Obtaining Bulgarian citizenship by origin – the safe way

You’re never perfectly safe. No human being on Earth ever is or ever was. To live is to risk your life, your heart, everything.

Rick Yancey

You believe that you are of Bulgarian origin. That is, because one of your parents, grandparents or even great grandparent are of Bulgarian origin. So far so good. This is exactly what the latest amendments of the citizenship law requires. Given all that, you are planning to apply for citizenship by origin. But is this the wisest move you can make? Let’s find out why that may not be the case. Not the case in your case…

Complexity in the definition of “Bulgarian origin”

The legislation in Bulgaria is extremely complicated when it comes to defining what Bulgarian origin means. To understand better, we recommend you reading our articles:

It should be clear that defining whether you are of Bulgarian origin is not a TRUE or FALSE statement. But the real problem is hidden even deeper in the Bulgarian legislation. Namely, the lack of legal options to appeal rejected application for citizenship by origin.

You can not appeal in Court if your Bulgarian citizenship by origin application is rejected

Without going too much into the details, an application for Bulgarian citizenship by origin goes through two final stages:

  1. Recommendation to the President by the Citizenship Council to issue citizenship decree and then, based of the recommendation:
  2. Issuing of the citizenship decree by the Bulgarian President.

After an inquiry under the Law on access to public information, it appeared, quite logically, that the President’s decision to issue citizenship decree has been virtually always in line with the recommendation of the Citizenship Council. All this means that for an application to be successful, there should be a positive recommendation by the Citizenship Council.

The importance of the “recommendation”

The problem is however, that this “recommendation” can not be appealed in Court. Yes, you read it right. Even if you believe for 100% to be of Bulgarian origin and you provide all required documents, the Citizenship Council may still decide that you are not eligible.

And no matter how ridiculously wrong this decision may be, you are not allowed to appeal it in the Court of Law. This is so, as the Bulgarian Supreme Court has decided, after strong debate, that this decision is not an individual administrative act, as the President is not obliged to fulfill it. But the President has no one else to listen to, so logically he will (almost certainly) do whatever the Council recommends. So you, as an applicant, are denied the possibility to defend your point, no matter how wrong or biased the recommendation of the Citizenship Council may be. And without the Council’s positive recommendation, your application will be rejected by the President, almost certainty.

In the above scenario, your only option will be to re-apply. But what do you think your chances will be after your applications has been denied already? Do you think that the same Citizenship Council will suddenly decide to change its mind and recommend you from the second attempt? And even if a miracle happens, how many months or years you will lose before this happens.

Why would there be any issues with your citizenship application?

You may be asking yourself, why would there be any issues with my documents if all documents seem to be in order. Well, the Bulgarian authorities are guarding the Bulgarian citizenship as Emiliano Martínez, the goalkeeper of Argentina, guarded his gate at the WC finals in Qatar. The officials do not simply want to take any responsibility and to grant citizenship to anyone where even the slightest concerns are raised. And there are concerns with virtually all applications. We recommend you reading our article – Bulgarian citizenship, quo vadis?

Obtaining permanent residence permit first

So what should you do maximize your chances to obtain Bulgarian citizenship by origin? The wise option will be to apply for permanent residence permit first. Yes, you read it right. Instead of applying for Bulgarian citizenship, you may consider applying for permanent residence by origin first.

Permanent residence permit can obtain foreigners, who are of Bulgarian origin.

Art. 25, par. 1, p. 1 of the Foreigners’ Law

But why should you do this crazy thing, you will ask. Why on earth would you want to get residence permit, when you can have the real thing, the Bulgarian passport? The problem is that if you apply for citizenship straight away, chances are great that the Citizenship Council may not recommend you to the President to be granted citizenship. And this will be a game over for you. Your further chances to get Bulgarian citizenship will be only theoretical, to put it mildly. And you may end up biting your nails as you have no chance to appeal in court and to prove you deserve the right to be Bulgarian. Life ain’t no fair, we know. But we are here to make it a bit easier for you.

Who says life is fair, where is that written?

William Goldman

You can appeal rejected visa D and permanent residence permit

The whole reason for this mumbo-jumbo is that, unlike with the citizenship application and the “non-binding recommendation” of the Citizenship Council, the procedures for getting permanent residence permit are quite different. And should the worst happen and your application gets rejected, you have a whole world of opportunities to fight for your rights in the Court room. And if you have legal reason, with our support, you will definitely succeed. So in all cases, at the end of the day, if you are eligible, you will be granted the status of Bulgarian by origin. This is so, because the Bulgarian Court is analyzing the laws and is putting quite a lot of thinking into the process. And even its decisions, if not favorable to you, can be appealed in higher Court.

Applying for citizenship by origin with Bulgarian permanent residence under the belt

Once you have your permanent residence card on basis of your Bulgarian origin, things become much brighter for you. Your citizenship by origin application will be seen through a very different angle. The Citizenship Council will be aware that you have already been approved as Bulgarian by origin. Therefore the Council will be much more eager to recommend you to the President to be granted citizenship. The Citizenship Council will definitely rely on the decision of the authorities who have approved your permanent residence application already. Hence the recommendation to the President will be almost guaranteed.

Theoretically of course, it is still possible that the Council may decide not to recommend you for citizenship. This however is extremely, extremely unlikely. Another disadvantage of the proposed solution is that it will make the whole procedure more costly and slightly longer. But we still believe it is worth the hassle and these “sacrifices” are nothing in comparison with rejection by the Citizenship Council.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any information you might require or in case you want to move on with your journey into becoming Bulgarian citizen.

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