Bulgaria, officially known as Republic of Bulgaria is a country in southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. The capital and largest city is Sofia.Currency of Bulgaria is Bulgarian lev (BGN).

In 1945, after World War II, Bulgaria became a communist state and was a part of the Eastern Bloc until the political changes in Eastern Europe in 1989/1990, when the Communist Party allowed multi-party elections and Bulgaria undertook a transition to parliamentary democracy and free-market capitalism with mixed results. Bulgaria functions as a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic.

More than two third of the territory of Bulgaria is mountain ranges within very close proximity. Malyovitsa range in Rila Mountains is considered a very popular place for the Bulgarian rock climbers and mountaineers. The area is extremely beautiful and offers sites such as a 100m waterfall, overhanging 300m red granite walls, centuries-old forests, beautiful lakes and rivers.

With more than 400 species of birds, Bulgaria is justifiably known as a bird watcher’s paradise. There are over 200 Dalmatian pelicans in the colony at the Srebarna, a UNESCO reserve, which is the best European colony.

The unique geographical location of Bulgaria provides possibilities for all year round adventure activities. There are 4 snowy months, a mild and green spring when many flowers blossom, a hot summer with less rain and a colorful autumn.

Bulgaria is a popular destination for sea and ski holidays. Among other activities are trekking and hiking, horse-back riding, bird watching, etc. Other practiced activities are: caving, paragliding, mountain-biking, rafting and kayaking, photography tours, botany, etc.

Why Bulgaria?

As one of the youngest EU member states, Bulgaria boasts a rich and diverse culture, temperate climate, and ideal location in Southeast Europe. The Investor Program for Residence and Citizenship in Bulgaria offers many benefits:

  • No language skill test required
  • No residency obligation (special exemption from physical presence in Bulgaria)
  • Residency within six to nine months
  • Fast-track option for citizenship within two years
  • No obligation to relinquish current nationality
  • Lowest tax rates and free-trade environment within the EU
  • Government-approved investments and available financing options from banks.

Permanent Residence and Citizenship in Bulgaria

The Bulgarian citizenship by investment program is perhaps the most flexible and affordable citizenship program. The investor is not required to open a private bank account in Bulgaria and buy government bonds through a Bulgarian bank. On the contrary, the investor can buy Bulgarian government bonds from any local bank in the country of his/ her residence and maintain the investment there.

If the investor has purchased Bulgarian government bonds from abroad, he/she has to provide a legal certificate of the purchased bonds. These bonds are offered by LGT Bank which has branches in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Bahrain and other locations. The only drawback with LGT bank and other international banks, are their requirement that clients should deposit at least 5 million CHF (or its equivalent in USD or EUR) with the bank in order to open a private bank account. Bulgarian banks do not have requirements regarding the minimum deposits of funds, and the client can deposit as less as the minimum required investment amount of only 512,000 €. Another difficulty is that it is more expensive to get financing from international banks, where the security is obtained through Bulgarian government bonds.

In exchange for a safe and state-guaranteed investment of 512,000 EUR to be refunded at the end of 1 year-term, applicants from all nationalities can obtain permanent residence with only a single visit to Bulgaria.

The permanent residence can be upgraded to citizenship if the investment is maintained for five years (ordinary track) or it is increased to 1,024.000 € after 12 months (fast track) provided applicant has never been sentenced by a Bulgarian court for a capital offence or accused in criminal proceedings for such a crime (unless he/she has been rehabilitated) and he is over 18 years old.

There is no physical residence requirements or fluency in Bulgarian language as required by the general naturalization rules.

Permanent residence by investment

  • The client purchases government bonds of 512,000 EUR
  • Time to Permanent Residency– 6 months
  • Time to Bulgarian Citizenship– 60 months
  • Investment in EUR (Refundable)– 512,000 EUR
  • All-in Handling Fee in EUR (Non-refundable)– 15,000 EUR including all state & legal fees related to obtaining PR and Citizenship.
  • Handling Fee in EUR Dependents– 0 EUR the fees for the family members are included in our fee for the main applicant

The program can be upgraded to citizenship by investment.

NB: The permanent residence is granted for five years. If the applicant maintains the investment for five years, he/ she will be eligible to apply for permanent indefinite leave to remain residence or Bulgarian citizenship.

Schedule to get Bulgarian Permanent Residence by Investment in Government Bonds

Month 1 – Application for the opening of a private bank account with the serving Bank and buying Bulgarian government bonds for approx. 512,000 €. This step includes the preparation of the set of Investor D visa application documents, confirmation certificate of investment in government bonds issued from the Bank and Investment certificate issued from the Bulgarian Investment Agency;

Month 2 – The Investor applies for a D visa in the nearest Bulgarian embassy or general consulate. The Bulgarian Investor visa is usually granted within 30 working days; 

Month 3 – Applying for a permanent residence by investment. The investor visits Bulgaria to apply for permanent residence with the local Migration Office. Usually, permanent residence applications are considered within 30 working days; 

Month 4 – 6 – Once the residence application is approved, the investor will be photographed and the permanent residence card is issued within 3 working days. Family reunification process can be started. Family members will obtain permanent residence in 3 months. 

The investor may obtain fast-track Bulgarian citizenship if he/ she doubles the investment by 512,000 € in Year 2. 

Obtaining temporary residence in Bulgaria and renewing it annually for a period of five years and residing physically in the country for 30 months in the last five years, you are eligible to apply for a permanent residence in Bulgaria. The Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act allows foreign nationals to apply for Visa D and Bulgarian temporary residence under more than 20 grounds.

This is the most popular category for obtaining permanent residence in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian residency is implied by the prolonged stay of the applicant under a category of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act which does not automatically provide ground for permanent stay otherwise.

If the foreign national resides for another five years in Bulgaria after the permanent residency was granted and he is fluent in Bulgarian, the applicant can apply for Bulgarian Citizenship by Naturalization.

If you have Bulgarian origin and you have obtained a certificate of Bulgarian origin from the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad, but you have failed your Bulgarian citizenship by origin application because you cannot provide sufficient evidence of your origin or for any other reason, you still may obtain Bulgarian permanent residence.

The residence permit application should be submitted no later than 2 months before the expiration of your Visa D granted on your Bulgarian origin where applying for the first time. Renewal applications should be submitted no later than 3 months before the expiration of the permanent residence permit.

The interesting here is that after residing physically in the country for 48 months in the last five years on permanent residency, you are eligible to apply for a Bulgarian Citizenship by Naturalization. So, even if your Citizenship by origin application failed, you will be able to apply on naturalization ground next time.

Benefits of Obtaining Permanent Residence in Bulgaria

  • Holders of Bulgarian permanent residency can work in Bulgaria without work permit;
  • Non-EU nationals and their families (spouse and minor children) can obtain Permanent Residence in Bulgaria. It should be noted that permanent residence gives the same rights as Bulgarian citizens, except voting;
  • Holding Bulgarian permanent residence for five years entitles you to apply for Bulgarian citizenship;
  • Opportunity to become resident of the European Union. Easy access to EU countries – no visa requirement.
  • Holding a permanent residence the foreign national is entitled to enter and leave the country as many times as they wish without visas.
  • Free education and medical system throughout EU.
  • Bulgaria tax residence. Becoming a permanent resident, you can easily qualify as Bulgaria tax resident.

To qualify for residency or citizenship, applicants must meet the following criteria apart from fulfilling above   investment options:

  • Be a non-EU citizen.
  • Possess a valid passport or another foreign travel document
  • Provide documents supporting the source and origin of invested funds
  • Hold no criminal record
  • Attest the power of attorneys and the investment agreement
  • Make the minimum statutory trips to Bulgaria

Benefits of Bulgarian Citizenship

Bulgarian citizenship offers a number of benefits:

  • Bulgarian citizens are full citizens of the European Union (‘EU’), and are entitled to ‘freedom of movement’ (including visa-free travel to the remaining 27 member states of the EU and a large number of other countries to which the EU applies a common visa policy);
  • the right to establish or own a business in Bulgaria or any other EU or EEA state or Switzerland;
  • the right to acquire land or immovable property in Bulgaria and a number of other EU countries which may otherwise restrict access to foreign nationals;
  • various rights to access the education systems of Bulgaria and the member states of the EU (including e.g., to pay fees at “home/EU” rates at institutions of higher and further education, to receive student loans and financial assistance;
  • the right to obtain medical assistance in Bulgaria and elsewhere in the EU (if you are in another member state as a student, visitor, worker, business person, etc.).