Does Buying a Property in Bulgaria Give You Residency

Bulgaria is a great destination for those who are looking to buy a residential property, whether you wish to stay longer in the country or simply wish to make an investment.

While many countries offer foreign nationals the chance to become residents through purchasing property – such as Portugal, Malta, Greece, and Spain – Bulgaria only does so if certain conditions are met.

Bulgarian Property and residence eligibility

Can Foreigners Buy Property in Bulgaria?

Bulgarian law allows foreigners to own property in the country, but, however, there are some restrictions. A foreigner can buy a property in their own name, provided that the property doesn't come with the land it is built on. In most cases, apartments in Bulgaria are sold without land. To avoid disappointment and potential legal problems at a later stage make sure that the property sold to you does not include land. Important notice: Exceptions to this rule are applicable to EU/EEA nationals. They are entitled to buy properties with gardens and regulated plots of land in their own names.

As a foreigner, do I need a visa to buy property in Bulgaria?

Though you do not require a visa to buy a house or apartment in Bulgaria, there are several considerations to make, and factors to be aware of to make the most of your purchase. If the purchase is for investment and rental income everything is fine, but if you want to make it a home and settle in for a long time you will need to apply for a visa type D.

As a foreigner, How Do I Buy Property in Bulgaria Without a Visa?

Technically the purchase of a real estate property can take place before the visa D application has been filed. It is possible for a foreigner to arrive in Bulgaria and buy a property with visa type C (tourist visa) if such is required and afterwards to return back to their country and apply for visa D (that is only if the buyer is planning to apply for a residence permit). In Bulgaria it is legally impossible to get an extended residency permit if visa D has not been granted before that.

If you are buying a property in Bulgaria for the purposes of living in it, you must make sure that you are eligible to reside in the country.

Can property investment lead to residency in Bulgaria?

The Bulgarian law states that every foreign national who purchases real estate in Bulgaria for the amount of not less than BGN 600,000 is eligible to obtain an extended residence permit.

Nonresidents may have ownership of an apartment or a house based in Bulgaria, but if the property value is under BGN 600,000 this does not give them any rights to claim residency. In fact, their immigration status remains the same. Buying a property under BGN 600,000 in Bulgaria does not permit nonresidents to live in Bulgaria. This means they will not receive any form of immigration permission – such as a residence permit.

It is important to note that there is no cap on the number of investments that can be made. Every foreigner could buy one or more properties. The main thing to keep in mind here is the total amount of the investment to be not less than BGN 600,000.

The Essential Requirements for Extended Residence Permit:

The procedure for obtaining an extended residence permit through investment in real estate is regulated by the Law on Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria and the regulations for its implementation. The requirements are as follows:

  • The foreigner must hold a valid visa type D.
  • The foreigner must have invested a minimum amount of BGN 600,000 to acquire the right of ownership of real estate/or several real estates/ in Bulgaria. It is important to note that the possibility of obtaining a residence permit is not applicable to properties already acquired in the past. The acquisition can be carried out both in the form of a purchase, and through other types of transactions that result in a paid transfer of rights (for example, exchange).
  • In the case of used borrowed funds for the acquisition of the property, the funds should not exceed ¼/one quarter of the purchase price.
  • In the event that the foreigner does not purchase property directly as an individual, but through a Bulgarian registered company in whose ownership he participates - he should have invested an amount of no less than BGN 600,000 in the capital of the company and own at least 50% of it.
  • As of the date of submission of the application for an extended residence permit, the foreigner must have transferred the full amount of funds due to the seller's account, which must be opened in a Bulgarian credit institution. The sale cannot be made under a suspensive condition regarding the payment of the purchase price.

Necessary Documents for Obtaining Extended Residence Permit Through Real Estate Purchase

In addition to the documents related to the investment made through the purchase of real estate, the foreigner also presents the standard package of documents necessary for issuing a residence permit:

  • Title deed for ownership of the Bulgarian real estate - in the name of a foreigner or a company (if bought through Bulgarian registered entity).
  • The applicant should present a certification document from a licensed Bulgarian credit institution for the receipt of an amount of not less than BGN 600,000 for the acquisition of ownership. If part of the source of funds is a mortgage loan, then a certifying document from a financial institution for the outstanding part of the loan, no more than 25%, should also be presented.

After The Application For Extended Residence Permit

Initially, with a positive opinion, the authorities of the Bulgarian Ministry of the Interior will issue the foreigner an extended residence permit. This type of card is issued for a maximum period of up to 1 year and must be renewed every subsequent year.

After 5 years, if the residence has continued without interruptions beyond the permitted period, the foreigner can apply for a permanent residence permit. This type of document, unlike the previous one, does not require annual renewal, except when the validity period of the document itself expires. The foreigner is eligible to apply for Bulgarian citizenship after 5 consecutive years of permanent residency.