Bulgarian citizenship

Last Updated 29/10/2019

When you can apply

If you were granted refugee status in Bulgaria, you can apply for citizenship 3 years after the day you got your status.

If you were granted humanitarian protection, you can apply 5 years after the day you got your status. Make sure to renew your ID card after 3 years — you’ll need it to apply for citizenship later.

To be eligible, you also need to show that you:

  • Are at least 18 years old
  • Have a clear criminal record
  • Are not the subject of a criminal investigation
  • Can support yourself financially in Bulgaria
  • Are proficient in Bulgarian language

Documents you need

Criminal record

To get the proof about your clear criminal record, you need to go to the Ministry of Justice and submit a request for it. You don’t need an appointment. An official will issue the document the same day you make your request.

Ministry of Justice - Bulgarian Citizenship Directorate
Address: Sofia, Aksakov Street 5
Email: bgcitizen@justice.government.bg
Open working days, 9 a.m.-11 a.m. and 2 p.m.-4 p.m.

Proof you're not under investigation

To get the document that says that you are not the subject of a criminal investigation, you need to go to the prosecution office nearest to your permanent address. A list of prosecution office locations is here. You don't need an appointment. You will get your document within 4 working days.

Proof you can support yourself financially

To prove you can support yourself, you need:

  • A certificate from your employer, if you have a job, or а document from the National Revenue Agency stating your declared income for the previous year.
  • A document issued by the National Revenue Agency showing you or an employee paid for insurance. (After July 1, 2018, you won't need this document — instead, the government will do internal checks to see whether you paid for insurance.)

Bulgarian language

To prove your Bulgarian language knowledge, you have 2 options:

  1. If you completed your primary education (7th or 8th grade), your secondary education, or your higher education in Bulgaria, bring a notarized copy of your diploma.

  2. If you don’t have any Bulgarian diplomas, bring a document showing proficiency in the Bulgarian language. The Ministry of Education and Science issues this document.

To get this certificate, you need to submit an application to the Ministry of Education and Science and attach a copy of your identity document.

On the copy of your ID, you should also write:

  • “True to the original” in Bulgarian (Вярно с оригинала)
  • Your name and surname
  • Your signature

If you completed a Bulgarian language course, you can bring a notarized copy of your certificate from this course, too, but there is no guarantee that the Ministry will accept it. The law doesn’t say which institutions are authorized to issue these certificates.

If you don’t have any Bulgarian language course certificates, or the Ministry doesn’t accept yours, you will have to pass a written Bulgarian exam. You can find some samples with answers on the website of the Assessment Centre in School and Preschool Education.

You can also ask the Assessment Centre for more information in person.
Address: Sofia, Boulevard "Tsarigradsko shose" 125, building 5
Phone: +35929705611
Email: ckoko@mon.bg

The application process and the exam are free of charge.

Note that at any point, you may be required to show your original documents when applying, so make sure to keep them with you.

How to apply

Visit the Ministry of Justice’s page to learn more about the procedure and the necessary documents. The information is available only in Bulgarian.

Get an appointment

To submit the application for citizenship, you need to get an appointment with the Bulgarian Citizenship Directorate.

To do this, go to the Ministry of Justice website and reserve a date and time to submit your documents.

Bulgarian citizenship

Starting on July 1, 2018, you will need to use the website to make your appointment. To do this, you need an email address.

First, you should choose a day within 2 months that is convenient for you. The system will check if that date is available. If not, try another date.

In the end, don’t forget to click the “reserve” button. You will receive an email with the confirmed reservation.

Until the end of June 2018, you can go directly to the Ministry of Justice and apply there without an appointment.

Submit your documents

Before you submit your application, make sure you have all the necessary documents.

Every document has to be written in, or translated into, Bulgarian.

If you don’t have all the necessary documents, the Bulgarian Citizenship Directorate will give you 2 months to submit the ones you are missing. If you cannot get them within this period, they will give you your documents back and terminate your application.

When submitting the application, you need to pay 100 leva.

The application, together with the required documents, you should submit.

Ministry of Justice -  Administrative Service Directorate
Address: Sofia, Slavyanska Street 1
Working days: 9:00 a.m. - 17:30 p.m.

Interview

When you submit all the necessary documents, the Directorate will schedule a time for an interview in Bulgarian on the same day of the registration of your application. The interview is conducted by an employee of the Bulgarian Citizenship Directorate.

Ministry of Justice - Bulgarian Citizenship Directorate

Address: Sofia, Aksakov Street 5

Email: bgcitizen2@justice.government.bg

Working days: 13.30 p.m. - 16:00 p.m

During the interview, you can expect questions related to:

  • Your reasons for applying for Bulgarian citizenship
  • Your documents
  • Your public life in Bulgaria
  • Your knowledge about Bulgaria (such as official holidays and important historical events)

How long it takes

It should not take longer than 18 months from the date that you submitted your application.


Decision

The Ministry of Justice makes a recommendation to the President on whether to grant Bulgarian citizenship to you.

The most common grounds for refusal are related to national security or public order, or to documents that show the applicant is being investigated on suspicion of having committed a crime.

However, you can apply for Bulgarian citizenship an unlimited number of times.