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Better Bulgarian Required for Citizenship

The Bulgarian Council of Ministers has approved a bill to amend the Bulgarian Citizenship Act to add mandatory language proficiency conditions in Bulgarian for individuals of Bulgarian descent or those with a parent possessing citizenship. 

Under the proposed legislation, proficiency in Bulgarian becomes an essential criteria for acquiring citizenship. Other changes to citizenship regulations in the same bill include: the prevention of renouncing Bulgarian citizenship for individuals facing criminal proceedings, and the start of  provisions to revoke naturalization (for citizens who have become Bulgarian) in cases of systemic, or individual actions that discredit Bulgaria—including instances of racism and hate speech. 

The proposed regulations come amidst a turbulent time for Bulgarian politics, including five general elections in just two years. 

Linguistic proficiency rules have existed for those seeking Bulgarian citizenship as investors in the country, for some years. 

The Bulgarian Language proficiency exams are administered by the Center for Evaluation in Pre-School and School Education. The exam consists of a 20 question test, conducted within a one hour time frame. To pass, the candidate must correctly answer at least 12 of the questions, which mainly focus on Bulgarian history, culture, and geography. 

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