On 17.02.2022, Members of the National Assembly unanimously adopted at first reading Amendments and Supplements to the Bulgarian Citizenship Act (“AS to BCA”), which provides for the removal of the so-called “golden passports”. It provides for the removal of the possibility of acquiring Bulgarian citizenship through investment in a procedure that is easier than the usual one.
The possibility of acquiring Bulgarian citizenship after having already acquired a permanent residence permit on the same grounds will be repealed in the following cases:
- Foreigners who have made an investment or increased their investment by acquiring:
- shares or bonds of Bulgarian commercial companies traded on a regulated market or multilateral trading system in the Republic of Bulgaria, with a market value of no less than BGN 2 000 000;
- rights under concession contracts on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria with a contract value of no less than BGN 1 000 000;
- units or shares with a value of no less than BGN 1 000 000 in collective investment schemes originating in the Republic of Bulgaria, operating under the Act on the Activities of Collective Investment Schemes and Other Undertakings for Collective Investment;
- units or shares with a value of no less than BGN 1 000 000 in alternative investment funds established in the Republic of Bulgaria, managed by persons managing alternative investment funds originating in the Republic of Bulgaria, operating under the Law on the Activities of Collective Investment Schemes and of Other Undertakings for Collective Investment;
- Foreigners who have invested in the country by contributing to the capital of a Bulgarian commercial company an amount of not less than BGN 2 000 000 for a priority investment project carried out by the company, certified under the terms and procedure of the Investment Promotion Act, which shall be certified by the Ministry of Economy.
It shall remain possible for a foreigner to obtain a permanent residence permit on the grounds described above, but he/she shall not be able to apply for Bulgarian citizenship on the same grounds.
The bill also provides for a thorough review of the applications for citizenship on investment grounds approved so far, namely the submission of updated opinions on the approved procedures to the Ministry of Justice on the day of the Citizenship Council meeting at the latest. The aim is to review the circumstances of the accepted and approved applications for acquisition of citizenship by investment.