Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment
Last Updated on September 24, 2023 by Bulgarian Citizenship Team
The Bulgarian Citizenship Investor Program is an attractive opportunity for foreign investors and wealthy individuals to enjoy visa-free access or visa-on-arrival access to 157 countries and territories, Bulgarian citizenship for the family members, and many other benefits.
Our team specialises in assisting EU and non-EU nationals to obtain Bulgarian citizenship and passport by investment. The amendments of the Bulgarian Citizenship Act voted on 26 of February 2021 cancelled the Bulgarian bond investment. Investors can now invest in Bulgarian AIFs or ETFs, or stocks of Bulgarian companies traded on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange. The latest amendments voted 2022 stabilized the investment options.
The required investment amount remains the same. Investors in AIFs or ETFs have to invest 512,000 EUR to obtain permanent residency and maintain the investment for 5 years before they can apply for Bulgarian citizenship. Unfortunately, the fast-track citizenship option by way of doubling the investment amount was cancelled by the voted Citizenship Act amendments in 2022.
What’s new about the Bulgarian citizenship by Investment in 2023?
- Bond investment cancelled – All citizenship applications submitted before the Act amendments were cancelled. Applicants who already hold a permanent residency status will be still allowed to apply for Bulgarian citizenship, however, fluency in Bulgarian language requirements were introduced.
- Fast-track option cancelled –the fast-track citizenship option by way of doubling the investment amount was cancelled.
- New investment options ETFs and AIFs – Exchange Traded Funds and Alternative Investment Funds are the new options to invest towards the Bulgarian citizenship by investment.
- Shorter way for spouse to get Bulgarian citizenship – Spouse can apply for Bulgarian citizenship 3 years after the investor was granted Bulgarian citizenship. This is 2 years shorter compared to the old Citizenship Act.
- Faster Processing – The legislators have also mandated expedited timelines for processing. Whether these will be closely kept will be a matter of practice and as such to be seen.
More articles about obtaining Bulgarian citizenship by investment in ETF:
- Why should you consider buying the Bulgarian ETFs through a Bulgarian-based brokerage firm
- How safe are the Bulgarian ETF UCIT
Advantages of our law firm to obtain Bulgarian citizenship and passport:
- Advocate Markov is a professional member of the Investment Migration Council, the worldwide association for investor migration and citizenship by investment, a premier organization that guarantees services of the highest standard.
- The law office of Advocate Markov is a member of the prestigious legal association, Global Law Experts and recognised for the third consequent year as Citizenship Law Firm of the Year in Bulgaria.
Our experienced citizenship lawyers have assisted more than 250 individuals to obtain Bulgarian citizenship and passport by investment since 2013. We have assisted more foreign investors to obtain Bulgarian passport than any other law firm or consultancy.
We don’t pass anything to agents or subcontractors.
Our fees are 5 to 20 times lower than the fees charged by the “international agents” from their offices in Hong Kong, London, Dubai, etc.
Our success rate is much higher than the success rate of the “international agents”, who are often “lost in the translation”, before they eventually reach us.
Bulgarian citizenship and passport by Investment
In exchange for a safe and liquid investment of 512,000 EUR, applicants of all nationalities can obtain Bulgarian citizenship and passport. The investor needs to invest 512,000 EUR in the first year and maintain the investment for 5 years.
- The client purchases ETFs or AIFs of 512,000 EUR
- Time to Permanent Residency – 6 months
- Time to Bulgarian Citizenship – 78 – 84 months
- Investment in EUR (Refundable) – 512,000 EUR
- Time to maintain the Investment– 66 months
- All-in Handling Fee in EUR (Non-refundable) – please ask for a quote
- Handling Fee in EUR Dependents – please ask for a quote
Benefits of the Bulgarian citizenship by investment program
- You are not required to open an account with a Bulgarian bank or brokerage firm to buy Bulgarian AIFs or ETFs. You can deposit your investment directly in the acocunts of the chosen ETF ad AIF fully remotely.
- You might be sentenced in your home country and it will not count if you are rehabilitated.
- EU citizens may also apply for Bulgarian citizenship by investment if they hold a passport of a non-EU member country. Excellent choice is the citizenship of Dominica or St. Lucia.
- New born children below 18 years old get Bulgarian citizenship immediately after the investor was granted Bulgarian citizenship.
Other benefits of obtaining Bulgarian passport by investment
- You will easily qualify as a Bulgarian tax resident;
- You can sell the ETFs & AIFs and avail liquid investment in money market instruments (stocks, bonds, etc.) at any time;
- You have no restrictions on buying agricultural land in Bulgaria;
- You will get free movement, education and healthcare in EU;
- You will possess the Bulgarian passport which is an EU passport;
- You can vote in Bulgaria;
- You can buy properties in the entire EU and Schengen zone without any restrictions;
- You can open bank accounts in any EU & Schengen countries.
Common misconceptions about the Bulgarian citizenship by investment
Investors who have been sentenced cannot apply for Bulgarian citizenship by investment. This does not apply if the applicant has been rehabilitated.
