Business Immigration to Bulgaria
Bulgaria has long been a highly sought after tourist destination for families, adventure seekers, and holidaymakers looking for a country that has it all – beautiful scenery, ancient architecture, delicious cuisine, and a friendly population. Bulgaria has all of these elements and more as the country enjoys miles and miles of the Black Sea coastline, mountain ranges, famous art galleries, and world renowned cuisine.
It’s not just Bulgaria’s tourism industry that is booming. The nation’s healthy economy is getting stronger by the year and heavy industry, agriculture, and power engineering continue to be Bulgaria’s strongest economic sectors. Foreign investors searching for global investment opportunities should strongly consider all that Bulgaria has to offer, especially right now because the nation just made favorable amendments to its citizenship by investment program.
Bulgaria’s Investor Program for Residence and Citizenship
In early 2013, the Bulgarian government voted to amend the nation’s Investor Program for Residence and Citizenship (IPRC) in order to make the program more attractive to potential foreign investors. These changes include a waiver of the Bulgarian language requirement and a waiver of the renunciation of the investor’s former nationality requirement.
In order to qualify for the IPRC, the foreign national must invest 600,000 BGN into purchasing real estate located in the country or invest 500,000 BGN into a company that will create a minimum of ten new jobs for Bulgarian citizens. Alternatively, a 250,000 BGN investment can be made into a Bulgarian company that is operating in an underdeveloped area of the country and that will create a minimum of five jobs for Bulgarian citizens in a high unemployment region. Alternatively, the investment can be put into government bonds.
The IPRC application must contain a copy of the investor’s curriculum vitae, the Investment Certificate that is issued by the Bulgarian Ministry of Finance to confirm the national made the required investment, proof that the investment funds derived from a lawful source, proof that the investor does not have a criminal record, and proof that the investor has a personal net worth of at least 1,000,000 Euros.
Once the investor’s application is approved, the investor receives a Bulgarian permanent resident permit which entitles the holder to travel freely into and out of Bulgaria and to live in the nation indefinitely. The investor’s spouse and children are eligible to receive permits as derivative beneficiaries and they enjoy the same benefits.
It is important to note that one of the other new changes to the IPRC is that once the investor receives the permanent residence permit, the investor is exempt from the normal requirement that permanent residents live in Bulgaria for at least 180 days over the course of five years. Therefore, a foreign investor would not be required to spend a significant period of time in Bulgaria if doing so would be contrary to the investor’s interests or intentions.
The Citizenship Application
After the foreign investor has been a permanent resident for five years, the investor can apply for Bulgarian citizenship through a process called naturalization. The naturalization application must contain proof that the foreign investor maintained the permanent residence and has not been convicted of a capital crime. Moreover, the application must have evidence that the investor has been paying the country’s taxes.
Once the naturalization application is approved, the investor can obtain a Bulgarian passport.
Benefits of a Bulgarian Passport
There are many benefits to Bulgarian citizenship. The nation is a member of the EU and NATO so the country is a prominent player on the world stage and helps to formulate international economic policies. Moreover, the personal income and corporate income tax rates are currently 10% which is relatively low in comparison to other countries.
Interested investors seeking to relocate to Bulgaria are encouraged to contact attorneys to assist them with the foreign business and immigration processes.