Golden Visa in Bulgaria - Obtain a Bulgarian Passport by Investment in 2024

Obtain Golden Visa in Bulgaria

Updated on Tuesday 27th February 2024

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Golden Visa in Bulgaria
Starting with April 2022, the Golden Visa program has been terminated.
A few years back, the government put Bulgaria on the map of countries that offer the possibility to buy residency and citizenship here to foreigners. Moving to Bulgaria and buying a golden visa is quite simple and enabled investors interested in this program to access various options in order to qualify.
If you are interested in moving to Bulgaria and applying for a golden visa, our lawyers are at your service with information and guidance through the entire procedure.

Qualification requirements for the Bulgarian golden visa

The Golden Visa Scheme addresses foreign citizens from non-EU countries interested in relocating to an European Union country. Apart from this, the applicant must meet certain requirements, among which:
  • he or she must be at least 18 years old at the time of the application;
  • one must also have health insurance meeting the EU coverage requirements;
  • the applicant must also have a clean criminal record;
  • the applicant must prove the legitimacy of the funds to be invested.
Starting with 2021, the Bulgarian Golden Visa program has suffered a few changes.
Our lawyers in Bulgaria can offer more information on the requirements applicable to those seeking to obtain a golden visa in 2024.

Investment options for moving to Bulgaria through a golden visa

Just like other European countries, the Bulgarian authorities have enabled several options that suit the needs of every investor when it comes to the investment that can be made. As mentioned earlier, in 2021 an important change was made in relation to one of the investment options which was replaced.
Under the new program under which one can relocate to Bulgaria through the golden visa, the following possibilities are available:
  1. real estate investments worth a at least 512,000 euros;
  2. greenfield investment projects worth at least 125,000 euros;
  3. business investment projects with a minimum value of 250,000 euros;
  4. Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) investments with a value of at least 512,000 euros.
ETF and AIFs investments are the option that replaced the former government bond purchase possibility under the old Golden Visa Program. Moreover, under the new scheme it is useful to know that a fast-track citizenship by investment procedure is available by doubling the amount injected in the selected project. Thus, for 1, 024,000 euros, a Bulgarian passport can be obtained in 18 months.
If you are planning to apply for a golden visa for Bulgaria in 2024, our law firm can offer all the details about the program, including the fast-track procedure. You can also rely on our Bulgarian lawyers for assistance in submitting your application.

How apply for a golden visa for Bulgaria

The application for a Bulgarian golden visa in 2024 is simpler compared to other countries as it does not imply taking an interview or language requirements. The procedure will begin with the Bulgarian embassy or consulate in the applicant’s home country which will imply obtaining a D-visa for entering Bulgaria. Once all the documents are verified and approved by the Ministry of Interior, residency is granted within 6 to 8 months.
One of the changes in the program for implies faster citizenship for dependents who want to move to Bulgaria through the golden visa.
If you need assistance in preparing for a quick immigration through the Golden Visa program, do not hesitate to get in touch with our Bulgarian law firm that will start the procedure on your behalf as soon as all verifications are completed.
If you are interested in this option, our law firm in Bulgaria is at your service for assistance.

How to obtain a Bulgarian golden visa by purchasing a property

By far, one of the most advantageous ways of moving to Bulgaria in 2024 to obtain a passport by investment is to acquire a property. Foreign citizens can buy real estate in some of the most beautiful areas of the country, either by the sea or in the mountains and enjoy all the benefits that come with owning a property here.
When seeking to buy a property, the future owner must consider the following:
  • the value of the property which must correspond with the requirements for obtaining the Bulgarian investment visa;
  • to complete the due diligence procedure through which the real estate is verified for encumbrances;
  • to consider an advance payment in order to secure the selected house or apartment.
Foreign citizens can buy houses, apartments or other types of properties and they can relocate in Bulgaria rather simply after obtaining their residence permits.
If you need support in drafting the paperwork for acquiring a property in Bulgaria through the investor visa program, you can rely on our lawyers who are at your disposal.

