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’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.