What you should know when you are applying for Bulgarian citizenship by origin from abroad?

Today we had yet another client, who has been waiting for her Bulgarian citizenship application to be approved. And so she has been waiting for more than 2 years already. So what is the problem with her application? Why isn’t it even being processed? What is wrong with her Bulgarian citizenship interview? In fact, is it necessary to undergo through an interview when applying for Bulgarian citizenship by origin?

Why are there so many foreigners (who believe to be of Bulgarian origin) who have submitted their paperwork at a Bulgarian embassy, but nothing happens? What is the problem with so many such “applications”? And why such “applications” can jeopardize the whole procedure?

The Bulgarian citizenship by origin interview

Let’s make one thing clear:

In order to obtain Bulgarian citizenship by origin, the applicant must undergo through an interview. No interview – no citizenship by origin. Period! No exceptions, nada!

This requirement is foreseen in both the Bulgarian citizenship law and the Ordinance for its implementation:

Upon submission of the documents, an interview is conducted with the applicant. For minors, the interview is conducted with their parents or guardians. When interviewing minors, they shall be accompanied by their parents or guardians.

Art. 29, par. 3 from the Bulgarian citizenship Law

Upon submission of the documents, an interview is conducted with the applicant. For minors, the interview is conducted with their parents or guardians.

Art. 3, par. 1 of Ordinance № 1 for the implementation of the Citizenship law

Citizenship interview – imperative legal norm

It is important to realize that the legal norm is imperative. In other words, the applicant must undergo through an interview in order for the procedure to move forward. The wording of both the Law and the Ordinance is absolutely clear. What is even more, the Bulgarian embassy is obliged to provide substantiated opinion on the application, after the interview is concluded:

Acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship by naturalization, exemption from Bulgarian citizenship and restoration of Bulgarian citizenship shall be carried out at the request of the interested person, submitted in person to the Ministry of Justice or to the diplomatic or consular mission of the Republic of Bulgaria. The diplomatic or consular representation of the Republic of Bulgaria is obliged to give a substantiated opinion on the application.

Art. 29, par. 1 from the Bulgarian Citizenship law

The consequences of not passing an interview

Still, our client of today has submitted her documents at the Bulgarian embassy more than two years ago, without being interviewed. So what has she done by submitting her documents? Formally – nothing. She has done nothing that relates to her citizenship by origin application. She has only (virtually) lost her original documents, proving her citizenship. The task of getting them back from the Bulgarian embassy becomes close to impossible.

The diplomatic and consular missions shall forward the application and all necessary documents through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Ministry of Justice, providing the necessary information about the applicant with a mandatory statement.

Art. 2, par. 2 (second sentence) of Ordinance № 1 for the implementation of the Citizenship law

We don’t say it is impossible to obtain the original documents, after they have been submitted to a Bulgarian embassy without having passed an interview. We just say that it is difficult, very, very difficult.

What is even worse is that it is quite possible that the Bulgarian Embassy, not knowing what to do with such “application”, will simply report it as an “unsuccessful interview” and will issue a negative statement for the applicant to the authorities in Bulgaria. This will basically put an end to the application and will render any future attempts to re-apply – futile.

What to do in this situation?

So what can our client do at this point? Basically there are two options.

The first option is to re-apply, but only after the original documents are somehow recuperated. This, as already stated above, may prove to be difficult and time consuming. Additionally, if the embassy has reported the non-existent interview as an unsuccessful one, the new application is most probably set to fail. We still have to see an official who will approve citizenship application after it has been turned down previously. Again, it is not impossible, but may be extremely difficult to accomplish.

The second option is to file legal claim under the “Law on Bulgarians living outside of Bulgaria“. This is very comprehensive procedure and in order to understand what it implies, we urge you to read carefully our article – How to prove Bulgarian origin in the Court of Law.

All in all, if you are waiting to be approved for Bulgarian citizenship by origin without having passed an interview – better stop waiting today. Nothing will happen. If you need to move forward, please contact our offices for professional assistance.

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