Immigrate to Bulgaria - Comprehensive Relocation Guide

Immigrate to Bulgaria

Updated on Friday 30th June 2023

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Immigrate to Bulgaria
In recent years, Bulgaria has become an important destination for citizens in neighboring countries interested in relocation. However, these are not the only persons deciding on immigration to Bulgaria, but also non-EU citizens who want to obtain access to EU residency.
People who want to migrate to Bulgaria will enjoy a flexible taxation system with very competitive rates compared to other European countries, as well as great employment and business possibilities. In other words, the small Southeastern European country has become a great destination for most foreign citizens interested in exploring new opportunities. Below, our Bulgarian lawyers explain the main steps to complete when moving here. We can help you during the entire procedure.
 Quick Facts  
Entry visa requirement (from EU)  (YES/NO) No

Entry visa requirement (outside EU) (YES/NO)

Yes, unless the applicant comes from another EU country based on a residence permit

 Types of visas available

- temporary residence permit,

- work visa,

- EU Blue Card

Time frame for obtaining work visa (approx.) 

Approx. 3 weeks

 Validity of temporary residence permit

6 or 12 months

Temporary residence permit renewal requirements

It can be renewed for up to 5 years

Documents for obtaining a residence permit

- valid passport,

- proof of local address,

- proof of financial means to support oneself,

- health insurance,

- other supporting documents based on the reason of relocation

Time frame for obtaining permanent residence (approx.)

5 years of living in the country

Investor Visa availability (YES/NO)


Start-up Visa Scheme availability (YES/NO) Yes
Sponsorship requirement (YES/NO)


Time frame for obtaining citizenship

5 years of permanent residence

Citizenship/Residency by investment scheme availability (YES/NO)

Yes, the minimum investment is EUR 250,000 in business activities; fast-track procedure that leads to citizenship after 2 years is also available

Taxation of foreign citizens

 10% income tax rate applicable to income obtained in Bulgaria

Tax benefits for expats Access to approx. 60 double tax treaties


The main types of visas available for immigration to Bulgaria

Bulgaria is quite flexible when it comes to immigration regulations and types of visas available for foreigners. Bulgarian visas can be obtained for a variety of reasons, including visiting family or friends, setting up a company, traveling for tourism, etc.
The national D-visa is one of the most popular options when immigrating to Bulgaria and it is issued to individuals interested in acquiring real estate or who register corporate forms on behalf of foreign firms in Bulgaria or domestic companies.
The requirements for people moving to Bulgaria to work, establish a business, marry a Bulgarian citizen, or as a company representative, pensioner, or family member fall under several types of D-visas.
Foreign nationals may visit Bulgaria for up to 90 days for one of the following 3 reasons based on a C permit:
  • business;
  • personal motives;
  • tourism.


Bulgarian embassies usually process such visas in about 30 days. Both a business invitation and a personal invitation letter are necessary for the first two categories. If you need information about these types of visas, feel free to address our immigration lawyers in Bulgaria

The most popular Bulgarian residence permits and their validity

Three different forms of residence visas are outlined in the Foreign Nationals in the Republic of Bulgaria Act. These are also the most sought by those interested in long-term immigration to Bulgaria:
  • The long-term resident permit:
All non-EU foreign nationals must have a long-term D visa before submitting an application for an extended residence permit. The validity of this kind of permission, also known as a prolonged residency permit, is up to one year.
  • The EU long-term residence permit:
EU individuals with a current passport or ID card are allowed to stay in Bulgaria for up to three 3 months straight after entering the country. This kind of authorization is given to those who hold a valid passport or ID card. The validity of this type of permit can be extended to 5 years.
  • The permanent residence permit:
Prior to being granted a permanent residence visa, immigrants must first secure an extended residence permit and maintain it for at least 5 years. One of the primary prerequisites for acquiring a Bulgarian passport and citizenship is the issuance of this kind of permit, which is granted for an indeterminate period of time.


If you need support in applying for any of the permits presented above, you can rely on our law firm in Bulgaria.


Bulgarian immigration procedures

When it comes to choosing to move to Bulgaria, there are two procedures to consider:
  • the one applicable to EU citizens;
  • the ones available for non-EU citizens.
We mentioned the ones applicable to non-EU citizens, as these have several legal pathways through which they can immigrate to Bulgaria.
If you decide to migration to Sofia, our immigration lawyers in Bulgaria who have an office in the capital are at your disposal with quick legal services.

