Permanent residence in Bulgaria

Permanent residence in Bulgaria

Permanent residence in Bulgaria is a status that grants the right to permanent residence, which can be obtained after 5 years of legal stay in the country based on a temporary residence permit. The norms for granting this document are regulated by local law “On Foreigners”. Certain categories of persons have the right to apply for permanent residence in the Republic of Bulgaria without prior stay on its territory, for example, applicants who have an ethnic connection with the population of the country, spouses of citizens of the state, and investors. After 5 years of receiving a permanent resident card, an immigrant can become a naturalized citizen.

In total, with the observance of the five-year census of sedentary life and the passage of bureaucratic procedures for registration and extension of residence permits, a foreigner takes about 7 years from the moment of emigration from his native state to arrange Bulgarian permanent residence. Many residents of the former USSR legalize their residence in the republic in a simpler, faster, and more affordable way - through the process of repatriation with the subsequent acquisition of a European Union passport within 8 months.

Pros and cons of Bulgaria

Moving to Bulgaria for permanent residence from Russia or another state is attractive for the following reasons:

  • Low cost of living

Approximate expenses per person in the republic amount to 560 EUR per month without taking into account the rental fee, renting a one-room apartment costs 300-500 EUR. The cost-of-living index in Bulgaria is 39 points, which corresponds to the assessment “Very low”.

  • Favorable location

Foreigners choose Bulgaria for access to the Black Sea, clean air (the climate index of the republic is 82 points, which is very high), a small number of factories, and free roads.

  • Population protection

The state security index is 62 points (high), and the European justice system operates on the territory of the country.

  • Social guarantees

The republic provides residents (including foreigners) with access to quality education, modern medical care, financial support.

The disadvantage of living in Bulgaria are low wages (on average 760 EUR per month, which is still higher than in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, and the difference is up to 30%), roads of low quality in suburban regions, and lengthy naturalization. The republic is worth moving to for people who have remote or passive income, as well as businessmen who are attracted by low taxes, for example, 10% income and corporate contributions.

What does Bulgarian permanent residence give

Permanent residence in Bulgaria gives an immigrant the opportunity to stay in the country indefinitely without additional bureaucratic procedures. A foreigner gets access to the labor market, education, can do business and count on state support, educate children, visit hospitals on equal terms with the indigenous population. However, permanent residence does not equate the applicant in rights to a Bulgarian citizen – he/she does not have free movement to other EU countries, participation in elections, and employment in public positions. Many immigrants prefer to move to live in Bulgaria with a local passport, issued on the basis of ethnic affiliation.

Ways of immigration

In most cases, to move to Bulgaria for permanent residence, foreigners first request a temporary resident card of the republic on one of the following grounds:

  • education;
  • business;
  • investments;
  • family reunification or marriage;
  • presence of passive income (a special program for pensioners).

Having lived in the country for the number of years established by law, an immigrant has the right to apply for permanent residence. Persons who have confirmed their Bulgarian origin have the right to arrange permanent residence immediately upon arrival in the republic with a national visa. The most popular grounds for immigration to Bulgaria are considered further.


For Russian emigrants, a popular way to move to Bulgaria is to open a temporary residence permit for educational purposes. The document is provided to persons who are enrolled in a local university and prove it with documents. Since foreigners have access only to paid education in the republic (except for scholarship and grant programs), the applicant undertakes to pay for the annual course before applying for a residence permit. Persons under the age of eighteen also require parental permission for immigration.


The Bulgarian resident card is opened to applicants from among entrepreneurs who decide to leave their home country and set up a new company in the republic or become co-owners of an existing organization. The relevant institution must provide jobs for citizens of the state - at least ten, full-time. The business must already be registered at the time the foreigner applies for a residence permit. The applicant can choose a suitable field of employment for a commercial enterprise, as well as the starting capital.


Bulgaria is one of the most attractive countries for applicants who have decided to immigrate through financial investment in the European economy. The minimum amount of investment required to obtain the status of a temporary resident is about 128 thousand EUR, which must be invested in lagging areas of the state. With an increase in the amount to 306 thousand EUR, a foreigner cannot be tied to a region and buy shares of a liked company or real estate objects. Contributions from 512,000 EUR allow the immigrant to immediately receive a permanent place of residence.

