The terms and the procedure for acquiring Bulgarian citizenship by beneficiaries of refugee or humanitarian status are laid down in Art. 13 of the Bulgarian Citizenship Act.

A person who was granted refugee status not less than three years before applying for naturalization may acquire Bulgarian citizenship if he/she meets the conditions laid down in Art. 12 (1), items 1, 3, 4, and 5.

A person who was granted humanitarian status not less than five years before applying for naturalization may acquire Bulgarian citizenship if he/she meets the conditions laid down in Art. 12 (1), items 1, 3, 4, and 5.

The conditions for acquiring Bulgarian citizenship are laid down in Art. 12 of the Bulgarian Citizenship Act

Art. 12. (1) A person who is not a Bulgarian national may acquire Bulgarian citizenship, if as of the date of applying for naturalization he/she:

  1. has become of age;
  2. has not been convicted for premeditated crime of general nature by a Bulgarian court and no criminal prosecution has been instituted against him/her for such crime, unless rehabilitated;
  3. has income or occupation which enables his/her subsistence in the Republic of Bulgaria;
  4. has a level of knowledge of the Bulgarian language which shall be ascertained following a procedure set out in an Ordinance by the Minister of Education and Science.

The procedure for acquiring Bulgarian citizenship starts with filing an Application for Acquiring Bulgarian Citizenship. The applicant must first save a specific date for the filing of the documents in the online system on the website of the Ministry of Justice.

The following shall be attached to the application:

  • Birth certificate (if not available, a certificate with the data of a birth certificate issued by the State Agency for Refugees in accordance with Art. 54(2) of the Law on Asylum and Refugees is attached);
  • A certificate by the State Agency for Refugees for the refugee of humanitarian status granted, with an indication of the date when it was granted;
  • Official documents certifying changes in the names, and
  • a Document for the identity of persons with different names (if any);
  • A clean criminal record (persons born abroad file applications – download the template here – and receive the record in Directorate ‘Registers’, Unit ‘Central Criminal and Apostille Bureau’ of Ministry of Justice, located at 5 Aksakov Str. (working hours: Monday to Friday, 9h-11h and 14h-16h);
  • A document of the prosecutor’s office certifying the absence of criminal prosecution instituted (issued by the prosecutor’s office);
  • A document certifying an employment or a service contract issued by an employer or a document certifying data declared and taxes paid for the last year, issued by the tax administration;
  • Documents from the National Revenue Agency certifying the payment of health insurance contributions;
  • A document certifying Bulgarian language competence issued by the Ministry of Education and Science or a copy of a diploma for completed education degrees in the Republic of Bulgaria, certified by a notary. The procedure for ascertaining the Bulgarian language competence is laid down in Ordinance No 5 of 3 September 1999 on the Procedure for Ascertaining Bulgarian Language Competence in Relation to Acquiring Bulgarian Citizenship in a Naturalization Process. The examination for ascertaining Bulgarian language competence is conducted by the Center for Evaluation of Pre-school and School Education under the terms and following the procedure of the Center. Free of charge exams are carried out every last Friday of the month. Application for participation should be filed three days before the date of the exam, at the latest. If an applicant fails the examination, he/she has the right to register for a new one after 3 months.Sample tests, address, working hours and contact details of the Centre could be found here:
  • Medical documents certifying that the person does not have acute contagious and infectious diseases or mental illness (a list of the diseases: the Health Act Art. 61 (1) and Art. 146 (1), item 1);
  • A copy of the identity card issued by Ministry of Interior;
  • Detailed CV signed by the person;
  • Current photograph – passport format;
  • Document for the fee paid to the account of the Ministry of Justice.

The documents are submitted in person before the Administrative Services and Secretariat of the Ministry of Justice Directorate.

After the registration of the application an interview is scheduled to be conducted with the person in Bulgarian language at the Directorate Bulgarian Citizenship of the Ministry of Justice.

Time limit for examining the application

Inquiries in relation to the application can be made either at the Directorate or online.

Within 18 months from opening the file, the Minister of Justice shall submit a proposal to the President of the Republic of Bulgaria about issuing a decree for acquiring Bulgarian citizenship. In the event of a positive decision, a state fee shall be paid for the issuing of a certificate of Bulgarian citizenship.

In the event of a negative decision (refusal), the decision shall not be subject to appeal.

In the event of refusal, the person shall have the right to lodge a subsequent application.