Bulgarian Digital Nomad Visa - Live and Work Remotely from Bulgaria
Digital Nomad Visa in BulgariaUpdated on Thursday 05th January 2023
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Freelancers and persons who have the possibility to work remotely can apply for digital nomad visas and move to countries that have such programs. While this is not the case of Bulgaria yet, cities like Sofia and Plovdiv are already considered digital nomad hubs.
If you are interested in the idea of obtaining a Bulgarian digital nomad visa, you should know that the country does not have such a scheme yet. An alternative to the digital nomad visa is the Bulgarian freelance visa which is available for non-EU citizens.However, there are other visas you can obtain, and your main options are explained by our immigration lawyers in Bulgaria below.
Types of visas for digital nomads in Bulgaria
While there is no possibility to obtain a digital nomad visa in Bulgaria if you want to work remotely from here, it does not mean that this is not possible. On the contrary, you have other options. Furthermore, EU citizens do not even need a visa to enter and stay in this country.
For non-EU citizens, the following options are good alternatives to the Bulgarian digital nomad visa:
- tourist visas or Type C visas that enable them to stay in Bulgaria for up to 90 days;
- EU residence cards obtained in other European Union countries;
- Schengen visas that can be used for 90-day stays, just like Type C visas.
Bulgaria is not a Schengen country yet, however the government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs allows third-country citizens to enter and stay here under the following conditions:
- they need a passport with a minimum validity period of 3 months (we recommend using a travel document with a longer validity);
- they can stay in Bulgaria for 3 months within a period of 6 months;
- the visa application must be made no sooner than 3 months before the intention to travel here.
These visas enable holders to become remote workers in Bulgaria. For those intending to stay here longer, the D visa enables them to obtain 6-months or 12-months long-term residence permits.
The D visa resembles the most with a Bulgarian digital nomad visa. By comparison, European countries that such programs issued one-year remote work visas.
Should you want to apply for a D-type residence permit and move here with the purpose of working remotely, you can rely on our immigration lawyers in Bulgaria.
If you want to apply for a Bulgarian freelance visa, you can obtain additional information on it from our lawyers.
Freelancing in Bulgaria
Every non-EU national may begin working and residing in Bulgaria as a freelancer starting with January 1st, 2017, provided that the Bulgarian Employment Agency has granted the necessary approval. The initial duration of the residence visa based on freelance work is one year and can be extended for another year.
Just like a digital nomad visa, a Bulgarian freelance visa is issued to:
- non-EU individuals who work as freelancers;
- people who have a detailed business plan related to their activities.
Both conditions must be met by the applicant. It is also important to note that the business plan presented by the requester must be outlined for the initial one-year visa.
Some of the advantages of applying for such a visa are the reduced bureaucracy and the issuance timeframe. In terms of documents, the application form, valid passport, and business plan are among the papers required. With respect to the duration of the visa approval procedure, the National Employment Agency issues it in approximately 30 working days.
If you plan to move to Bulgaria, the freelance visa can be a good option for a mid-term relocation.
Documents required to obtain a freelance visa in Bulgaria
Immigration to Bulgaria through a freelance visa implies drafting the following documents:
- a short description of the activity and objective of the applicant;
- a detailed plan of the freelance activity for the timeframe the permit is requested;
- the documents attesting to the applicant's professional experience in the relevant freelance field for at least 2 years;
- bank statement indicating that there are sufficient funds available to carry out the freelance activity in accordance with the proposed plan;
- 2 color pictures of the applicant.
Additional documents needed in accordance with Bulgarian legislation to carry out certain activities might also be required, such as that of dentists and other professions.
With respect to the plan, it should explain the economic and social benefit it will bring to the Bulgarian society.
The fee for obtaining such a visa is a little over 200 euros.
Should you decide to apply for a freelance visa instead of a remote working visa for Bulgaria, you can ask for guidance from our lawyers, especially in terms of documents preparation.
Obtaining a residence permit in Bulgaria as a freelancer
One of the main requirements after immigration to Bulgaria based on a freelance visa is to apply for a Type D residence permit. The procedure is the same as when relocating here for other purposes, including by applying for residency for marriage, for example.
The procedure is simple and takes about 30 days, however, for a higher fee, it can also be obtained in 15 days.
Seek the assistance of our Bulgarian law firm if you are interested in moving here as a digital nomad or freelancer.
What could you do with a Bulgarian digital nomad visa?
A digital nomad visa for Bulgaria or any other country is usually issued for any of the following purposes:
- people who are employed by companies in other countries that can perform their work remotely for the respective employers only;
- freelancers and self-employed people who can perform their activities from other states, as long the services their provide are not for clients in the country they are digital nomads in;
- business owners of companies that operate in other countries that the one the owners move to temporarily.
So, a digital nomad visa can be accessed only by those who can prove they are not financially tied to the country they work from. For this purpose, income statements may be required. The main advantage of moving to Bulgaria as a digital nomad is that there is no minimum income established to live here.
The minimum wage in Bulgaria in 2022 is approximately 335 EUR, while the average wage is around 750 EUR.
You can get in touch with our law firm in Bulgaria on information on tax legislation matters.
If you need digital nomad visa in Croatia or other countries, we can put you in touch with our local partners.
Differences between being a digital nomad and a freelancer in Bulgaria
The main and most important difference between applying for a Bulgarian freelance visa and a digital nomad is that through the first one you can carry out taxable activities in Bulgaria. As a digital nomad, your work or business activity must be completed for a foreign employer, respectively foreign market.
As a freelancer, you can apply for a long-term residence permit, compared to being a remote worker which implies for you to stay here for maximum 3 months. On the other hand, being a freelancer means being qualified or certified for the activity you will complete.
The best cities to move to as a digital nomad in Bulgaria
If you are interested in a Bulgarian digital nomad visa, there are several cities apart from the capital that are considered great options. If you love the sea, Varna is one of the best locations, while in the mountains side, Bansko can be a great option.
If you want to move to Bulgaria as a digital nomad, do not hesitate to contact our local lawyers for support in applying for the visa of your choice. You can also rely on us if you want to move here indefinitely. You must submit a naturalization application if you were not born in Bulgaria and wish to obtain a Bulgarian passport. The applicant must typically demonstrate that he has been a legitimate permanent resident of Bulgaria for the previous 5 years. Feel free to get in touch with us if you want to file for citizenship in Bulgaria through naturalization.