Bulgaria granted citizenship to 18 081 foreigners last year, Vice President Margarita Popova said on January 23. Citizenship applications, alongside pardons, are among the key areas of responsibility for the Bulgarian vice president.
Foreigners can obtain Bulgarian citizenship based on Bulgarian descent, having a Bulgarian parent, on grounds of adoption by Bulgarian citizens, “general naturalisation” or for “special contributions” to Bulgaria. A total 607 people recovered Bulgarian citizenship they had previously lost and 136 people were stripped of their citizenship.
The vice presidency also denied 1430 applications for citizenship and cancelled the naturalisation of nine other people.
As in previous years, the bulk of foreigners granted Bulgarian citizenship were from Macedonia (8185 people) and Moldova (5705 people).
Given the numerous border changes in the 20th century, many Macedonians can claim at least one grandparent with Bulgarian citizenship, which is sufficient ground to be granted citizenship in grounds of Bulgarian descent – and it is the easiest way for many Macedonians to acquire EU citizenship.
Moldova, and to a lesser degree Ukraine, are home to a small Bulgarian ethnic minority – Ukraine accounted for 975 applicants granted Bulgarian citizenship in 2012.
Bulgaria has not awarded asylum to any foreigner in 2012, Popova said. Bulgaria received 14 such requests in 2012 and also examined five more requests filed in 2011.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)