Bulgaria moves to abolish ‘golden passports’

The Ministry of Justice is proposing that the acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship by foreigners in exchange for investments be abolished, a government media statement said after the January 12 Cabinet meeting.

The change will be affected by repealing two articles of the Bulgarian Citizenship Act.

The statement said that the amendment was being proposed after a thorough analysis of the real situation at the moment.

It said that people had got permanent residence on the basis of investments, mainly in government securities to a value of more than a million leva, but by the time they applied for Bulgarian citizenship or at a later stage in proceedings, were found to have sold or otherwise disposed of these securities.

This route to citizenship should be shut down because it did not mean real investment in the Bulgarian economy, as it did not create jobs, the statement said.

Further, the European Commission had more than once expressed concern.

In a letter in June 2021, the Commission said that the possibility to acquire Bulgarian citizenship in exchange for pre-determined payments meant that Bulgaria was imposing on other European Union countries the obligation to recognise as EU citizens people naturalised on this basis, with all the rights that meant.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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