Bulgarian legislation provides significant advantages for foreign investors in Bulgaria concerning investors’ business activities in the country and their personal status as individuals with foreign citizenship.
The Statutory Procedures for Investors in the Residency and Citizenship Program are provided by the Act for Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria (AFRB), as well the Regulations for its implementation and the Ordinance for the conditions and procedure for issuance of visas. This law gives the framework for entering, residing and exiting in and from the Republic of Bulgaria to the citizens of non – EU Members.
Bulgaria, being a member of the European Union, provides potential investors with many unique benefits:
- Invest in Bulgaria, become resident of EU member country
- Fast track process, 6 to 9 months within legislative framework
- Government approved investment and available financing options from Banks
- Special exemption from physical residency enforced with legislation
- No language requirements
- Unique benefits towards European citizenship for investors and their families
- Highly-skilled labor force at Europe’s lowest operational cost
- Free movement within Schengen countries after accession
- Strategic geographic location, linking Europe to Asia, Middle East and Africa
- Favorable tax rates and free trade environment within EU
- Competitively priced healthcare and education
Visa free travel for Bulgarian passport holders
It is estimated that 157 countries and territories granted visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to Bulgarian passport holders. Visa prior to arrival or pre-arrangement required for countries or territories not mentioned below.
Where visa-free access is permitted, such access is not necessarily a right, and admission may technically be at the discretion of border enforcement officers. Visitors engaging in activities other than tourism, including unpaid work, may require a visa or work permit.
The statutory term for issuance of a Permanent Residence Permit is three months after submission of the documents.
Permanent Residence Permit is issued by the Migration Directorate of the Ministry of Interior. It entitles its holder to enter and exit Bulgaria freely and to reside in the country for indefinite period of time. The holder also receives a Bulgarian Identity Card, Personal Identity Number and address of residence.
Please note that all applicants for the Investor Program are subject to thorough checks by Interpol, Europol and other anti-crime organizations. A pre-requisite of the Program is that all applicants must have a crime free record and must not be subject of ongoing criminal proceedings.
Once the Permanent Residence Permit is obtained through the foreign investment of 511 292 € as per the Bulgarian law and legislation, the foreign investor can benefit from a special exemption for physical residency requirement from the statutory 180 days per year over 5 years as per the Art 40. par.5 of the Act for Foreigners in Republic of Bulgaria (AFRB).
- Full Investment: The investor deposits the full amount of 1,000,000 BGN (€ 511,292) from outside of Bulgaria into the Governmental Bond Portfolio. No further payment is required. At the end of the five year period, the amount of € 511,292 Euros is returned to the investor with no accrued interest. The investment is fully guaranteed and secured by the government.
- Financed Investment: The investor pays a reduced amount of € 180,000 Euros*. No further payment is required by the investor and nothing is returned to the investor at the end of the five year period. The reduced amount is used to finance a € 511,292 Euros closed five-year term loan from a chartered Bulgarian bank.
*This amount may change marginally if prime lending rates in the national banking system rise or fall in response to changes in the Bulgarian National Bank key interest rate.
Applicants who select the Financed Investment Option will have to demonstrate net assets worldwide of more than €1,000,000. This is a requirement from the Bulgarian chartered bank.
The foreign investor who holds a Permanent Residence permit for at least 5 years may apply for Bulgarian Citizenship according to the Act on Bulgarian Citizenship. To that effect the Foreign Investor has to, as of the date of filing the application for naturalization and as per Article 12 of the Act: be major; maintain his status of Permanent Residence, not been sentenced by a Bulgarian court for a capital offense and has not been accused in criminal proceedings for such a crime unless he has been rehabilitated.
Foreign citizen may acquire Bulgarian citizenship not subject to the provisions of Article 12 if the Republic of Bulgaria has an interest in his/her naturalization or if the person concerned has made a special contribution to the Republic of Bulgaria in social and economic spheres, or in the field of science, technology, culture or sports. Bulgarian Citizenship is granted personally by the President of the Republic by virtue of a President Decree issued on the grounds of a special well-founded proposal of the Minister of Justice after the completion of a statutory procedure.
The application fees associated with the program include government application fees, legal and translation fees, service fees related to the background verification and validation of source of funds. These up-front fees are non-refundable and they vary depending on the number of dependents, country of origin, residence and other retained services.