Last Updated on August 13, 2023 by Immigration Team

What is Bulgarian residency?

Bulgarian Residency has become very popular in the past few years, because of the benefits that come with it. It has attracted a huge number of EU nationals who are interested in becoming tax residents of Bulgaria, or apply for family reunification for their non-EU family members.
Since 1st of July 2019 banks in Bulgaria refuse to open escrow bank accounts (accounts for the deposition of the founding capital when setting up a company) unless the director of the company is a resident of Bulgaria. In other words, you have to apply for Bulgarian residency for EU citizens prior to incorporating in Bulgaria. On the other hand, applying for Bulgarian residency is a precondition.

How to Get Bulgarian Residency for EU citizens

To initiate the process for obtaining Bulgarian residency as an EU citizen, please ensure you have the following documents and steps in order:

How long does it take to get a Bulgarian residency card for EU citizens?

It takes up to 3 working days to obtain a Bulgarian residency card. You will submit your application by 12pm on Day 1, and you will be photographed by 2pm on Day 2. The residency card will be issued on the next day after 1pm.

If you cannot stay for more than 2 working days in Bulgaria, you can authorize us to collect your residency card on your behalf and courier to your address abroad.

Can I bring my family to Bulgaria?

EU citizen who was granted Bulgarian residency can bring their family members to Bulgaria. Family members are spouse, children of up to 21, parents and parents-in-law. Please note that siblings (brothers & sisters) are not considered direct members of your family and cannot benefit the family reunification in Bulgaria.

Family members have to enter Bulgaria on a valid Bulgarian or Schengen visa. Holders of residency cards of other EU member states can freely visit Bulgaria to apply for family reunification.

Family reunification for family members of EU citizens are considered on the spot.

Can I travel with my non-EU spouse to another EU country?

Your spouse, children, parents and parents-in-law can travel along with you to other EU member states.

How long does it take to get PR in Bulgaria?

EU citizens do not need to follow the 30 months in any 5 years period rules to become eligible for permanent residency in Bulgaria. EU citizens need 5 full years of holding a temporary residency card to qualify for permanent residency.

You can ready more about permanent residency for EU citizens on our specialized article for permanent residency for EU citizens in Bulgaria.

How long does it take to get Bulgarian Citizenship?

EU citizens cannot apply for Bulgarian citizenship by investment unless they hold a second non-EU passport. Eligibility for Bulgarian citizenship by naturalization requires 5 years on temporary residence and 5 more years on permanent residence. All applicants for Bulgarian citizenship are required to pass a Bulgarian language test.

How do I become a tax resident of Bulgaria?

Residency and Tax Residency are two different things. The residency permit is granted by the Migration Office, a part of the Ministry of Interior while the tax residency is granted by the local Tax Office, a part of the Ministry of Finance.

According to the Bulgarian legislation you can claim Bulgarian tax residency if 1. You reside in Bulgaria for not less than 183 days annually or 2. You prove that the center of your vital interests is in Bulgaria. Under point 1, you will be considered a tax resident of Bulgaria only in the year when you have resided for 183 days. On the other hand, you are not required to satisfy the residence requirement if you justify that the center of your vital interests is in Bulgaria.

To determine the center of vital interests, the Tax Office will consider the following:

  • Location of your business – it is always smart to set up a company in Bulgaria or register yourself as a freelancer. This shows that you are active in the country.
  • Social contributions – paying social contributions in Bulgaria, you show attachment to the country. You can pay social contributions as an employed or self-employed director of your Bulgarian company, or as a freelancer. Freelancers can claim 40% expenses even if they cannot provide invoices for their expenses.
  • Bulgarian Residency – obtaining Bulgarian residency is a precondition to become a tax resident of Bulgaria.
  • Family – bringing your family to Bulgaria, or at least apply for Bulgarian residency card for them will put some more weight on your tax residency application.
  • Properties – if you own a property in Bulgaria, this will substantially increase your chances to claim Bulgaria tax resident status.

If you would like to have more information about Bulgarian residency and Bulgarian tax residency, please do not hesitate to contact us.