FAQs about Bulgaria’s Citizenship by Investment Programme

15 January 2021

Private Clients, Citizenship and Immigration, Citizenship by Investment

We wish to provide all investors with up-to-date information about the process so that they can they can make an informed decision and optimise their wealth management strategy. Below are answers to frequently asked questions from our clients.

For more information, please contact us at [email protected] or through our contact form.

Frequently asked questions:

General FAQs

  • Who can apply for the immigrant investor programme in Bulgaria?

Any foreign citizen of legal age and with a clean criminal record who is not considered a threat to national security and can invest a minimum of 1,000,000 BGN, thus making him or her eligible to apply for Bulgarian citizenship.

By 2021, almost 500 people have applied for Bulgarian citizenship on investment basis.

  • Am I required to be able to speak Bulgarian?

No, applicants are not required to speak Bulgarian. 

  • What’s the difference between the standard track application and the fast track application? 

There are two differences – the speed and the amount of the investment.

    • On the Standard Track, the applicant can acquire permanent residence after making the investment, and would hold the investment for a period of 5 years. At the end of the 5 years the applicant can apply for citizenship. On the Fast Track, the applicant can make an additional investment of 1,000,000 BGN (approximately 513,000 EUR) one year after the initial investment and he/she is immediately eligible to apply for citizenship.

  • I have a family. Can my spouse and children obtain citizenship?

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 ever have to travel to Bulgaria?

Yes, but only for 2 times. The applicant will have to travel only to apply for his Permanent Residence Permit, and later to apply and obtain his ID card, which can be a short trip of 4 business days. The applicant can apply for citizenship at a consulate abroad.

  • 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.

FAQs 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.

FAQs 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.

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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 2024