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Bulgarian Program for Residency and Citizenship

Bulgaria at Glance

An understated beauty in southeastern Europe, Bulgaria offers a rich culture and the perfect combination of nature, history and metropolitan cities. With the breathtaking Balkan Mountains, Black Sea beaches, rolling hills, majestic waterfalls and intriguing caves, Bulgaria is ideal for all types of outdoor activities including hiking and skiing.

A vibrant country in all senses, it's steeped in history with cliff-side monasteries, tombs, palaces, churches and historic towns, while its modern cities offer nightlife, world-class dining and an abundance of culture. Bulgaria's stunning landscape, quaint cities and friendly people make it a wonderful place to visit and live. Plus, ever since joining the EU in 2007, Bulgaria has even more benefits to offer.

The Bulgarian Program for Residency and Citizenship was created by the Bulgarian Government to encourage foreign investments by offering special incentives to investors from non-EEA countries. In exchange for their financial contributions, investors are offered the opportunity to secure a permanent residence permit, and can also apply for Bulgarian citizenship and passport via the Fast-Track Citizenship option.

Investment Options – Standard Procedure of 5 Years

The Bulgarian Program for Residency and Citizenship offers two different investment pathways under the Bond Investment.

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Full Investment

Investors must deposit Bulgarian Lev (BGN) 1 million (€511,292) in a Government bond portfolio for five years with no further payment required. At the end of the five-year period, the full amount will be returned to the investor without any accrued interest. The investment is fully guaranteed and secured by the Bulgarian state.

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Financed Investment

The investor pays a reduced amount of €195,000 for the purchase of Government bonds, which is used to finance a closed five-year term loan from a chartered bank. This enables the investor to secure permanent residency for their family and themselves. No further payment is required, and no amount is refunded to the investor at the end of the five-year period.

This option is recommended for candidates whose liquid assets are not readily available to pay the full required investment sum, or for those who want to leverage their existing capital for other projects.

Whichever investment option you choose, there are also due diligence and residency fees that apply:

Permanent Residency - Legal and Processing Fees(including due diligence fees)

  • € 35,000 - Family of two
  • € 2,500 - Each dependent below age 18
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Fast-Track Citizenship Option

Investors can apply for Fast-Track citizenship by doubling their initial investment. The Fast-Track citizenship program enables investors to obtain citizenship after just one year of permanent residency.To be eligible for the Fast-Track option, the investor must meet the following requirements:

  • Has been a permanent resident for at least 1 year via investment in government bonds - €511,292 (or €195,000 respectively).
  • Has invested an additional amount of €511,292 in government bonds. This amount can be financed against a down payment of €110,000.
  • Will maintain both investments for at least two years after securing citizenship.

Fast-Track - Legal and Processing Fees(including citizenship application fees)

  • € 30,000 - Family of two
  • € 7,500 - Each dependent, up to 5 children
  • € 2,500 - Each additional child

Due Diligence Fees:

  • € 7,500 - Main Applicant
  • € 3,000 - Dependents age 14-18
  • € 5,000 - Dependents above age 18

The standard processing time required by the Ministry of Justice to provide an official response to a citizenship application is up to 6 months.

Qualifications & Conditions to Apply

In addition to the monetary investment requirements, there are several qualifications that must be met prior to applying for the Bulgarian Program for Residency and Citizenship. These vary slightly depending on whether a candidate is applying for permanent residency or citizenship

  • Non-EU citizen.
  • No criminal record.
  • Possess a valid passport or another foreign travel document.
  • Hold Visa type “D.”
  • Provide documents supporting the source and origin of invested funds.
  • Attest the power of attorneys and the investment agreement.
  • Make the minimum required trips to Bulgaria.
  • Personal net worth greater than €1,000,000 is required by the financing bank for the Financed Investment option. For the Full Investment option, the net-worth requirement is €511,292 only.
  • Investment Certificate issued by the Ministry of Finance confirming a direct foreign investment of BGN1,000,000 (€511,292), as per the statutory procedures, in guaranteed governmental bond portfolio for a period of 5 years.
  • Payment of application fees.
 
Citizenship Requirements:

 

Foreign investors who maintain a permanent residence permit for at least 5 (or 2)* years can apply for Bulgarian citizenship per the Bulgarian Citizenship Act.

 

There are several other requirements to qualify:
  • Must be older than 18 years old.
  • Must have maintained permanent resident status for the past 5 (or 2) years.
  • Must have never been sentenced by a Bulgarian court for a capital offense and nor been accused in criminal proceedings for such a crime unless he has been rehabilitated.
  • Successfully pass medical tests.

*To clarify the 5 vs. 2 years distinction: If an investor applies via the Standard Investment route, then they will be eligible to apply for citizenship after 5 years. However, if they pursue the Fast-Track investment option and meet its requirements, then they will be eligible to apply for citizenship after 1 year of permanent residency.

Fees required for the citizenship application after 5 years of permanent residence in Bulgaria are as follows:

Application Fees:

  • € 20,000 - Family of two
  • € 5,000 - Each dependent, up to 5 children
  • € 2,500 - Each additional child

Due Diligence Fees:

  • € 7,500 - Main Applicant
  • € 3,000 - Dependents age 14-18
  • € 5,000 - Dependents above age 18

The Ministry of Justice requires a processing period of up to 6 months to provide an official response to a citizenship application.

Application Process

The application process for the Bulgarian Program for Residency and Citizenship is one of the simplest and fastest when it comes to citizenship by investment programs. Below is a general overview of the key steps:

Phase 1: Main Applicant

  • Submission of application, paperwork, and application fees
  • Sign documents at Bulgarian Consulate
  • Investment transfer of required funds  
  • Investment Certificate issued from the Bulgarian Ministry of Finance
  • 2nd appointment at the Bulgarian Consulate
  • Application for Visa D (can take up to 45 days after submission)
  • Visa D granted
  • 1st trip to Bulgaria
  • Submission of application for Permanent Residency Certificate (PRC) (Can take up to 3 months for approval)
  • Permanent residency approved
  • 2nd trip to Bulgaria
  • Submission of application for Bulgarian ID card (takes 3 business days after application)

Phase 2: Family

After the Main Applicant receives an official Bulgarian ID card, their family members can then apply for their permanent resident cards. The process may take up to 3 months and includes two mandatory trips to Bulgaria for each qualifying family member.

Application Fees

The application fees associated with the Bulgaria investor program include government application fees, legal and translation fees, and service fees related to background verification and validation of the source of funds. Application fees are subject to change, therefore, please contact us to obtain the most updated information.

 

Why invest in Bulgaria?

There are countless reasons why a Bulgarian dual citizenship is an excellent opportunity for investors to expand their reach into the EU. Here are some benefits of securing Bulgarian citizenship by investment.

  • Residency within 6-8 months.
  • Fast-track option to citizenship within 2 years.
  • Special exemption from physical residence enforced with legislation.
  • No language requirements.
  • No obligation to relinquish current nationality.
  • No nationality restrictions.
  • Lowest tax rates and free-trade environment within the EU.
  • Family members (spouses and unmarried children under 18) automatically qualify for Permanent Residence status.
  • Government-approved investments.
  • Passive investment in government bonds.
  • Bulgaria’s strategic position provides easy access to all EU member states, the Russian Federation, Mediterranean countries, the Near and Middle East, and Southwest Asia.
  • Many new international business opportunities.

Bulgaria is a key hub for international trade and finance and also has a wealth of local IT expertise.

Bulgarian Permanent Residence Benefits

  • Freedom of mobility within the Schengen zone once Bulgaria officially becomes a member state.
  • Access to high-quality health care and education in Bulgaria and the EU.
  • Conditional tax exemption on world income.
  • Visa-free travel to designated non-EU countries.

Bulgarian Citizenship Benefits

Bulgarian citizenship offers all the benefits of permanent residency plus:

  • Unrestricted right to live, retire, work, study and run a business in Europe.
  • Freedom to travel throughout the 28 EU nations, including visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to more than 160 countries and territories, including Canada.
  • Access to free education and/or reduced tuition costs within the EU.
  • Access to health care facilities throughout the EU.
  • Consular protection within the EU.
  • Attractive tax incentive schemes for capital investment.
  • No double taxation (or low tax) agreements with more than 60 other countries (for more details please see this link).
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Make Europe your home by securing permanent residency and citizenship in Bulgaria. This Balkan jewel is the perfect blend of nature and city life with majestic mountains, stunning beaches, and vibrant cities. When it comes to mobility, wealth management and business expansion, Bulgaria offers a wealth of wonderful benefits.

If you are interested in learning more about the Bulgarian program for residence and citizenship, please contact us today for your free initial consultation.

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