Bulgaria Grants Citizenship to 11 441 Applicants in 2011Diplomacy | September 25, 2011, Sunday // 14:11| views
The frontrunner of the initiative to process faster applications for citizenship and granting more passports was the now-former Minister without Portfolio for Bulgarians Abroad, Bozhidar Dimitrov. Photo by BGNES
Bulgaria has granted citizenship to 11 441 people since the beginning of 2011 until mid-September.
Meanwhile, 125 individuals have given up on their Bulgarian passports.
The data comes from the Justice Ministry. The fastest processing of the applications for citizenship has been declared a priority by the cabinet of the center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, party after it took office in the summer of 2009.
The frontrunner of the initiative was the Minister without Portfolio for Bulgarians Abroad, Bozhidar Dimitrov, who later resigned, but a record number of applications were approved in 2010 under his leadership – nearly 15 000 compared to 9 000 in 2009 and 7 113 in 2008 with the trend continuing in 2011, according to the data.
The most passports in 2011 have been granted to people with Bulgarian origins – 5 533 from Macedonia and 1 593 from Moldova. 26 passports were given for important contributions to Bulgaria in the public and economic sector, science, technology, culture and sports; 9 competitors and coaches have also received Bulgarian citizenship, compared to 32 and 21 respectively in 2010.
In 2011, 78 people became Bulgarian citizens under general naturalization which includes marriage with a Bulgarian while 352 have reinstated their Bulgarian citizenship, compared to just 78 in 2010. 19 people have given up their Bulgarian passports in 2011, compared to 125 last year.
A total of 16 271 applications have been processed and 4 514 have been rejected with the main and most common reason being false documents.
From January 1, 2002, until June 30, 2011, Bulgaria has received 127 006 citizenship applications and has granted passports to 68 539, according to data from the President's Office – mainly to people from Bulgarian origins or having at least one Bulgarian parent - 35808 from Macedonia, 18 646 from Moldova, 3 318 from Serbia, 2 733 from Russia, 2 526 from the Ukraine, 2 081 from Israel, 1128 from Albania.
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