Obtaining a Bulgarian passport by investment as an entrepreneur in 2024

Starting a business in Bulgaria is a wise decision for those who want to enjoy one of the lowest corporate taxes in Europe. Apart from this, the registration procedure is fairly simple and can be completed in just a few days.
This is also one of the fastest ways of obtaining a Bulgarian passport by investment in 2024.
Our law firm in Bulgaria can help foreign investors with the following:
  • drafting the incorporation paperwork;
  • filing the documents with the Trade Register;
  • registering the company for taxation and VAT purposes.
However, compared to the usual route through which a regular residence permit can be obtained, it is worth noting that when seeking to obtain a Bulgarian investor visa, the minimum investment is 250,000 euros. For this purpose, a carefully crafted business plan should be in the attention of the future business owner.
Also, the government encourages greenfield projects for which the minimum investment value is half, 125,000 euros, which is why those who are interested in this way of acquiring a golden visa in Bulgaria can choose this option.
If you need support in applying for a Bulgarian golden visa, do not hesitate to get in touch with our specialists for details on the latest developments.

Family immigration through the Bulgarian investor visa in 2024

One of the main advantages of immigrating to Bulgaria based on the golden visa program is that it also enables family relocation. The main applicant can bring his/her spouse and children with him/her. However, in this case the application fees are higher.
One of the most important aspects to consider in this sense is that the spouse of the main applicant can apply for Bulgarian citizenship one year after the other spouse has obtained the Bulgarian passport. However, this is one of the recent developments, as until now, the dependent had to wait for 3 years.
Our Bulgarian lawyers can assist foreign citizens who have obtained investor visa and who want to bring their family members here. We also provide tailored support to those who need guidance in preparing the documents for extended family immigration.

The Bulgarian business visa and citizenship by investment

The Bulgarian golden visa is directed to foreign investors from non-EU countries who come here for business reasons most of the times. However, if they enter Bulgaria for the first time, they must also apply for a visa that enables them to stay here for the time they need to complete various formalities.
For starting a company, the Bulgarian business visa can be a great option for those who do not intend to move here permanently, or who first want to get acquainted with the lifestyle here. The main advantage of such a visa is that once issued, it has a validity of 6 months and allows for multiple entries, each visit being limited to 3 months.
The business visa can also be issued under the form of a long-term residence permit, provided that the applicant commits to:
  1. starting a new company which hires a minimum number of 10 Bulgarian citizens for at least 6 months;
  2. starting a branch office which employs at least 10 Bulgarian citizens for a minimum period of 6 months.
The business visa for Bulgaria is a great alternative for many entrepreneurs who also need to:
  • attend business meetings;
  • act as representatives for companies overseas with Bulgarian branches;
  • participate in conferences;
  • meet with Bulgarian clients.
The procedure of obtaining such a visa is straight forward and can usually be completed online. However, it is recommended to first verify the right type of visa one must apply for. The applicant must submit the application form alongside a recent photo and the receipt for paying the visa fee.
The business visa is usually issued within approximately 10 working days.
Foreign entrepreneurs seeking to apply for Bulgarian business visas must also make sure they meet the following conditions:
  • proof of owning a company and details about the purpose of visit;
  • those participating in business meetings or conferences, invitation letters can be used as proof for the visa;
  • a health certificate is also required for third-country nationals entering Bulgaria;
  • a clean criminal record may also be required in certain cases;
  • proof of sufficient funds for the duration of stay must also be submitted in the form of a bank statement.
Foreign citizens who want to apply for the citizenship by investment in Bulgaria can rely on our immigration lawyers. We can also assist those who want to obtain residency by marriage for those who want to bring their foreign spouses here.

