Bulgaria has speeded process of granting citizenship through naturalisation – official

Bulgaria has speeded process of granting citizenship through naturalisation – official

Sofia, September 17, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Clive Leviev-Sawyer of The Sofia Globe

The period for processing of applications for Bulgarian citizenship by naturalisation has been significantly shortened, according to an analysis by the country’s Ministry of Justice, which is in charge of dealing with applications for citizenship.

The Ministry of Justice said that between January 1 2005 and June 30 2015, it had received 120 174 applications for Bulgarian citizenship on the grounds of Bulgarian origin. The highest number was received in 2005, a total of 22 129, which had been followed by decreasing numbers.

Briefing a parliamentary committee, Minister of Justice Hristo Ivanov said that the Citizenship Council had over a period of 10 years recommended refusal of 20 703 applications for citizenship by naturalisation, or 14.61 per cent of cases.

Between 2013 and 2015, the percentage of rejected applications for citizenship by naturalisation had decreased significantly and currently varied in the range of two to four per cent, which Ivanov described as a positive trend.

The most frequent reason for refusal was submission of false documents purporting to prove Bulgarian ancestry.

The next most frequent reason was a negative opinion by the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad. The third most frequent was an applicant declaring a nationality other than Bulgarian during the interview.

The ministry’s analysis of the 2005/15 period showed that the period for processing of applications for Bulgarian citizenship on the grounds of Bulgarian origin had been significantly reduced since 2005. The current average duration of the procedure is 18 months.

Of this 18 month period, four months goes to an examination of the documentation by the Interior Ministry, after which the documentation goes to the State Agency for National Security, completion of which process takes about a year.

The duration of the procedure at the Citizenship Council at the Ministry of Justice is about two months, according to Deputy Justice Minister Petko Petkov, whose portfolio is Bulgarian citizenship.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)