Article 50 TEU for UK citizens in Bulgaria – the hybrid residence permit
After the UK’s decision to leave the EU, many Brits were left in uncertainty about their legal status in Bulgaria. Luckily, for some of them, the EU regulations allowed them to obtain residence permit in Bulgaria under the Law for the stay of EU citizens, rather than as per the Foreigner’s Law. Many of them, who applied fast for this “hybrid” residence permit and could get it, are now wondering:
How can we, Brits living legally in Bulgaria, obtain Bulgarian citizenship?
In order to answer this question, it is important to determine the exact kind of the residence permit the UK citizen holds.
Long-term vs permanent residence permit
Under the Law for the stay of EU citizens, there are two types of residence permits (art. 7 of the law):
- Long-term (in Bulgarian “продължително”), or;
- Permanent (in Bulgarian “постоянно”).
Prolonged term residence permit
Under the Foreigner’s Law, there is also another type of legal stay – Prolonged term (in Bulgarian “дългосрочно”). This type of stay sounds quite similar in Bulgarian to the long-term and is therefore often being confused. In all cases however, this type of stay is not applicable to British citizens, who have obtained the hybrid residence permit as per Art. 50 TEU.
What type of article 50 TEU residence permit do you hold?
At Brexit, UK citizens, who have been legally residing in Bulgaria for more than 5 years, could get a real deal permanent residence permit. All the rest – only long-term residence permit. Apart from eligibility for Bulgarian citizenship, these two types of residence permits make no much of a difference. Therefore, many Brits didn’t care proving their length of legal stay and went for long-term residence permit. Now, many of them regret their negligence.
So when will UK citizen qualify for Bulgarian citizenship?
To cut the long story short, British citizens with long-term residence permit will first need to get permanent residence. This is only possible after 5 years from the date of their first long-term residence permit. Then, after another 5 years, the UK citizens will become eligible for Bulgarian citizenship. Those, who have married Bulgarian nationals will qualify for citizenship in 3 years after they have obtained permanent residence status.
Eligibility vs feasibility
Will the majority of the UK citizens be able to obtain Bulgarian citizenship? Our answer is NO. Most of them are not really desperate to get hold of Bulgarian passport. And even those who are, don’t seem to be able to allocate enough resources to achieve their goal. Getting Bulgarian citizenship requires certain financial resources in order to make things work out. Legal compliance is absolutely essential and it usually can’t be achieved for free.
If you are British citizen and are determined to obtain Bulgarian citizenship, you can contact us for assistance.