What is the REAL difference between EU citizenship and legal residency in any individual country?
All these questions seem to be quite easy to answer. At least we thought so! During Posolstvo.eu’s participation at the International Emigration Expo 2016 which took place at the Hyatt Regency in Kiev, Ukraine, our representative had the opportunity to speak about the “Residence permits in Bulgaria and the Citizenship by investment program”. At the end of the lecture, the questions from the audience were puzzling: “Will it be easier to obtain German residency and eventually citizenship if we hold Bulgarian passport?”, “Can we opt to live in other EU country without residence permit if we hold Bulgarian passport?".
Probably all these questions wouldn’t have arisen if during the previous days at the conference some of our respected colleagues from other jurisdictions didn’t tell their stories. Mainly, the attention of the audience was directed towards comprehensive researches in terms of where in the EU one can find the best living conditions, best education, the most advanced medical facilities and of course, the highest living standard, whatever that might mean. In order to obtain legal residency in these “high standard” countries, the applicant was offered the options of setting up extremely complicated legal structures, employing local citizens, paying salaries and social contributions, making donations, just to name a few. The associated legal fees were not discussed by our colleagues, but the state/cantonal/municipal fees for the residency imposed by the relevant countries, like Switzerland for example, were reaching 250 000 EUR per year.
So why all these overcomplicated schemes and structures? Why paying these outrageous fees and costs? And all that for the temporarily right to reside? The right to reside in one country only? And still going through the trouble of applying and extending visa and/or residency permit each year (or even few months)? All that hassle just to be still counted as an “immigrant” with very little rights, if any at all? Well, we don’t think so.
What our respected colleagues didn’t tell is that all these comprehensive researches as to where in Europe is the best place to live, which country has the best weather and where in Europe the universities have the strongest reputation, are simply not necessary. Because residence is one thing, but it is the citizenship that gives the individual the freedom he or she needs. There is no need to choose one country to live in. There is no need to pay ridiculously high fees for the right to reside. There is no need to think when to renew your residency permit or your temporary visa. There is no need to feel like an immigrant. Because being an EU citizen provides you the unrestricted right to live, work, study, travel, etc. in any EU country.
To put it simply – with your EU (Bulgarian) passport under the belt, you are free! Free to decide where in Europe to live, without any restrictions or formalities whatsoever, freedom to work in any country EU-wide, access to medical care, studying in many universities in EU for free or at preferential rates (available to EU citizens only). Freedom to move from one country to another, to buy land in EU, anything you can wish for. Being Bulgarian citizen, you can decide to live in Paris, Rome, Barcelona, London, Stockholm, Milan, Munich, Amsterdam... and the list goes on. And all that freedom is yours forever. It will be passed onto your children and so on. And now compare that with all these overly complicated temporarily residency schemes that we wrote about above. Do you think they are even worth comparing?
Currently, there are only two countries in the EU that can offer you citizenship for investment at reasonable terms – Bulgaria and Cyprus. Which one is better? In general, Cyprus citizenship can be obtained faster. Bulgarian citizenship in turn, requires lower investment amount and allows wider range of investment choices. Both nationalities will give you the ultimate freedom though - to live, travel, work, do whatever you feel comfortable doing, in the largest democratic Union that has ever existed - the European Union! You have to decide for yourself which one is most suitable for you. Please feel free to read on the internet, try to get unbiased idea about the two and get back to us with any questions you might have.