Bulgaria allows citizenship by origin up to 3rd generation

23 June 2021

Private Clients, Citizenship and Immigration, Expat Assistance

Legal basis of Bulgarian citizenship by origin applications

Bulgarian Citizenship by Origin is based on provisions in the Bulgarian Citizenship Act. In early 2021, the Bulgarian Parliament partially amended the legislation governing Bulgarian citizenship by origin.

Pursuant to Article 15 of the Bulgarian Citizenship Act, a person who is not a Bulgarian citizen may acquire Bulgarian citizenship by naturalization if he/she meets one of the following requirements:

  1. is of Bulgarian origin; or
  2. has been adopted by a Bulgarian citizen under the conditions of full adoption;
  3. one of his parents is a Bulgarian citizen or has died as a Bulgarian citizen.

Subsection 1 of s 15 of the Bulgarian Citizenship Act is thus the provision which entitles a person of Bulgarian origin to naturalize as a citizen.

Bulgarian citizenship by origin – 2021 amendments

The  2021 amendments envision that as part of  the procedure, the applicant must provide official evidence of his/her Bulgarian origin. These must be documents, issued by Bulgarian or foreign government bodies.

Pursuant to the amendments in the Citizenship Act, the relationship is now limited to a Bulgarian ancestor up to the applicant’s great-grandparents.

The documents the applicant presents must contain information about the names of the ascendant and his / her relationship to the applicant.

In essence this means that a Certificate of Bulgarian origin issued by the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad is no longer part of the application set. The Certificate was previously an inevitable and time-consuming step, which however did not guarantee approval, and was duplicated by subsequent procedures. Applicants have welcomed its removal.

FAQs about Bulgarian citizenship by origin

Based on our experience of advising clients on Bulgarian citizenship by origin, we have compiled a list of clients’ FAQs.

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.

What are the steps to acquiring Bulgarian citizenship by origin?

The process of acquiring Bulgarian citizenship based on origin and collating the necessary documents can be daunting.

We at NBLO will help you identify the correct path to suitable documents to evidence origin. Our team will help you prepare and file your application. We are able to offer support throughout the process. Our in-depth knowledge and experience with citizenship applications ensures that clients acquire citizenship as quickly, early 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, and in which a travel document is available much sooner).

We generally advise clients to prepare for decisions within 12-24 months. Though period may be shorter in special cases. Such cases are those where the use of nationality may be required by the applicant as a matter of genuine urgency and applications may combine origin with merit (under art. 16 of the Citizenship Act) to result in an accelerated review (eg, where there is a humanitarian reason or the applicant has contributed to Bulgaria – scientifically, economically, culturally or otherwise and are of Bulgarian origin).

Can I reside in Bulgaria even before obtaining citizenship?

This is possible under certain circumstances. We will advise on your particular case.

Can my family also obtain Bulgarian citizenship?

Your children, of any age, can also obtain Bulgarian citizenship once you become one.

And your spouse can also become a Bulgarian citizen. Your spouse will be able to live, work and study in any of the 27 EU member countries.

However, the spouse of a Bulgarian citizen can only obtain Bulgarian citizenship by residing, or by investing, in Bulgaria.


NBLO – Your Bulgarian Citizenship Lawyers

New Balkans Law Office is a boutique law firm with a strong practice in Bulgarian and EU immigration and nationality law. We deal extensively with applications for citizenship including Bulgarian citizenship by investment, by origin and by residence, settlement of family members of EU/Bulgarian citizens, and other citizenship and immigration related matters.

For more information, please contact us at: [email protected] or via our contact form.

© New Balkans Law Office 2024

The Bulgarian and dual-qualified lawyers of New Balkans Law Office are regulated by the respective Bar of their registration. New Balkans Law Office is a brand name of Legal Services EOOD, a company registered under Bulgarian law. Reg’d No. 202331677. Further details are available here.

© New Balkans Law Office 2024