Parliament Approves New Language Requirements for Bulgarian Citizenship

March 1, 2024
Last Updated: April 12, 2024
Bulgarian language for Bulgarian citizenship

Language Requirements for Applicants of Bulgarian Origin

With 154 votes in favor, the Bulgarian Parliament approved on first reading amendments to the Citizenship Act, introducing a requirement for candidates applying for Bulgarian citizenship to pass a Bulgarian language exam. This condition will apply to those applying for citizenship based on Bulgarian origin, who constitute the largest group of all applicants, as well as to individuals whose parent has acquired Bulgarian citizenship or died as a Bulgarian citizen. It is planned that this requirement will not apply to people acquiring Bulgarian citizenship by adoption by a Bulgarian citizen.

Exemption from Bulgarian Language Requirements

The Bulgarian language exam requirement for citizenship can be waived under certain conditions, such as if the applicant has graduated from a Bulgarian high school or university. Our team can assist with other potential grounds for exemption as well. Should you require assistance in expediting your Bulgarian citizenship by origin application, please feel free to reach out to us.

Permanent residency by origin

If you are unable to pass the Bulgarian language test or secure an exemption, you might consider obtaining permanent residency by origin. Unlike citizenship, permanent residency does not require passing a language exam.

Revocation of Bulgarian citizenship

Another provision allows for the revocation of Bulgarian citizenship in cases of systematic and deliberate undermining of Bulgaria’s prestige, its institutions, and national interests through hate speech or acts of hatred against the Bulgarian state, its citizens, and/or Bulgarian communities abroad. The Citizenship Council is proposed to hear the person for whom a proposal for revocation of naturalization has been made, with the aim of ensuring that the decision to revoke citizenship is not arbitrary.

Formal ceremony for obtaining Bulgarian citizenship

The draft law also provides for the issuance of certificates of acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship to be carried out at a formal ceremony. The ceremony will take place at the Ministry of Justice or at the diplomatic and consular representations of the Republic of Bulgaria abroad.

Language Exam for the Bulgaria Golden Visa

For the Bulgaria Golden Visa program, there are no language requirements. However, should you choose to pursue Bulgarian citizenship at a later date, you will need to pass a language exam or qualify for an exemption. This requirement applies uniformly to all paths to citizenship, whether you are applying under general naturalization rules as a spouse of a Bulgarian citizen or as an investor who has contributed 512,000 EUR to a Bulgarian Fund. In either case, you will face the same standardized 20-question language exam, administered under the same conditions.

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