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May 13, 2023

Bulgaria Revokes Citizenship of 17 People Over Abolished ‘Golden Passports’

Authorities in Bulgaria have revoked the citizenship of a total of 17 people acquired through the Golden Passport program following the National Assembly’s decision to abolish this program.

The announcement has been confirmed by the caretaker, Justice Minister Krum Zarkov. At the same time, he said that of those whose country citizenship was revoked, four were citizens of Egypt, four from Russia, four from Kazakhstan, three from China as well as two from Pakistan and one from Jordan, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

In February 2022, the Bulgarian National Assembly approved changes to the Law on the country’s Citizenship in order to permit the abolishment of this program that allowed third-country nationals to acquire citizenship by making a financial investment and meeting specific conditions.

With a total of 218 votes pro, the lawmakers in Bulgaria adopted at first reading amendments to the Law, following the European Union Parliament’s demand to abolish this program after, according to the EU authorities, it was involved in many unlawful affairs.

Before the Balkan country’s decision to end the Golden Passport programme, local media reports revealed that in several cases, those who acquired Citizenship through investment had failed to make the investment.

In addition, the European Union authorities called on Bulgaria several times to put an end to their much-criticized scheme.

The State Agency for National Security, as well as other state institutions, were counting checks according to Zarkov, and any violations found would trigger the appropriate actions.

“Regarding the members, the families of these individuals are assessed on a case-by-case basis to see if the application for Citizenship was made on a non-existent legal basis. The problem with the golden passports has been resolved,” he pointed out, according to Sofia.

The Golden Passport Program of Bulgaria was introduced in 2009 to attract wealthy foreign investors who would financially contribute to the country while offering them citizenship in this country.

Following the abolishment of this program, the country’s authorities are now investigating the passports granted through the Citizenship by Investment scheme.

Earlier this year, a report of Euractiv revealed that the Prosecutor’s Office of this country opened an investigation of the former head of Bulgaria’s investment agency, Stamen Yanev, after being charged with criminal inaction.

In addition, in December last year, authorities in Bulgaria reported that a total of 12 passports granted through the Citizenship by Investment Scheme were also revoked.

>> European Golden Visas – How to Get EU Permanent Residence by Investment