Citizenship and Immigration

We advise individuals and families planning for their future and their legacy. 

We understand that immigration can be complex, often stressful and traumatic. With our professional advice and sensitive approach we will guide you through all your options and will help you to achieve the best possible outcome. We aim to accomplish this in the most practical, efficient and cost-effective way.

Our expertise in a broad spectrum of visas, residence and citizenship enables us to offer a wide range of skills – to meet your personal circumstances. 

Our particular strength is in understanding the interaction between multiple jurisdictions and bodies. 

We advise our clients on:

  •  Visas and Residence in Bulgaria
  • Citizenship and residence by origin 
  • Citizenship and residence by investment 
  • Citizenship by residence 
  • Tax consequences 

Visas and Residence in Bulgaria

There are several grounds on which an individual or an entire family can obtain a visa or a residency permit to live, work or study in Bulgaria.

And some forms of residency permits also lead to citizenship. 

EU citizens can exercise their right to freedom of movement to start a new plan in Bulgaria, and provide support to bring their families with them.

Non-EU citizens will be required to obtain a visa before traveling to Bulgaria and applying for a residency permit. 

Also, non-EU citizens who have lived in Bulgaria for 5 years can apply for an EU-long-term residence permit, which will give them the right to live, work and study not just in Bulgaria, but also in any other EU country, acquiring similar rights than those of an EU citizen. 

We will advise on the best solution for you, and offer support throughout the entire process, ensuring that the correct and full set of documents is filed with each application. 

Citizenship

There are several ways to obtain Bulgarian citizenship, like having a Bulgarian parent or ancestor, by residing in Bulgaria for a number of years, or by investment in the country.

The process can take a few years to complete and in most cases can be done through a Bulgarian consulate abroad.

In some cases you will be required to reside in Bulgaria or to speak the Bulgarian language, but not in others. 

We will advise on the best solution for you, and offer support throughout the entire process, ensuring that the correct and full set of documents 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.

Benefits of obtaining 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)

Citizenship and residence by origin

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.

 

Can I reside in Bulgaria even before obtaining citizenship?

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

 

Can my family also obtain Bulgarian citizenship?

Your children, of any age, can also obtain Bulgarian citizenship.

And your spouse will also be benefitted. 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.

Citizenship and Residence by investment

To qualify for citizenship on the Fast Track, you need to:

  • Invest ~€1,000,000 in government bonds;
    You can use your existing bank or broker if you wish;
  • Travel to Bulgaria up to 3 times (1 day-trips) over the application period;
  • Wait ~2 years for citizenship.

To date, we have a 100% success rate in our citizenship by investment work.

Your family

  • Children (of any age, including adults and minors) qualify for residence and citizenship, without further investment
  • Your husband/wife can apply for residence and citizenship, too.
  • Any subsequent descendant (children’s children, etc) qualify

You do not need to:

  • Live in Bulgaria (but you could);
  • Open a bank account in Bulgaria. You can use your existing banking relationship abroad
  • Donate (you need to donate €150,000 in Cyprus, €650,000 in Malta);
  • Learn to speak the Bulgarian language (you need to speak Spanish in Spain and Portuguese in Portugal);
  • Have your identity as a new citizen disclosed to the public (this happens in Malta and has happened in Cyprus through leaks).

© New Balkans Law Office 2020

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 2020