The ability to conduct business in lucrative foreign markets has traditionally felt restricted, obstructed or even “off limits” to entrepreneurs in other parts of the world. No matter how great your business acumen, your passport can sometimes hold you – and the growth of your business – back.
This in no longer the case, European citizenship-by-investment is now a reality – and the Bulgarian programme takes some beating.
Bulgaria offers foreign investors a residency-then-citizenship pathway, with an incredibly appealing fast track option. Once you’ve made your investment, you can achieve Bulgarian residency in as little as six months, during which time you are only required to visit the country twice. Once residency is secured, you then have the option to wait five years and apply for citizenship with no additional investment or wait one year, then purchase additional bonds to apply for citizenship immediately.
The Republic of Bulgaria lies in southeast Europe, bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south and the Black Sea to the east. The country has a population of 7.4 million and the official language is Bulgarian.
A well-respected country in Europe and beyond, Bulgaria has a parliamentary democracy and is a member of the EU, NATO and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
The currency is currently the Bulgarian Lev which is pegged to the Euro at a rate of 1 EUR = 1.95583 LEV – however, the country remains committed to adopting the Euro as soon as possible. Bulgaria is also a candidate to join the European Schengen area.
As a full citizen of Bulgaria, you’ll unlock visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to over 150 countries worldwide – and as an EU passport holder you can live and work throughout any EU country. Though not currently in the Schengen area, Bulgarian passport holders are still afforded many of the same benefits as member states’ citizens.
As a resident, you’ll benefit from the 14th lowest cost of living in the world along with the lowest personal tax rate in Europe – at only 10%. And that’s not all.
Fast access to Europe: With residency-by-investment you could be a Bulgarian resident in as little as six months – with no language or residency requirements. It is then possible to apply for full citizenship after just a year.
Travel with ease: Your Bulgarian passport grants you unrestricted access to over 150 countries worldwide – you can enter these countries directly without lengthy customs checks and without previously visiting Bulgaria. Plus, despite not being a Schengen member, as a Bulgarian passport holder, you are entitled to reside in any Schengen country for up to three months and may enter multiple times.
Business benefits: Bulgaria boasts the most attractive tax regime in Europe with a corporate tax rate of just 10%. Should you operate a business in an area with high unemployment rates, the applied tax rate falls to 0%. Business owners also benefit from Bulgaria’s location in the heart of the Balkans, offering direct access to the tariff free EU market, as well as to Turkey and the Middle East.
- Permanent residency can be obtained in six months
- Fast track option allows the application for full citizenship in two years
- Investment is made in a government-approved bond and the investment is held for a duration of five years
- Finance options are available
- Applicants are not required to renounce their current citizenship
- No residency requirements
- No language requirements
Investing in the Bulgarian programme is straightforward:
For residency – invest EUR 512,000 into government bonds. This is returned to the investor without any accrued interest after five years.
A reduced amount of EUR 195,000 can be paid that will be used to finance the government bond. A loan is then initiated and repaid at no further cost to the investor.
For citizenship – either wait five years and then apply for full citizenship or invest an additional EUR 100,000 in government bonds to make your application after just one year.