Bulgaria is one citizenship program that no one talks about. Many foreign investors dont even know the extended benefits of the scheme as it is not promoted or marketed unlike Malta or Cyprus.
The Bulgarian investor citizenship program introduced in 2005 is a ‘hidden gem’ in Europe. Amendments were made to the citizenship legislation in 2009, 2013 and 2015
Here are some of the unique benefits of Bulgaria
- EU member state since Jan 1, 2007
- Calm peaceful european country
- Lowest corporate and personal taxes
- Bulgaria currently in the process of joining schengen
- Committed to join the Euro area adopting euro.
- Powerful EU passport with visa free to 167 countries (Canada, UK, Australia etc)
It can be the cheapest CBI program in Europe to become a EU citizen, considering Malta and Cyprus will ask you millions of euros in investment. The citizenship legislation in Bulgaria has provisions to grant citizenship for foreign investors through the following investment routes.
In the above two options, you must be ready to invest 500,000 euros for the first year and then increase the investment to 1 million euros and then apply for citizenship under the fast track route.
Bulgarian Government bonds
If you can afford 1M euro, you can buy bonds issued by Bulgaria through any online stock broker, investment firm or bank. You can also use the leverage (3x to 5x) provided by the stock broker to buy BGN govt bonds. It must be issued in your name for citizenship purpose.
New Update: Bulgarian government has removed government bonds for citizenship by investment under new 2021 rules. You wont be able to apply for citizenship investing in Govt bonds. Please see here
It can be even cheaper if you pick the financing option for government bonds route, as these are risk free investments, guaranteed by the Bulgarian government to be fully refunded. You just need to maintain the investments for 2 years. There are no language tests, no residence requirement and no genuine link criteria.
The €1 million euro can be financed / loaned through bulgarian banks or banks at your home country. You dont even need to open a bank account in Bulgaria, can be invested from abroad.
Remember you dont have to finance at whole. Move step by step. First finance 500K euro and after the first year (you get immediate PR) , then add 500K euro (one plus one year) (this will save interest costs making it more cheaper for you). The total loan costs for the purchase of Bulgarian bonds will cost you around 180,000 euros. On top of it you also have to pay a lawyer around €20,000. That is all there to it for the Bulgarian citizenship by investment.
You should expect the total costs reaching €200,000 as one time payment.
Please note we do not assist clients with the financing route of Bulgarian citizenship program.
According to European commission report, Bonds and treasury bills as well as derivative instruments issued by the Bulgarian State or by municipalities with a residual maturity of no less than six months (Article 25, paragraph 1, item 6b FNA) qualify for citizenship. In accordance with the Government Debt Law, the Minister of Finance issues government securities (GS) on the domestic market. The official yield rates pubished by the EC is available here
It is important to remember that financing option though legal, citizenship is not guaranteed. The Govt may expect you to become a fully qualified investor for the purpose of citizenship, not just loan money. If you are refused citizenship, you cannot appeal.
Be sure to consult a lawyer before investing. Be sure to check exactly which type of government issued bonds and securities qualify for citizenship.
It is important to remember that, Bulgarian citizenship is only possible AFTER 2 years. You can file for citizenship after 1 year and the examination of application by citizenship directorate takes another year. One of the important condition for citizenship is the person must have been in possession of a permanent residence permit for at least one year and the The investor should be physically present upon submission of his/her citizenship application.
There are no shortcuts, no matter how much you invest, the Bulgarian passport is only possible after 2 years in general. Use only fast track route, the ordinary route takes 5 years to naturalize.
Only few foreign investors (about 12 of them) were given Bulgarian citizenship for investments. Bulgaria is very strict about stripping citizenship for not maintaining investments. Last year Bulgarian media reported many investors were denaturalized of citizenship for failing to maintain the investments.