Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment 2019
Last Updated on August 31, 2019 by Bulgarian Citizenship Team
In this ultimate guide, we will tell you everything that you need to know about the amendments in the Bulgarian citizenship by Investment 2019. This guide will cover the following:
- Legal Basis for the Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment Program
- New requirements about certificates of no criminal record
- Mix of investments no longer allowed
- Dual citizenship
- Restricted Nationalities Lists of Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment 2019
- A proof of funds
- Reduction in the time taken to attain Bulgarian citizenship by investment
- Stricter financing options
- Substantial increase of the rate of successful applicants
Legal Basis for the Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment Program
The Bulgarian citizenship by investment program is stipulated in two Acts – The Foreigners of the Republic of Bulgaria Act and the Citizenship Act.
According to Art. 25 (1) of the Foreigners of the Republic of Bulgaria Act “Permit for permanent residence may be obtained by the foreigners who:
have invested over BGN 1 000 000 or increased their investment by this amount by acquisition of:
(b) bonds and treasury bills, as well as derivative instruments issued by the State or municipalities, with a residual term to maturity of not less than 6 months;”
According to Art 14a of the Citizenship Act “a person who is not a Bulgarian citizen and meets the conditions under Art. 12, para. 1, items 1 and 3 i.e. over 18 years of age and no criminal record, may acquire Bulgarian citizenship by investment if:
- not less than one year ago has been granted permanent residence in the Republic of Bulgaria on the grounds of Art. 25, para. 1, item 6 or 7 of the Foreigners of the Republic of Bulgaria Act and:
(a) has increased its investment under the same terms of the law to a value of at least BGN 2 million;.”
New requirements about certificates of no criminal record
Following several scandals centered around the attainment of Bulgarian citizenship through investment by individuals who had been investigated or sentenced in their home country, the Bulgarian government had to make amendments in the Bulgarian Citizenship Act.
From January 1 2019 (1/01/2019), all applicants will have to present a certificate of no criminal record issued by their home country, and a no criminal record from their country of permanent residence. There were cases where applicants had no criminal record in Monaco or Dubai, but had been investigated or sentenced in their home country i.e. the United States or the Russian Federation.
Mix of investments no longer allowed
In past years, the Ministry of Justice did not care much about the mix of investments that totaled 1,024,000 EUR. Investors preferred to combine low-risk government bonds and medium-risk shares of private companies to create a well-balanced portfolio. From January 1 2019, a mix of investments is no longer allowed. In other words, if you have invested 512,000 EUR in Bulgarian government bonds, you cannot increase your investment by bank deposits or shares of private companies traded on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange.
Due to changes in the Bulgarian Tax Code, all applicants have to declare other citizenships when they apply to open a private bank account in Bulgaria. If you apply to open a bank account with your US passport, and it mentions that you were born in TEH (short for Tehran, Iran) the bank may ask you to declare your Iranian passport or present a certificate of cancelled Iranian citizenship. The same rules apply when, for instance, a citizen of Syria has obtained a Dominican passport by investment.
Restricted Nationalities Lists of Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment 2019
There is no list of restricted nationalities that cannot apply for Bulgarian citizenship by Investment 2019. However, you may need to buy the bonds through your local bank outside Bulgaria due to bank restrictions. Buying the bonds through your local bank does not make the procedure any harder. The portfolio valuation certificate and the investment confirmation certificate have to be legalized and dispatched to our office.
A proof of funds
The client is required to declare the origin of funds used to purchase Bulgarian government bonds. The origin of funds can be various and should total to the value of the purcahsed bonds. The origin can be:
The client has to mention the company name, address, periods and amounts of distributed dividends.
The client has to mention the employment contract number, employer name, address, dates of employment and approximately generated income.
Sale of Property
The client has to mention location and value of the property, sale number and year of sale.
The client has to mention names of ancestor, dates of birth/ death, value of the inheritage and date of inheritance.
The client is not required to provide hard copies of documents as employment contracts, dividends distribution protocols, inheritance notice or else.
Reduction in the time taken to acquire Bulgarian citizenship by investment
Before January 1 2019, all applicants had to submit their citizenship application and then wait three to six months to attend an interview. To shorten the time to acquire citizenship and obviously reduce bureaucratic hassle, the Bulgarian government has resolved that the submission of application and interview will take place at the same time. This reduces the process of obtaining a Bulgarian citizenship by investment by at least 3 months.
Stricter financing options
While you can still finance bonds in Bulgaria, there are now amendments in the bank regulations that make the financing more expensive. Bulgarian banks can no longer finance private individuals against bond security. Applicants can finance through a local investment broker who will apply for financing on their behalf.
If we look at the past, this financing was quite popular, with more than half of the banks in Bulgaria offering this kind of service. This started to change in 2017, and now we have only one bank that offers financing and only one broker who would like to assist with it.
Substantial increase of the rate of successful applicants
As of September 2018, Bulgaria had received 193 applications for citizenship by investment. Of the Fast Track applications, 77% are from the Middle East and the ex-USSR, with most applicants being from Russia. So far, around 64% of all Fast Track applications have been approved by the Ministry of Justice.
About 50% of the applications approved by the Ministry of Justice have passed the final checkpoint in the process, the Vice Presidential decree. Further substantiating the improved administrative capacity and procedural familiarity, the data shows that so far in 2018, the Vice President’s office has granted as many citizenships as in the previous 4 years combined.
Our team of citizenship lawyers has already successfully assisted a large number of ultra-high net worth, high net worth and affluent applicants, and our clients have so far had a 100% success rate.
If you would like more information, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .