– Bulgarian Citizenship

The citizenship of an individual represents the enduring political and legal connection between that individual and a specific state. Viewed as a legal status, citizenship encompasses a spectrum of rights and responsibilities that govern the relationship between individuals and the state, regulated by the domestic laws of the country. The criteria for obtaining, reinstating, or renouncing Bulgarian citizenship are governed by the Bulgarian Citizenship Act.

Acquiring citizenship can be pursued through various avenues: by descent, by birth within the territory, or through naturalization.
As per the stipulations of the Bulgarian Citizenship Act, a Bulgarian citizen by descent is defined as someone with at least one parent who holds Bulgarian citizenship. This definition also extends to anyone acknowledged by a Bulgarian citizen or whose descent from a Bulgarian citizen has been legally established.

Bulgarian Citizenship Law office | Requirements

A Bulgarian citizen by birth within the territory is anyone born within the confines of the Republic of Bulgaria, provided they do not acquire citizenship of another country by descent.

Given the contemporary dynamic of migration, there’s a growing interest in citizenship changes. The right to change citizenship is acknowledged in Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and numerous other international instruments, including the European Convention on Citizenship of the Council of Europe (1997).

Following Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union, there has been a notable surge in interest towards Bulgarian citizenship. The benefits of holding a Bulgarian passport – facilitating travel to over 170 countries, including Canada, and the opportunity for holders to reside and work in EU member states – drive thousands of yearly applicants to seek Bulgarian citizenship. This underscores the necessity for skilled professionals in citizenship matters.

The processes for citizenship changes encompass acquisition, reinstatement, and renunciation of Bulgarian citizenship.


Certain individuals, meeting specified criteria outlined by law, may acquire Bulgarian citizenship without residency requirements.

To qualify for citizenship on this basis, one must be of Bulgarian descent, with a blood relation to at least one ancestor up to the third degree inclusive, who holds Bulgarian nationality (parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, or great-great-grandparent). This relationship must be substantiated with official documents issued by Bulgarian or foreign authorities, containing details about the ancestor’s name and relationship with the applicant.

A foreign citizen may obtain Bulgarian citizenship through naturalization if one of their parents is a Bulgarian citizen or was a Bulgarian citizen at the time of death.

Under this procedure, a person adopted by a Bulgarian citizen under the conditions of full adoption may also be naturalized. In such cases, the adoption decree must have undergone an exequatur procedure.

There is a legal provision for the restoration of Bulgarian citizenship for individuals who were Bulgarian citizens but, due to various reasons, were relieved of it or lost it. Applicants may regain it if they meet the regulatory requirements, namely: they have no criminal convictions, do not pose a threat to public order, public morals, public health, or national security, and have had permanent or long-term residency permit in the Republic of Bulgaria for at least 3 years as of the date of the restoration application. For individuals of Bulgarian descent, the procedure is facilitated, and there is no residency requirement for them.

Despite Bulgarian legislation allowing for dual citizenship, Bulgarian citizens residing abroad who acquire another citizenship should be released from Bulgarian citizenship, since the laws of the country whose citizenship they acquired do not permit dual citizenship. Some countries grant citizenship only if the applicant has renounced their current citizenship. Several European countries such as Andorra, Belarus, Spain, Malta, Monaco, Lithuania, Poland, Croatia, and Estonia do not allow dual citizenship.

The conditions for release require individuals to be Bulgarian citizens permanently residing abroad. This procedure can only be initiated if the individual has acquired foreign citizenship or if there is information about an ongoing procedure for acquiring it. Documents for release can be submitted to the diplomatic and consular representations of the Republic of Bulgaria in the respective country, but this would prolong the process by months. For this reason, it is advisable to initiate the procedure for release from Bulgarian citizenship at the Ministry of Justice, where there is no need to schedule an appointment, and the certificate confirming the change of citizenship can be obtained abroad.

Upon request from the interested party, the Ministry of Justice issues a citizenship certificate indicating whether the individual is or is not a Bulgarian citizen according to the registers kept by the ministry. The certificate is submitted through the municipalities at the permanent address or place of birth and is issued within 30 days from the receipt of the documents at the Ministry of Justice.

This service is available to former Bulgarian citizens who have left the country and wish to ascertain whether they have lost their Bulgarian citizenship or have been deprived of it based on the legislation in force at the time of emigration or if they are still Bulgarian citizens. Under this procedure, individuals of non-Bulgarian ethnicity (Turks, Jews, etc.) who left the Republic of Bulgaria during the 1950s to 1980s can determine if they have Bulgarian citizenship.

If you are a child of a mixed marriage and were born in the 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s, with one parent being a Bulgarian citizen and the other being a citizen of the USSR, Poland, Hungary, Germany, or Czechoslovakia, and you have doubts about whether you are a Bulgarian citizen or if, in addition to your current citizenship, you also have Bulgarian citizenship, you can submit documents to establish it. During this period, conventions to prevent dual citizenship were in force between the aforementioned countries and the People’s Republic of Bulgaria.

In this regard, we provide assistance in completing the application, supplying the necessary documents, and submitting them to the relevant municipality.

The Ministry of Justice issues a certificate confirming changes in citizenship for individuals who have successfully completed the procedure. The certificate is obtained at the Ministry of Justice after scheduling a date and time or at the diplomatic and consular representations of the Republic of Bulgaria, according to a schedule determined by them.

The process of changing citizenship is complex and lengthy, requiring a detailed understanding of the regulatory framework in the field of citizenship (both current and retrospective) as well as case law.

The “Alexandrov” Law Firm offers specialized legal services related to citizenship matters:

Provides advice and assistance to clients on all issues arising in citizenship change procedures.

Assists in the preparation and submission of necessary documents to the “Bulgarian Citizenship” Directorate.

Assists in scheduling appointments for document submission to the Ministry of Justice if necessary or obtaining certificates.

Accompanies applicants during interviews.

Represents clients before all state and judicial authorities in citizenship change procedures.

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