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How To Obtain Residency In Bulgaria

4 min read

How To Obtain Residency In Bulgaria

Bulgaria has a varied geography with numerous beach resorts, historic towns, and mountain ranges. This region is home to fertile plains, valleys, and lowlands where verdant rivers run. Bulgaria has many activities which draw millions of tourists each year due to the variety of its natural riches.

Obtaining residency in Bulgaria is a pathway to unlocking a wealth of benefits and embracing a lifestyle that blends rich history with vibrant attractions. Bulgaria offers various options for residency, catering to different needs and preferences. Whether you're looking to invest, work, or retire, there's a type of residency that suits you. The process typically involves submitting the required documents, which may include proof of income, health insurance, and a clean criminal record.

Bulgaria is located in southeast Europe's Balkan Peninsula, and its capital is Sofia. Bulgaria borders Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Turkey. Being a Bulgarian resident guarantees visa-free travel throughout most of Europe.

 

TEMPORARY RESIDENCE PERMIT

All foreign citizens wishing to be granted a temporary visa in Bulgaria must apply for a visa at the closest Bulgarian consulate or embassy. The Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act permits the issuance of a Visa D under specific circumstances. 

  • Establishing a foreign firm's trade representative office in Bulgaria
  • Incorporating a limited company in Bulgaria with at least ten local employees
  • Investing a €312,000 ($312,400 USD) real estate investment.
  • Non-EU nationals who are retirees and possess the resources and housing necessary to maintain their stay in Bulgaria
  • Reunification of families in Bulgaria
  • European citizens may reside in Bulgaria. 

There are two categories of temporary residency visas;

Extended residency visa and long-term EU residency visa.

 

Extended residency visa:

They are also known as prolonged residence permits. It is valid for one year.

Investors and other interested parties may utilize them.

 

Long-Term EU Residence permit:

They can be for an initial five-year period and then renewed. This visa is only for those from the EU, those who are non-EU and have an EU family member or hold an EU passport or ID card.

 

Map of Republic of Bulgaria - Beyond the legal aspects, Bulgaria's appeal lies in its diverse climate and rich cultural attractions. From the ski resorts of Bansko to the beaches along the Black Sea coast, Bulgaria offers a varied landscape that caters to different tastes.

Map of Republic of Bulgaria

PERMANENT RESIDENCE PERMIT

Bulgaria offers different types of residency, such as permanent, long-term, or temporary. The type you choose depends on your intentions and the duration of your stay. Each type comes with its own set of benefits and conditions.

You can get your permanent residency visa after a set amount of time living in Bulgaria with a valid visa. One of the primary prerequisites for acquiring a Bulgarian passport and citizenship is receiving this, which is issued for an indeterminate amount of time.

Gathering the necessary documents is a crucial step in the residency application process. Detailed information about your financial status, health coverage, and background is typically required. It's essential to ensure that all documents are in order to streamline the application process.

 

PERMANENT RESIDENCE BY INVESTMENT IN BULGARIAN ETFS 

Applicants of all nationalities can obtain permanent residency with just one trip to Bulgaria in exchange for a secure and liquid investment of €512,000 ($512,700 USD). You can apply for citizenship if the investment is kept up for five years. There are no physical residency restrictions. However, Bulgarian language proficiency is necessary. At the end of the five-year residency period, the funds can be withdrawn and returned to the investor.

 

Related article: The Basics of How To Get a Second Passport Or a Second Residency

 

PERMANENT RESIDENCE BY PROTRACTED STAY

This category is the most common for acquiring a Bulgarian permanent residency. The applicant's extended stay under a provision of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act, which otherwise does not automatically offer conditions for a permanent stay, is deemed to constitute Bulgarian residence. 

You are qualified to apply for permanent residency in Bulgaria if you have a temporary residence permit in Bulgaria, have renewed it each year for the previous five years, and have physically resided there for 30 months during that time. After receiving permanent residency, you may apply for naturalization as a Bulgarian citizen after living in Bulgaria for an additional five years and speaking the language well.

 

PERMANENT RESIDENCY BY BULGARIAN ANCESTRY

If you are of Bulgarian descent, you are eligible to apply for permanent residency while your citizenship application is being processed. Before your Bulgarian ancestry Visa D expires, you must apply for a residence permit no later than two months in advance, and renewal applications must be submitted three months before the permanent resident visa expires. 

Notably, you can apply for naturalization as a Bulgarian citizen if you have lived physically in the nation for 48 months in the previous five years while holding permanent residency. Therefore, you can seek Bulgaria Citizenship by Naturalization over time even if your Citizenship by Origin application was denied.

 

Coast of Sozopol, Bulgaria - In navigating the process of obtaining residency in Bulgaria, one not only secures legal status but also gains access to a country with a storied history, diverse climate, and a plethora of attractions.

Coast of Sozopol, Bulgaria

ADVANTAGES OF PERMANENT RESIDENCY VISA IN BULGARIA

As a permanent resident of Bulgaria, you can work without a work visa. You can get permanent residency for you and your family (spouse and minor children). The same rights as Bulgarian citizens are granted to those with permanent residency visas, except for voting. After five years, you may apply for Bulgarian citizenship. No visa is necessary for entry to EU nations. Free healthcare and education within the EU.

One of the benefits of obtaining residency in Bulgaria is the possibility to include family members in your application. The law allows for the inclusion of spouses and dependent children, creating an opportunity for a unified relocation experience.

Beyond the legal aspects, Bulgaria's appeal lies in its diverse climate and rich cultural attractions. From the ski resorts of Bansko to the beaches along the Black Sea coast, Bulgaria offers a varied landscape that caters to different tastes. The historical sites, such as the ancient city of Plovdiv, add a layer of cultural richness to your experience.

For those who enjoy vibrant nightlife, Bulgaria doesn't disappoint. Cities like Sofia and Varna boast a lively scene with a mix of traditional taverns, modern clubs, and eclectic bars. Residency in Bulgaria means not only embracing its cultural heritage but also being part of a dynamic social scene.

 

TAXATION IN BULGARIA

Bulgarian residents pay 10% flat taxes, regardless of their income. 10% tax is also applied to business income and self-employment income. Only income from sources in Bulgaria is subject to taxation for non-residents.

 

CONCLUSION

Bulgaria is undoubtedly worth visiting at least once in a lifetime. Imagine enjoying a relaxing summer vacation by a pool or at a beach, using therapeutic mud baths and thermal springs, examining items left behind by ancient cultures, or even visiting year-round tourism destinations in the mountains. And given the low taxes, I would have to say it can be a decent low-cost place to live or establish new businesses, although it is not a low investment for the residency.

In navigating the process of obtaining residency in Bulgaria, one not only secures legal status but also gains access to a country with a storied history, diverse climate, and a plethora of attractions. It's a journey that goes beyond paperwork, offering a chance to become an integral part of the Bulgarian lifestyle.

 

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Mikkel Thorup

Written by Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup is the world’s most sought-after expat consultant. He focuses on helping high-net-worth private clients to legally mitigate tax liabilities, obtain a second residency and citizenship, and assemble a portfolio of foreign investments including international real estate, timber plantations, agricultural land and other hard-money tangible assets. Mikkel is the Founder and CEO at Expat Money®, a private consulting firm started in 2017. He hosts the popular weekly podcast, the Expat Money Show, and wrote the definitive #1-Best Selling book Expat Secrets - How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas And Make Giant Piles Of Money, and his second book: Expats Guide On Moving To Mexico.

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