Or why are the Bulgarian citizenship and passport so valuable today…
EU citizenship and EU passport – myths and realities
EU passports don’t exist
Yes, you read it correctly – there is no such thing as European Union passport! Still, all citizens of all EU member states (ie citizens of Bulgaria, Germany, Spain, etc.) are also citizens of the EU. So how can that be?
The EU doesn’t issue the passports of the EU citizens. The national governments of the respective EU countries do. These passports are often being referred to as “EU Passports”. While his term is not legally correct, it best describes what these passports really are. All passports that are issued to citizens of the EU have common style (burgundy color, with exception of the blue Croatian passport), and provide identical rights to their holders EU-wide.
EU citizenship – rights that defeat borders
Wikipedia states that:
With a valid passport, EU citizens are entitled to exercise the right of free movement (meaning they do not need a visa) in the European Economic Area (European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) and Switzerland.
We would only like to correct Wikipedia’s statement – “they do not need a visa“. Using the word “visa” to describe the free movement rights of the EU citizens is definitely not the right terminology.
The term “visa” should be used when we speak about the right to visit, reside, work, study, retire, etc. in a foreign country. We can say for example that citizens of the USA don’t need visa to travel (short-term) to the EU. The unconditional right of free movement of all EU citizens is much more than a “visa-free regime”. This right is the fundamental principle and the cornerstone of the European Union. All EU citizens can stay indefinitely and without any restrictions in any EU country they like to – period.
In fact, for an EU citizen to travel (reside, etc) freely anywhere within the EU, EEA and Switzerland, it is not even necessary to hold valid passport or ID card. If the person can prove by any means that he is EU citizen (by producing for example an expired passport, driving license, birth certificate or any other evidence suggesting EU citizenship), he will be allowed EU entry.
EU citizenship – an array of really important benefits
The EU citizenship provides many benefits to all “EU passport” holders. We will divide into 2 main groups:
- Advantages within the EU, EEA and Switzerland;
- Advantages when travelling abroad (outside of the EU, EEA and Switzerland).
Lets dig in first into the benefits that the EU citizenship provides within the European Union itself.
1. Benefits (for EU citizens) within the EU, EEA and Switzerland
All EU citizens enjoy the following rights on the territory of each EU member state:
- Unconditional right of residence everywhere in the EU, EEA and Switzerland;
- Right to be employed and work without any permissions or approvals;
- Access to free healthcare;
- Preferential fees for exclusive and reputable universities and free education;
- Access to the EU social security system;
- Right of pension and unemployment benefits;
- Access to real estate properties and investments that are otherwise not accessible to non-EU citizens;
2. Advantages when travelling abroad (outside of Europe)
Visa-free travel with EU passport
EU passports are among the best documents to travel the world round. In terms of number of visa-free countries, all EU passports rank very high. Namely, the passports of Finland, Luxembourg and Spain all share the prestigious second place in the worldwide list. The “least” powerful EU passport is the one of Croatia on 11th place. Sharing all top places, EU passports are definitely the most desirable among all other passports.
Consular protection for EU citizens abroad
EU citizens obtain the best consular protection when they travelling abroad. The uniqueness of service however is, that EU citizens will be served by any EU embassy of any EU member state while abroad. This is in case there is no national embassy present. Having in mind the sheer number of EU diplomatic missions abroad, it means that EU citizens can count at all times on the full support of the EU authorities – worldwide.
Acceptance and recognition abroad
Travelling abroad is more than merely visa-free or not. It is also a matter of how is the person being treated by the foreign authorities. For example, the USA passport is pretty good for travelling without need of entry visa. However, in hostile to USA territories, US citizens are often being singled out and put through lengthy checks and ridiculous delays.
EU citizens however are a different breed. Individual EU member states are far less involved in international conflicts and their citizens enjoy much better acceptance and as a result – much safer travel.
At the same time, when compared with citizens of less developed economically countries, EU passport holders are treated much better by the border authorities. It is enough to see how an EU citizen passes through the border formalities at the Dubai International Airport and how does a Pakistani passport holder. Or how an European passport holder crosses the northern Thai border and how are the Indians being forced to pay a bribe in order to be admitted.
Bulgarian citizenship = EU citizenship
Bulgarian citizenship, as Bulgaria is an EU member state, is obviously EU citizenship too. The Bulgarian passport is currently one of the most valuable among all EU passports. All EU passports provide the same rights for travelling and residing within the EU, EEA and Switzerland. And all EU passports have virtually the same value for travelling worldwide (with very few countries in the world to provide visa-free travel to some EU passports while requiring visa from others).
Small country, although not too tiny (ie island country or micro-state)
Bulgaria is the 11th country in the EU by area and the 16th by population. This puts the country in the golden mean among the 28/27 EU member states.
In terms of population density however, Bulgaria ranks 23rd in the EU, with only the Baltic states, Sweden and Finland having less population per km2.
With that being said, travelling on Bulgarian passport is a joyful experience. Bulgaria is not from the EU leading powers so its citizens are not affected by any international political conflicts. At the same time, Bulgaria is a non-island country with large area and about 7 million inhabitants. Bulgarian citizens are not considered to be “foreigners who have bought a passport from a tiny island” to travel abroad. Many Maltese and Cypriot travelers however, often are.
Bulgaria – the only EU country with strong ties and historically good relation with Russia
Bulgaria is the only EU member state that uses the Cyrillic alphabet (same as Russia). At the end of the 19th century, the Russian Empire liberated Bulgaria from the Ottomans. Ever since, Bulgaria and Russia have “special” feelings towards each other. Although Bulgaria is full member of the NATO and the EU, even in time of serious sanctions and standoff between the western democracies (to which Bulgaria belongs) and Russia, Bulgarians and Russians seem to be building up their friendship.
Easy Russian visas for Bulgarians
EU citizens travel the world round virtually visa-free. Russia, the biggest country in the world, is one of the “important” countries where obtaining visa for EU nationals is a real pain.
Recent survey showed however, that from all EU citizens, Bulgarians are obtaining Russian visa easier than any other citizens. Russia is becoming ever more important key player on the international scene. The ease of obtaining Russian visa is another advantage of the Bulgarian passport.
How to obtain Bulgarian citizenship?
Bulgaria is virtually the only EU country to offer sustainable Citizenship by Investment program
The big 5 ways to get Bulgarian citizenship
Bulgarian citizenship can be in general obtained through the following 5 ways:
If you want to obtain Bulgarian citizenship, please contact us at your earliest convenience. We believe to be the only company capable of obtaining Bulgarian citizenship through all 5 major methods!