This Country Has No residency Requirement and Even Accepts Those with Criminal Records
Many people around the world want to get an EU passport. They offer some of the best visa-free travel options. You can stay in any EU or EEA country for as long as you want. And citizenship doesn’t come with any tax or military obligations.
The issue for most is that it’s not easy to get an EU passport. At least not in a short timeframe. Malta has a fast option where you can get an EU passport in around 12 months. But this involves making a donation of €1m. That’s a lot of money to throw away on a donation. There’s also a residency requirement in Malta which we discuss here.
A Criminal Record is No Problem Here
Another problem for some people is that most residency by investment programs exclude anyone who has a criminal record. This is true in the Caribbean and for other citizenship by investment programs. Even a minor criminal record in the distant past will disqualify you from almost every citizenship by investment program.
But Bulgaria has a different approach. Bulgaria has a citizenship by investment program where you can become a citizen in 2 years. Plus you’ll get your investment back in full. So, it won’t cost you anything as long as you don’t mind having your capital tied up in an ETF for a few years.
Bulgaria will also accept applicants who have a criminal record. Provided they’re rehabilitated.
No Residency Requirement
Another benefit for some people is that you don’t have to spend any time in Bulgaria to get an EU passport. Other programs like Portugal or Malta require that you spend at least some time there. You have to visit to set everything up at the start. Thereafter there’s no requirement to stay for months every year or even to keep a home there.
It’s a little-known fact that Bulgaria has the lowest personal tax rate in the EU. They have a flat tax rate of 10%.
Step to Get an EU Passport
So, how does the Bulgarian citizenship by investment program work? Here’s what you have to do to get an EU passport from Bulgaria:
1. Invest €512,000 in an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) or Alternative Investment Fund (AIF). There is a wide range of funds to choose from. You’ll be able to choose blue-chip, dividend-paying funds.
2. After 6 months you’ll get permanent residence in Bulgaria. This is the first step on your path to get an EU passport.
3. After 12 months you’ll have to double your investment. So, buy an extra €512,000 in an ETF or AIF.
4. You can then start the process of applying for citizenship in Bulgaria.
5. After 24 months you’ll be a citizen of Bulgaria and get an EU passport.
You must keep your investment for 4 years. Then you can withdraw it. You’ve got yourself a free EU citizenship. After 3 years your spouse can get a Bulgarian passport too. There are no language requirements. You can pass on your EU citizenship to your children too.
Live Anywhere in the EU
After you get your EU passport you’re free to live in any EU or EEA country you want.
Bulgaria is not part of the Schengen common travel area in the EU. That means you won’t be able to travel around the EU using only your permanent residency card. The Bulgaria passport doesn’t offer visa-free travel to the USA or Australia at the moment. It’s not quite as good an option as a passport from Portugal or Malta. But, on the whole, this is a very good option.
If you want to get an EU passport in 2 years with no residency or language requirements it’s something that’s well worth considering.
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