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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.

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.



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

Map of Republic of Bulgaria


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.



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.


For Everything you need to know about Residencies, Second Passports and Wealth Protection, read this amazing article: The Basics of How To Get a Second Passport Or a Second Residency.



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.



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

Coast of Sozopol, 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.



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.



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.



If you want the best intel from the expat world, including profitable offshore opportunities, little-known tax-saving strategies, and hard-won insights on immigration, passports, and plan-b residencies, all delivered to your inbox every single week; you may join our daily correspondence, EMS Pulse. It's currently enjoyed by over 37,000 expats and expat-hopefuls worldwide. And as a special bonus, you will also get our report on the 19 International Strategies To Grow And Protect Your Wealth Abroad, all completely FREE. Click on the link above for more information.

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I help my clients to move offshore for freedom, privacy and autonomy by focusing on the immigration, legal, and tax issues that you will face when becoming an expat. If you would like to work one-on-one with me on getting out of Canada or the USA (or setting up a Plan-B location), then read this important letter and fill in an application form to become a Private Client. My fees are not cheap; however, I can assure you that when you work with a professional firm like ours, the results will be worth it.

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.

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