Living and Working in Bulgaria
Residence of Foreigners in Bulgaria
Foreigners can reside in Bulgaria:
short-term – up to three months within any six-month period from the date of entry into the country;
continuous – up to one year;
long-term – 5 years;
permanent – for indefinite period.
Receiving a Visa Type D is a prerequisite for applying for the status of continuous, long-term or permanent resident in the Republic of Bulgaria. The submission of an application for a residence permit is to be made in person by a candidate who has entered the Republic of Bulgaria on the grounds visa type D, which excludes other grounds such as a Schengen visa or a Bulgarian visa for short-term residence.
Long-term residence visa (type D) is usually valid for 6 months and gives right of residence for up to 180 days. The visa permits multiple entries into the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria within the term of validity.
An application for a long-term residence visa is to be filed only in Bulgarian diplomatic and consular missions of the applicant’s permanent residence or those missions accredited for the country of permanent residence of the applicant. Persons who reside legally in a third country, other than the country of their permanent residence, may apply in that country.
An interview with the candidate is required when submitting an application for a long-term residence visa.
When submitting an application for a long-term residence visa, the applicant must present:
documents supporting the request for long-term residence visa – for example, the document for the grant of pension, a certificate of good standing of a Trade Representative Office of a foreign company, issued by the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce, etc .;
documentsfor the possession of sufficient funds for subsistence – for example an extract from a bank account in a Bulgarian bank;
lease agreement or notary deed;
clear criminal record certificate.
The continuous residence permit is issued for a period of up to 1 year. The application is submitted personally at the Migration Directorate of the National Police by an applicant holding type D visa.
To obtain a permit for continuous residence, applicants should have:
lease agreement or notary deed of a real estate;
documentsfor the possession of sufficient funds for subsistence – for example an extract from a bank account in a Bulgarian bank;
clear criminal record certificate – filed only in the initial application procedure and is not necessary for renewal.
The application is considered within 14 days of the date of filing. In cases of legal and factual complexity and the need for the submission of additional documents, this period may be extended by one month.
Trade Representative Office
One of the most attractive and popular ways among candidates to obtain continuous residence in Bulgaria is through the registration of a Trade Representative Office (TRO) of a foreign company in Bulgaria. TRO is not a separate legal entity and cannot carry out commercial activities. Its purpose is to promote the activities of the company it represents, and look for contacts and business opportunities. The individuals appointed as commercial trade representatives are entitled to obtain a permit for continuous residence in the Republic of Bulgaria for a period of up to one year, which may be renewed on the same grounds each year, and after five years the representative can apply for permanent residence.
Registration of TRO can be accomplished by us by power of attorney without requiring the presence of the client in Bulgaria.
Republic of Bulgaria provides the opportunity to financially secure pensioners to easily and quickly receive authorization for continuous residence for a period of up to 1 year. Applicants should be entitled to pensions in state ofpermanent residence for whatever reason: old age, illness, etc. The authorization may be renewed annually and after 5 years the applicant can apply for permanent residence.
Investment in Real Estate
An investment of BGN 600,000 (around EUR 306,000) in real estate (one or more) in the Republic of Bulgaria or in the capital of a Bulgarian company (over 50%), is the basis for obtaining permission for continuous residence for up to 1 year.
Investors in economically disadvantaged regions (mountain areas and low-productivity agricultural land according to a list approved by the Council of Ministers), who hold no less than BGN 250,000 (around EUR 128,000) of the capital of a Bulgarian company, and as a result of the investment new fixed assets for the same value were acquired and at least five jobs for Bulgarian citizens are opened, can apply for continuous residence permit.
Our team will assist clients in finding a property in Bulgaria, will research its history and ownership, will prepare all the necessary documents and represent the client before a notary in the transaction.
Our clients can rely on our help during the entire process of making the investment and the submission of documents to the Migration Directorate.
Employment and Freelance
Persons employed under a labor contract and those who want to operate as freelancers can apply for continuous permanent permit for a period of up to 1 year after authorization by the Employment Agency.
We assist our clients in communicating with all public institutions and, where possible, representing them in all procedures that do not require the personal appearance of the applicant.
Managers or Board Members of a Bulgarian Company
Board members of Bulgarian companies that employ at least 10 Bulgarian citizens through a labor contract are entitled to apply for continuous residence permit.
Those who wish to operate a non-profit organization after permission by the Ministry of Justice are also entitled to apply for a continuous residence permit for up to 1 year. By virtue of a power of attorney we can register a NGO without requiring our clients to visit Bulgaria for the registration.
Spouse, Children and Parents
Members of the family of a foreigner who has a continuous or permanent residence permit or of a Bulgarian citizen (spouse and children up to age 18), and financially secured parents
are entitled to apply for continuous residence for up to 1 year.
A foreigner who has resided legally and without interruption on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria for five years is entitled to a long-term residence permit (5 years). Periods of absence from the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria should not be equal to or longer than six consecutive months and may not exceed a total of 10 months for 5 years.
A residence permit for the European Union is issued to a foreigner who has been granted the status of long-term resident.
Family members of a long-term resident can obtain a permit for continuous stay of one year with the option for renewal, but not exceeding the permitted period of residence of the holder.
Permit for continuous residence and work of the type “Joint permit for residence and work” (Blue Card) can be issued to foreigners who fulfill the conditions for obtaining a work permit under the Promotion of Employment Act and who possess a type D visa.
A blue Card is issued following a decision of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy for a period of one year, and is renewed if there are grounds for reissue. If the duration of the labour contract is less than one year, the permit shall be issued for the duration of the contract.
