A total of 10 720 people were granted Bulgarian citizenship in 2015, close to double the number in 2014, according to the presidential administration’s commission on citizenship’s annual report.
The largest number was from Macedonia, 4315, a sharp increase from the 1874 who were granted Bulgarian citizenship in 2014.
Apart from Macedonians, the rest in the top 10 were from Ukraine (1456), Moldova (1453), Serbia (580), Russia (551), Israel (395), Albania (331), Turkey (281), Vietnam (73) and Lebanon (45).
These were followed by Syria (42), Iraq (42), Romania (32), Stateless (35), Afghanistan (18), Belarus (15), Kazakhstan (14), Uzbekistan (10), Kosovo (seven), the United States (six), Jordan (five), Algeria, Greece, Italy, Iran and Cyprus (four each).
Bulgarian citizenship was granted to three people each from Bangladesh, Georgia, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and Montenegro.
In the case of two people each, it was granted to people from Argentina, Ghana, Brazil, Egypt, China, Pakistan, Sudan, the Czech Republic and South Africa.
In one case each were people from Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United Kingdom, Guinea, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cuba, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, Poland, Tajikistan, the Philippines, France and Chile.
According to the presidential administration’s report, most of those who were granted Bulgarian citizenship got it on the grounds of being of Bulgarian ancestry, 5682 people.
People who got Bulgarian citizenship on the basis that one of their parents was a Bulgarian or they had been adopted in the country added up to 3627.
Five people were given citizenship on the basis of a legal provision that allows it to be granted for “special contributions to the development of Bulgarian sport”: in the case of 2015, volleyball, tennis, horseback riding, gymnastics and football.
Two people were given Bulgarian citizenship for “special contributions in the field of the Bulgarian economy and high-tech manufacturing”. This was a drop from the nine in 2014 and 17 in 2013.
A total of 866 regained Bulgarian citizenship and 538 through naturalisation. This latter granting of citizenship requires five years of residence, the ability to speak Bulgarian, to have been married to a Bulgarian for at least three years or to have had refugee status for at least three years.
The report said that 377 people had renounced their Bulgarian citizenship. In the most cases, 157, because they had become citizens of the Netherlands, while the top five also included Austria, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.
The presidential administration had turned down 670 people, including 20 people who were denied Bulgarian citizenship for reasons of national security, or because they were under investigation or were subject to an arrest warrant.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)