This article discusses how to obtain a Bulgarian residence permit, what the requirements are and the benefits you receive from meeting them.
A second residence can change your life and a Bulgarian residence permit gives you better value for money and access to Europe.
A second residency opens up new investment markets, can help you legally reduce your tax bill, and, as a step to citizenship, can help enhance your passport portfolio. We show HNWIs the way to obtaining permanent residence and so much more as part of a holistic Action Plan.
One of Europe’s oldest states, Bulgaria, dates back to the 7th century. Officially known as the Republic of Bulgaria, it shares borders with Romania, Serbia, North Macedonia, Greece, and Turkey.
This eastern Balkans country has a population of 6.687 million. Sofia, the capital, sits in the west of Bulgaria. Bulgarian is the mother tongue, and after Russian, English is Bulgaria’s second most common foreign language.
You can enjoy both the pristine beaches and the ski slopes in Bulgaria. The country has two climatic regions: a more continental climate in the north and a Mediterranean climate in the south. Average temperatures range from 73°F (23°C) in the summer and 37°F( 3°C) in the winter.
Bulgaria is an affordable country with a skilled labor force, making it appealing to both investors and entrepreneurs. Most appealing of all, the country has a flat income and corporate income tax rate of just 10%
The country joined the EU in 2007. So by obtaining residence in Bulgaria you get the chance to become a European citizen later on. We will discuss permanent residence and citizenship later on in this article.
Looking to reduce your taxes and gain residency or citizenship in Europe? Become a client, and we will help you find the perfect European base for your needs.
While fast-track citizenship by investment in Bulgaria is no longer on the cards, you can join the ranks of Bulgarian nationals by obtaining permanent residency in the country.
Spend five years on an extended residence permit to acquire a Bulgarian permanent residence permit. Stay in Bulgaria for a further five years on this Bulgarian ID card, and you can claim Bulgarian citizenship.
The Bulgarian Citizenship Act grants non-EU nationals this privilege. For foreign investors, be prepared to pay the waiting game, becoming a permanent resident is a step on the ladder that can result in you becoming a Bulgarian citizen.
But we want you to stay focused on what you want to achieve with Bulgaria’s permanent residence. The European Union admitted Croatia to the Schengen area countries rather than Bulgaria and Romania.
This means a Bulgarian passport, which is ranked 33T on the Nomad Passport Index Ranking, is less valuable than a Croatian one. However, Bulgaria is now in the process of joining the Schengen Area and already applying the Schengen European Union law to a large extent.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs offers three visas to foreign nationals to enable them to stay in Bulgaria. The A Visa allows for the briefest of visits to Bulgaria, as it is an airport visa permitting you to pass through the country on your way to your eventual destination.
The C Visa covers those intending to visit Bulgaria for a short stay. However, the one that will interest you most though is the D Visa. This will allow you to enjoy a long-term stay in the country.
This Bulgarian temporary residence permit is also known as a prolonged residence permit. It is valid for one year. All non-EU foreign citizens must hold a D Visa before applying for this temporary residence permit.
You must attach the following D Visa application documents:
- photocopy of the first page of your valid passport
- photocopy of the latest Bulgarian and Schengen visas or UK and US visas, if any
- color photograph 3.5 cm x 4.5 cm on a light background
- medical insurance policy valid for EU member states for the entire duration of the trip, covering all repatriation costs and for emergency medical care and emergency hospital treatment for the period of stay specified in the visa for a minimum amount of €30,000
- transport tickets (original and copy) or confirmation of booking tickets or funds
- copy of the technical passport of the vehicle being traveled with
The D Visa application processing embassy fee is waived for:
- foreign citizens who are under the age of six when applying for a visa
- family members of Bulgarian citizens and EU citizens.
Extended residence is available if you are a foreign national who has made a successful Type D Visa application. Family members will need to hold a D Visa too.
More than Visa D alone is needed to secure temporary residence for up to one year. After you obtain Visa D at your nearest Bulgarian embassy or general consulate, you will also need to commit to doing one of the following:
- open a trade representative office and promote your foreign business in Bulgaria
- start a company and create ten jobs for Bulgarian citizens
- invest in real estate via a Bulgaria company of a minimum €312,000
These residence permits for you and your family require a minimum of 183 days stay in the country. After this period, you are considered a tax resident in Bulgaria.
Prolonged residence can be renewed four times, and after five years of living in the country on a temporary residence basis, you can obtain Bulgarian permanent residency. However, there are shortcuts to permanent residence for you, the foreign national, which requires no physical residence requirements in the country.
You can take routes to Bulgarian permanent residence without undergoing extended residence.
Bypass Bulgarian temporary residence via your nearest Bulgarian embassy or general consulate by fulfilling one of the following requirements:
- form a company and invest no less than 500,000 Bulgarian Lev (approximately €256,000) in long-term assets and create ten positions for Bulgarian citizens
- invest a minimum amount of 6,000,000 Bulgarian Leva (about €3,068,000) in the capital of a Bulgarian company whose shares are not traded on a regulated market
The maximum period you can stay as a tourist in Bulgaria depends on which country you come from, but typically is 90 days. Bulgarian law then stipulates you apply for temporary or permanent residency to remain in Bulgaria.
A temporary Bulgarian ID card could be yours if you:
- establish a trade representative office
- set up Bulgarian companies that create ten positions for local citizens
- invest a minimum €312,000 in real estate via a company of Bulgarian origin
If permanent residence is your immediate aim, you don’t have to worry about setting up a trade representative office. Cut to the chase instead by:
- starting a company and investing no less than 500,000 Bulgarian Leva (approximately €256,000) in long-term assets and creating ten positions for local citizens
- investing a minimum amount of 6,000,000 Bulgarian Leva (about €3,068,000) in the capital of a Bulgarian business whose shares are not traded on a regulated market
A Bulgarian ID card that proves you have permanent residence in the country is a useful Plan B.
You are allowed multiple entries to Bulgaria and can move your family to the country.
Would you like to diversify? Would you like to open an office in non-EU or EU countries? This is where Nomad Capitalist can help you with all your representative office, and permanent residence needs in an EU country and beyond. We can help you solve your offshore puzzle and go where you’re treated best.
If you are an EU citizen, then yes, you can. But others who plan to relocate to Bulgaria must complete various formalities depending on their nationalities. Non-EU citizens, for instance, need to apply for short-term visas for a visit and long-term residence permits for a longer stay and permanent residence.
To qualify for Bulgarian tax residency, you must stay for 183 days in Bulgaria. However, according to Bulgarian law, you can also obtain tax residency in Bulgaria if you can prove that the center of your vital interests is in the country.
American citizens require visas if they want to travel to Bulgaria, move to the country for a short period, or establish permanent residency in Bulgaria.
Yes. Every foreign national who purchases real estate in Bulgaria at a minimum €312,000 may secure an extended residence permit. That’s one way to obtain a Bulgarian ID card.
Getting a second passport is the perfect Plan B allowing you to choose the level of taxes you pay. Nomad Capitalist is ready to help you prepare and create a holistic Action Plan.