A permanent residence permit entitles the holder to enter and exit Bulgaria and reside freely in the country for an indefinite period of time. Foreigners who have obtained permanent residence permit are not obliged to live in Bulgaria permanently. Until the entry of Bulgaria into the Schengen every EU country decides individually whether they allow foreign permanent residents to travel without a visa.
The procedure for obtaining permanent residence lasts 7-9 months.
Children of permanent residents receive permanent residency automatically after the submission of several documents. The spouse of a permanent resident has the right to obtain a continuous residence permit for up to one year, which may be renewed.
Bulgarian Origin, Family Members and Continuous Residents
A permanent residence permit can be granted to foreigners:
of Bulgarian origin;
five years after marriage to a permanent resident and having resided legally and continuously for a period of five years on the territory of Bulgaria;
children of permanent residents (under 18 years of age and not married);
parents of Bulgarian citizens if they provide funds and have resided legally and continuously for a period of three years in the country;
resided legally and without interruption in Bulgaria for the last five years and weren’t absent within this period for more than 30 months;
family members of a Bulgarian citizen, if they have resided without interruption in the territory of Bulgaria for the last five years.
Permanent Residence Based on Investment
First stage: Making the Investment
To satisfy the requirements for obtaining a permanent residence permit, the applicant must invest one million BGN (511,292 EUR) in:
shares of Bulgarian companies, traded on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange;
state or municipal bonds;
contract for fiduciary management of assets ina bank, concluded for a period of at least five years;
ownership of a separate part of the property of a Bulgarian company with more than 50 per cent state or municipal participation in the capital under the Privatization and Post-Privatization Control Act;
units or shares owned by the state or municipalitiesin a Bulgarian company under the Privatization and Post-Privatization Control Act;
Bulgarian intellectual property – subject to copyright and related rights, patent-protected inventions, utility models, trademarks, service marks and industrial designs;
rights under concession contracts in the Republic of Bulgaria;
projects certified under the Investment Promotion Act.
Alternatively, investors can invest at least:
6 million BGN (3,067,751 EUR) in the capital of the Bulgarian company that is not traded on the stock exchange.
BGN 500,000 (around EUR 128,000) in the capital of a Bulgarian company, and as a result of the investment having acquired new fixed assets of the same value and at least 10 jobs for Bulgarian citizens are disclosed and maintained for the duration of the residence;
BGN 250,000 (around EUR 128,000) in the capital of a Bulgarian company in an economically disadvantaged region (mountain areas and low-productivity agricultural land according to a list approved by the Council of Ministers) and as a result of the investment having acquired new fixed assets of the same value and at least 5 jobs for Bulgarian citizens are disclosed and maintained for the duration of stay;
BGN 600,000 (around EUR 306,000) in real estate or a company that has acquired real estate and after obtaining a continuous residence permit on the grounds of the investment, the investment must be maintained for the duration of five years.
Second stage: Obtaining of Visa Type D
Third stage: Obtaining Permanent Residence Permit
After receiving visa type D in a Bulgarian consulate, the applicant submits in person an application for a permanent residence permit at the Migration Directorate of the National Police. The permit is issued within 3 months of application.
A person who is not a Bulgarian citizen can acquire Bulgarian citizenship if by the date of filing of the application for naturalization:
is an adult;
has been given permit for permanent or long-term residence in the Republic of Bulgaria before no less than 5 years;
has not been convicted of a crime of a general nature;
has an income or occupation which enables him/ her to live in the Republic of Bulgaria;
commands the Bulgarian language, and
is released from his present citizenship at the time of acquiring Bulgarian citizenship.
Release from their previous citizenship is not required for:
spouses of Bulgarian citizens;
citizens of a EU member state – party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or Switzerland;
citizens of countries with which Bulgaria has signed contracts, which establish reciprocity.
A candidate who has been permitted a permanent residence on the grounds of investment or implementation of certified project (no need to speak Bulgarian language as well).
A permanent or long-term resident in Bulgaria after no less than three years could apply for citizenship if:
is still legally married to a Bulgarian citizen for no less than 3 years;
is born in the Republic of Bulgaria;
permanent or long-term residence permit was obtained before turning 18 years of age.
Relief from the current citizenship as well as continuous residence in Bulgaria for five years is not needed for the following categories of applicants who:
have been granted refugee status or asylum before at least 3 years of the date of submission of the application for citizenship;
have been granted humanitarian status before at least 5 years from the date of filing of the application for citizenship;
at least 3 years before the date of the submission of application for citizenship were granted permanent or long-term residence in Bulgaria.
Those granted permanent residence in Bulgaria on the grounds of an investment of 1 million BGN and pursuant to the implementation of investment project certified under certain conditions are entitled to receive Bulgarian citizenship in a facilitated procedure.
The only conditions candidates of Bulgarian origin to apply for Bulgarian citizenship is to have clear criminal record and to get a certificate of Bulgarian origin issued by the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad.
Foreigners with special merits to the Republic of Bulgaria in the public and economic sphere, in the field of science, technology, culture and sport can acquire Bulgarian citizenship in a facilitated procedure, if the Republic of Bulgaria has an interest in their naturalization. Commonly used for naturalization of foreign sport players.
Children under 18 years of age acquire Bulgarian citizenship if their parents receive Bulgarian citizenship or if only one of the parents does, if the other parent is a Bulgarian citizen.
Children under the age of 18 with one parent / adoptive parent that is a Bulgarian citizen, if they do not have Bulgarian citizenship, can become Bulgarian citizens if both parents / adoptive parents or the surviving of them give written consent. The consent of the parent / adoptive parent who is deprived of parental rights is not required.
The application for acquiring Bulgarian citizenship by naturalization shall be submitted in person at the Ministry of Justice or the diplomatic or consular representation of the Republic of Bulgaria. After submitting the documents, the applicant is interviewed.
The acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship is carried out by a decree of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria.