The new Bulgarian citizenship law

Articles on citizenship by origin Bulgarian citizenship by origin (specialized website) Read this article in Armenian Read this article in Armenian

After the amendment of the Bulgarian Citizenship Law in March 2021, the influx of applicants for Bulgarian citizenship by origin set new records. The new wording of the legislator “ascending to the third degree of Bulgarian origin” opened new opportunities for acquiring Bulgarian citizenship.

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More opportunities to obtain citizenship by origin, but also more complex procedures

At the same time, the procedures for obtaining Bulgarian citizenship were sharply criticized by many institutions. This has led to a significant tightening of the control by the authorities during all stages of the naturalization process. Consequently, this has made all stages of the application process significantly more complex and time consuming.

Need for 100% legal compliance

Unlike in previous years, when the Agency for Bulgarians Abroad played an important role, now almost everything is decided on the spot in Bulgaria. Therefore, professional legal support during all proceedings is of utmost importance.


Large number of fraudulent offers, promising guaranteed citizenship

In the first year after the adoption of the new citizenship law, we have seen a huge increase in fraudulent offers for assistance in obtaining citizenship by origin. The main characteristics by which you can recognize such fraudulent “offers” are:

  • guaranteeing a positive result (to obtain citizenship);
  • low price of the “offer”;
  • guaranteeing (short) terms for obtaining a decree for acquiring citizenship;
  • offers from abroad (mainly in Russian);
  • proposals from companies that offer assistance not only for Bulgarian citizenship by origin (e.g. also for Romanian citizenship, etc.);
  • offers from companies without real address and office.

Who can obtain Bulgarian citizenship by origin

Bulgarian citizenship law

According to the Bulgarian Citizenship Law (BCL), the acquisition of citizenship by origin is done through naturalization. The procedures are regulated in Chapter Two, Section III of the BCL.

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Pursuant to Art. 12 and Art. 15 of the BCL, a person who is of Bulgarian origin may acquire Bulgarian citizenship if he meets the following conditions:

  1. is of legal age1, and;
  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.

1 Minor applicants can also obtain Bulgarian citizenship, as the procedures are foreseen in the law. For more information, please contact our offices.

The law already stipulates that the kinship with a person of Bulgarian origin may be up to the third degree, ie. great-grandmother or great-grandfather:

In the procedure for acquiring Bulgarian citizenship by origin, the applicant submits official documents certifying that he is related to at least one person – his ascendant up to and including the third degree, who is of Bulgarian origin.

Article 15, paragraph 2 of the BCL (abbreviated)

Person of Bulgarian origin

As can be seen, in practice the only important condition is that the candidate is of Bulgarian origin. The other conditions are easily feasible and there is no need to dwell on them in more detail.

However, it should be noted that in order for the candidate to meet the definition of “person of Bulgarian origin”, a number of serious requirements need to be met. According to the BCL:

“Person of Bulgarian origin” is a person to whom at least one ascendant is a Bulgarian.

§ 2, p.1 from BCL

Unfortunately however, this definition, although seemingly short and clear, is contradictory and causes certain problems in the naturalization process. We recommend that you read our article Bulgarian, Bulgarian citizen or Bulgarian by origin. In addition, proving the “Bulgarian origin” is extremely complicated from a legal point of view.

Procedures for acquiring citizenship by origin

procedures as per the citizenship law

The procedures in connection with the acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship by origin are described in Chapter Five of the BCL.

The most important element for the applicants for citizenship by origin is the need to obtain a favorable opinion from the Advisory Board. The (Citizenship) Council shall deliver a reasoned positive or negative opinion within two months, taking into account the following circumstances concerning the candidate:

  1. whether he uses Bulgarian language;
  2. if he defines himself as a person of Bulgarian origin;
  3. whether at least one of the following circumstances for him is fulfilled:
    • to be part of a Bulgarian community or a Bulgarian minority in another country;
    • to originate from a settlement that was part of the Bulgarian state in the past or the Bulgarian Exarchate;
    • to have ascendants who are bearers of the Bulgarian traditional family name system.

After a series of additional procedures2, the Minister of Justice makes a proposal to the President to issue a decree or to refuse to issue a decree for the acquisition of citizenship.

2 Positive opinion of the Citizenship Council, etc.

Decree of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria

The successful procedure ends with the issuance of a presidential decree for the acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship (by origin).

How we can help you to obtain Bulgarian citizenship by origin

Our specialists can support you through all procedures for applying for and obtaining Bulgarian citizenship by origin. The naturalization process is complex and time consuming, and the successful completion of the procedures requires 100% legal compliance. will take care of all this and will guarantee you the shortest terms. For further questions, please contact us. We also recommend that you familiarize yourself with our current offer.