For the last decade, Europe has been experiencing a population shortage. Many residents of the old continent have moved abroad due to social and political reasons and the overall high costs of living in any European country. To combat this drain, Bulgaria created a unique second passport program referred to as the fast track to citizenship.
This has caused the natality rates in some countries to lower drastically, one of this countries is Bulgaria. Bulgaria is a small, but picturesque country in Eastern Europe that is in desperate need of new residents.
The government of Bulgaria has opened a new residency program that will allow you to obtain a Bulgarian second passport and citizenship without the need to abandon your current passport. With a “small” investment, you can be a member of the European Union.
A Second Passport from Bulgaria can be useful in many ways:
- Being a resident/citizen of Bulgaria means being part of the European Union and having access to the European market.
- Bulgaria is working to become a member of the Schengen Area
- A second passport from Bulgaria gives you visa free travel to 153 Countries
- As a citizen or resident, you can easily buy property in Bulgaria and in any other European country.
- You may “port” your business throughout the European market.
The Fast Track Bulgarian Citizenship Program as opposed to the traditional way of obtaining a Bulgarian Residency is very efficient. There are still strict requirements that any foreign resident must follow in order to comply with the program, but compared to other European countries, Bulgaria is much faster.
In order to apply for the Fast Track Bulgarian Citizenship Program you must first make an investment of over BGN 1,000,000 (app. EUR 512,000 or $600,564 USD). This investment can be made in different ways such as:
- Bulgarian intellectual property – copyrights, patents, trademarks, etc
- shares in publicly traded Bulgarian companies
- debentures and treasury bonds as well as derivatives issued by the Bulgarian State or the municipalities with a remaining term no less than 6 months
- concession rights in the territory of Bulgaria
- ownership in the property of a Bulgarian company with at least 50% State of municipality holding pursuant to the Bulgarian Privatization and Post-Privatization Control Act
- shares or stock in a Bulgarian company held by the State or the municipalities pursuant to the Bulgarian Privatization and Post-Privatization Control Act.
- investment of over BGN 1,000,000 (app. EUR 512,000) in Bulgarian bonds
The vast majority of applicants purchase bonds and this is the focus on the Bulgarian second passport program.
Once you’re approved as a permanent resident in Bulgaria, your wife and direct descendants (children under 18) qualify to obtain the permanent residency as well and enjoy the same benefits as the investor. That is to say, if you wish to apply for other family members the process begins after the investor is approved and given the residency.
Most citizenship programs require the investor and his family to stay in the country for some time. The Fast Track Bulgarian Citizenship Program does not have a physical presence test… nor are you required to purchase real estate.
Even though you and your family are not physically in Bulgaria, you’ll not lose their permanent residency status. Most second passport applicants in Bulgaria live in the EU, but not necessarily Bulgaria.
All of this investments are applicable if you wish to obtain a Bulgarian Second Passport. If you wish to become a citizen of Bulgaria the process is similar, just double the investment. In order to become a citizen of Bulgaria you must:
- Have at least one year of permanent residency status.
- Double the investment by purchasing €512,000 in government bonds or in the capital of a Bulgarian company that is carrying out a Priority Investment Project (as defined in the Investment Promotion Act). Again, every case I’ve seen has purchased bonds.
In certain cases, it’s possible to get a loan to purchase government bonds. While this is expensive, it allows you to get citizenship at about 50% of the investment amount. That is, put up €512,000 and get €1,024,000 in bonds.
The entire process of obtaining a second passport from Bulgaria takes about 18 months, much shorter than the time spans of other second passport programs. The investor only needs to make two visits to Bulgaria in order to complete the residency/citizenship program.
Once all of this is done the investor is not required to maintain the purchased government bonds, the investor may sell the bonds once the process is completed. Bulgaria is by far the best option if you wish to obtain a second passport from a European country and want to get your principal back at the end of the term (which is 5.5 years).
I hope you’ve found this article on Bulgaria’s second passport program to be helpful. For more information, or for assistance with Bulgaria, St. Lucia, Portugal, or any other second passport program, please contact us below by filling out the form. Thank you. We’ll be happy to assist you with a second passport from any country in Europe or elsewhere.
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