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Obtaining residence permit in Bulgaria
So you have decided to relocate to Bulgaria (or the EU) and are now looking to obtain EU residence permit? A foreign national who wishes to obtain Bulgarian residence permit must first apply for a Bulgarian type “D” immigration visa. The application is submitted at the Bulgarian consulate or embassy.
The immigration visa must be then transformed into a residence permit, which is the legal ground for residing in Bulgaria. People often confuse the visa “D” and the residence permit. We will try to shed some light on both the differences and the similarities between the two.
There are different grounds, allowing the applicant to obtain visa D. We will discuss here only the most commonly used approaches.
Registration of a Trade Representative Office (TRO) of a foreign company in Bulgaria
This is the most straightforward option, used by the vast majority of foreign applicants. Foreign persons with business in their home country (or abroad) may establish a TRO of their foreign company in Bulgaria. The registration of the Representative Office is a ground on which a Type D visa may be granted. The visa may be later exchanged to Bulgarian residence permit.
The usual average time required to register the Trade Representative Office is between 10 and 20 days. The times is counted from the moment at which all required original documents have been obtained and translated. When registering the TRO, the Bulgarian law allows in general to register up to two foreign personnel members. We have to add that this is not always the case, after the latest legal amendments.
You must be well aware that the primary purpose of the TRO is to promote your foreign business in Bulgaria. Many tend to deem that the Trade Representative Office is intended to trade in Bulgaria, which is not the case. Foreign persons are not allowed to be involved in any economic activities of their Trade Representative Office directly. For such purpose, we strongly recommend using Bulgarian Limited Liability Company (LLC/LTD).
Registration of a Bulgarian commercial company and employing at least 10 local citizens
This approach is used mainly when the applicant intends to perform sustainable business activities in Bulgaria. If you are an entrepreneur and are wishing to gain access to the EU market – this is the way forward. Please note however that maintaining an office with 10 employees or more is a costly adventure, not suitable for everybody.
Investment in real estate property
Foreigners who have invested 600 000 BGN (306 776 EUR) in real estate in Bulgaria are eligible for residence permit. This approach is very useful for applicants with appetite for real estate. By purchasing properties in Bulgaria, the buyer will not only get residency permit, but will also profit from the booming property market. Our specialists can recommend you trustworthy real estate agencies, who will provide you with unique exclusive offerings. At the same time will back you with administrative and legal support to ensure waterproof deals. Full compliance is a must, so your purchase will be 100% safe and your residence permit received without any obstacles.
Registration of non-profit organization with permission from the Ministry of Justice
This option is extremely useful if the applicant does not have a commercial entity in his home country. Therefore he can not register Trade Representative Office. The procedure is comprehensive, but our specialists have have outspoken reputation and have 0% rejection rate on compliant applications.
For more information, please check our services section!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q) What benefits do I receive when holding Bulgarian long-term residence permit?
- You receive a Bulgarian ID card for foreigners, which allows multiple entries and stay in Bulgaria;
- You may renew your Bulgarian ID card for foreigners for up to 5 years. Subsequently, permanent residence and full citizenship may be obtained;
- You enjoy a relaxed visa application process among Schengen area countries;
- You may travel visa-free to some EU countries. Once Bulgaria joins the Schengen agreement, you will be able to travel to all Schengen countries without any formalities;
- You may move your family to Bulgaria.
Q) How long can I stay in Bulgaria with a long-term residence permit?
- Your Bulgarian residence permit will be valid for 6 or 12 months. You can then keep renewing it for up-to 5 years.
Q) How many years do I have to stay in Bulgaria to obtain a Bulgarian permanent residence permit?
- You must hold Bulgarian long-term permit for 5 years before becoming eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit. Registration of TRO will allow you to easily obtain residence permit that is valid for up to 1 year. It will be then renewable annually for a period of up to 5 years. The Bulgarian permanent residence permit is valid for five years.
Q) Are there other possibilities to obtain Bulgarian permanent residence permit without having to wait 5 years?
- Yes, there are other options, mainly related to persons from Bulgarian origin. Applicants who can invest under the Bulgarian CIP are also eligible. Please contact us for more details.
Q) Is it possible to bring my family to Bulgaria?
- As a holder of a Bulgarian residence permit, your family members may apply for Family D-Type visas. Please note that the term “family” refers strictly to the spouse and children, under the 21 years of age.
Q) What is the embassy fee for a Type D visa application?
- The embassy fee for a D-Type visa application is 100 EUR. It may be still different for the different locations.
Q) How long will the Bulgarian embassy or consulate be reviewing my Type D visa application?
- The Bulgarian embassy or consulate processes all D-Type visa applications within 30 working days from the day of application. Exceptions apply.
Q) Do I need to attend an interview?
- Yes, you must appear personally at our embassy or consulate. In some cases, our lawyer may accompany you if necessary. Either way we will provide you with clear instructions so your interview will be no more than a bureaucratic formality.
Our immigration lawyers at your disposal
Our team of qualified immigration advisers is always up to date with the current legislation. They will provide you with the best advisory services in order to ensure smooth transition and successful application for residency in Bulgaria.
Legal support after the initial stage (after the first residence permit)
When we are commissioned to advise the applicant, after having received the initial residence permit, a status of Bulgarian (EU) long-term resident should be granted as foreseen in the national immigration laws. After that, the client will be enjoying the same treatment and rights as the EU nationals in most areas.
We are able to fully support you in order for you to undergo the whole procedure and to receive the necessary legal permit. If there are any problems during the process, our specialists will advise you on the spot and will solve your case accordingly. We have proven ourselves into finding solutions even in complicated cases, which have been previously abandoned.
Some of the benefits of the Bulgarian residence status
Persons who have acquired long-term resident status will enjoy equal treatment with nationals in regard to (when applicable):
- access to paid and unpaid employment, conditions of employment and working conditions (working hours, health and safety standards, holiday entitlements, remuneration and dismissal);
- education and vocational training, recognition of qualifications and study grants;
- welfare benefits (family allowances, retirement pensions, etc.) and sickness insurance;
- social assistance (minimum income support or retirement pensions, free health care, etc.);
- social benefits, tax relief and access to goods and services;
- freedom of association and union membership and freedom to represent a union or association;
- free access to the entire territory of the EU country concerned.
EU and social security
In the EU, the country responsible for your social security is the country where your residence is. It is not the country of your citizenship. If you settle with all the members of your family in another EU country and are covered by that country’s social security system only, you will be subject to your host country’s family benefit regime.
Additionally, the EU resident can benefit from the political and financial stability of the European Union member states. He or she can access EU finance and funds for business development.
Be sure to also read our latest articles about “Residency in Bulgaria”:
Don’t hesitate to contact us for immigration assistance
Please be sure to check our immigration services section and contact us for any additional details. Don’t hesitate to apply for your residence permit now. You can rest assured that your paperwork will be handled with utmost confidentiality and professionalism.