The world is being stirred right now – citizenship by merits revisited

After about two weeks of hard work, we have come with a solution for some of our valued clients, who we believe may qualify for citizenship by merits. Read below for more details.

shaken not stirred James Bond

The war in Ukraine and the sanctions of the west

The world will never be the same again. Only a month ago, we all thought that the EU war on investment citizenship was the big thing for 2022. To leave no trace of doubt, the EU even started cancelling its visa-free agreements with third countries that offer investment citizenship programs. Vanuatu was the first victim to fall. Very soon, Vanuatu passport holders will no longer be able to visit the EU visa-free. Logically, the value of the Vanuatu passport dropped as fast as the price of the Dutch tulips in 1637.

But then the war in Ukraine started. And the sanctions of the western nations against Russians have stirred everything upside down.

The witch-hunt

What actually started is a witch hunt against Russians in the west. The imposed sanctions go beyond what we could all imagine, only a month ago. Russian private yachts are seized, bank accounts of Russian citizens are frozen, visas for Russians are being denied and cancelled. And if you think these sanctions only concern the Russian oligarchs, whatever this term may mean, then think again.

ECB puts Russians in EU, even residents, under the EU scanner

Yesterday, EU regulators have instructed some banks to scrutinize transactions by all Russian and Belarusian clients. Tens of thousand of Russian citizens will be now put on “special regime” in the EU. Their bank accounts will be constantly monitored and eventually frozen with a push of a button. We believe that Russian clients will be having serious issues if trying to transfer money from their accounts. They will need to verify the legitimacy of their financial transfers and this will be far from a formality for them.

Bulgarian citizenship for special merits – new opportunities arise

While the world struggles to come into terms with the new reality and the new world order that is likely to come, citizenship for special merits gets new meaning. No matter how subjective, the special merits route becomes more feasible to those who fit in the political landscape.

Is it all about politics?

We are often asked – is citizenship for special merits a political act? Darn, it is! And now it’s more than ever. Until recently, the world was acting like the particles in the double slit experiment. Russians were (sort of) welcome to become Europeans and Europeans were ok in Russia. But now the war started, the Schrödinger’s cat is officially being declared death. And the polarization of the world has entered into a brand new phase.

Special merits – easier to “achieve” (at least easier to comprehend what it is)

When there is a conflict, the ones with “remarkable qualities” are more important than ever. And they are more welcome than ever. And logically, they will easier fit into the legal special merit definition of the Bulgarian citizenship law. This is good news for citizens of certain countries like Ukraine, USA and their allies. Nationals of these countries are likely to greatly benefit from the new realms.

On the other side of the table are the citizens of the sanctioned countries. Or at least those who don’t publicly condemn their governments’ actions.

Transition from citizenship by investment to citizenship for special merits

Another good question we are often being asked is:

Does an investment in Bulgaria qualify as “special merits”?

An investment is (almost) always good for the economy of the country. And everything that is (exceptionally) good for the Bulgarian state should mean that the country could be interested in that person to become citizen. This isn’t really true if the country has an investment citizenship program. In such case, an investment would allow the candidate to qualify for investment citizenship, so the special merit route can be reserved for other categories of applicants. But now things have changed dramatically and the investment should be seen from a different angle, as true benefit (merit) for the Bulgarian state (economy).

Shortlisted candidates for Bulgarian special merits

In the course of the past two weeks we have done a lot of work to determine what the future of the special merits citizenship will be. We have identified some of our valued clients, who we believe will have feasible and serious chances to fit into this legal route of becoming Bulgarian citizens. All these candidates will be informed, in the coming days and weeks, by their personal manager about the options they have ahead. Members of the VD&A Gold Club will be processed with priority, even though membership in the club doesn’t automatically mean better feasibility to qualify.

For any questions you may have about the topic, we urge you to contact us asap.

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