There are different ways to get a Bulgarian citizenship. Compared to other European countries, Bulgaria has one of the most liberal citizenship regimes.
If you wonder why to apply for Bulgarian citizenship, here are some of the main benefits of having Bulgarian passport:
- Visa-free access or visa-on-arrival to 154 countries, including the Schengen Area, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Japan, South Korea, South America, Mexico, etc.
- Free access to the European market and do business in any EU/EEA country or in Switzerland.
- Free movement within the EU.
- The lowest tax rates within the EU.
- The right to buy land in Bulgaria and other EU countries.
The procedure to get a Bulgarian citizenship through investments made in Bulgaria requires a permanent residence permit to be obtained by the foreigner.
According to the Foreigners Act, a permanent residence permit may be granted to foreigners who have invested in Bulgaria more than BGN 1,000,000 (500 000 euros) or increased their investment by such an amount by the acquisition of:
- shares of Bulgarian commercial corporations traded in a regulated Bulgarian market (stock exchange);
- bonds and treasury bills, as well as derivative instruments thereof, issued by the State or the municipalities, with at least 6 months to maturity;
- title to a separate part of the property of a Bulgarian commercial corporation wherein the State or the municipalities hold more than 50 percent of the capital;
- shares in a Bulgarian commercial corporations held by the State or the municipalities in accordance with the Privatisation and Post-Privatisation Control Act;
- Bulgarian intellectual property – objects of copyright and neighboring rights, patent-protected inventions, utility models, trademarks, service marks and industrial design;
- rights under concession contracts within the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria.
As well, in order to become a Bulgarian citizen the candidate must maintain his investment for the period of 5 years.
There is also a fast-track option for obtaining Bulgarian citizenship by investment with higher amount.
According to the Bulgarian law any foreigner, who has clean criminal record or background check, may acquire Bulgarian citizenship by naturalization if not less than one year therebefore, he or she had been granted a permanent residence permit for the Republic of Bulgaria in pursuance with the items mentioned above and has increased his/her investment in compliance with the same conditions of the law to at least BGN 2 million or has invested not less than BGN 1 million in the capital of a Bulgarian commercial corporation which executes a priority investment project certificate in accordance with the procedure of the Investment Promotion Act.
The main advantages of this fast-track procedure are:
- the applicant do not need to live 5 years in Bulgaria,
- the foreigner is not obliged to be released from his/her previous citizenship, and
- the applicant do not need to speak Bulgarian.
This fast-track way to get a Bulgarian citizenship requires 4 to 6 months to process permanent residency application and 12 months to be eligible to apply for citizenship. After that, it takes approximately 4 to 6 months to process citizenship application. The whole procedure can take about 20-24 months. So, if you invest about €1,024,000 in Bulgarian interest-free government bonds, you will get your Bulgarian Passport in less than two years and you will recover the principal in 5 years. By comparison, the duration of the standard procedure is 12 years. Normally, it takes 5 years to get permanent residency and 5 years to live in Bulgaria as permanent resident. After that, you need 2 years to become eligible for citizenship.
The practical steps that the foreigner can take to become a Bulgarian citizen are as follows:
- The applicant goes to the Bulgarian embassy in the country of residence and applies for a Visa type D. The passport is returned on the same day with a stamp.
- After 6 weeks, the applicant can pick up the Visa type D at the Bulgarian embassy.
- Using the Visa type D, the applicant travels to Bulgaria to apply for permanent residence permit, which is completed in 1 day.
- After 4 to 6 weeks, the Bulgarian government issues an approval letter, granting permanent residency status.
- The applicant has the option to return to Bulgaria to apply for permanent residency card.
- 12 months after the date of permanent residency status approval, the applicant files the citizenship application.
- Up to 6 months later, the applicant receives the government approval letter of citizenship.
- The applicant can pick up the passport by traveling to Bulgaria, or visiting the local Bulgarian embassy.
For more information or legal assistance for obtaining a permanent residence permit or Bulgarian citizenship please do not hesitate to contact us by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on: +359 2 851 72 59.