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Obtaining Bulgarian citizenship by marriage

Oded Germanov

Oded Germanov

Married to a Bulgarian citizen and planning on emigrating to Bulgaria? Planning to get married to a Bulgarian and moving to their home country? This article will disclose all the information you need to obtain Bulgarian citizenship by marriage.

What does holding Bulgarian citizenship mean and what are the benefits of obtaining one?

  • Bulgarian citizenship is an EU citizenship, allowing its holder to work, study and live everywhere in the European Union.
  • Access to the Bulgarian and European advanced health-care and welfare systems.
  • Visa-free entry and on-arrival-access to almost 170 (October 2019) countries.
  • Lowest tax rates in Europe.
  • Purchasing agricultural land.
  • Participating in the Bulgarian political sphere by voting and the right to get elected to some public positions.

Before we reveal all the requirements and legal procedures of obtaining Bulgarian citizenship by marriage, we must advise our readers to use a professional and well-knowledgeable law-office. This choice is the most responsible choice when coming to start such a significant move. Cohen, Decker, Pex, Brosh will be glad to advise and assist.

Bulgarian citizenship by marriage – general information

Bulgarian citizenship by marriageEvery person who is married to a Bulgarian citizen is eligible to apply for Bulgarian citizenship. However, this is not a one-phase straightforward process, and there are steps and legal requirements to obtain Bulgarian citizenship.

The marriage must be legally recognized and registered by the Bulgarian authorities, whether conducted abroad or conducted in Bulgaria. If the couple were lawfully married in Bulgaria, they should be registered in the municipality in which the Bulgarian spouse is a resident.

We might add that marrying in Bulgaria does not always require one of the married spouses to be a Bulgarian citizen; if you want to learn more about it, we have an article on Civil Marriage in Bulgaria. With that said, only marrying a Bulgarian citizen entitles the foreign spouse to apply for Bulgarian citizenship by marriage.

Bulgarian citizenship by marriage starts a process of getting Bulgarian citizenship by naturalization. There are other grounds on which an applicant can apply for Bulgarian citizenship by naturalization. You can read more about them in this article.

Before applying for citizenship on the ground of marriage, the applicant must be married to a Bulgarian citizen for least three years. Besides that, hold for at least three years a permanent residency in Bulgaria

** “Fake” marriage or any attempt to cut corners in the process is a severe felony and could end up in jail time! Our law firm strongly advises applicants to use certified legal advice and avoid unpleasant outcomes due to lack of knowledge.

What conditions are required to obtain Bulgarian citizenship by marriage?

The applicant must be at least 18 years old at the time of application

The applicant has been lawfully married (and is still married) to a Bulgarian citizen for at least three years . The marriage must be legally recognized and registered in Bulgaria if it was conducted abroad.

The applicant has acquired a permanent residence permit on the ground of being a family member (spouse) of a Bulgarian citizen for at least three consecutive years.

Acquiring a permanent residence for a spouse of a Bulgarian citizen varies according to the foreign spouse’s nationality.

There are differences between EU-national and non-EU nationals in the terms and conditions of obtaining Bulgarian residency permit – long term, and permanent. Bulgaria is part of the EU; therefore, EU nationals will have fewer documents to file when applying, and they would be granted permanent residency. Non-EU citizens will have to apply for long-term residency(visa type-D) and present additional documents. Non-EU nationals must apply for visa type-D in the Bulgarian embassy/consulate of their respective country before getting long-term residency. Non-EU applicants married to a Bulgarian citizen can obtain a permanent residence after three years of having a long-term residency permit.

The applicant must never have been convicted for any intentional indictable offenses by a Bulgarian legal official. They are ineligible if criminal law procedures were filed against them for a crime of that sort unless they’ve been rehabilitated.

The applicant must provide proof of sufficient funds or a suitable profession that shows they can support themself in Bulgaria.

The applicant must prove their command of the Bulgarian language by going through an official exam established by the ministry of education and culture of Bulgaria.

Bulgarian citizenship by marriage – notes, remarks, and summary

As mentioned above, obtaining Bulgarian citizenship by marriage is just one way to get Bulgarian citizenship by naturalization. An applicant can apply for Bulgarian citizenship on the grounds of marriage only after three years of permanent residency.

For non-EU nationals married to a Bulgarian citizen, the minimum period before applying for Bulgarian citizenship will be no less than six years altogether; three years to receive a permanent residency card, and three years after getting the permanent residency card. Even after that, Bulgarian citizenship is not automatic. There are requirements (as mentioned above) that the applicant must comply with, and the fairly difficult Bulgarian language skill official test.

There is a much more accessible, straight forward option for the non-Bulgarian spouse to get Bulgarian citizenship – Bulgarian citizenship by investment program.

When acquiring Bulgaria citizenship by investment, the Bulgarian citizen’s spouse can get their Bulgarian citizenship in 18(!) months. No Bulgarian language skills are required.

As we advise in all citizenship-related topics, Bulgarian citizenship by marriage is another topic in which we strongly recommend using an experienced law firm to help you in this vital manner. Our law firm will be happy to accompany you in this crucial procedure that will affect the rest of your family life.

Bulgarian citizenship by marriage

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