Understanding Residency Requirements for Bulgarian Citizenship

April 16, 2024
Last Updated: April 20, 2024
Residency requirements for Bulgarian citizenship

Many applicants are uncertain about the type of residency status required to apply for Bulgarian citizenship by naturalization. It’s important to note that citizenship by origin does not necessitate residency.

Under the Citizenship Act, applicants must have held valid permanent (Постоянно пребиваване) or long-term residency (Дългосрочно пребиваване) for five years preceding their citizenship application, or three years if married to a Bulgarian spouse.

Residency for EU Citizens:

EU citizens are entitled to both temporary (Продължително пребиваване) and permanent (Постоянно пребиваване) residency statuses. However, only those who have held permanent residency for over five years qualify for Bulgarian citizenship by naturalization. The duration spent under temporary residency does not count towards citizenship eligibility unless it is converted to permanent residency. It is a common issue that applicants have resided in Bulgaria for extended periods, such as 20 years, without applying for permanent residency. It should be noted that the temporary residency card for EU citizens is valid for five years, whereas for non-EU citizens, it is only valid for one year.

Residency for Non-EU Citizens:

Non-EU citizens can hold temporary residency (Продължително пребиваване), permanent residency (Постоянно пребиваване), and long-term residency (Дългосрочно пребиваване). Only those with permanent or long-term residency are eligible to apply for Bulgarian citizenship by naturalization.

Difference Between Permanent and Long-Term Residency:

A temporary residency permit can be upgraded to a permanent residency after residing for 30 months within any five-year period. Similarly, temporary or permanent residency can be converted to long-term residency after residing for 50 months within any five-year period. There are categories of applicants who can apply for permanent residency without satisfying the 30 months residency in any five year periods. Notably, there are exceptions for certain categories of applicants who can obtain permanent residency without fulfilling the 30-month requirement. For instance, applicants of the Bulgaria Golden Visa program are granted permanent residency directly, without the need for physical presence during the specified period.

This structured approach to residency requirements underscores the importance of understanding the specific type of residency status that applicants must hold to qualify for Bulgarian citizenship by naturalization.



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