Acquiring Bulgarian citizenship by foreigners

January 27, 2017

Acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship by foreigners is legally possible and regulated by the provisions the Bulgarian Constitution, The Bulgarian Citizenship Act and the Act for Bulgarian identity documents. According to our Laws, Bulgarian citizenship could be obtained on the base of Bulgarian origin, or naturalization: through investment in the local economy, or via marriage to Bulgarian citizen, or after expiration of certain period of legal residence in Bulgaria, or in case or special merits towards the State, etc. The related procedures for obtaining Bulgarian citizenship differ one from each other and the legal requirements depend of the individual case of the applicant.

There аre many advantages to obtain Bulgarian citizenship. The easy and visa-free access to the European Union is one of them. Since Bulgaria has joined the European Union in 2007, visa-free travel and residence in many European countries became possible and much easier for Bulgarian citizens. Together with the good perspective for the local economy which has developed quickly for the first couple years after 2007, the Bulgarian citizens being residents of EU member-country have benefited from the lighter regime to travel in Europe and to reside in other European countries without the limitations and restrictions that existed before.

Bulgarian citizens are allowed to travel visa-free to the following EU member-countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, The United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Finland, France, The Netherlands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Sweden. Although every country has its own immigration policy, in most of these the Bulgarian citizens are entitled to obtain long-term or permanent residence permit, and respectively to reach legal access to the local schools and universities as well to the labor market. As a result now hundred thousand Bulgarians live, study and work in other European countries.

Another benefit of obtaining Bulgarian citizenship is the possibility to travel visa-free to many other European and Non-European countries. Recently there is no visa needed for Bulgarian citizens when visiting also: Albania, Andorra, Armenia (visa-free stay up to 180 days in one calendar year), Bosnia & Herzegovina, Georgia (visa-free stay up to 360 days), Grenada, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lichtenstein, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, The Vatican, Turkey (30 days visa free stay), Ukraine.

When Bulgarians travel around the world, they do not need visa for the following countries: Africa: Botswana, Capo Verde, Mauritius, Morocco, the Seychelles, Tunis. Asia:Brunei, China-Macao, China-Hong-Kong, East Timor, Korea, Malaysia, The Maldives, (30 days visa free stay), Philippines (30 days visa free stay), Singapore, Taiwan, Japan. Middle East: Israel, United Arab Emirates, The Palestine. Central America: Antigua and Barbuda,Barbados, Bahamas, Belize (30 days visa free stay), Costa Rica (30 days visa free stay), The Dominican republic (“tourist card” is needed), Guatemala, Dominica, Honduras,, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama (30 days visa free stay), Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saint Kits and Nevis, Trinidad & Tobago. North America: Mexico. South America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile,Columbia, Venezuela (“tourist card” allowing 90 days visa-free stay is needed), Ecuador,, Paraguay, Peru,  Uruguay. Oceania: Vanuatu, Kiribati, The Marshalls, Micronesia, New Zealand, Palau, Samoa, Salomon islands, Tonga, Tuvalu.

Today the website www.passportindex.org ranks the Bulgarian passport with 14-th position among all the national passports in the world, which ranking depends of the total number of countries where holders of the particular passports are allowed to enter visa-free. In calculation, Bulgarian citizens are entitled to visit visa-free 143 countries totally.

The aim of every Bulgarian government has always been to make the travel regime for Bulgarian citizens easier in relation to the rest of the countries, where visa is still needed. Efforts are pointed also to reaching visa-free regime. Although eventual visa-waiver depends by the US Federal Authorities which monitor the percentage of visa refusals to Bulgarian applicants, we believe that as part of the European Union we should get a better visa regime in the near future, to be able to visit USA visa-free.

We provide legal advice and representation for obtaining Bulgarian citizenship by naturalization. For more information visit our section:  http://lexsofia.com/naturalization-and-citizenship-lawyer/

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