Why some lucky investors will still get Bulgarian citizenship by investment
As you probably all know, the true Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment program was seriously altered in 2021 and then cancelled in 2022. These legislative moves were in full coordination with the “war on investment citizenship” by the EU and US. As result, we are now fighting in the court rooms for our clients to get justice done. And currently, at the time of writing of this article, the fight is still ongoing. After all, we are confident, justice will prevail and our eligible clients will obtain Bulgarian citizenship, no matter what. But now, there is more than that.
Good news for the investment citizenship candidates
The good news today is that some of the candidates for Bulgarian citizenship by investment will soon have a second chance to have their dream come true.
😐 Standard naturalization (by investment)
But how is this possible? Many investors, who were hit by the cancelation of the investment citizenship program, knew that they could eventually still apply after 5 years or residence in Bulgaria. They did realize however that in order for their application to be successful, they had to:
- renounce their existing citizenship and;
- pass Bulgarian language exam.
None of these requirements are a game stopper though. Renouncing citizenship is an option, but is also something that is really difficult to be legally enforced. And passing Bulgarian language exam, for some of the candidates, is quite feasible. But still, these requirements make the whole application quite complicated to comply with. Luckily, the special provisions of 2021 can make a huge difference for the lucky ones.
😀 The special provisions of 2021
Under the special provisions, surrendering existing citizenship and language exam are not required (for qualifying candidates). Good news you will say? No, it’s a fantastic news!
After the demise of all investment citizenship programs in the EU and even the Portuguese Golden Visa, the 2021 special provisions are much more than a breath of fresh air.
So in a nutshell, obtaining citizenship by investment becomes again possible after 2022. And with professional assistance, qualifying candidates can get Bulgarian citizenship and passport, really, really fast from 2023 onwards.
The conditions to obtain Bulgarian citizenship by investment, as per the special provisions of 2021
So what are the special provisions of 2021 stipulating? Basically, this is a legal text, voted in 2021 that remained “little known” for the public and even for many professionals. What it stipulates is that:
A person who, before the entry into force of this law, received a permanent residence permit in Bulgaria on the basis of Art. 25, par. 1, p. 6 and 7 of the Law on Foreigners in accordance with the provisions of the law in force at the time of application, has the right to submit an application for the acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship, if he meets the conditions under Art. 12, par. 1, p. 1, 2, 3 and 4 and provided that the investment made by him was maintained for a period of not less than 5 years.§ 14. par. 1 of the Law for the amendments of the Bulgarian Citizenship Law of 2021 (State Gazette nr.21 of 2021)
Art. 25, par. 1, p. 6 and 7 of the Law on Foreigners
The referred permanent residence permit is the one that has been received prior to the 2021 amendments. The vast majority of these residence permits have been obtained on basis of investments in Bulgarian state bonds.
Art. 12, par. 1, p. 1, 2, 3 and 4
The requirements under the special provisions of 2021 are quite straightforward. The applicant has to:
- be of legal age;
- hold a Bulgarian permanent residence permit for no less than 5 years;
- provide clean criminal record;
- has an income or occupation that enables him to support himself in Bulgaria;
As you can see from the above, the future seems quite bright for eligible investors for the already canceled Bulgarian CIP. So let’s recap what is required so these lucky candidates can apply for and successfully obtain Bulgarian citizenship.
Who can still get Bulgarian citizenship by investment under the special provisions (in nutshell)
In short, the special provisions foresee that those who have obtainer permanent residence permit under the “first” CIP (pre 2021) can apply for fast-track citizenship if they have maintained their investment (ie Bulgarian bonds) for at least 5 years. Below are the answers to the most frequently asked question about the special provisions:
You will become eligible to apply for Bulgarian citizenship in 5 years after your PR has status has been approved. Your PR card is usually issued some time after the PR status is approved, so be sure to check the exact date. For many investment citizenship applicants, this period has already passed, so they can already apply.
The conditions of the special provisions are that you should have maintained your investment for a period of at least 5 years. Many investors who have been holding their PR for 5 years or more have been also keeping their investment during this period.
The special provisions state that the investment “must have been held for a period of not less than 5 years”. There is no explicit requirement that the investment must be available at the time of the citizenship application.
No, you do NOT have to surrender your current citizenship.
No, you do NOT need to pass any language test.
Your next steps
As you can see, things don’t look bad for eligible candidates. At the same time, please note that the utilization of the special provisions of 2021 requires sophisticated legal expertise to make the application successful. If you are member of the VD&A Gold Club or you have established business relations with our organization, feel free to contact us for details. After all, Bulgarian citizenship and passport may be just one step away from you now.