Bulgarian residency and citizenship for a foreigner who is married to a Bulgarian citizen

QUESTION: I hold Bulgarian passport and live in Dubai with my husband. I married him (Turkish citizen) seven years ago in Turkey. Our marriage had been registered with Kardjali Municipality of Bulgaria. Do you have consultancy services for obtaining residency for my husband in Bulgaria? Is there any chance for him to get Bulgarian passport? If we decide to move to any European Country and I will deliver our baby there, is there any chance to get passport of the residing country for the baby?

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Some of the details in this article have been deliberately changed in order to protect our client’s privacy.

From what we understood so far: Your husband has Turkish citizenship while you have dual citizenship – Bulgarian (EU) and Turkish. You have been married 7 years ago in Turkey and your marriage has been recently registered in Bulgaria. You are considering eventually giving birth to your baby in an EU country.

The questions to be addressed are:

  1. What are the possibilities for your husband to obtain Bulgarian residency?
  2. What are the possibilities for your husband to obtain Bulgarian citizenship (Bulgarian passport)?
  3. If you give birth to your baby in European country, what are the possibilities to obtain the nationality of this particular country for your baby?

1. As your husband is non-EU citizen, its legal status in Bulgaria is covered by the Bulgarian “Law for the foreigners”. The latest redaction of 2016 of Art.24(1), p.18 of the said law foresees that “permit for prolonged residency” (residency permit) can be obtained by foreigners who hold visa type D, are family members of Bulgarian citizen and the originating from abroad documents (proving the family relation) are recognized and registered as per Bulgarian law. Art.2(3), p.1 from the “Law for the foreigners” logically defines the husband/wife as being “family” members. Your marriage certificate has been already registered in Bulgaria and with that in mind, the conditions of the legal norm are fulfilled. We must also add that your husband has to apply in the Bulgarian embassy in the UAE for his long term visa as per art.15 of the “Law for the foreigners”, based on his intention to obtain residency in Bulgaria as being your legal spouse. Once the residence permit is issued in Bulgaria, the visa will be cancelled (such will be not required anymore).

For the purposes of the legal residency, your husband will need to prove that your marriage is real (which should be no problem, provided you have been married for 7 years already), that he has sufficient funds to support himself while in Bulgaria, an address in Bulgaria where he intends to live together with you as well as to purchase compulsory health insurance in Bulgaria.

There are naturally other options in order to obtain Bulgarian residency, but this one is the most straightforward and legally logic in your particular case.

2. Bulgarian nationality and passport can be obtained by ancestry (art.8 and 9 from the “Law for the Bulgarian Citizenship”), by place of birth (art.10 and 11 of the law) and by naturalization (art.12 to art.19 of the said law). As we are unaware of any facts suggesting that your husband is of Bulgarian ancestry or has been born in Bulgaria, the only remaining option is the naturalization.

There are different naturalization options, but in your husband’s case, only two are feasible:

Naturalization by investment – requires investment in Bulgaria (refundable investment, not a fee) of a total of 2 million Bulgarian Leva. The great advantage of this option is that your husband will obtain permanent residency (not a mere long term residency) almost immediately and then in a little bit more than one year, he will receive his full Bulgarian citizenship and passport, which will enable him visa free travel to most places worldwide, right to reside and work anywhere in the EU, etc. For more detailed information about this option, please visit our website about Bulgarian citizenship by investment.

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Naturalization after living in the country for certain period of time. Art.12(1) from the “Law for the Bulgarian Citizenship” foresees that Bulgarian citizenship can be obtained by a person who is of legal age, has received a permit for permanent residency in Bulgaria more than 5 years ago, has no criminal convictions, has suitable profession in order to support himself in Bulgaria, has knowledge of Bulgarian language (to be proved by passing an exam), etc. The main condition here is obviously the person to have been granted permanent residency status for 5 or more years. Art.25(1), p.11 form the “Law for the foreigners” states that permanent residency can be granted to foreigners who are family members of Bulgarian citizen (your husband’s hypothesis) if they have been living in the country permanently during the last 5 years. As you can see, your husband needs to live in Bulgaria permanently for 5 years and only then he can be granted with permanent residency. Then, after another 5 years, he will be eligible for Bulgarian citizenship. This makes a total of at least 10 years before a formal application for naturalization can be submitted. There is one exception that may apply to your husband’s case – art.25(1), p.4 of the Law says that the period to obtain permanent residency is only 3 years if the person has been living constantly in the country, is a parent of Bulgarian citizen (which may be the case after you give birth to your child) and is providing the legally required financial support (to the Bulgarian child). Under this assumption, the waiting period for the citizenship may be eventually shortened to 8 years.

Our personal opinion is that if you have the financial backing to apply for investment citizenship, it is the best option for you to secure the opportunity of visa free travel and EU residency and working rights to your husband.

