Citizenship by Investment Bulgaria
RESIDENCY BY INVESMTENT PROGRAM OF BULGARIA
The Bulgarian business immigration program was introduced in May 2009. It was put forth by the Bulgarian government to attract high net worth individuals (HNIs) to invest in Bulgaria thereby bringing in foreign investment. In return, the investor and his/her immediate family members receive Bulgarian residency, and subsequently Bulgarian citizenship.
When an investor becomes a Bulgarian permanent resident, he/she automatically becomes a permanent resident of the European Union at the same time.
The Bulgarian Parliament has amended its citizenship and residency provisions to allow for new investment options and faster processing.
Government/sovereign bonds are no longer eligible, and while the investment requirement generally stays at €0.5m, it has doubled to €1m for fast tracking. Investment thresholds for directly held equities have also increased.
BULGARIA CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS:
To qualify for Residency by Investment Program of Bulgaria, an investor must:
- Be over 18 years of age
- Be a non-EU citizen
- Possess a valid passport or another foreign travel document
- No criminal record
- Furnish all necessary documents
- Complete and sign all necessary forms and agreements
- Pay the application fee
- Be willing to make the minimum statutory trips to Bulgaria in order to complete all the application formalities.
The following are the new eligible investment routes leading to permanent residence and subsequently citizenship of Bulgaria :
- Stocks traded in Bulgarian stock market – €1,024,000
- UCITs (EU regulated fund vehicles), including Bulgarian-related exchange-traded funds (ETFs) – €512,000
- Investing in Bulgarian-related Bulgarian Citizenship Alternative Investment funds (including private equity, venture capital, and hedge funds) – €512,000
- Participation in a Certified Priority Investment Project (CPIP) – €1,024,000
- Participation in a Bulgarian company employing 10 or more local staff – €257,000
- Participation in a Bulgarian private company – €3,075,000
- Investment in a Certified Investment Project (CIP) – The exact amount will vary depending on the project.
Fast track option to Citizenship:
Applicants investing in options 1-4 can obtain fast-track Bulgarian citizenship by:
- Doubling their investment or investing at least €512,000 in a CPIP
Applicants investing in option 5 can fast-track by:
- Doubling their capital investment, leading to the hiring of 20 people
Salient features of the new Bulgarian Residency & Citizenship by Investment Program:
- The new changes introduced in March 2021 are designed to give investors a variety of investment options to choose from, thus helping business growth and expansion of financial markets locally, while retaining certain defined real estate options.
- The new amendments are expected to result in quicker processing times.
- Permanent residency is expected to be granted in 6 months, while citizenship should be achieved in 60 months on the regular track and 18 months on the fast track.
- The investment must be maintained for an extra 2 years past granting of citizenship as well as 5 years in total.
- Citizenship applications already submitted on the bond investment will not be affected.
- Applicants who already hold a permanent residency status will be still allowed to follow the ordinary track, but the fast-track on bonds is no longer available.
- Improvements have also been made for spouses of the investor. A spouse can now apply for Bulgarian citizenship 3 years after the investor has been granted Bulgarian citizenship. This is 2 years shorter than under the stipulations of the old Citizenship Act.
- There are no changes to the application process for children, who obtain citizenship within 6-9 months of the main applicant, grandchildren (12-18 months after), great-grandchildren (1.5-2.5 years after), etc.
Benefits of Bulgaria Citizenship by Investment Program
- Exemption of physical residency – Investors are not required to physically reside in Bulgaria for a certain period of time to obtain citizenship. However, they have to maintain residence in Bulgaria if they wish to apply for citizenship later
- There are no language requirements
- There is no obligation to relinquish one’s current nationality
- Visa-free travel to more than 150 countries and the right of residence in any other European country since Bulgaria is a member of the European Union
- Applicant and his/her dependents can live, study, work and retire in any EU member country
- Lowest tax rates within the EU. The trade and tax laws in Bulgaria are also very favourable to businesspersons
- Access to a highly-skilled labour force
- High quality of life and access to quality healthcare and education system