The Bulgarian : Citizenship Investment Program

The Bulgarian Investment Immigration program was introduced by the Bulgarian Government in a bid to attract foreign investors to reside in the country to achieve a more diverse and competitive business environment. The Program is aimed at non-European residents, who are seeking EU residence and citizenship in Bulgaria. In general, the Program is most popular among high net worth individuals, as these are the people who are able to invest a sufficient wealth into the country for the benefit of the country’s economy.

INVESTMENT OPTIONS

Option 1:

Full cash Investment

Investor deposits the full amount of BNG 1,000,000 (approximately EUR 512,000) in a guaranteed Governmental Bond Portfolio for a period of 5 years. At the end of the 5 years, the amount of BNG 1,000,000 is returned to investors without accrued interest. This investment is fully guaranteed by the government bonds.

Option 2:

Financed Investment (Loan Option)

The investor pays a loan amount of Euro 180,000. This amount is used to finance the BNG 1,000,000 closed five-year term loan from a Bulgarian chartered bank. The loan amount of EUR 180,000 do not return to the investor at the end of the five year period.

Key advantages of becoming a Bulgarian resident:

  Investor and all his family members (wife and minor children) get Permanent Residence in Bulgaria. Permanent residence gives the same rights as BG citizens, except voting.

  Government guaranteed investment. Loan options of investment are available.

  Five years after maintaining the residency entitled you to apply for citizenship of Bulgaria.

  No physical residence required for Main Applicant and dependents. Physical residency is waived for qualified investors.

  Relatively fast application process.

  Opportunity to become resident of the European Union. Easy access to EU countries – no visa requirement.

  Holding a residence visa also enable the applicants to enter and leave the country as many times as they wish without visas. Exemption from physical residency enforced with legislation.

  Lowest taxation in EU and special exemption for immigration through investment applicants.

  Favorable tax rates and free trade environment within EU.

  Europe's lowest operational costs.

  Government support for the investment projects.

  Government approved investment and available financing options from Banks.

  Unique benefits towards European citizenship for investors and their families.

  Strategic geographic location, linking Europe to Asia, Middle East and Africa.

The legislative summary of amendments from 02.2013
On February 23, 2013 new important amendments in the Investment Promotion Act and resulting changes in the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act and the Bulgarian Citizenship Act came in force. The Bulgarian language competence requirement and the relinquishment of the current nationality requirement for applicants who invest in government bonds are waived. These changes make the Bulgarian Residency and Citizenship Program even more attractive.
Fast Track Option of EU-Citizenship by Investment
Moreover, new option is introduced for those investors who invest BGN 1,000,000 (EUR 512,000) in risky Priority Investment Project (mostly in rural and undeveloped areas of Bulgaria). These investors will have the privilege of being able to apply for Bulgarian citizenship after 1 year with permanent residency status (instead of 5 years). After citizenship

REQUIREMENTS
Permanent Residence Permit may be provided to a foreign investor who has a Certificate for Investment in Bulgaria issued by the Ministry of Finance. To obtain such Certificate, the  foreign  person  must  invest  at  least  1,000,000  BGN  (approximately €511,292 )  in  qualified governmental bond portfolio or under trust management agreement with licensed local credit institution for a period of five years.

PERMANENT RESIDENCE
The Migration Directorate of the Ministry of Interior issues Permanent Residence Permit. This document entitles its holder to enter and exit Bulgaria freely and to reside in the country for an indefinite period of time. The Permanent Resident must then apply for Bulgarian personal identity number and afterwards – for a Bulgarian permanent residence card. Permanent Residence Permit, which takes up to 60 days to be processed, may be provided to a foreign investor who has a valid passport with Bulgarian long-term visa (type D), original of clean criminal record, Certificate for Investment in Bulgaria and  rental agreement or proof of residential ownership .

CITIZENSHIP
According  to  the  Bulgarian  Citizenship  Act ,  a  foreign  investor  may  apply  for Bulgarian citizenship at least five years after acquiring of Permanent Residence Permit provided that it has not been interrupted. To that effect the foreign person must have reached the age of majority (18 years); maintain a current valid status of Permanent Residence, have never been sentenced by a Bulgarian court for criminal offence nor accused of committing such a crime in criminal proceedings.

The application for the Bulgaria EU Investor Program must include the following legalized documents in English, alongside with a Bulgarian translation.

  Application for Permanent Residency and Visa D;

  Passport with applicable visa;

  Proof of paid application fees;

  Curriculum vitae of Main Applicant;

  Two photographs of the Main applicant;

  Investment Certificate issued by the Ministry of Finance for the amount of 511 292 €;

Statement of the Source of Funds;

  Power of Attorneys and Investment Agreements have to be notarized in the appropriate Bulgarian Consulate or Embassy or to be certified by a Notary;

  Proof that the applicant has no criminal record.

  The statutory term for issuance of a Permanent Residence Permit is two months after submission of the documents. Permanent Residence Permit is issued by the Migration Directorate of the Ministry of Interior. It entitles its holder to enter and exit Bulgaria freely and to reside in the country for indefinite period of time. The holder also receives a Bulgarian Identity Card, Personal Identity Number and address of residence.

All applicants for the Investor Program are subject to thorough checks by Interpol, Europol and other anti-crime organizations. A pre-requisite of the Program is that all applicants must have a crime free record and must not be subject of ongoing criminal proceedings.

Once the Permanent Residence Permit is obtained through the foreign investment of 511 292 € as per the Bulgarian law and legislation, the foreign investor can benefit from a special exemption for physical residency requirement from the statutory 180 days per year over 5 years as per the Art 40. Par.5 of the Act for Foreigners in Republic of Bulgaria (AFRB).

Citizenship Requirements
The foreign investor who holds a Permanent Residence permit for at least 5 years may apply for Bulgarian Citizenship according to the Act on Bulgarian Citizenship. To that effect the Foreign Investor has to, as of the date of filing the application for naturalization and as per Article 12 of the Act: be major; maintain his status of Permanent Residence, not been sentenced by a Bulgarian court for a capital offense and has not been accused in criminal proceedings for such a crime unless he has been rehabilitated.
Foreign citizen may acquire Bulgarian citizenship not subject to the provisions of Article 12 if the Republic of Bulgaria has an interest in his/her naturalization or if the person concerned has made a special contribution to the Republic of Bulgaria in social and economic spheres, or in the field of science, technology, culture or sports. Bulgarian Citizenship is granted personally by the President of the Republic by virtue of a President Decree issued on the grounds of a special well-founded proposal of the Minister of Justice after the completion of a statutory procedure.

Application Fees (Non-Refundable)

The application fees associated with the program include government application fees, legal and translation fees, language course fees, service fees related to the background verification and validation of source of funds, professional fees. These up-front fees are non-refundable.