3. No matter in which country you will give birth to your baby, it will be automatically eligible for Bulgarian citizenship as is stipulated in art.8 of the “Law for the Bulgarian citizenship”. It states, that “Bulgarian citizen by ancestry is everyone, whose one parent (at least) is Bulgarian citizen”. This is precisely your situation. Bulgarian citizenship provides unrestricted rights EU wide and is of equal value to any other EU nationality, so we urge you to take advantage of this legal norm.

Although all EU countries have slightly different citizenship laws, they are all subject to similar EU-wide legal principles. Such is the one defined in art.10 of the “Law for the Bulgarian citizenship”, stating that “Bulgarian citizen by birth (place of birth) is everyone, born in Bulgaria, if he doesn’t get another citizenship by ancestry”. This norm, accepted by the other EU counties will mean in plain English that if you give birth in an EU country, in order for your child to become citizen of that particular country, it must not be getting another citizenship by ancestry (ie Bulgarian in your case). This norm can be slightly different from country to country though.


  1. Hello my name is shahadat hossen I’m living in Germany since 5 years i have Bangladeshi passport and German permanent resident permit as a eu family members because my wife is Bulgarian actually I want to know if I’m coming Bilgaria can I apply for Bulgarian citizenship? Because I legally married with Bulgarian Citizen and I have Bangladeshi passport if I apply for Bulgarian citizenship can I hold my Bangladeshi citizenship also or only for Bulgarian citizenship let me know please then I decide starts process
    My 2 question

    1 – can I apply Bulgarian citizenship if I’m coming Bulgaria and I possible let me know about requirements please

    2 – can I become Bulgarian citizens wedout losing Bangladeshi citizenship? I mean same time dual citizenship

    I’m waiting for information please I’m interested

    1. Author

      The procedure for applying for Bulgarian citizenship is much more complicated than that. For the time being it doesn’t look like you are eligible for citizenship yet. However there are certain steps that need to be taken first so you will become eligible at some point.
      The good point is that, as family member of Bulgarian citizen, you can keep your current citizenship (Bangladeshi) if you become eligible and apply for Bulgarian citizenship.
      If you need assistance into guiding you through the processes that may lead to obtaining Bulgarian citizenship, please get in touch with us.

      1. Hello my name is Hossen Shahadat I’m married with Bulgarian citizens 2016 in Cyprus and my marriage registered in haskovo 2018 April I have all necessary documents can I apply for Bulgarian citizenship instead because I apply for Bulgarian permanent resident permit but I don’t receive yet I already completed 5 years my marriage with my Bulgarian wife can I get Bulgarian citizenship?

        1-I have police clearance/no criminal record certificate from Bangladesh
        2-I have police clearance /no criminal record certificate in Bulgaria
        3-I have job contact in Bulgaria
        4-I have date of birth certificate
        5-I have Bulgarian language certificate A1-A2 level
        6- I have Bulgarian marriage registered certificate 2018 hakovo municipality
        7-I have marriage certificate from Cyprus 2016 with apostles

        1. Author

          You can not apply for Bulgarian citizenship purely on basis of your marriage with Bulgarian citizen. You must first obtain residence permit and only then, after certain amount of time, you may become eligible for Bulgarian citizenship.
          We recommend you visiting http://www.bulgarian-citizenship.org for any information about Bulgarian citizenship and passport.

          1. Actually I discussed with one lawyer and he say I’m eligible for apply for Bulgarian citizenship and he submit my all document ministry of Justice in Sofia I already arrange my all document acctuy I apply for permanent resident permit in Bulgaria unfortunately after interview I never comeback Bulgaria for 3 months ((REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA National Service “Police” TEMPORARY SERTIFICATE FOR LONG-TERM RESIDENCE HOSSEN SHANADAT Date of registration/ 15.08.2018 Date of regstratlon Validity / 15.11.2018 Date of expiry) this kind of card give me authority 3 months validity only when I submit documents please let me correct information please

          2. Author

            We recommend you reading our scam related articles at https://posolstvo.eu/?s=scam&submit=Search as what you have written doesn’t make sense. Please be on alert for many “agents/lawyers” being very aggressive into luring foreigners with false promises to arrange residence and citizenship in Bulgaria. We also urge you to read the articles related to scams with Bulgarian citizenship at https://www.bulgarian-citizenship.org/?s=scam&submit=Search.
            Best regards,

  2. I have been married to a Bulgarian citizen for 3+ years and hold a EU long term residence permit for 4 years.

    In order to pursue citizenship through marriage do I first need to wait until my long term resident visa gets to 5 years and upgrade to permanent residence and then wait an additional 3 years?.

    1. Author

      We have no idea what your current citizenship is nor what sort of EU long term residence permit you hold. If you let us have this information, we may be able to assist you.

      1. Apologies, I am British and I hold the “Article 50 TEU Long term residence”. I have held this for about 4 years now.

        I also have children who are Bulgarian nationals.

        Thanks so much!.

        1. Just to clarify my residence permit is for Bulgaria “продължително пребиваване”. I obtained this before the end of the Brexit transition period.

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