Spouses are granted Bulgarian citizenship immediately after the investor is granted citizenship. However, the reality is that spouses must hold permanent residence for minimum of three years before they can apply for Bulgarian citizenship.
- Children under 18 automatically receive Bulgarian citizenship when their parent is granted citizenship. However, this is not the case. Children under 18 must apply for Bulgarian citizenship by origin, which is a separate process. The only exception is for newborn children, who will automatically receive Bulgarian citizenship upon their birth.
Bulgarian citizenship by investment for family members
According to Art. 18 of the Bulgarian Citizenship Act, children under 14 years of age, of whom only one of the parents is a Bulgarian citizen, can become Bulgarian citizens without the presence of the conditions, under Art. 12 if both the parents or a living parent gives written consent for this. Consent by a parent who has lost his parental rights is not required. Children from 14 to 18 years of age can apply personally for Bulgarian citizenship.
In 2022, the processing time for citizenship applications of children under 18 years of age was reduced to just 9 months. Additionally, children are not required to meet any physical residence or language fluency requirements in Bulgaria.
Schedule of obtaining Bulgarian citizenship by investment
40 calendar days – Preparing the set of application documents and applying for the pre-approval process with the Bulgarian Investment Agency.
Month 2 – The investor purchases shares or invests in the capital of Bulgarian AIF and receives a confirmation of the investment. This step includes the preparation of the set of Investor D visa application documents, and investment certificate issued from the Bulgarian Investment Agency.
Month 3 – The investor applies for an Investor D-type visa in the nearest Bulgarian embassy or general consulate, or the same in the country of their residency. As an additional service, our team can arrange an appointment with an embassy different from the ones above. The Bulgarian Golden Visa is usually granted within 30 business days.
Month 4 – The investor applies for permanent residence by investment. The application requires a personal visit to Bulgaria and submission of the application with the local Migration Office. Typically, permanent residence applications are reviewed within 30 working days;
Month 6 – Once the residence application is approved, the applicant will receive a certificate of permanent residence. The applicant may travel to Bulgaria to obtain a permanent residence plastic card. The permanent residency card is not mandatory, and the investor can use the certificate of permanent residence to enter Bulgaria visa-free instead.
The family reunification process can be started at this stage. Family members will obtain permanent residence in 3 months.
Month 66 – The investor sits a Bulgarian language test.
Month 66 – 72 – The investor applies for Bulgarian citizenship and passport with the Ministry of Justice or at the nearest Bulgarian embassy or general consulate abroad.
Month 78 – 84 – Your Bulgarian citizenship application is approved and your family members can apply now.
We may file the citizenship applications for family members once the investor’s application is approved and Bulgarian citizenship and passport granted.
- Issuance of a Bulgarian passport
You may apply for the issuance of a Bulgarian passport at the local branches of the Ministry of Interior in Bulgaria or at the nearest Bulgarian embassy or general consulate.
Issuance time at Ministry of Interior:
- Normal – 30 calendar days
- Fast – 3 working days
- Express – 8 hours
Issuance time at Bulgarian embassy:
- Normal – 90 calendar days
- Fast – 60 calendar days
- Visa Free Countries
LIST OF VISA FREE TRAVEL COUNTRIES FOR BULGARIA PASSPORT HOLDERS
Visa-free access or visa-on-arrival access to 157 countries and territories.
AFRICA: Botswana, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Gambia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mauritania, Mayotte, Morocco, Mozambique, Reunion, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Somalia, Somaliland, Burundi, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mali
AMERICAS: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, , Cayman Islands, Columbia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Chile, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Falkland Islands, French Guiana, French West Indies, Greenland, Grenada, , Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Margarita Island, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Martin, St Pierre & Miquelon, St Vincent, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Island, Uruguay, Venezuela
ASIA: Armenia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Georgia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Oman, Palestine, Philippines, Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, South Korea, Timor Leste, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Iraqi Kurdistan, Kish Islands, Phú Quốc
EUROPE: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vatican City
OCEANIA: Cook Islands, Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna
• Please note that this list is subject to change and so kindly confirm the information before planning any trip.
- Benefits of Bulgarian Citizenship
• Fast process to permanent residency (six to nine months);
• Fast-track option allowing for citizenship within two years;
• Special exemption from physical residence enforced with legislation;
• No language requirements for residence or citizenship;
• No obligation to relinquish current nationality;
• Lowest tax rates and free trade environment within the EU.
BENEFITS FOR PERMANENT RESIDENTS:
• Free movement within the Schengen countries after acceptance;
• Access to high quality healthcare in Bulgaria and the EU;
• Free employment in Bulgaria.
BENEFITS FOR CITIZENS:
• Unrestricted right to live, work and study in Europe;
• Right to own land in a EU country;
• Becoming a Bulgarian tax resident and pay only 10% flat tax rate on your worldwide income.
If you have any queries regarding Bulgarian citizenship by investment, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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