Bulgarian residency by investment can be obtained under the provisions of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act. This is quite a popular option which allows non-EU citizens to ‘buy’ Bulgarian residence permit or even citizenship by investing in the economy of the country. The legislation offers various opportunities depending on the size and type of the investment.
The cheapest route to residency by investment in Bulgaria is obtaining a long stay residence permit for a period no longer than 1 year, with an option for annual renewal for a total period of up to 5 years. After this 5-year period expires, the foreign national is entitled to apply for Bulgarian permanent residence. Long term residence permit for one year can be obtained in any of the following cases:
- Investment in real property by a physical person. The minimum required amount of the investment is BGN 600 000 (approximately EUR 300 000) and the payment must be made via a Bulgarian bank institution. If the foreigners are pensioners (retired) in their own country, there is no minimum of the investment; they can buy a real property at any price.
- Incorporation of a Bulgarian company with a minimum foundation capital of BGN 600 000, whereas the foreigner owns more than 50% of the company shares and the company has invested its capital into real properties on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria.
- Investment in poorly developed regions by incorporation of a company with a minimum registered capital BGN 250000, on the condition that the company has invested the amount of the capital in long term tangible and intangible assets and has employed at least 5 Bulgarians, whereas the number of the persons employed is maintained for the duration of the residence permit of the investor.
- Incorporation of a Bulgarian company regardless of the amount of the foundation capital and employment of at least 10 Bulgarians, whereas the number of the persons employed is maintained for the duration of the residence permit of the investor.
- Opening a trade representative office of a foreign company in Bulgaria. This method allows the appointed trade representatives to apply for a long term residence permit.
- Registration of a non-profit organization (foundation). This is not exactly an investment method but can be used as a legal way of obtaining residence. The foreign participant in the organization can receive a permit for performing a non-profit activity in Bulgaria.
As it could be seen from the list above, for applicants who are not entirely investment-orientated, most effective options for obtaining of a long term residence permit is the registration of a trade representative office or a non-profit organization. For people who have investment intentions easiest way is to receive a long term residence permit is investment in real estate properties either personally or through a Bulgarian commercial company.
For those who do not want to renew their residence permit every year and to wait for 5 years for permanent residence, the law offers other options for obtaining permanent residency for unlimited time. Permanent residence permit is granted to foreigners in case they make any of the following types of investment:
- Investment in government or municipal bonds, treasury notes and derivatives, or contracting with a Bulgarian bank for portfolio management of funds. The minimum required amount of the investment is BGN 1 000 000 (approximately half a million euro).
- Investment in the equity of a Bulgarian company that is not listed on the Stock Exchange. The minimum required amount of the investment in that case is BGN 6 000 000 (approximately EUR 3 000 000).
- Incorporation of a Bulgarian company with a minimum required capital BGN 500 000, whereas the foreigner owns no less than 50% of the company shares, and as a result of the investment the company has acquired long term tangible and intangible assets at a total amount of no less than BGN 500 000 and has employed at least 10 Bulgarians, provided that the number of the persons employed is maintained for the duration of the residence permit of the investor.