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Bulgarian CIP

Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment

(EU Golden Passport)

On March 12th 2021, the Bulgarian citizenship law and the law for the foreigners were amended and published in the 21st edition of the Bulgarian State Gazette. This gave birth to the new and revamped Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment Program (aka EU Golden Passport). This act of the Bulgarian parliament has cemented the Bulgarian Golden Passport as the only true investment citizenship program in the EU.

How the Bulgarian investment citizenship program works

Basically, there are two different options for the investor – the fast-track and the semi-fast-track approach. The main difference between the two options is the speed of obtaining citizenship and the required investment. While both options give the investor an unique opportunity to become EU citizen, our preference is definitely for the faster approach. Below, we will give more details about each of these options.

The fast-track option

Overall score
0%
Min Max
Required investment (shorter is better)
1 024 000 EUR
Required investment if locals are employed (shorter is better)
512 000 EUR
20 employees
Time to citizenship (shorter is better)
1 year

The fast-track option foresees that the applicant invests initially 512 000 EUR. This investment will enable him to obtain permanent residence status immediately. After 12 months, the applicant can double his investment and become eligible for Bulgarian citizenship. In other words, the timeline for the fast-track option is only 12 months. Bearing in mind that there are some administrative formalities, the process usually takes around 18 months to complete. The total required investment is 1 024 000 EUR.

The semi-fast-track option

Overall score
0%
Min Max
Required investment (shorter is better)
512 000 EUR
Required investment if locals are employed (shorter is better)
256 000 EUR
10 employees
Time to citizenship (shorter is better)
5 years

The semi-fast-track option is based on the fast-track route. After the initial investment of 512 000 EUR and obtaining permanent residence permit, the applicant can opt not to make other investments. In such case, he will be eligible for citizenship in 5 years after permanent residence is obtained. The total required investment for the semi-fast-track option is thus 512 000 EUR.

Creating business in Bulgaria - cutting the investment requirement in half

The new citizenship law of 2021 allows the applicant to invest only half of the minimum requirement for the other options (256 000 EUR). This is the case when the investment is done in own business in Bulgaria. The condition is that the citizenship applicant has to employ 10 local citizens in order to obtain permanent residence permit. This is sufficient to obtain Bulgarian citizenship through the semi-fast-track option after 5 years.

In order to obtain citizenship via the fast-track option, the applicant will need to employ 20 local citizens and make a total investment of 512 000 EUR.

The investment options

The revamped Citizenship by Investment program of 2021 foresees many different investment options that will qualify for residence and citizenship. These are namely:

  • Shares of Bulgarian companies;
  • Bulgarian corporate bonds;
  • Concession contracts or rights;
  • Units of investment funds, UCITs and ETFs;
  • Units of alternative investment funds, AIFs;
  • Investment in Priority Investment Project;
  • Creation of Bulgarian trading company and employment of Bulgarian nationals.

Please find out more about the available eligible investment options.

The timeline of the naturalization process

The process to citizenship consists of the following stages:

  • Preliminary due diligence - month #1

    The preliminary due diligence is one of the most important processes during the citizenship application. We will never enter into relation with a client if we can't successfully pass the preliminary due diligence screening. We also have certain legal obligations that we need to follow in order to assist the investor with his investment citizenship application. Positive preliminary due diligence result is also guaranteeing for almost 100% the successful citizenship outcome.

  • Signing the legal agreement - month #1

    If the preliminary due diligence has been passed successfully, the client can sign the legal agreement. The agreement is drafted by professional lawyer to ensure ultimate conformity and to protect the client's interests.

  • Making the first investment - month #1

    We will assist the client to open bank or brokerage account in Bulgaria or elsewhere. The applicant can also use his existing account in his own country in order to make the investment. Before making the investment, we will obtain preliminary ruling from the Bulgarian investment agency for the suitability of the investment chosen.

  • Obtaining of investment certificate - month #2

    We will obtain the legally required certificate from the Bulgarian authorities that the investment of the applicant conforms with the conditions of the law. This is necessary so the client can obtain Bulgarian visa and permanent residence permit.

  • Application for Bulgarian visa type D - month #3

    The client will at this stage, apply for and obtain visa type D from the nearest Bulgarian embassy or consulate.

  • Travel to Bulgaria and application for permanent residence permit - month #3

    Once visa D is obtained, the client will need to travel to Bulgaria and apply for permanent residence permit.

  • Obtaining of permanent residence permit - month #4

    Receipt of Bulgarian permanent residence permit under the investment program. With this, the first stage of the application is completed. From this moment on, the citizenship applicant can opt to proceed with through either the fast-track or the semi-fast-track route.

The fast-track option

  • One year residence period - month #4 to month #15

    As per the conditions of the program, the applicant can double his investment and apply for Bulgarian citizenship in 12 months after he has obtained permanent residence permit.

  • Making the second investment - month #15

    After preliminary approval by the Investment Agency, the applicant can double his investment by making a second investment, equal (or greater) than the first one.

  • Obtaining of investment certificate - month #16

    As with the first investment, the client will need official investment certificate from the authorities, confirming the eligibility of his investment. We will obtain the certificate from the authorities in Bulgaria.

  • Interview for Bulgarian citizenship - month #17

    At this point, the client will be eligible for Bulgarian citizenship. An interview has to be attended in either a Bulgarian embassy abroad or in Bulgaria.

  • Bulgarian citizenship decree (obtaining passport) - month #18+

    From this moment on the client is expecting his citizenship application to be approved by the Citizenship council and the Ministry of Justice. The final act is the decree of the vice-President. After that, the client can apply for and collect his Bulgarian ID card and EU passport.

The semi-fast-track option

  • Five years residence period - month #4 to month #63

    As per the conditions of the semi-fast-track program, the applicant will become eligible for Bulgarian citizenship 5 years after he has obtained permanent residence permit. No further investment is required.

  • Interview for Bulgarian citizenship - month #63

    Five years after the applicant has obtained permanent residence status, he will become eligible for Bulgarian citizenship. An interview has to be attended in either a Bulgarian embassy abroad or in Bulgaria.

  • Bulgarian citizenship decree (obtaining passport) - month #64+

    From this moment on the client is expecting his citizenship application to be approved by the Citizenship council and the Ministry of Justice. The final act is the decree of the vice-President. After that, the client can apply for and collect his Bulgarian ID card and EU passport.