Questions about special merits citizenship

Bulgarian special merits citizenship became extremely popular in 2024. This is mainly due to the fact that the EU investment citizenship was virtually banned by the European Commission. So the only hope for the fast-track EU passport seekers is now in art.16 of the Bulgarian Citizenship Law (the special merits option).

Today we will answer some questions, that seems to be of interest to our potential clients.

Retaining previous citizenship(s)


I believe the main applicant who successfully acquires Bulgarian citizenship by “special merits” will not be asked to leave his/her previous citizenship/s? Is there a regulation that shows it other than Article 16 of the Law on Bulgarian Citizenship?


In Bulgaria, it is the Bulgarian Citizenship Law that regulates the procedures for obtaining Bulgarian citizenship. Art. 16 of the Citizenship Law clearly stipulates that the person obtaining special merits citizenship doesn’t need to meet the requirements of Art. 12. So here is what Art. 12 of the Citizenship Law stipulates:

A person who is not a Bulgarian citizen may acquire Bulgarian citizenship if on the date of filing the application for naturalisation:

  1. is an adult;
  2. has obtained a permanent or long-term residence permit in the Republic of Bulgaria not less than 5 years ago;
  3. has not been convicted of a deliberate crime of a general nature by a Bulgarian court and no criminal proceedings have been instituted against him/her for such a crime, unless he/she has been rehabilitated;
  4. has an income or occupation which enables him to support himself in the Republic of Bulgaria;
  5. has a command of the Bulgarian language, which shall be established in accordance with the procedure laid down by regulation of the Minister of Education and Science; and
  6. is exempt from his former citizenship or will be exempt from it at the time of acquiring Bulgarian citizenship.

As you can see from the legal norm, it’s quite clear that the candidate for Bulgarian citizenship for special merits doesn’t have to surrender his existing citizenship(s). In fact there are absolutely no conditions attached to the application, which is exactly the beauty of this naturalisation route. But of course, nothing is only butterflies and roses. Bulgarian citizenship for special merits is only available for those, who get “noticed” by the authorities for their exceptional potential. And this is something that doesn’t come for granted.

Spouse and children


Are dependants (spouse and children) included in the special merits program? If so, are they also required to renounce their previous citizenship(s), or can they retain them?


Here we have to distinguish between the spouse and the children. The children, when their parent obtains Bulgarian citizenship for special merits, will be considered as Bulgarians by the Constitution. They will still need to apply for citizenship, based on origin, if they are 18 years or older. In short, all children, irrespective of their age, will obtain Bulgarian citizenship too.

For the spouse, it is different. He/she will only be eligible for residence permit initially. Later, the spouse may apply for Bulgarian citizenship, based on her permanent residence status.

Our fees

And last, but not least, we are often being asked what our fees are. We have to always remind the potential candidates, that we predominantly provide support for special merits citizenship to VD&A Gold Club members. Sometimes we opt to assist new clients, but this is only if we believe their application is feasible. The fees are strictly dependent on the client and his potential. There have been cases when we have offered services for free. If Carlos Alcaraz decides that he wants to play for the Bulgarian Davis Cup team and wants Bulgarian passport, we probably won’t charge him a penny. This is because his potential is beyond any doubt and consequentially no effort will be needed for his candidature to be approved. But if the client is completely unknown in Bulgaria, demonstrating his potential to the relevant authorities may prove to be very work intensive.

As usual, we remain at your disposal for any questions you might have. Please contact our offices and we will be glad to assist you. You may also find more about the citizenship for special merits option on the specialised website of

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