Bulgaria and EU Citizenship by investment is achievable through the immigrant investor program in the investor immigration family – the one for Bulgaria.

The Bulgarian Immigrant Investor Program (BGIIP) is based on the Canadian immigrant investor model and has been in operation since June 2009. 

The program is offered in accordance with the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act. The program is based on the Canadian model. The program delivers permanent residency, and also enables investors, subsequently, to attain Bulgarian citizenship.Bulgaria-and-EU-Citizenship-by-investment.jpg

The primary qualifications are

  • The appropriate investment is made by a non-European Union citizen
  • The applicant’s net worth is confirmed and their source is shown to be legitimate. The thresholds vary according to how the investment is made (see further details below)
  • The applicant has a clear criminal record, and is not under criminal investigation
  • The applicant must travel to Bulgaria to complete the process
  • Once the specific time and investment qualifications are met, the now-resident foreigner may apply for citizenship, following either a Standard or Fast-Track option

 

Why Choose Bulgaria?

Its population of 7.4 million is ethnically diverse. 72% of the population is urban, and approximately 62% is of working age. They have a reputation for a strong work and community ethic. Most high school students study a foreign language. Sofia, the capital, is an ancient Thracian settlement. It lies approximately midway between the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea, although it is closer to the Aegean.

Bulgaria has transitioned to a market economy following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and is considered to be upper middle in range. It enjoys low labor costs, low business operating costs, and the lowest tax regime in Europe. Corporate income tax and personal income tax is calculated at a flat rate of 10%. There are additional tax incentives, through accelerated depreciation, for investing in new capital equipment.

All corporate tax is eliminated for five years after establishing a manufacturing facility in a government-determined depressed area.  In addition, some corporate entities, such as special purpose investment companies, are exempt from corporation tax.

80% of the country’s GDP is generated by the private sector, which has seen strong growth recently. Bulgaria has the lowest public debt of any country in the European Union (EU). Its economy is based, primarily, on heavy industry, power engineering and agriculture. Industrial production is expected to grow by 3.1% in 2015 and by a further 3.5% in 2016.

Bulgaria joined the EU in January 2007 but is not a member of the Eurozone. Its currency, the Lev, referenced as BGN in financial reports is pegged at 1.96 BGN to the €. Bulgaria’s government is based on a parliamentary democracy. As a member of the United Nations, it has been part of the Security Council three times; it is also a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), The World Trade Organization (WTO) and was a founding member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Benefits of Bulgarian Residency and Citizenship

Benefits of Residency include:

  • Ability to reside, in Bulgaria while ever the investment remains intact
  • The investor can establish a company, purchase property and raw land in Bulgaria
  • Some conditional tax exemption on non-Bulgarian income
  • Ability to work in Bulgaria
  • Freedom to study, as an exchange student, in the other EU countries which have exchange agreements with Bulgaria
  • Future ability to apply for citizenship and a Bulgarian passport

 

Benefits of Citizenship include:

  • All the benefits of permanent residency plus
  • Freedom to travel throughout the 28 EU nations, including visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to more than 160 countries and territories
  • Consular protection within the EU
  • The ability to run a business, work, live, and study in any of the EU member states
  • 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)
  • Access to health care facilities throughout the EU
  • Free or lower cost education within the EU

 

Citizenship Criteria

The Bulgarian Citizenship Act enables a foreign investor, who holds a permit of permanent residence for a period of five (5) years to apply to become a naturalized citizen.

The qualifying requirements, in addition to the original residential investor requirements are:

  • Make suitable application and pay the necessary fees (see below)
  • Satisfy a medical examination
  • The applicant must not have been convicted (or accused in ongoing criminal proceedings) of a capital offence, unless the applicant has, subsequently, been rehabilitated

On December 21, 2013, the government announced a ‘Fast Track’ option. This option is recommended for anyone who does not want to complete a five-year residence qualification, or who has dependents over 18 years of age, because they can apply for citizenship immediately after the primary investor becomes a citizen. The qualifying requirements for this option include those above (excluding the five year requirement) plus:

  • The applicant must have completed the Standard Investment option, and held permanent residency status for at least one year
  • Make a second investment of €500,000 (refundable after 2 years of citizenship)
  • The second investment may be financed with a down payment of €110,000 (which is not refundable)
  • The investment is used to purchase further government bonds
  • Hold the second investment for at least 2 years after naturalization
  • Children of the primary applicant, regardless of age, may apply for citizenship as soon as the primary applicant has attained citizenship

 

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