Bulgarian citizenship by investment: benefits, conditions and requirements

Obtaining Bulgarian citizenship by investment became possible in 2014. Due to this, Bulgaria attracts assets and improves the economy.

The main advantage of the Bulgarian program is that the status of a citizen can be obtained in two years. Participation does not require mandatory government donations, all investments can ultimately be returned and even made a profit.

Bulgarian citizenship: conditions and requirements

Болгария - столица София Normally, the process takes up to 2 years. Investors must meet the following criteria:

  • Not be a EU citizen.
  • Absence of sanctions, restrictions or bans on entry to EU countries, USA, the UK and Canada.
  • Absence of a criminal record and criminal proceedings for serious crimes.
  • Ability to confirm the legality of the source of income.
  • Have impeccable personal and business reputation.
  • Have favourable and stable credit history.
  • Be in good health.

Passport of Bulgaria can also be obtained by:

  • A spouse.
  • Children, regardless of age, which are financially dependent on the main applicant.
  • Parents of the main applicant and/or his/her spouse.
  • Citizenship can be inherited.

 

Investment options to apply for Bulgarian passport

Bulgarian passport by investment can be obtained by choosing one of the four options.

  • Investment in government bonds. €1,022,000 — a minimum investment (paid in two installments, per €511,000 each, with a 1 year interval).
  • Investment in securities of Bulgarian enterprises or financial support of priority financing projects. €1,022,000 — a minimum investment (paid in two installments, per €511,000 each, with a 1 year interval).
  • Combination of several options. €1,022,000 — a minimum investment (paid in two installments, per €511,000 each, with a 1 year interval).
  • Non-refundable donation. €270,000 — a minimum donation (permanent residency stage require €195,000 and citizenship stage require €75,000).

Advantages of a Citizenship of Bulgaria

Паспорт Болгарии

  • No requirements to reside in the country.
  • Renunciation of main citizenship is not necessary (second citizenship allowed).
  • Children can study in European universities on common terms.
  • Visa-free or visa-on-arrival regime with over 169 countries, including Canada, the UK and Schengen countries.
  • All family members can obtain citizenship.
  • No requirement to know and speak Bulgarian language.
  • Mild tax policy (10% income tax).
  • Possibility to establish or own a business in Bulgaria or any other EU or EEA state or Switzerland.

Steps of Bulgarian citizenship application process

  • CONTRACT SIGNING – Free preliminary background check of an applicant (1 day) and conclusion of the contract in one of our offices or remotely. At this stage, it will be sufficient to provide the copies of foreign passports for all family members that will be included in the citizenship application. Result of this step: Background check report + signed contract.
  • PREPARATION OF DOCUMENTS AND CASE CONSIDERATION – obtaining certificates of no criminal record, filling out government forms, arrange for notarization of the copies of documents, translation and apostilization of the entire package, and send it to the Citizenship Office in Bulgaria. Paying the first installment of the investment in the amount of 511,000 euros. Result of this step: Approval received.
  • OBTAINING A PERMANENT RESIDENCE CARD – The government carries out the processing of the case and issues residence card. Result of this step: Permanent residence cards received in 4-6 months.
  • SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS FOR CITIZENSHIP – One year after receiving the permanent residency status under the Bulgarian Investment Immigration Program (BIIP), the investor must pay the second part of the investment and submit the documents to the Citizenship Committee. A visit to Bulgaria is not required. Result of this step: Approval for the grant of citizenship received.
  • RECEIVING PASSPORTS – The whole process of obtaining citizenship takes up to 2 years. After paying the investment and fees, our lawyer receives a certificate of citizenship and a passport and forwards it either to one of our offices where we deliver it personally, or sends it to you directly.

Answers to frequently asked questions and information about Bulgaria

Курорты Болгарии

  • How to prove children and parents are dependent on the main applicant?

An applicant shall provide the documents confirming financial dependence: for children – a certificate from an educational institution, for dependent parents – a birth certificate.

  • Is it required to reside in the country and speak Bulgarian?

There is no requirement to reside in the country and speak Bulgarian.

  • How to get Bulgarian citizenship?

It’s possible to obtain Bulgarian citizenship by choosing one of the following investment options:
• Invest in government bonds;
• Invest in securities of Bulgarian enterprises or financial support of priority financing projects;
• Combine several options;
• Donate a certain amount of money to a state fund.
All these options are acceptable if you intend to become a citizen of Bulgaria. This investor program where you get citizenship through investment is regulated by Bulgarian laws, so it’s more than official.

  • What documents are required to apply for Bulgarian citizenship by investment?

To apply for Bulgarian Investment Immigration Program (BIIP) a foreigner needs to submit the following documents:
– certificate of investment in Bulgaria;
– D-type visa;
– certificate of no criminal record in the country of residence;
– confirmation of the legality of the invested funds.

  • What is the procedure of participating in a fast-track option to obtain citizenship of Bulgaria?

The investor must fulfill 2 basic requirements:

  1. Have the status of permanent residence under the Bulgarian Investment Immigration Program (BIIP) for at least 1 year, having invested 1,000,000 leva (511,292 euros);
  2. Increase the amount of investments in the Bulgarian economy to 2,000,000 Lev (1,022,584 euros).

When these conditions are met, the investor can expect to receive a Bulgarian passport after 18 months.

  • The procedure for crossing the Schengen and UK border with a Bulgarian passport.

The Schengen zone: visa-free entry, you can stay for 365 days per year;
The UK: visa-free entry, you can stay for 365 days per year.

  • For how long should I keep the investment to preserve citizenship?

Funds should be invested in bonds for a period of 5 years. Under the terms of the transaction, the investor does not receive any interest. Return of the amount after 5 years is guaranteed by the Government of Bulgaria.

  • Is it possible to get a loan from credit institution in Bulgaria instead of investing available personal cash?

In practice obtaining Bulgarian citizenship by investment takes from 2 to 5 years since the program does not work properly (obtaining permanent residency takes 6 months; after that an applicant has to wait for one year to apply for citizenship; then it takes another 3-6 months for an application to be examined). Residing in Bulgaria is not required neither during the permanent residency or citizenship application process, nor after obtaining the status.

  • Does a Bulgarian passport give the right to live and work in the EU?

Yes, Bulgaria’s passport gives the right to employment and the right to live in any country of the EU, run one’s business there, study in European universities, use healthcare services.

  • Is it possible to obtain a Bulgarian citizenship when buying property or business?

No. By acquiring a business or real estate worth not less than 300,000 euros, an investor may apply for a temporary residence permit in Bulgaria, which does not lead to permanent residence or citizenship. A residence permit for real estate investment may be extended until the property is sold. A residence permit for an investment in business can be obtained for 1 year, then renewed annually, while permanent residency may be renewed only in five years. To obtain Bulgarian citizenship in the usual way (through naturalization), it is required to reside in the country for at least 8 years.

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