The Ministry of Justice of Bulgaria has announced new changes for obtaining Bulgarian citizenship through investment. The new changes effective from Jan 1, 2019. Bulgaria’s citizenship by investment programme was introduced with amended rules in late 2013.
Certificate of No criminal record: Foreign investors must present no criminal record certificate from competent authorities at the time of applying for citizenship. The criminal record certificate shall state that it has been issued for the procedures related to the Bulgarian citizenship.
Mix of investments: Government will not allow mix of investments. In some cases increase in investments not possible
Buying of Bonds: Foreigners due to bank restrictions will be required to buy bonds through their local bank outside Bulgaria.
Financing: Financing of bonds will be difficult and will be more expensive for foreigners. Bulgarian banks wont be able to provide financing to foreigners.
Interview: Citizenship acquisition through investment procedure have been tightened and applicants have to appear for interview at the Ministry in Bulgarian language.
Bank account: Due to bank regulations, foreigners must declare tax residence and citizenship when opening a bank account with bulgarian banks for investment.
Permanent residence certificate
Permanent residence permits are issued also to Foreigners who have made certain investments in Bulgaria, such being Foreigners
(i) who have invested in Bulgaria over BGN 1,000,000 (one million Bulgarian Leva) or have increased their investment with such amount, through acquisition of shares in Bulgarian companies which are traded on the Bulgarian stock exchange, through acquisition of rights under concession agreements on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, or through acquisition of other securities or rights explicitly provided by the law, or
(ii) who have invested in Bulgaria over BGN 6,000,000 (six million Bulgarian Leva) in the capital of a Bulgarian company whose shares are not traded on the Bulgarian stock exchange.
Permanent residence certificates are valid for indefinite period of time while long term residence permits are valid for maximum five years. Both offer a path to naturalize for citizenship after five years.
Five years prior to October 2017, a total of 296 foreigners were granted permanent residency under the Golden visa program. Of these, 70 were Russians, 38 were Chinese, 32 were Pakistanis, 27 were Egyptians, and 23 were Lebanese.
Bulgaria received 193 citizenship by investmenet applications as of Sep 2018 of which 95 of these were Standard Track and 98 – Fast Track. Of the fast track, 77% are from the Middle East and the ex-USSR
Citizenship by Investment
Pursuant to Art. 12a of Bulgarian Citizenship Act (BCA), citizenship is possible after 18-24 months under fast track procedure. The acquisition of citizenship through naturalized procedure requires five years of living.