The importance of 101% legal compliance
The application procedure for Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment is a comprehensive legal process. During the procedure, the applicant has to meet wide range of legal requirements. Obviously, in the core of the program is the requirement to invest either 1024000 EUR or 512000 EUR. Without meeting this requirement, there is simply no application possible. From legal point of view, this is the easy part. It gets much more complicated with the other “not that important” requirements. These are often being neglected by some non-professional “agents”. Sadly enough, such negligence has always catastrophic consequences, albeit not immediate.
We have covered already the requirement to have legal Bulgarian address, which is one of the most often overlooked conditions. In this article, we will explain why is the correct legalization and translation of your documents essential for your application. What is even more important is that even if your application is approved and your citizenship decree issued, your citizenship privileges may be cancelled at any time in future.
What are the requirements of the Bulgarian laws for your (foreign) documents that will be used for your application?
If you have already advanced with your Bulgarian citizenship application, you are most probably aware that you will need to produce a number of documents. These are for example the certificate of no criminal convictions, the certificate for the purchase of the investment (ie bonds, in case you have bought them through non-Bulgarian bank), etc. Most probably, these documents are originating from your home country and they may be in any language, ie Russian, Chinese, English, etc.
All documents must be in Bulgarian
Unlike in some other countries, all foreign legal documents in Bulgaria need to be in Bulgarian. No exception of this rule is possible. All documents must be translated by specially authorized (sworn) translators, signed and stamped by all relevant bodies. While this requirement may seem easy to comply with, it is definitely not. Many applicants are incorrectly believing that well known international translation agencies can do the job. This is not the case unfortunately. Even the translators appointed by the Bulgarian embassies abroad will not meet the legal requirements.
All legal documents have to be legalized
Obviously (at least to us and to the authorities), all documents that are coming from abroad need to be legalized too. Our colleagues from Posolstvo.eu have written a very informative article on the matter at How to legalize your documents? What is “apostille” and do you need one?
In many cases, the process of translation and legalization may be relatively simple. In other cases however, one need to legalize the documents first. Then translate them, then legalize them again and then translate the legalization stamp that will need to be legalized again. Sounds complicated? Yes, and it really is.
The consequences from “badly” translated or incorrectly legalized documents
The consequences will be always devastating for the citizenship candidate. The problems that may occur can be divided into three main categories:
- Non acceptance of the documents for the purpose of the Citizenship by Investment application;
- Rejection of the application at later stage (ie while waiting for approval by the citizenship commission), before the citizenship certificate is granted;
- Cancellation (revocation) of the already approved citizenship status and privileges.
Refusal to accept incorrectly translated/legalized documents
This is the most frequent problem during the application. Luckily, it is the least serious obstacle that the applicant has to deal with. When incorrectly translated or legalized documents are being submitted to the authorities, these are often being spotted by the relevant officer and are being rejected immediately. This implies the need for repeating the translation and legalization procedure and submitting the correctly processed documents again. While this is not a deal breaker, it often leads to serious delays and of course, additional costs.
Rejection at the final stage of the application, before the citizenship certificate is issued
This situation occurs when all of the applicants documents have been already submitted and the issuance of the citizenship certificate is pending. At that stage the authorities need to verify thoroughly the whole file of the applicant. Many irregularities are detected at that point. In such cases, when the documents have not been translated or legalized correctly, the authorities refuse to process the application further, which leads to huge delays, that can take years. This situation is very frequent and we are often being employed by applicants who have applied through another “agent” and are being “left in the mud”. In such cases, we basically have to repeat the whole procedure from scratch, which is unpleasant for everybody, least to say.
Cancellation of the Bulgarian citizenship
In our opinion, this is the most serious problem of all. Broadly speaking, according to art.22 from the “Law for the Bulgarian citizenship”, the naturalization can be cancelled if some facts that have been presented are found to be untrue. And this cancellation can occur at any time whithin the first 10 years after the citizenship has been granted.
Once the citizenship (naturalization) is cancelled, its restoration takes years and cost a fortune.
We advise all our clients not to cut any corners when it comes to translation and legalization. The most stupid thing one can ever do is to try to save on these services! Legal conformity should be absolute paramount and any compromises may ruin one’s citizenship status for life.
The cost of translation and legalization
Our policy is to always give our valued clients full choice about how to approach the translation and legalization of their documents. Our clients can always opt to translate their documents themselves with translation agencies of their choice. And we will always support them with their choice.
We recommend them though to use the services of our consultancy department in order to arrange the flawless translation and legalization of their documents. This will ensure that they will be covered against any legal risks as explained above. Please note that translation and legalization is not part of the services provided for the application for Bulgarian citizenship by investment and these are subject to separate arrangement.
Obviously, arranging the supervision of these processes through our company may be more expensive (although not always) than dealing with translation agencies directly. We firmly believe however that this extra cost will overshadow thousand times the possible risks and worries that will be otherwise present.
We deal most often with clients who have net-worth of 5 to 100 million US Dollars. This is probably why 99% of our clients entrust their translation and legalization needs to us. Still, we would never insist that anybody should use our services to perform (oversee) the translation and legalization – the ultimate choice remains always for the client.
Assisting our clients to the highest standards is our paramount and our customer’s satisfaction has always been our ultimate goal.