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
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
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: