Rising numbers of Non-EU nationals start considering immigration to Bulgaria as the next step in their lives. Naturally, before taking such an important decision, the legal background of the procedure should be taken into account
Foreigners (Non-EU nationals) who would like to stay in Bulgaria for a period longer than 90 days within any 180 days, have to apply for a residence permit. Obtaining a residence permit is a multiphase procedure, which starts with an application for a long-term stay visa (D type Visa). Foreign nationals can apply for a D Visa in a Bulgarian Embassy or Consulate normally in the country of their primary residence.
Once D Visa is granted, the next step is to apply for a residence permit in Bulgaria. There are several types of residence permits in Bulgaria s.a. prolonged residence permit issued for a period of one year and permanent residence permit issued for an indefinite period. The prolonged residence permit is subject to an annual review and resubmission of an application in the Bulgarian Immigration Office. In most cases, a foreign national can apply for a permanent residence permit after spending 5 years in Bulgaria on the basis of a prolonged residence permit.
Bulgarian law lists various legal grounds that can serve as a basis for obtaining a residence permit. The most common grounds are outlined below.
A foreign national is entitled to a residence permit if one of the following conditions has been fulfilled and namely if he/she:
- is married to a Bulgarian citizen
- serves as a representative of a trade representative office of a foreign company, registered in the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI)
- has obtained a work permit issued by the Employment Agency in Bulgaria and would like to work in Bulgaria
- is engaged in trade activities in Bulgaria, whereas at least 10 job positions for Bulgarian citizens have been opened as a result of the trade activity
- is a pensioner with sufficient financial means to support herself/himself
- is a family member of a foreigner holding a residence permit in Bulgaria
- has invested at least BGN 600,000 (approx. EUR 300,000) in a real estate in Bulgaria
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