Bulgaria Immigrant Investor Program Review
Bulgaria shrugged off its communist oppressors and became a democracy in 1991, and in 2007 was granted full EU member status. Since then the country has made great strides to become a valid European Union member, including announcing an immigrant investor program designed to bring in wealthy foreign investors. Passport Reviewer checked it out.
Bulgaria In A Nutshell
The Republic of Bulgaria is a Balkan nation located in southeastern Europe that borders Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey, and also has a Black Sea coastline. Bulgaria is a country of diverse terrain, nearly one third of which is covered in forests. Its mountainous landscape is interspersed with many rivers, the largest and most famous of which is the Danube, Europe’s second-largest river after the Volga.
Bulgaria is something of a cultural melting pot, with Ottoman, Persian, Greek and Slavic, influences. It has a proud history and heritage of dance, music, costume and craft which tourists can still experience today. Some historians believe that Bulgaria could be the oldest country in Europe; its capital city, Sofia can trace its history back to the 5th century B.C., and Bulgaria is the only country in Europe that hasn’t changed its name since it was first established in 681 AD.
In 1989 following decades of communist rule, the disintegration of the Eastern Bloc led to the ruling communist party allowing open elections, which in turn led to Bulgaria’s adoption of a democratic constitution in 1991 and becoming a market-based economy. It has subsequently become a member of NATO, and the Council of Europe; a founding state of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and in 2007 joined the European Union, although Bulgaria is not a member of the Schengen Area.
Bulgaria’s economy is based around its heavy industry and tourism. Its main industries are electricity, gas, water, base metals, chemical products, refined petroleum and nuclear fuel. Tourism is also a major contributor to the country’s economy, and its 10 million-plus annual visitors account for 15% of Bulgaria’s GDP, and supports a workforce of over 150,000 people.
Bulgaria is known worldwide as a perfect summer holiday destination thanks to its beautiful beaches and economical hotels, bars and restaurants, plus its tourist sights and historical artifacts. Bulgaria also doubles as the perfect winter break destination, with an abundance of ski resorts located in its snowy mountains.
According to the World Bank, Bulgaria is an industrialized upper-middle-income country which has experienced rapid economic growth in recent years.
- Official Language: Bulgarian
- Capital City: Sofia
- Largest City: Sofia (Pop; 1.5 million)
- Surface Area: 9,830,000 km2
- Religion: Christian (83%)
- Population: 7.2 million
- Government: Unitary parliamentary republic
- Legal system: Civil law based on the French and German systems
- Currency: Lev
- GDP per capita: $19,839
- Climate: Bulgaria has a temperate, Central European climate with hot summers and long cold winters
Bulgarian Immigrant Investor Program
The Bulgarian Immigrant Investor Program grants foreign nationals from outside Europe the option of permanent Bulgarian residence, and EU citizenship after five years. The financial demand of the program requires an investor to purchase €512,000 (BGN 1 million) in Bulgarian Government bonds, which the Bulgarian government will retain for a period of five years, and then return to the investor with 0% interest.
To be eligible for the Bulgarian Immigrant Investor Program, applicants must fulfil the following criteria:
- Applicants must have a net worth greater than BGN 1,000,000 (€512,000)
- Applicants must have the capability to invest BGN 1,000,000 (€512,000) into a fully guaranteed Bulgarian Government Bond portfolio for five years. At the end of the five-year term, investors receive the full amount back, with no attached interest
- Applicants must present authorized documents of proof pertaining to a clean criminal record in their country of residence and their country of birth
- Applicant must present authorized documents of proof relating to the source and origin of the funds to be invested
- Applicants must be prepared to make two trips to Bulgaria during the six-month application processing period
The Bulgarian Immigrant Investor Program guarantees the investor and their family Bulgarian residency for five years, after which time they will be eligible to apply for and receive Bulgarian citizenship plus a Bulgarian (essentially an EU) passport.
Benefits Of The Bulgarian Immigrant Investor Program
The Bulgarian Immigrant Investor Program has multiple benefits for the investor. Here are just a few:
- Fast Residency Process of 6-9 months
- No Language Requirements For Residence Or Citizenship
- Dual Citizenship Allowed
- Lowest Tax Rates Within The EU
- Full Family Residency
- No Residency Requirements
- Bulgarian Passport Power (The Bulgarian passport grants its holder visa-free access to 153 countries, including all of Western Europe and parts of Eastern Europe, Central and South America, areas of Asia and Africa plus the Far East and Australasia)
- Access To The EU (As a Bulgarian citizen, your EU passport gives you the right to live and work without restriction or time limitation in any other European union country)
Pros and Cons of Living in Bulgaria
Bulgaria is a truly breathtaking country blessed with majestic mountains, beautiful beaches, picturesque villages, and great food. The yogurt in Bulgaria is reportedly the best in the world. Bulgarians have their own individual quirks that take a bit of getting used to; they shake their heads to mean yes and nod for no, but they are extremely friendly, hospitable folk, many of whom speak English. Bulgaria is also very affordable right across the board, from food and drink to real estate.
Away from the upmarket areas aimed at tourists and high-end investors, Bulgaria is clearly still a developing nation.
Passport Reviewer Ranking: B+
In terms of cost and value for money, the Bulgarian Immigrant Investor Program is an excellent addition to the citizenship by investment market, and is sure to attract a lot of attention from high net worth investors from Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The only factor preventing it getting an A grade is the five-year waiting period before Bulgarian citizenship and that all important EU passport.