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"There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure." - Paulo Coelho
The infamous Article 16 of the "Law for the Bulgarian Citizenship" states that "a person who is not a Bulgarian citizen may acquire Bulgarian citizenship..., if the Republic of Bulgaria has an interest in its naturalization or if the person has special merits to the Republic of Bulgaria in the public and economic sphere, in the field of science, technology, culture or sport.".
So how is the procedure for citizenship for special merits being implemented? Who can qualify and what are the basic requirements? Is there a requirement to pass Bulgarian language test and should the approved applicant cancel his existing citizenship(s).
Who can qualify for Bulgarian citizenship for special merits?
It is important to understand that in order to qualify under the special merits naturalization option, the applicant should possess extraordinary qualification in one of the listed below categories. Additionally, the applicant’s qualification has to be somehow utilized for the benefit of the Republic of Bulgaria. Only when these two conditions are cumulatively met (qualification and benefit for Bulgaria), can the applicant expect his application to be successfully approved and the citizenship granted.
Special merits to the Republic of Bulgaria in the public sphere
This category is foreseen for wide range of merits to Bulgaria. A prime example is the heroic act of 5 brave Serbian citizens, who saved many Bulgarian children in a tragic accident when a bus felt off the road and sank in the Lim River. They have all received Bulgarian citizenship for their act of bravery. You can read more about the accident here (in Bulgarian).
Special merits to the Republic of Bulgaria in the economic sphere
Under this category, a person might be awarded with Bulgarian citizenship for special merits if he has somehow benefited the country economically. Please do not confuse this option with Citizenship by Investment. The special merits in the economic sphere is meant for those who have somehow assisted the country with advice or by any other means (other than direct investment obviously) that has led to the improvement of the country’s (macro) economy. An example would be an incentive to assist the government in order to lower the budget deficit, increase the transparency in the financial sector or to implement enhanced security standards among the financial institutions in Bulgaria. Another example would be if a foreign person has certain academic achievements in the field of economics (ie has published papers or has organized researches, has been awarded prizes in the field of economics, etc.) and these achievements can be utilized for the benefit of Bulgaria.
Special merits to the Republic of Bulgaria in the field of science
Achievements in the field of science may qualify you for Bulgarian citizenship too. You don’t have to prove the Riemann hypothesis, but as a candidate for citizenship for special merits, you should at least have some serious academic background. This option presents an ideal opportunity for experienced university professors or scientist with proven track record to obtain fast EU citizenship. Researchers in the field of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, (quantum) mechanics, may have serious chances to be approved for an application under Article 16 of the "Law for the Bulgarian Citizenship".
Special merits to the Republic of Bulgaria in the field of technology
Highly qualified engineers, radiologists, nuclear technologists, inventors and patent holders may be the ideal candidate for Bulgarian citizenship for special merits. Your achievements in technology should be well documented and of exceptional value for the Bulgarian state of course.
Special merits to the Republic of Bulgaria in the field of culture
Artists, performers and musicians can qualify for Bulgarian citizenship for special merits as well. The achievements in the field of culture need to be of great value and should be able to boost the image of Bulgaria as cultural center worldwide.
Special merits to the Republic of Bulgaria in the field of sport
This is definitely the most frequently utilized option for athletes from around the world to become European citizens. Competing in world tournaments is important and it proves to be much easier with the right passport in hand. From tennis players who need the complete freedom of travel to follow the ATP tour, to footballers, trying to make their dream come true in European football clubs (defying the EU quotes), Bulgarian citizenship for special merits may be the right legal solution. An example is the prominent Brazilian football player Jonathan Cafú, who has become Bulgarian citizen, something that helped him greatly to play in the European football leagues.
What are the specific requirements and how can we help?
One of the great virtues of the Bulgarian citizenship for special merits is that it doesn’t require the applicant to cancel his existing citizenship(s), nor to take language or history tests. There is no residency requirement too. The overall naturalization process takes (only) from 2 to 6 months in general.
According to the Bulgarian law, the citizenship procedure is initiated by the relevant Ministry that is most closely related to the field of expertise of the applicant. We provide full turn-key services to applicants for citizenship for special merits and we are proud to say that in case that we issue a positive "feasibility assessment", the candidate can be virtually 100% certain of the successful outcome of his citizenship application.
If you want to apply for Bulgarian citizenship for special merits, please contact us at your earliest convenience for consultation and assessment of your particular situation.