The Trade Representation Office (TRO) option as a way to reside in Bulgaria

18 December 2020

Private Clients, Citizenship and Immigration

Third-country nationals who are looking for a route to residence in an EU Member State have a number of options. In addition to the popular investment option (a focus for HNWIs), there are other routes which are significantly less capital intensive, but allow digital nomads and young entrepreneurs to settle in Bulgaria. A route to temporary residence is to register as a trade representative, appointed at a registered Trade Representation Office (“TRO”) of a Company (“the Company”) incorporated abroad.

Requirements related to the Company:

  • Incorporated no less than 2 years ago
  • Active and tax-compliant for the same period;
  • Plans to explore the business environment in Bulgaria, research the market and prepare future expansion of business.

The Company may send up to three Trade Representatives depending on its plans and business needs

The TRO is actually not a separate company/entity (it does not need a director or have shareholders). 

The Trade Representatives are eligible for ‘prolonged residence’ permits which allow them to settle in Bulgaria. This kind of residence permit has to be renewed annually.

After holding a valid prolonged residence permit for 5 years (and living in the country for more than 30 months in this 5-year period), the Trade Representatives are eligible to apply for Permanent Residence and ‘EU long-term residence’ (which also allows to apply for residence in another EU country without a visa).

It is important to note that a prolonged residence permit on this ground does not allow the Trade Representative of the Company to seek employment in Bulgaria under a labour contract, in addition to being a resident and for the duration of the prolonged residence permit.

After 5 years with the status a TRO resident may apply for permanent residence. Once granted, this allows employment and leads to citizenship.


First steps:

  1. Establish a Trade Representation Office;
  2. Provide an office address and long-term proof of accommodation in Bulgaria;
  3. Appoint two people as trade representatives;
  4. Prepare future expansion of the business to Bulgaria;

Certain steps need to be taken in Bulgaria prior to the trade representative being sent there. Our private client team will be able to advise and help with those based on our extensive experience in the field of corporate and immigration law.

About NBLO

NBLO is a boutique law firm with a strong practice in Bulgarian and EU immigration and nationality law. We deal extensively with applications for citizenship including Bulgarian citizenship by investment, Bulgarian citizenship by origin and Bulgarian citizenship by residence, settlement of family members of EU/Bulgarian citizens, and other citizenship and immigration related matters.

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


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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.

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