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"Citizenship is a tough occupation which obliges the citizen to make his own informed opinion and stand by it." - Martha Gellhorn
After Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007, the demand for Bulgarian citizenship skyrocketed. From ethnic Bulgarians living in neighbouring countries to rich businessmen arriving from the other end of the world, it looked like everyone was after one thing only - Bulgarian passport. And this came as no surprise – the invaluable document provides unlimited living rights EU-wide and visa-free travel to virtually any country in the world.
Obtaining the citizenship has logically become much more difficult since. Bulgaria, complying strictly with EU rules and directives, is now applying the highest standards and due diligence procedures in order to ensure that only fully eligible candidates will be granted EU citizenship.
Bulgarian citizenship comes with many benefits. As already mentioned, it provides unrestricted living rights EU-wide, more precisely:
- The right to reside, work, study and retire without any administrative or legal restrictions in all EU member states;
- The right to reside freely for unlimited period of time in some non-EU countries (i.e. Switzerland), as well as in many EU overseas territories. To many it may seem strange, but Bulgarians, as EU citizens, can even settle freely in French Guiana in South America or at the other end of the world in New Caledonia next to Australia.
- The right to establish businesses, manage and own companies and corporations in all EU and EEA countries as well as in Switzerland;
- The right to invest and acquire real estate properties (including agricultural land) in all EU countries, which may be otherwise not available to non-EU citizens;
- The right to attend school and universities EU-wide at preferential rates (home fees) and the possibility to obtain preferential student loans and other financial benefits;
- The right to comprehensive EU healthcare system.
A very special and quite unique provision exists in the Bulgarian "Law for the Citizenship", allowing full and unconditional citizenship to be granted to individuals who meet certain minimum net-worth requirement. We place special emphasize to this legal citizenship program, often being called "fast-track citizenship" or "investment citizenship".
Let’s dive below into each and one of the main categories:
Citizenship by Origin
Obtaining citizenship by origin is one of the most commonly used procedures that is currently being utilized in order to secure Bulgarian citizenship status. There are many ethnic Bulgarians living overseas who are now queuing at the Bulgarian diplomatic missions abroad in order to prove their Bulgarian roots. Many Bulgarians, whose grandparents have immigrated many decades ago to the USA, Canada and other countries are now making huge efforts in order to get their EU citizenship.
Citizenship by Place of Birth
Citizenship by place of birth is by many considered as the panacea for citizenship for their children. We have all seen movies and heard stories about babies being born overseas or even during jet flights, who have then obtained citizenship of the country over which territory the birth has taken place. Is it that easy to obtain citizenship for the newborns in Bulgaria?
Citizenship by Naturalization
To obtain citizenship other than by birth or by origin, one should be able to prove that he qualifies for naturalization under the terms of the Bulgarian Citizenship Law. There are many available options, ranging from the standard residency requirement of 10 years to the express 12 months naturalization under the fast-track citizenship option. Ultimately, each person needs to have his Citizenship Decree signed by the vice president of Bulgaria. We take care to ensure that the application is submitted to the office of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria in full compliance with the legislation in order to guarantee the positive outcome.