Last updated on 25.04.2023

In this article, we will explain to you what to do if your child is born stateless in Bulgaria and how it can become a Bulgarian citizen. 

How can my child be stateless? 

A stateless child is a child who does not hold the citizenship of any state. Here are some examples in which your child can become stateless: 

  • The child cannot inherit the parents’ citizenship. For example, in some countries ( e.g Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar and many other) mothers are not allowed to transmit their citizenship to their children (in case the fathers are unknown, stateless or deceased); 

  • The child’s parents lose or are deprived of their own nationality; 

  • The child is born to parents who are both stateless; 

  • The child cannot access birth registration or otherwise demonstrate their connection to a country. 

It is important to check what citizenship was recorded in your child’s birth certificate - “stateless”, “unknown” or “not pointed”. If none of these are indicated in the birth certificate, then your child may have been registered with false citizenship that cannot be obtained by law. In such cases, please consult a lawyer on what steps you can take: 

Request assistance 

Can my child become a Bulgarian citizen? 

Yes, stateless children can become Bulgarian citizens if: 

  • they were born on the territory of Bulgaria; and 

  • they cannot obtain another citizenship (see the reasons above). 

What to do? 

If you want your stateless child to be recognized as a Bulgarian citizen, you need to apply for and receive a Certificate to establish Bulgarian citizenship. 

To apply for this, you need to go to the municipal civil registration authorities where your child’s birth certificate was issued and file an application to establish Bulgarian citizenship. The application is filled in and signed on behalf of the child by both parents. You need to fill in the application in Bulgarian language.  

Within 7 days the municipal civil registration authorities will send your application to the Ministry of Justice of Bulgaria, which will decide whether your child is a Bulgarian citizen or not. 

In addition to the application, you need to provide the following documents: 

  • Valid identity documents (IDs) of both parents or they asylum registration cards. Bring both originals and copies. 

  • The birth certificate of the child. Bring both the original and a copy. 

  • 2 passport size pictures of your child. 

  • Proof that your child was born stateless.  

If, for example, in the IDs of the parents or their asylum registration cards it is stated that they are stateless, this could serve as a proof. If not, you would need to show an official document stating that your child cannot obtain the citizenship of their parents. Consult with a lawyer on what documents you might need for your individual case: 

Request assistance 

Any document you decide to attach to your application needs to be legalized and translated in Bulgarian.  

  • Receipt for paid state fee to the Ministry of Justice – 50 leva (see below) 

Leave an up-to date phone number to the municipal authorities, so that they can call you when there is a result.  

Fees to be paid 

You will need to pay a total of around 70 leva in state fees. These fees are as follows: 

By law you have to pay 50 leva via bank transfer to the bank account of the Ministry of Justice. You will also be charged 10 leva of bank commission. You can find bank account details on this link, but we also advise you to ask the municipal authorities for an up-to date bank account of the Ministry of Justice. 

Keep in mind that at the bank you will require you to present a valid ID. Your asylum registration card will not be accepted as proof of identity. To pay the fee you may ask your lawyer or someone else with an ID, who you can trust, to make the payment on your behalf. In the bank statement, it should be indicated that you, as the legal representative of your child, are the liable person (задължено лице). 

You will also need to pay a 10 leva fee at the municipality to process your document. The municipal civil registration authorities will give you instruction on where to pay this fee.  

How long it takes? 

The Ministry of Justice will decide whether your child is a Bulgarian citizen or not within 30 days from the date they receive all the documents frоm the municipality. However, sometimes it may take longer.  

You can occasionally check with the municipality, whether there is a decision, if more than 30 days have passed and you do not have an answer.  

What do I need to do after that? 

If the Ministry of Justice issued you a certificate in which it is stated that your child is a Bulgarian citizen then you would need to: 

  • Register your child at the population registry in order for him/her to receive a unified citizen’s number (EGN/ЕГН). 

  • Provide an address for an address registration. 

  • You may also issue your child a national passport, if you need it. 

Read more about how to do these things here: 

Address registration and Bulgarian identity documents