In order to acquire a Bulgarian citizenship a foreigner must normally undergo a lengthy and cumbersome procedure and fulfill a number of requirements, including a mandatory period of residence in Bulgaria of approximately ten years, a good command of the Bulgarian language, renunciation of their current citizenship, etc. However, the amendments in the Bulgarian legislation in the past few years paved an easier and smoother path to the Bulgarian citizenship goal by introducing a fast-track Bulgarian citizenship procedure on the grounds of an investment made by the foreign individual in Bulgaria. This procedure is explored by our law firm and our lawyers can help any foreign individual obtain their Bulgarian citizenship through the fast track path.
The fast-track Bulgarian citizenship procedure includes the following two stages:
Stage 1 – Obtaining a Fast Track Bulgarian Permanent Residence Status
While the standard Bulgarian permanent residence legal procedure requires at least five years of previous legal residence in Bulgaria for work or business purposes, the Bulgarian fast-track procedure provides for an instant permanent residence status if the foreigner makes an investment in Bulgaria in any of the following forms:
1. investment of over BGN 1,000,000 (app. EUR 512,000) in the form of an acquisition of:
- Bulgarian intellectual property – copyrights, patents, trademarks, etc., or
- shares in publicly traded Bulgarian companies;, or
- debentures and treasury bonds as well as derivatives thereof issued by the Bulgarian State or the municipalities with a remaining term until maturity no less than 6 months; or
- concession rights in the territory of Bulgaria; or
- ownership in the property of a Bulgarian company with at least 50% State of municipality holding pursuant to the Bulgarian Privatization and Post-Privatization Control Act; or
- shares or stock in a Bulgarian company held by the State or the municipalities pursuant to the Bulgarian Privatization and Post-Privatization Control Act.
2. investment of over BGN 1,000,000 (app. EUR 512,000) in a licensed credit institution in Bulgaria under an investment management agreement for a period of at least 5 years provided that the deposit is not used to guarantee other loans extended by a Bulgarian credit institution.
The above mentioned forms of investment in Bulgaria entitle to a Bulgarian permanent residence status not only the foreigners making the investment but also their family members.
The permanent residence status gives its holders the right to freely enter and leave Bulgaria and reside in the country. At the same time the foreigner does not lose his permanent residence status if he does not stay physically in Bulgaria.
Stage 2 – Obtaining a Fast Track Bulgarian Citizenship
Once the foreigner obtains a Bulgarian permanent residence permit, as a next step s/he could apply for a Bulgarian citizenship if they meet the following legal requirements:
- The foreigner is over 18 years old and has a clean criminal record; and
- The foreigner has held a permanent residence status for at least one year; and
- The foreigner has doubled their investment up to BGN 2,000,000 (app. EUR 1,022,000) or has invested at least BGN 1,000,000 (app. EUR 512,000) in the capital of a Bulgarian company which is carrying out a priority investment project certified pursuant to the Bulgarian Investment Promotion Act; and
- The foreigner holds the second additional investment for at least two years in order to sustain its Bulgarian citizenship.
Benefits of the Fast-Track Bulgarian Citizenship Procedure
Some of the advantages that make the fast-track Bulgarian citizenship procedure so beneficial are as follows:
- No Bulgarian language skills required;
- No obligation for renouncing the current citizenship of the foreigner;
- No physical presence and residence in Bulgaria required;
- Very short and fast process to citizenship involving only one year of holding a permanent residence status.
A foreigner who has acquired Bulgarian citizenship can freely access any country within the European Union and no VISA application is required. Our lawyers can give you legal advice and guide you through the process of obtaining Bulgarian citizenship via the fast-track legal procedure.
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