How to immigrate to Bulgaria as an EU citizen

If you are an EU citizen, you will have nothing to worry about if you want to relocate to Bulgaria. As a matter of fact, once you enter the country, you need to obtain a residence certificate if you intend to settle here. However, if you plan on staying in the country for less than 3 months (during which you can decide if the lifestyle suits you and you can get used to living here), there is no need to apply for any visa.
You can decide for migration to Sofia which is has one of the largest communities of expats in the country, and our immigration lawyers in Bulgaria can help you settle here right away.
Find out more on this subject in the infographic below:
How to Relocate to Bulgaria

How to migrate to Bulgaria as a non-EU citizen

If you are a non-EU citizen and want to move to Bulgaria, you can apply directly from your home country for one of the following types of residence permits:
  • a temporary residence visa;
  • a work visa;
  • an investor visa;
  • the EU Blue Card is also available for non-EU citizens.
Student visas are also available for non-EU citizens who want to immigrate to Bulgaria, however, these are issued for the duration of the studies.
By far, the investor visa which can lead to Bulgarian citizenship is often the choice of most non-EU citizens, as it was created for those willing to invest and have the financial power to contribute in a significant way to the country’s economy.
Non-EU citizens who are already established in other EU member states can relocate to Bulgaria based on the residence cards obtained in the respective countries.
If you need time or information to help you decide on how to migrate here, our law firm in Bulgaria can be your guide, so do not hesitate to ask for support.

Immigration to Bulgaria based on an EU Blue Card

If you want to immigrate to Bulgaria as a non-EU citizen, the Blue Card can be a good option if you meet the following requirements:
  • you obtain a job with a Bulgarian company with minimum work contract of 1 year;
  • the job offer is based on a monthly minimum salary of approximately EUR 860 (around BGN 1,700) per month, or approximately EUR 10,300 (BGN 20,200) per year.
The position you occupy must be that of a highly skilled employee.
All applications for residence permits are handled by the Migration Directorate which is supervised by the Ministry of Interior in Bulgaria.
Our Bulgarian law firm can help you apply for any type of residence permit. You can also watch our video on this subject:

Obtaining permanent residency in Bulgaria

An application for permanent residence may be submitted after 5 years of ongoing residence in Bulgaria. The candidate will be granted the same rights as a Bulgarian citizen as a result, with the exception of the right to vote.
Foreign nationals may also apply for permanent residency if they have been married for 5 years to a Bulgarian citizen or a foreigner with permanent residence in Bulgaria. The 60 days before the expiration of the long-term residence permit are the deadline for submitting applications for a permanent residence permit. After the documentation is submitted, the permit is issued in approximately 2 months.

Citizenship – completion of the Bulgarian immigration procedures


Depending on your situation, there are several options to apply for Bulgarian citizenship:
  • citizenship by birth in Bulgaria which is inherited through parent or parents;
  • naturalization which implies an applicant to satisfy the standards outlined by the Bulgarian government;
  • marriage is also a way through which citizenship in Bulgaria can be obtained.


Why decide on migration to Sofia

Sofia is one of the most beautiful and full of opportunities cities in Bulgaria. Here, you will find not only great business opportunities, but also employment ones.
The Bulgarian government encourages entrepreneurship mainly through low taxes and industry incentives, information technology being one of the most important in this sense. Sofia is one of the country’s largest IT hubs.
If you are interested in migration to Sofia, our local law office is at your service.
Sofia is also the largest populated city in the country with than 1,1 million citizens at the level of 2019. Other important cities are:
  • Plovdiv which accounted for 340,494 inhabitants in the same year;
  • Varna, which is one of the most important touristic centers with a population of 312,770 citizens;
  • Burgas with 195,966 inhabitants and Ruse with 156,238 citizens.
Also, according to statistics:
  • in 2021, the number of foreign-born citizens in Bulgaria was 0.2 million people;
  • at that time, immigrants represented 3% of Bulgaria’s population;
If you want to immigrate to Bulgaria and need assistance, do not hesitate to get in contact with our lawyers who can help you apply for any type of residence permit.