed
  5. A proof certifying changes in names, if any. If the change of names is as a result of marriage on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, there is no need to provide any proofs.
  6. Paid application fee

You’ll also need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in Bulgarian. Please bear in mind that this is not a complete list of documents. Contact me for a fully comprehensive list according to your situation or circumstances.

Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship

Once naturalized, individuals give consent to accept all of the responsibilities of being a Bulgarian citizen. In return, they are rewarded with all the rights and benefits that are part of citizenship. Since Bulgaria is an EU member state, Bulgarian citizens are also EU citizens and thus have the right of freedom of movement within the EU and have the right to vote for European Parliament representatives.

Bulgarian Identity Card

Individuals must have Bulgarian citizenship/nationality to apply for/hold a Bulgarian identity card. The Bulgarian national identity card is the compulsory identity document issued in Bulgaria. This document is issued by the police on behalf of the Ministry of Interior and is the official form of identification in Bulgaria. All Bulgarians are obliged by law to carry their identity cards with them at all times and are subject to fines if they don't.

Bulgarian Passport

A Bulgarian passport can serve as proof of Bulgarian citizenship. Individuals are able to apply for a Bulgarian passport if they have Bulgarian nationality. Being a Bulgarian citizen does not guarantee a passport, and there are certain circumstances where passport application can be refused or an existing passport can be retained. Eligibility and entitlement to a Bulgarian passport are considered upon application.

Dual Citizenship

Dual citizenship (also known as dual nationality) is permitted in Bulgaria only for native-born citizens. This means that naturalized citizens are required to give up all other nationalities.

How I can help?

For a comprehensive guide that will help you understand how to become a Bulgarian citizen, (including the requirements for Bulgarian citizenship, the whole application process, and the rights, obligations, and responsibilities) please do not hesitate to contact me.

My extensive experience in handling complex Bulgarian citizenship/naturalization cases will save you valuable time and effort in preparing your applications, and help you avoid costly delays. I'm at your disposal and am able to provide any guidance you may need. Don't hesitate to contact me at [email protected].