Residence Permit in Bulgaria
Residence Permit in BulgariaUpdated on Wednesday 18th March 2020
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Foreign citizens wanting to stay in Bulgaria for more than three months must apply for a Bulgaria residence permit. The main legislation governing the issuance of residence permits for foreign citizens is the Foreign Nationals in the Republic of Bulgaria Act. The legislation establishes foreigners may apply for one of the three types of Bulgarian residence permits:
- - extended residence permits: these have a maximum validity period of one year; may be used by investors and other interested parties;
- - long-term EU residence permits: these are issued for an initial period of five years and can then be renewed.
- - permanent residence permits: these are granted after a certain time spent lawfully in the country with a valid permit.
- - residence certificates: available for European citizens who stay for more than three months, on a long-term basis for maximum of five years or permanent ones.
Before applying for a Bulgaria residence permit, foreign citizens must first obtain a long-stay visa.
Our team of immigration lawyers in Bulgaria can help foreign nationals apply for a residence permit and handle all of the procedures associated with this application.
What are the types of Bulgaria residence permits?
Bulgarian residence visas are usually issued depending on the status of the applicant. The National Migration Directorate will issue residence visas for foreign employees, freelancers, and retirees. The long-term or extended residence visa has a variable validity period with a maximum period of one year. The long-term EU residence permit has a validity period of five years and can be renewed.
The last type of residence permit is permanent and is the main step to obtain Bulgarian citizenship. In order to apply for a permanent residence permit, a foreign citizen must first obtain a Bulgarian extended residence permit.
Bulgaria also has an Investment Promotion Act through which foreign investors may apply for a residence permit. Under the Investment Promotion Act, foreign citizens must register a company with the Bulgarian Commercial Register or invest in real estate in order to obtain a residence permit.
- - to foreign nationals of Bulgarian descent;
- - to foreigners who have been married for more than five years to a foreigner who has been living on the country uninterruptedly for five years;
- - minors of foreign nationals with permanent residence in Bulgaria, who are unmarried;
- - family members of a Bulgarian citizen, when they have been living in the country uninterruptedly for five years.
- - an investment of one million Bulgarian Leva or more for the purpose of acquiring shares in listed Bulgarian companies or for the acquisition of other securities or rights;
- - an investment of more than six million Bulgarian Leva in the capital of a Bulgarian company that is not listed on the stock exchange.
For information about the Investment Promotion Act, you can ask our Bulgarian lawyers.
What are the documents required for obtaining a Bulgarian residence permit?
The National Migration Directorate will require the following documents of applicants for Bulgarian residence permits:
- - a valid passport,
- - proof of accommodation in Bulgaria,
- - proof of self-sufficiency,
- - an insurance policy,
- - details about the applicant’s marital status and members of the family,
The application must be submitted in Bulgarian. For applicants under the Investment Promotion Act, there are additional requirements among which the amount to be invested in Bulgaria.
- - they are self-employed in Bulgaria or employed with a locally registered company;
- - they have sufficient financial means to cover medical insurance and other expenses for themselves and their family members, as applicable, without being a burden to the Bulgarian state.
- - they are admitted to a college or university in Bulgaria or follow professional training, have medical insurance and sufficient financial means so that they are not a burden to the social security system.
Types of visas in Bulgaria
If citizens from EU countries may travel to Bulgaria without a visa, other foreign citizens are required to apply for one of the available types of visas depending on the purpose and the time of their stay. Bulgaria applies the Council Regulation No. 539/2001 with respect to the countries whose citizens are required to apply for a Bulgarian visa and foreign citizens exempt from these requirements.
There are three types of Bulgarian visas for foreign citizens:
- - the A visa, which is for airport transit,
- - the C visa for short stays,
- - the D visa for long stays.
Visa applications for coming to Bulgaria must be submitted three months prior to the intended travel. The applicants may submit the forms themselves or appoint an agent or Bulgarian lawyer to handle the procedure.
Requirements when applying for a Bulgarian visa
Foreign citizens coming to Bulgaria must keep in mind certain aspects of the visa application procedure. First of all, they must make sure they have a valid passport with at least two blank pages for visa purposes. The passports must have a minimum validity period of three months and must have been issued within the last 10 years.
Other documents to be submitted with the visa application form are:
- - a photocopy of the passport’s first page,
- - a copy of the last Bulgarian or Schengen visa, if applicable,
- - a passport sized colored photo,
- - a medical insurance,
- - proof of transportation and accommodation,
- - proof of self-sufficiency.
- - Family reasons for the stay: 3,240 permits in 2017 and 3,615 permits in 2017;
- - Permits for education and study: 1,067 in 2016 and 1,267 in 2017;
- - Employment and other remunerated activities: 276 permits in 2016 and 1,822 permits in 2017;
- - Other reasons: 3,359 permits in 2016 and 4,254 permits in 2017.
You can contact our law firm in Bulgaria if you need help in obtaining a Bulgaria residence permit.