Bulgaria is Ending Its Semi-Direct Citizenship Program

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Bulgaria is Ending Its Semi-Direct Citizenship Program

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Bulgaria, a rising competitor in the passport market is now renouncing its Semi-Direct CBI program. And two reasons have been outlined thus far.

The first is a lack of real investment. The program has suffered through misuse at the hands of investors, seeking loopholes for a quick passport.

The second seems to be disapproval from the EU, with concerns that the program is infringing against EU agreements.

Bulgaria CBI Program Problems in Detail

The lack of real investment comes down to a loophole that makes it easy for applicants to withdraw investments soon after making them.

According to the EU’s administration, most who qualified did so through bank deposits and purchase of government securities. Those investments would later be liquidated after acquiring citizenship.

From a national standpoint, those programs had no benefit for the country, while also handing out passports for free.

So far, according to info gained by Eurativ, citizenship was handed to 96 investors. While the source claims the number as unofficial, the country is still continuing the program.

As a result, the country’s passports have been excluded from the US and Schengen zone visa-waiver programs.

The EU’s Response to Bulgaria’s CBI ending

Not only are Bulgaria’s visa-waivers revoked. But, the European Commission did threaten to start an infringement proceeding against Bulgaria – similar to those done against Cyprus and Malta.

So far, the Bulgarian government seems to have responded to those demands.

It is in the process of submitting a bill that focuses on the abolishment of the program, which seems to be in response to the European Commission’s crackdown on Vanuatu’s visa-waiver.

The government currently has majority seats in Bulgaria’s National Assembly. Thus, it’s expected that the bill will pass through.

With that, canceling the program will require Bulgaria to repeal two different articles of its Citizenship Act, which may take a while to accomplish.

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