Permanent Residency for Investor Families
Last Updated on November 26, 2023 by Bulgarian Citizenship Team
An overview of how family members of investors can obtain permanent residency in Bulgaria.
Following the recent changes to the Bulgarian Citizenship Act in March 2021 and April 2022, the Bulgarian citizenship by investment program using bonds was officially closed, and a new program involving investments in Bulgarian ETFs and AIFs was launched. However, even though the Citizenship Act introduced these new investment options, they have not been officially implemented yet.
Under Article 25 of the Foreigners Act, spouses of foreigners permanently residing in Bulgaria can become eligible for citizenship under certain conditions. Specifically, five years after marrying a foreigner who is a permanent resident in the country and has legally and continuously resided in Bulgaria for 5 years, the residency requirements for spouses do not apply if the foreigner has permanent residence under items 6, 7, or 8.
This provision implies that spouses of investors do not need to live in Bulgaria for 30 months out of any 60-month period, as is typically required for standard permanent residency applicants.
However, since point 6 of the Citizenship Act no longer exists, Article 25 of the Foreigners Act no longer applies. Consequently, spouses of bond investors will only receive temporary residency valid for 12 months from now on. To convert this temporary residency to permanent residency, they must reside in Bulgaria for 30 months out of any 60-month period.
So, what does this mean for spouses seeking Bulgarian citizenship? It means that spouses can no longer apply for Bulgarian citizenship within 5 years. They will need to spend 30 months physically present in Bulgaria within any 5-year period to qualify for permanent residency. After obtaining permanent residency, they will need to wait an additional 3-5 years before becoming eligible for Bulgarian citizenship through naturalization.
Obtaining Bulgarian citizenship now mandates also passing a Bulgarian language test as an additional requirement with the Ministry of Education. Test samples can be provided on a request.