From Bulgarian citizenship by investment to citizenship by origin – US citizens are applying massively

Bulgarian passport for USA citizens

Why is all that rush to obtain Bulgarian citizenship

Americans have always been a free-spirited people. And luckily for them, the US passport provides great deal of mobility and visa-free travel. But its just not good enough. It lacks some of the most important features of the EU citizenship. It lacks the choice of 30+ countries to live in, different tax treatment, access to the European market and social system, etc.

And of course lets not forget the covid-19 and the social unrest in the USA after the Black Lives Matter realms. All this has led to an unprecedented interest among Americans to obtain European passports.

Let’s not forget “the grass is greener on the other side” syndrome too, but whatever the reason – the Americans want EU citizenship.


More and more American citizens want to get hold of EU passport

European and USA flags

We wrote already that since 2016-2017, the number of USA candidates for Bulgarian citizenship by investment has been steadily on the rise.

It is indeed so that one can travel the world visa-free with US passport. But only an EU citizen (ie Bulgarian) can live anywhere in the European Union, any country he picks, effortlessly, without any formalities. And the 30+ EU/EFTA countries are a big magnet for many Americans.

US citizens applying massively for Bulgarian citizenship by origin

Bulgarian and American flags

From the beginning of 2020, we started receiving an overwhelming amount of applications from US citizens wililng to apply for Bulgarian citizenship by origin. This is largely due to the fact that many Bulgarians have emigrated to the US in the last century. And now their descendants have the opportunity of their life to get hold of full EU citizenship. And all that basically at the fraction of the cost and the hassle, compared to the investment citizenship route.

Bulgarian citizenship by origin – the eligibility criteria for Americans

But are all descendants of Bulgarian (grand) parents eligible to apply for and obtain Bulgarian citizenship? Lets dig in the legal framework first.

The Bulgarian citizenship law

Art.15 of the citizenship law stipulates that a person from “Bulgarian origin” can obtain Bulgarian citizenship, if:

  1. is of legal age;
  2. 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.

The same two conditions also apply for persons (apart from those of Bulgarian origin) who:

  1. have one of their parents – Bulgarian citizen (or if that parent has passed away as a Bulgarian citizen);
  2. have been adopted by a Bulgarian citizen under the conditions of full adoption.

Simple?

Pretty simple huh? Just be of Bulgarian origin or have Bulgarian parent (or even be adopted by a Bulgarian). And then, you just need be 18 or older (the legal age in Bulgaria) and not a criminal. That should do the work and you can collect your Bulgarian (EU) passport. Well, we wish it was that simple.

The devil is in the details

The big problem that started in 2020 comes from the term “Bulgarian origin“. We already wrote about the controversial decision of the Supreme Administrative Court (in Bulgarian) who tried to shed some light on that term. Unfortunately, the Court’s interpretation surprised us enormously (and unpleasantly).

The Supreme Court is basically saying that a person of Bulgarian origin is a person, who’s one parent (at least) is Bulgarian citizen. This is in indirect conflict with the Law on the Bulgarian citizenship. The law is applying the 2 terms in 2 different articles, namely Art.15, par.1, p.1 and Art.15, par.1, p.3. Hence, the law is foreseeing that a “person of Bulgarian origin” is a different term than a “person with one Bulgarian parent”. The Supreme Court however is trying to imply that a “person of Bulgarian origin” must be in all cases a “person with one Bulgarian parent”.

The legal controversy

What will all that mean for the Americans from Bulgarian origin? Basically nothing good. Unless they have Bulgarian parent (father or mother, not grand parent), they will need to prove their family links back to the deepest level of their Bulgarian roots.

How we can help to obtain Bulgarian citizenship for Americans with Bulgarian roots

We do one thing best – we solve problems. And this can be life changing for many. Obviously, after the Supreme Court decision, this will mean more work for us. But we believe that we will be able to achieve 100% success rate in all legally justified citizenship cases. No matter how deep we have to dig to find the roots. And no matter how hard our lawyers may need to fight in court to protect the rights of our clients.

The Bulgarian Constitution – above everything else and our best weapon

Persons of Bulgarian origin acquire Bulgarian citizenship through easier procedure.

Art.25, par.2 from the Constitution of Republic of Bulgaria

With that – all is being said. If you believe you are of Bulgarian origin, no matter how the Supreme Court is interpreting the term, get in touch with us. We trust that we will be able to help you obtain Bulgarian citizenship. You have rights and we together should fight for them to welcome you as Bulgarian citizen soon.

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