What are the opportunities for dual citizenship with Bulgaria?
This is a matter that is of great interest to most foreign nationals living in Bulgaria or having long-term interests related to the country. The Bulgarian passport opens virtually unlimited visa-free travel opportunities across the EU, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, South America, Canada. And very soon the US is expected to be on this list. The total number of countries to which a Bulgarian passport holder can travel without a visa is: 169. Not bad, right? In fact, by this indicator, Bulgaria is in the top 20 in the world.
For Russians, for example, this is a chance to gain access to all the privileges of a resident of a European country, while remaining a full citizen of the Russian Federation.
The difference between dual and second citizenship
The concepts of “dual” and “second” citizenship are often replaced, not fully understanding the difference between them. In a legal sense, dual citizenship should be recognized between two countries at the level of international agreements. It guarantees the protection of both powers, and issues of social security, taxes and military service are decided at the place of permanent residence. You obtain a second citizenship when applying for a passport of another state. At the same time, each country considers you as its citizen at the time you are on its territory.
Dual citizenship in Bulgaria
At the legislative level, Bulgaria does not forbid having a passport of a foreign state and guarantees all its citizens the observance of the rights and freedoms provided for in the Constitution.
Dual citizenship in Bulgaria allows you to:
- live and move freely in all countries of the European Union;
- buy land in private ownership;
- have the right to consular and diplomatic protection of a European state;
- get higher education at preferential rates;
- elect deputies, the president and vice president.
You will have to refuse a passport of another country if you are applying for membership in the European Parliament or are running for the position of mayor or municipal councilor. Persons holding a passport of another state cannot hold positions in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Security Agency, solve foreign policy issues, or work in the judicial and law enforcement systems.
How to get dual citizenship?
There are several ways to become a full citizen of Bulgaria. The fastest and easiest way to obtain dual Bulgarian citizenship for foreigners is by origin. In other cases, you will have to spend from 3 to 10 years to acquire a Bulgarian passport.
By place of birth.
A child born in the country has the right to obtain a Bulgarian passport for the following reasons:
- at least one Bulgarian parent;
- both parents of a newborn stateless in any state;
- the origin of the child is unknown.
By naturalization, privileged or general.
Naturalization conditions in the general order are as follows:
- reaching the age of 18;
- accommodation over the past 5 years in Bulgaria with a permanent residence permit;
- absence of problems with the law (the applicant for citizenship should not be under investigation);
- knowledge of the Bulgarian language;
- willingness to refuse a passport of another country.
The terms for obtaining a Bulgarian passport for general naturalization take about 10 years. First you will have to apply for a residence permit, and only after 5 years you can apply for permanent residence.
Dual citizenship is preferred to receive using the second type of naturalization. You can take advantage of privileged naturalization if the migrant has lived in Bulgaria for the last three years, and one of the following conditions has also been met:
- has been married to a Bulgarian citizen for at least three years (at the time of application);
- received refugee status or political asylum;
- born in Bulgaria;
- does not have a passport of any country;
- was adopted by Bulgarian citizens;
- has a formal permanent residence permit received up to 18 years.
If among the next of kin, up to great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers, there are people with proven Bulgarian roots, then you have the right to get a passport according to a simplified scheme.
For special merits.
For a valuable contribution to the development of art, industry, science, sports or the economy, for outstanding achievements in any other field of activity, the Bulgarian government provides a special procedure for obtaining citizen status.
This also includes investments in the economy in the amount of at least 1 000 000 leva (512 000 euros). In this case, the investor may apply for permanent residence. This is the obtaining of Bulgarian citizenship through the Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP). In the EU, only Bulgaria and 2 other countries can offer you this procedure, which takes 18 months. Then you become a full EU citizen.
Having a passport of another country, you may encounter some restrictions that should be considered in advance. So, for example, you cannot be assigned to the military and civil service, to be an employee of the prosecutor’s office or the judiciary. Access to information of national importance will also be limited, investment rights in the media will be cut, etc.
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