Country Report: Naturalisation Last updated: 18/04/24


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Refugees may obtain Bulgarian citizenship if they are of over 18 years old and have been recognised for 3 or more years. Subsidiary protection (“humanitarian status”) holders obtain Bulgarian citizenship if over 18 and if they have been granted protection for 5 or more years.

Besides this, and regardless of the status or residence, everybody has to have a clear criminal record  in Bulgaria, an income or occupation which allows to self-subsistence and to have knowledge of Bulgarian language – speaking, reading and writing in Bulgarian language, proven either by a local school or university diploma or by passing an exam tailored for naturalisation applicants. Applicants are interviewed in Bulgarian language on their motive to obtain citizenship.

The application is examined within 18 months.[1] Citizenship is granted by the president, who issues a decree following a proposal in this respect of the Minister of Justice, the latter based on a positive opinion by the Citizenship Committee at the Ministry of Justice.

From 2014 to 2023, Bulgaria granted citizenship to 621 beneficiaries of international protection, namely 228 refugee status holders and 393 subsidiary protection holders.[2]




[1] Article 35(1)(1) Law on Bulgarian Citizenship.

[2] Ministry of Justice, reg. No.95-00-185 from 2 January 2024.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation