FAQs about Bulgaria’s Citizenship by Investment Programme

15th January 2021

Citizenship by Investment, For private clients, Citizenship and Immigration

We wish to provide all interested investors with the necessary information so they can be assured that choosing Bulgaria’s Citizenship by Investment Programme will be the best option for them.

Below is a compilation of clients’ FAQs and our answers to them. For more information, please write to us at [email protected] or via our Contact Form on this site.

Frequently Asked Questions:

General Questions

  • Who can apply for the Immigrant Investor Programme in Bulgaria?

Any foreign citizen of legal age who is not considered a threat to national security and can invest a minimum of BGN 1,000,000 (€513,000). As of 2021, some 500 individuals had made applications for Bulgarian citizenship on the basis of investment.

  • Do I need to be able to speak Bulgarian?

No. Speaking Bulgarian is not required.

  • What is the difference between the Standard Track Application and the Fast Track Application?

At the highest level, there are two differences – speed and size of investment.

    • On the Standard Track, the applicant acquires permanent residence, holds the investment for 5 years, and can then  apply for citizenship.
    • On the Fast Track, the applicant makes an additional investment of BGN 1,000,000 (approximately €513,000) one year after the initial investment and is then immediately eligible to apply for citizenship.
  • I have a family. Can my spouse and children obtain citizenship as well?

Yes. Spouses and birth or adoptive children of the applicant may acquire citizenship as a result of the applicant’s citizenship, without more investment. Even better, children can be of any age – they do not have to be dependants of the applicant, in education or below a certain age. Family members become eligible a short time after the main applicant, approximately 1 year after him or her.

  • Do I have to travel to Bulgaria as part of the process?

Yes, but only 2 times: to apply for permanent residence and to apply and obtain a resident’s ID. All other applications can be filed outside Bulgaria.

  • Am I required to have previous business or management experience?

No. Previous business or management experience is not required.

  • Are there any minimum educational requirements?

No. There is no minimum educational requirement.

  • Are any job creation requirements like for the US EB-5 Investment Programme?

No. There is no requirement to job create, such as there is in the US EB-5 Investment Programme. For those who are planning to create a business and employment, there are further routes to immigration and naturalisation as Bulgarian citizens, too.

About the Investment

  • What’s the minimum investment amount?

The minimum investment size is low compared to other citizenship-by-investment options in the EU – BGN 1,000,000 (approximately EUR 513,000).

  • Is there a currency risk?

The investments can be made in the Bulgarian currency, but do not need to be. If made in Bulgarian currency, it is worth knowing that the Bulgarian lev is pegged to the euro, and its market rate has fluctuated within a tiny range (less than ±1%) against the peg currencies over the last 24 years.

  • What kind of investment options are there?

There are a number of different qualifying investments, including: shares or corporate bonds of companies admitted to trading in Bulgaria, mutual funds, alternative investment funds, Certified Priority Investment Projects (CPIPs) and  investments in unlisted companies (a higher threshold applies).

  • What is the safest investment type?

You should seek professional advice but you may wish to ensure your investment is diversified into multiple companies/sectors/asset classes. One way this might be achieved through (though not necessarily) is via a mutual fund, one of the qualifying investments.

  • What is “pre-clearance”?

Investors are required to pre-clear with the Bulgarian Investment Agency. The process involves checking their identity and source of funds.

About the Process

  • How long will it take me to obtain Bulgarian citizenship?
    • On Standard Track, you qualify 5 years from grant of permanent residence. This is approximately 6 years from investment.
    • On the Fast Track – you qualify in as fast as 2 years.
  • What’s the difference between the Standard Track Application and the Fast Track Application?

Time and money. The Standard Track takes broadly 6 years and requires an investment of (generally), EUR 513,000. The Fast Track takes broadly 1.5-2 years and requires double the Standard Track investment.

  • Do I need a visa?

Yes. Even if you come from a country whose citizens do not usually require a visa to visit Bulgaria, you will still need one if you choose to apply for permanent residence by investment, which then leads to citizenship. The visa you will be issued is the so-called ‘Type D’. You can get it in a country where you are a citizen, resident or in some cases, elsewhere.

  • How soon do I need to use my Type D visa?

The validity of the visa is 6 months after the date of issue. You can travel when you wish within this 6 month timeline.

  • How long is the permanent residence permit ID card valid for?

The permanent residence permit ID card is valid for 5 years – but limited to the validity of your passport if less than 5 years.

  • Should I apply for a permanent residence permit, ID card and citizenship in Bulgaria or at a Bulgarian diplomatic mission abroad?

You must apply for a permanent residence permit and ID card in Bulgaria. You can apply for citizenship either in Bulgaria or at a Bulgarian consulate abroad.

  • After obtaining a permanent residence permit, do I have to live in Bulgaria for the whole process?

No. Applicants are not required to live or be present in Bulgaria.

  • What kind of documents do I have to prepare?

Documents needed include: a criminal record certificate, marriage certificate, evidence of funds, etc. We will be happy to advise you and help you prepare and issue these, according to your circumstances.

  • Are there additional legal or application fees?

Standard application fees include visa fees (approximately 130 EUR), residence permit and ID card application fees (approximately 650 EUR), legalisation fees, etc.

  • How long do I have to wait for citizenship approval?

Approval usually takes 6-12 months.

For more information, please contact us at [email protected] or use our Contact Form.

You may also wish to visit our dedicated microsite where you can find out more about the process and associated steps at: citizenshipinsight.com. Please also explore further CBI/RBI articles on this website.

© New Balkans Law Office 2021

The Bulgarian and dual-qualified lawyers of New Balkans Law Office are regulated by the respective Bar of their registration. New Balkans Law Office is a brand name of Legal Services EOOD, a company registered under Bulgarian law. Reg’d No. 202331677. Further details are available here.

© New Balkans Law Office 2021