Without professional assistance, only 10 to 20% of all Bulgarian citizenship applications by EU nationals will be approved. And this is by the most optimistic scenario. How can you increase your chances? And why is this horrible success rate? Read on to find out.
Bulgarian citizenship naturalization for EU citizens
Why would an EU national require Bulgarian citizenship, one would ask. Believe it or not, but there are many reasons, and in fact, there are many EU nationals who are after Bulgarian passport. This article however is not about the advantages of the Bulgarian citizenship. This article is about how easy (or difficult) is for an EU national to obtain Bulgarian citizenship.
How can an EU national obtain Bulgarian citizenship?
🔴The no-go route
EU citizens may not apply for Bulgarian citizenship by investment. The fast-track citizenship is available only for non-EU citizens. Discriminating? Certainly yes.
🟡The hard way
🟢The feasible option
So we are basically left with the only feasible option – Bulgarian citizenship by standard naturalization. And more precisely, naturalization through permanent (long term) residency.
Bulgarian citizenship for EU nationals after residency in Bulgaria
Let’s see what are the Bulgarian laws saying. Art.12 of the Law for the Bulgarian citizenship states that:
A person who is not a Bulgarian citizen may acquire Bulgarian citizenship if (the person), as of the date of submission of the application for naturalization:
- is an adult;
- not less than 5 years ago has received a permit for permanent or long-term (not to be mistaken with the standard/initial “long term” residency) residence in Bulgaria (see the remark for those with Bulgarian spouse);
- has not been convicted of an intentional crime of a general nature by a Bulgarian court and no criminal proceedings have been instituted against him for such a crime, unless he has been rehabilitated;
- has an income or occupation that enables him to support himself in Bulgaria;
- speaks Bulgarian, which is established by an order determined by an ordinance of the Minister of Education and Science, and
has surrendered his / her previous citizenship or will surrender it at the moment of acquiring Bulgarian citizenship.– this isn’t required for EU citizens not for those married to Bulgarian citizens.
And what about those with Bulgarian spouse?
Those with Bulgarian partner are eligible for Bulgarian citizenship as soon as 3 years after they have received permanent residency status, provided they have been married for 3 years or more.
The importance of the legal wording
So far, so good. Looks easy and pretty straightforward, right? Wrong! The devil, as is often the case, is in the details. First, the citizenship law says that:
A person who is not a Bulgarian citizen may acquire Bulgarian citizenship if …Art.12 of the Law for the Bulgarian citizenship
This is the so called non-imperative definition. In other words, the applicant may acquire citizenship. But this doesn’t mean that the Bulgarian state is obliged to grant it, even if all legal conditions are met. And this is very important.
The other requirements
They are just a few, but some of them are quite tricky. Read on.
To be an adult
This is an easy one. An adult in Bulgaria is a person who is 18 or over. Pretty simple.
The residency requirement
In short, if the citizenship candidate is married with Bulgarian citizen, the legal residency requirement is 3 years with permanent residency status. Otherwise it’s 5 years.
The condition is that the candidate has not been convicted in the past, but is also not being currently prosecuted. This needs to be proven by different certificates from the Bulgarian court and the prosecutor’s office.
Sounds simple, but the subjectivity of this requirement is a big hurdle for many. Basically, the citizenship candidate needs to prove that the income he or she earns in Bulgaria is sufficient. But this sufficiency is seen differently among the state institutions. So be on alert and proceed with caution. Declaring too little may not be enough, but too much may get you in tax related trouble.
The Bulgarian language test – the death trap
The candidate must successfully pass a language test. And this test is difficult, really difficult! Without professional assistance in advance, even those who freely communicate in Bulgarian will most probably fail.
Your chances to obtain Bulgarian citizenship after residency
So what are your chances to apply and get approved without professional support? Between 10 and 20%. Sounds horrible? Yes!
If not professionally supported, only 10 to 20% will be approved for Bulgarian citizenship after residency (and this is optimistic assessment)
So why is this frightening low success rate? Simply, because the Bulgarian authorities are afraid of everything and of everybody. In the recent years, many officials were accused of corruption, money laundering, tax evasion, just name it. Remember the scandal and the arrests in the Bulgarian agency for Bulgarians abroad? And now the authorities think twice before doing anything, anything at all. Not granting citizenship is for them much safer than approving your application. There are no consequences for not approving a citizenship application. But approving it, with even the tiniest irregularity or doubt, may have catastrophic consequences for the state bureaucrats.
The policy of the Bulgarian authorities and the “Citizenship Council” – better safe than sorry (so better don’t grant citizenship)
The relations with other EU member states
Bulgaria is well known for its efforts to be friends with everybody. Not a bad thing of course. Granting Bulgarian citizenship to nationals of another EU country is not very politically… correct. That is what many people tend to think. If a German, French, Greek, Romanian, etc. is willing to obtain Bulgarian citizenship, then there must be something wrong with this person’s country of origin. And granting him citizenship is kind of confirming that. Bulgaria is definitely not willing to show such attitude to its fellow EU partners.
The likely outcome
Most probably, if you are an EU national and are trying to get Bulgarian citizenship after residency, your application will be rejected at one point or another. This is only our personal belief and judgment, based on the current political and legal realms.
It may happen that you will get Bulgarian citizenship and prove us wrong. In such case – congratulations and admiration!
How can we assist EU nationals to acquire Bulgarian citizenship
We strongly believe that with our assistance, your chances of getting Bulgarian passport will be increased many-fold. Your documents and administrative work will be done flawlessly, although this is not the most important part of the process. We will also make the utmost legal effort to convince the authorities that your application is genuine and will not have any negative effect. That may not look like a lot to you, if you haven’t had any dealings with the Bulgarian immigration authorities and the Citizenship Council yet. But this support is for many, the difference between a YES and a NO.