In October 2022 Bulgarian government officially introduced the Start-up visa allowing entrepreneurs to reside in Bulgaria and develop high-tech and/or innovative projects in the country. The Start-up visa is not bound by requirements for a minimum financial investment and there is no need to open a certain number of job positions for Bulgarian citizens. Therefore, Non-Eu entrepreneurs are enabled to start a business and relocate to Bulgaria under a simplified procedure.
A certificate for high-tech and/or innovative project, also referred to as a start-up visa, is part of the mandatory requirements for receiving a prolonged residence permit on that basis by foreigners in Bulgaria.
As evident from the name, this start-up visa allows foreigners to launch and develop projects concerning high-tech and/or innovative activities in Bulgaria. The start-up visa is valid for a period of 1 year and its validity can be extended for 2 more years.
To receive a start-up visa the foreigner shall submit an online application to the Bulgarian Ministry of Innovation and Growth. The applicants must submit the following data/documents:
- General information regarding the applicant:
- Type and number of identifying document;
- Country of origin;
- Permanent or current address;
- Phone number and e-mail;
- Place of work.
- General information regarding their company – name, registration number of the company, seat, and country in which the company is registered.
- General information regarding the high-tech and/or innovative project:
- Presentation of the activity, the product and/or the service;
- Financial calculations/analysis and forecasts for the approximate amount of production and for the growth of income and expenses for the next 3 years from the date of submission of the application;
- Analysis on the market, sales, customers, and partnerships;
- Information about the human resources.
The applicant must also submit also attachments to the application s.a.:
- Business plan and presentation of the project;
- A document for a valid invention patent or a valid utility model registration certificate for the EU, USA or Member States of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in connection with the project, when applicable;
- An investment contract with a specialized international equity and risk investment fund for no less than BGN 100,000, as well as a recommendation issued by the relevant fund for the applicant’s contribution to the project, when applicable;
- Contract or letter of intent for investment from a fund for equity and risk investing in the Republic of Bulgaria for no less than BGN 100,000, when applicable;
The application and the attachments to it are examined by an Expert Council within 30 days after submitting the application.
Application form in Bulgarian and in English language could be found here: https://dv.parliament.bg/DVPics/2022/82_22/6389.pdf
If the Expert council finds the application to be incomplete or finds inaccuracies in the submitted documents, it notifies the applicant who shall fix the irregularities within 14 days of being notified.
The Expert Council then reports its examination and evaluation to the Minister of Innovation and Growth who decides whether to issue a start-up visa, valid for a period of 1 year from the date of its issuance, or refuse to issue such a visa. The applicant is notified of this decision within 7 days of it being made.
After obtaining a long-term residence visa type “D”, the applicants shall become partners or shareholders holding more than 50% of a Bulgarian commercial company, whose subject of activity is the one stated at the time of issuing the certificate.
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