Family reunification or marriage

Residents of Bulgaria can invite their closest relatives and arrange a temporary residence permit for them. Family members include children under 18 who are not married, spouses or other dependents. Spouses and relatives of citizens of the republic up to the first generation can claim the status of permanent residents without prior opening of a residence permit. The host party must be financially secure to cover the expenses of the invited persons on the territory of the country.

Special program for retired persons

Bulgaria accepts for living secured foreign pensioners and provides them with the status of temporary residents upon request. The applicant for relocation needs to have a permanent income in the form of state grants equal to or exceeding their minimum level in the republic - about 270 EUR in 2023. This type of residence is immigration, which means that the interested person can subsequently claim permanent residence and citizenship.

How to apply for a Bulgarian permanent residence

To move to Bulgaria for permanent residence in general, a foreigner should first get a long-term visa at the official representation of the republic in the country of residence. The permit is issued on the same basis on which the applicant will request a residence permit upon arrival in the state. After immigration, the interested person retains the status of a temporary resident until the census of sedentary life is observed.

Obtainment of a permanent residence

To obtain a visa and a temporary residence permit in Bulgaria, a foreign citizen does the following:

  1. Chooses the basis for relocation and collects a dossier, which includes: a questionnaire, a foreign passport, a certificate of income, confirmation of the reason for relocation, medical insurance, proof of no criminal record, information about the place of stay in the republic.
  2. Visits the Bulgarian diplomatic representation and asks for a visa.
  3. Moves to the state, chooses the best place to stay and applies to the migration department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for a resident card.
  4. Picks up the ready-made residence permit card and stays in the country for the established period.

The interested party resides in the republic as a temporary resident and extends their status every 1-3 years by reapplying to the internal affairs bodies. After five years, the immigrant requests a permanent residence permit. Certain categories of applicants (for example, citizens of other European Union countries) can obtain a long-term residence permit for five years.

Application for a long-term residence permit

Certain categories of applicants can obtain not a temporary, but a long-term residence permit in Bulgaria. The document is granted immediately for a five-year term, after which the foreign person is entitled to apply for a local passport. Long-term residence permit is available to highly qualified specialists who are starting to work in their specialty, as well as to citizens of other European Union countries who are moving to the republic for permanent residence. This status does not provide any privileges different from a permanent residence, and can also be issued to the applicant after 5 years of stay in the country with a temporary residence permit.

Permanent residence

On average, after 5 years (student residence permit is counted only halfway) after migration to Bulgaria, a foreigner can apply for a permanent residence permit in the general order. The basic package of documents coincides with the one that the applicant collects for the registration of a temporary residence permit. The decision to issue a permanent residence permit for Russians or other applicants is made by the director of the migration department within 2-4 months after the registration of the application.

Upon approval of the request, the foreigner picks up the ready-made permanent resident card with personal and biometric data. The applicant also registers a Unified State Number - a local analogue of the Tax Identification Number (TIN), necessary for employment and tax payment.

In which case it`s possible to lose permanent residence of Bulgaria

Foreigners who have obtained Bulgarian permanent residence illegally (for example, by providing fake documents) can be deprived of their status and held accountable. The annulment of permanent residence is possible if the applicant does not fulfill the conditions of its provision, for example, withdraws investments or leaves the territory of the European Union for more than a year. Permanent residence also ceases to be valid if the foreigner threatens national security or public health.

Extension of residence permit

The status of a permanent Bulgarian resident is valid indefinitely. The foreigner is only required to reissue the resident card after the expiration of its validity period (equal to the validity period of the passport).

Obtaining Bulgarian citizenship

After 5 years of receiving a permanent residence permit, a foreigner can apply for the status of a naturalized Bulgarian citizen. The applicant must be law-abiding, financially secure, renounce the identity card of their native state and know the official language of the republic at a conversational level. The applicant collects documents, makes a petition and applies to the Ministry of Justice. Foreigners can obtain citizenship easier and faster - through repatriation, without giving up the first passport abroad and without taking a language test.

Alternative ways to relocate to Bulgaria

In order not to observe a long period of residence, foreigners often move to Bulgaria after obtaining a local passport. Obtaining an identity card of a European Union country is available to a Russian citizen through the procedure of repatriation on the basis of the applicant’s ethnic affiliation with the Bulgarians. Entry into second citizenship takes from 8 months if the applicant is accompanied by professionals in the field of jurisprudence during the process. The advantages of restoring legal status by roots are the absence of requirements for prior residence in the country, knowledge of the state language, demonstration of financial condition and refusal from the previous passport.

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