Bulgaria to Ease Business Visa Application Requirements
At the middle of October, the Foreign Ministry announced its intention of amending the requirements for foreign citizens coming to start a business in Bulgaria. The amendments also include certain facilities for foreigners applying for a long-term visa. For assistance with the visa application procedure you can request the services of our law firm in Bulgaria.
New requirements for opening a company in Bulgaria
Wishing to provide advantageous conditions to foreign investors coming to Bulgaria, the Foreign Ministry announced a few changes to the Foreign Nationals Act which would lead to simplified visa application procedures. The company registration procedures for foreign enterprisers would also change.
The main changes refer to the conditions under which entrepreneurs can apply for a Bulgarian long-term business visa. The draft legislation proposes that any foreign citizens willing to carry out commercial undertakings will be required to employ at least 10 workers in their Bulgarian company and pay taxes worth at least 250,000 BGN (approximately 130,000 euros) within a year. Fulfilling these conditions would help foreign citizens to obtain a long-term business visa much easier.
The actual citizenship by investment program in Bulgaria
The changes to the Foreign Nationals Act comes after the harsher dispositions under which foreign citizens can acquire Bulgarian citizenship through investments at the moment. Under the current legislation, foreign citizens are required to confirm a foreign direct investment of 1,000,000 BGN, the equivalent of approximately 512,000 euros to the Ministry of Finance. The amount can be invested in governmental bond portfolio.
The fast track option required the applicant to have a permanent resident status for at least a year and making an additional investment for a period of two years. Under the current scheme, foreign citizens must invest 125,000 euros in risk capital for a long-term business visa and 250,000 euros if applying for Bulgarian citizenship.
Foreign citizens also have the possibility of purchasing real estate property in Bulgaria under the Foreign Nationals Act. They will only obtain a prolonged residence permit if they invest at least 300,000 euros in a Bulgarian property.
The draft legislation was submitted to the Parliament for voting and is pending approval. For information about the status of the legislation you can contact our Bulgarian lawyers.