The Bill to Amend the Bulgarian Citizenship Act will be discussed on 30 January of this year by the Development Council with the Council of Ministers and will be published for public debates.

Some of the measures envisaged in the Bill provide for the elimination of the possibility to acquire Bulgarian citizenship on the basis of investment, shortening of the deadlines and fine-tuning of the criteria for Bulgarian citizenship, introducing a requirement that the applicants for citizenship on the grounds of origin need to know Bulgarian and be employed and have income in the country.

The amendments to the Bill prepared by the Ministry of Justice in implementation of the 2017 – 2020 Government Programme and its decision to reduce the administrative burden on the citizens include:
• Performance of quality control of the institutions responsible for granting Bulgarian citizenship with a view to observing the statutory procedures and terms;
• Elimination of the requirement to present certain official certificates as hard copies;
• Simplifying the procedures and improving the effectiveness of the processes to grant Bulgarian citizenship.

The proposal of the working group at the Ministry of Justice to eliminate the possibility for Bulgarian citizenship to be acquired based on investments, was prepared on the basis of an analysis of the application of Article 12а and Article 14а of the Bulgarian Citizenship Act, in force as of 2013. The data shows that the goal to increase the actual foreign investments and economic growth has not been reached yet. As a result, new jobs have not been created and economic growth has not been achieved. In addition, as of the date of the analysis, in certain cases it was found at a later stage of the proceedings, for example, that the investment was not available due to the sale of the securities purchased or for other reasons.

The working group was set up as per an order of Justice Minister Tsetska Tsacheva on 15 February 2018. The measures taken by the Ministry of Justice to increase control and prevent possible abuse with the procedures to grant Bulgarian citizenship were also presented to the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumer Protection and Gender Equality Ms. Vera Jourova.