How to deal in situation when you find out that you are no longer Bulgarian citizen? Is it that you just lost your citizenship privileges? Or you may be facing criminal charges too?
Sharp increase in cases of cancelled Bulgarian passports (citizenship)
In the last 3-4 years we are observing a sharp increase of cases where the Bulgarian authorities have cancelled the Bulgarian citizenship of many “new Bulgarians”. In 2018 the Agency for Bulgarians Abroad was shattered by huge corruption scandals. At the same time, it was made public that many foreigners have misused the Bulgarian CIP and have sold their investments earlier than they were allowed by law. It was no surprise that the authorities adopted a policy of zero tolerance towards citizenship fraud and misuse.
The most frequent causes for so many cases of retracted Bulgarian citizenship
Those of you who have discovered that you are no (longer) Bulgarian citizens can be divided into two main categories.
- Those who have falsely believed to have been Bulgarian citizens;
- Those who have been indeed granted Bulgarian citizenship, but have later been deprived of it.
So let’s dig in deeper into both cases below.
You have been told that you have been granted citizenship, however this has not been the truth
Surprisingly or not, but these people make the majority of all complains that we receive. As the Bulgarian citizenship became more valuable, the crooks came into play. A huge number of “international agents” emerged in the countries around Bulgaria (Macedonia, Turkey, Moldova and Ukraine are prime examples) and started offering their bogus services. Most of them (most, not just many) were aiming at one thing only – getting your hard earned money, by any means. They were either selling fake passports and ID cards or fake citizenship certificates. We recommend you to read the article by our colleagues from posolstvo.eu – Is your Bulgarian passport legit or fake.
If you have been victim of such a scheme, we urge you to contact us immediately, or to contact directly the police authorities. You may be subject to criminal charges if the Bulgarian prosecutor decides that you have been willingly participating in the scheme. Luckily, most of the time, the scammer who has scammed you, is well known to the Bulgarian police so you will get away with just the financial loss.
You have been indeed granted citizenship at one time, but you have lost it at a later stage
This is more and more common nowadays. The Bulgarian authorities are examining all approved citizenship applications for the last 10 years and are taking legal action if any irregularities are found.
So let’s see what the law says. How can you be deprived of your Bulgarian citizenship rights?
The “Law for Bulgarian Citizenship”
Article 22 of the “Law for Bulgarian Citizenship” stipulates 3 main cases, when Bulgarian naturalization (citizenship) can be revoked, namely:
- When the person has provided data or facts, that have become ground for acquiring Bulgarian citizenship, for which it is established by law that they are untrue and / or;
- has concealed data or facts which, if known, would be grounds for refusal to acquire Bulgarian citizenship, and / or;
- has not maintained the investments that have become grounds for acquiring Bulgarian citizenship for at least two years from the date of naturalization – in the cases under Art. 14a, para. 1.
There is also one other hypothesis in Art.24 of the Law, which will be subject of our future posts.
Criminal responsibility in case of revocation of Bulgarian citizenship
We will start from bottom to top this time. Point 3 is applicable only for the Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment program. In simple words, it means that if the person has liquidated his investments earlier than allowed, then he will be stripped off his Bulgarian citizenship rights. Simple. And, with some really rare exceptions, this does not lead to any criminal responsibility.
Unfortunately, p.1 and p.2 are quite different as they constitute crime by the Bulgarian penal code. These two texts are virtually the same thing, if used in the context of the penal code. Namely, they constitute crime under art.313 and are punishable by up to 3 years of imprisonment. Something you will definitely want to avoid.
Your next steps…
If your Bulgarian citizenship has been cancelled, for whatever reason, we urge you to contact us immediately.
We believe to be the only company in the country capable of fully protecting you against any criminal charges. At the same time, we will do that extra mile to restore your citizenship within the shortest time frame possible.