The Bulgarian startup visa – a new program for foreign investors

Launched in February 2022 under the form an amendment of the Citizenship Act, the Startup Visa program aims to attract foreign investors from outside the European Union. There are several conditions to be met by those who want to enter the program, and among them we mention the following:
  • one must create an innovative company;
  • for this purpose, the applicant must obtain a certificate from the Bulgarian State Agency for Scientific Research and Innovation (SASRI);
  • the visa holder must own at least 50% of the company, thus one can also enter a partnership with the spouse and move to Bulgaria together.
  • In order to obtain the SASRI certificate, specific information must be submitted, among which:
  • relevant experience of the founder in the field the business will operate in;
  • the innovative character of the business and potential of the business to make profit;
  • the use of technology in the project and if the respective technology is registered or not as intellectual property;
  • endorsements by sponsors, venture capital funds or other parties can also be filed.
The Bulgarian startup visa enables applicants to obtain long-temporary residency and not permanent residence as the golden visa, however, it is a much cheaper alternative to the second program.

Other particularities of the Bulgarian investment visa

Immigrating to Bulgaria under the golden visa is one of the fastest ways of acquiring European Union residency. Also, those who want to obtain Bulgarian passport through this scheme are not required to live in the country until they obtain their papers, however, this is often a choice of those who decide on real estate investment as a main option.
Citizenship by investment is possible within 18 months if the applicant chooses the fast-track procedure, which is one of the shortest waiting periods in Europe.
Another aspect that can be in the advantage of the immigrants is that after 5 years, they can liquidate their investment. Traveling to more than 180 countries without a visa is also a major benefit of this program. Also, Bulgaria is underway of becoming a Schengen member state.
Obtaining Bulgarian citizenship comes with an additional advantage for those who come from countries that want to invest in the USA: the Bulgarian passport is eligible for the E-2 investor visa for the USA.
If you are looking for a destination to move to with or without investments, our immigration lawyers in Bulgaria are at your disposal with customized services. However, we recommend the golden visa program as a faster way to permanent residency or citizenship, depending on your needs and expectations and to enjoy all the benefits that come with this scheme, among which becoming a tax resident of this country.
The idea of tax residency establishes a person's or business's place of tax liability. The following criteria are used to determine tax residency in Bulgaria:
  • physical presence: if a person stays in Bulgaria for more than 183 days in a calendar year, he/she is considered a tax resident;
  • economic ties: if a person has a permanent address in Bulgaria, owns or rents property there, or has family there, he/she is also regarded as a tax resident;
  • center of vital interests: if a person's center of vital interests is in Bulgaria, he or she is regarded as a tax resident (this may involve elements like the location of a person's bank account and place of business).

Why choose Bulgaria as golden visa destination in 2024

Compared to other European countries, Bulgaria has one of the most modern golden visa schemes with the 2021 changes to testify to that. Apart from this, one can choose Bulgaria for the following reasons:
  • it has one of the cheapest workforces in Europe which is very suitable for entrepreneurs;
  • the applicant can obtain a Bulgarian passport while retaining the original citizenship;
  • the country has one of the lowest corporate income taxes in Europe;
  • under this scheme, the applicant’s spouse and children qualify for permanent residency automatically.
Bulgaria terminated the Golden Visa or Citizenship by Investment Scheme in the spring of 2022. This means that foreign citizens who want to move to Bulgaria must now apply for regular residence permits that enable them to obtain citizenship the usual way. While the former scheme has its advantages, immigration to Bulgaria through temporary followed by permanent residence still comes with certain benefits, among which no more financial pressure.
On the other hand, the spouse of the main applicant can apply for Bulgarian nationality 3 years after the investor was awarded citizenship under the old program, which is a quicker route for spouses to obtain citizenship. When compared to the earlier Citizenship Act, this means a 2 year reduction. If you are interested in immigration to Bulgaria in 2024, our local specialists are at your disposal.
Do not hesitate to contact us for guidance in moving to Bulgaria.