Citizenship by Origin

Immigration and Nationality

Benefits of Bulgarian citizenship

  • Bulgarian citizens are full citizens of the European Union ('EU'), and are entitled to 'freedom of movement' (including visa-free travel to the remaining 27 member states of the EU and a large number of other countries to which the EU applies a common visa policy);
  • the right to establish or own a business in Bulgaria or any other EU or EEA state or Switzerland;
  • the right to acquire land or immovable property in Bulgaria and a number of other EU countries which may otherwise restrict access to foreign nationals;
  • various rights to access the education systems of Bulgaria and the member states of the EU (including eg, to pay fees at "home/EU" rates at institutions of higher and further education, to receive student loans and financial assistance;
  • the right to obtain medical assistance in Bulgaria and elsewhere in the EU (if you are in another member state as a student, visitor, worker, business person, etc).

Do I qualify for Bulgarian citizenship by origin?

Bulgaria applies a broad criterion to determine who qualifies on the basis of origin. Generally, if you are aware that you have Bulgarian ancestors or relatives, you are likely to qualify.

Your Bulgarian origin or ancestry may be distant. We have acted for a client whose links to Bulgaria reached as far in history as the 14th century. Of course, the more distantly historical the link you are relying on, the harder it would be to provide evidence of it - but certainly not impossible.

To qualify, you do not need to show your ancestors were ethnic Bulgarians: Bulgarian nationality, residence within the territory of the Bulgarian state from time to time may be strong enough grounds for qualification. We commonly act for the descendants of Jewish or Turkish Bulgarians who are looking to reclaim a connection with the modern Bulgarian state. A prior self-identification as a Bulgarian is not required.

What are the steps to acquiring Bulgarian citizenship by origin?

The process of acquiring citizenship on the basis of origin and collating the necessary documents can appear daunting.

New Balkans Law Office will advise on the best solution for you, and offer support throughout the process ensuring that the correct and full set is filed from the start. Our in-depth knowledge and experience with citizenship applications ensures that clients acquire citizenship as quickly and easily as possible.

Applying for Bulgarian citizenship on the basis of your origin is generally a matter of long-term planning rather than something you can hope to benefit from immediately (though there are situations of restoration of citizenship or where Bulgarian nationality had not been lost in which a travel document is available much sooner). We generally advise clients to prepare to await decisions within 18-24 months, though this can be shortened in meritorious cases. Such cases are those where the use of nationality may be required by the applicant as a matter of urgency and applications may combine origin with merit (under art. 16 of the Citizenship Act) to result in an accelerated review.

Next steps

Contact our Sofia office via our contact form here for further information on how we can assist.

How may we help you?

We’re here to help you resolve your Bulgarian legal matters in a timely and cost effective manner. For more details about our Bulgarian Legal services, please contact:

Kamen Shoylev

© New Balkans Law Office 2017