In accordance with the Bulgarian legislation the term “foreigner” includes every individual who is not a Bulgarian or an EU, EEA or a Swiss citizen. In order to be entitled to Bulgarian residence the foreigners in Bulgaria should obtain a residence permit depending on the period of their stay and their residence status.
The continuous residence status entitles the foreign individual to reside in Bulgaria for for a maximum of one year and some of the most common grounds for obtaining such a status include:
Grounds for Obtaining a Continuous Residence in Bulgaria
- Work under an Employment Agreement
In order to be granted a continuous residence permit for employment purposes in Bulgaria the individuals should present to the competent authorities a certified copy of a work permit which should be issued by the Bulgarian Employment Agency before the application for a residence permit is filed. The work permit is obtained following a request made by the employer (a natural or a legal person registered under the Bulgarian legislation) to the Employment Agency.
- Commercial Activities
If a person intends to carry out commercial activities in Bulgaria by registering a Bulgarian company and wishes to obtain a continuous residence permit in Bulgaria based on that premise, the legal requirements are that the respective Bulgarian company owned and/or managed by the foreign person must open at least ten job positions for Bulgarian citizens and maintain them for the entire term of the residence permit.
- Registration of a Trade Representative Office
Foreigners could also obtain a continuous residence status if they act as representatives of a trade representative office (TRO) registered by a foreign company with the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Although TROs are not entitled to carry out business activities in Bulgaria, the TRO registration is commonly used by foreign businesses to secure a Bulgarian residence status for their employees, as TRO-s are not required to employ any Bulgarian citizens and the third-country nationals who act at TRO representatives are not required work permits.
- Making an Investment in Bulgaria
A third-country national could be granted a Bulgarian continuous residence certificate if she makes an investment in Bulgaria in the following amounts:
– Investment of BGN 600 000 (app. EUR 307 000) or more, in a real estate property in Bulgaria or in acquiring at least 50% of the shares of a Bulgarian company, which in turn acquires a real estate in the country for the same amount. The amount of BGN 600 000 must be paid in full to a bank account at a licensed Bulgarian credit institution. Alternatively, if the real estate is acquired using borrowed funds, the unpaid part of the loan must not exceed 25%.
– Investment of BGN 250 000 (app. EUR 128 000) or more in economically challenged regions by contributing the amount in the share capital of a Bulgarian company against a holding of at least 50% of the company shares, where the entire amount of the investment is used for purchasing new non-current assets and where at least 5 job positions for Bulgarian citizens are opened and maintained throughout the period of the residence.
Necessary Documents for Obtaining a Bulgarian Continuous Residence Permit
In order to obtain a continuous residence permit, the foreigner must meet the following conditions:
- s/he has to own a valid long-term visa (the so-called Visa type “D”);
- s/he has to file a standard application with the “Migration” Directorate at the Ministry of Interior;
- s/he has to attach to the application documents that prove their identity, financial stability, place of living, medical insurance and clean criminal record;
- s/he has to prove the existence of one of the statutory grounds for residing in Bulgaria described above.