Residency in Bulgaria is Easily Achievable for Most People
Bulgarian residence is becoming evermore popular. The Eastern European country has the lowest tax rates in Europe. It has an attractive capital city and an abundance of beach resorts. Bulgaria is part of the European Union but not yet part of the Schengen area. This means that you can’t use your Bulgarian residence card to travel around Europe. Bulgaria wants to join the Schengen area and likely will in the future.
EU citizens can, of course, move to Bulgaria at any time. They simply have to register after a stay of 3 months or more.
Bulgarian Residence – Apply for a Long Term Visa
If you’re from outside the EU you’ll first have to apply for a long term visa. This is the first step to Bulgarian residence. It can be done at your nearest Bulgarian embassy or consulate.
You can qualify for a Bulgarian Residence Permit in the following ways:
Open a branch office in Bulgaria for an existing business.
Set up a Bulgarian company that employs at least 5 Bulgarians for 6 months.
Buy a property in Bulgaria for at least €312,000
Prove that you have pension income and accommodation available in Bulgaria
Have family in Bulgaria
Open a Representative Office in Bulgaria for Residency
The easiest way to get a Bulgarian residence permit is to open a branch office of a foreign company in Bulgaria with you as the manager. This is the least expensive option too. Particularly if you already have a limited liability company in another jurisdiction. There’s no need to employ any locals under this option or buy or rent expensive real estate for your business.
Bulgarian residence permits are issued for up to 12 months initially. They can be renewed for up to 5 years. After 5 years you can become a permanent resident. Once you have permanent residency in Bulgaria you’ll only have to renew it every 5 years.
How to get Bulgarian Citizenship
Bulgarian citizenship is available to anyone who spends at least 6 months per year in the country for 5 years. The Bulgarian passport offers visa free travel to 138 countries. With an EU passport you’ll be able to live in any EU country permanently. The Bulgarian passport is one of the few EU passport’s that doesn’t allow visa free travel to the US (along with Romania, Cyprus and Croatia). This may, however change in the future.
Applications for Bulgarian residence permits are processed within 30 days. They are one of the easiest EU residence permits to get. As long as the paperwork you present is in order you shouldn’t have any problems getting your residency in Bulgaria confirmed. Applications must be submitted in person, but there’s no formal interview process. There’s an application fee of €100 which is non-refundable in the event of refusal.
Bulgarian Residence for Dependents and Colleagues
Spouses and dependent children can be included in your residency in Bulgaria. As you’re opening a business office in Bulgaria, up to 3 representatives of the same business can apply. Keep in mind the representative office in Bulgaria is only authorized to promote your foreign business. It won’t be allowed to conduct business on its own account in Bulgaria. If you want to do other types of business in Bulgaria you’ll have to incorporate a Bulgarian company. This is easy to do.
Taxes in Bulgaria, both personal and corporate are amongst the lowest in the EU. Personal tax rates are just 10%. Dividends are taxed at only 5%. The corporate tax rate in Bulgaria is 10% too. You can become a tax resident in Bulgaria by spending more than 183 days per year in the country.
The package of low taxes, easy residency and cheap real estate will make Bulgarian residence a compelling choice for some people. Anyone moving from high tax countries is going to make substantial tax savings without incurring the living expenses of more expensive tax havens.