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Citizenship by Investment in Bulgaria

The Republic of Bulgaria is a country in Southern Europe that borders five other states: Romania to the north, Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia to the west, and Greece and Turkey to the south. The Black Sea defines the extent of the country to the east. Bulgaria’s capital city and largest settlement is Sofia, with a permanent population of 1,378,000 people. In 1945, after World War II, Bulgaria became a communist state and was a part of the Eastern Bloc until the political changes in Eastern Europe in 1989/1990, when the Communist Party allowed multi-party elections and Bulgaria undertook a transition to parliamentary democracy and free-market capitalism with mixed results.

Nowadays Bulgaria functions as a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic. It is a member of the European Union, NATO, the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and a founding state of the OSCE. Also, Bulgaria has a high Human Development Index of 0.743, ranking 58th in the world in 2010.

Citizenship is based upon the Law on Bulgarian Citizenship, dated November 1998. Citizenship of Bulgaria can be acquired by birth, by descent, by naturalization, by special contribution to Bulgarian State, and on some other grounds including investment. Below you will find a brief summary of grounds for acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship.

Citizenship by birth: Birth within the territory of Bulgaria does not automatically confer citizenship. The exception is a child born in Bulgaria to unknown or stateless parents.

Citizenship by descent: Child, at least one of whose parents is a citizen of Bulgaria, regardless of the country of birth.

Citizenship by naturalization: Bulgarian citizenship may be acquired upon fulfillment of the following condition: Person has resided legally in Bulgaria for at least five years as a Permanent Resident.

Citizenship through special merits before Bulgaria is available for people of art, science, for philanthropists, etc., who contribute significantly to the interests of Bulgaria. These applications are handled on case-by-case basis.

Citizenship in Bulgaria (EU) by investment: The citizenship program was closed in 2022. The residence by investment program is still valid in Bulgaria but according to the new legislation it does not lead to citizenship and, in our view, is not of any interest in such a scenario.

Citizenship of Bulgaria on some other grounds: The following are eligible for Bulgarian citizenship through other than the normal naturalization process: A stateless person, one of whose parents is of Bulgarian descent. A child aged less than 14 years old who was adopted by Bulgarian parents. Refugees fleeing persecution can get Bulgarian citizenship. Dual citizenship is recognized.

Loss of citizenship: Voluntary renunciation of Bulgarian citizenship is permitted by law. Contact the nearest Bulgarian Embassy for details and proper paperwork. The following are grounds for involuntary loss of naturalized citizenship: 1) Naturalized citizenship was obtained through fraud or false statement. This revocation only affects the person who made the false statements. The person’s spouse and children may retain Bulgarian citizenship. 2) Person commits criminal acts against the security of the state outside of Bulgaria.

Questions and Answers

Question: When visa D is issued how many days the applicant can spend in Bulgaria? Suppose if I want to visit Bulgaria, apply for PR and then wait for the decision in Bulgaria. Is it possible?
Answer: Visa D has 180 days (6 months) validity and the holder of the visa could stay in Bulgaria during this period. The law requires PR application to be loaded within the first 3 months of the validity of the visa. The approval term is 3 months, so the applicant has enough time to reside and wait for the approval.

Question: Once I obtain the permanent residence permit, do I have to pay taxes in Bulgaria?
Answer: No, unless you decide to conduct business in Bulgaria or to physically reside in Bulgaria for more than 183 days within 12 consecutive months.

Question: What is the normal track of business immigration to Bulgaria?
Answer: The normal track of getting permanent residence (without considerable investments) involves incorporation of Bulgarian company, creation of ten jobs for Bulgarians and getting temporary residence permit, renewed annually. In this case, permanent residency application is possible after 5 years of residence and business in Bulgaria.

Question: Can you provide me with more information on Bulgarian citizenship? My daughter is 16 and her father is Bulgarian, however she had no contact with him since she was 4-month-old. Is it possible to apply for Bulgarian citizenship on the grounds that one of the parents is Bulgarian?
Answer: Before 18 years old she cannot apply without parents. Parents must give their notarial consent. In case she reaches age of 18 years the consent of parents is no longer required and she will be able to apply for citizenship of Bulgaria by herself.

Question: Can you assist us with application for Bulgarian citizenship based on ancestry?
Answer: We do not provide services regarding acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship through ethnic origin. We only deal with residence and citizenship by investment programs.

Question: I have been married to citizen of Bulgaria for 22 years, now we have a son of 19 years. We are still married till today. My son and I would like to get dual citizenship this summer if is possible. How can we do and is it possible? My husband has dual citizenship; he has a Bulgarian passport and a Maltese passport. This summer my son and I are coming to Bulgaria for a month and we wish to issue dual citizenship and Bulgarian ID’s, like how my husband has.
Answer: You are not eligible for BG citizenship because you do not reside there. If you relocate to Bulgaria, you will be entitled to get permanent residency and apply for citizenship after 5 years of actual residence in the country. Your son can apply for citizenship without residency in BG because of ethnic origin from Bulgarian father. But in any case, he will not be able to get passport this summer; applications are processed during 18 months on average.

Question: My wife is Bulgarian citizen. We married in Bulgaria but now we live in Holland. Can I get Bulgarian citizenship or if I live in Bulgaria how long I wait to get Bulgarian citizenship through marriage?
Answer: If you do not reside physically in Bulgaria, you have no right to apply for citizenship, permanent residence and even for temporary residency permit in Bulgaria based on marriage.
In order to get permanent residency by marriage you must reside in Bulgaria for 5 years. But if you have a common child you can apply for permanent residency immediately. There are no incentives for Bulgarian citizenship. You will be expected to reside in Bulgaria with permanent residency permit for 5 years in order to become eligible to apply.

If you have any questions or wish to use our legal assistance in obtaining permanent residence or citizenship of Bulgaria, contact us today

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