Residence permit in Bulgaria

Residence permit in Bulgaria

Temporary residence permit in Bulgaria is a legal status that allows a foreigner to stay in the country for a certain period (usually from 1 to 3 years). A temporary residence permit is granted to applicants who have a reason for long-term residence in the country. The issuance of a residence permit is regulated by the “Law on Foreigners” of the Republic of Bulgaria. A residence permit does not give the owner the rights and opportunities that Bulgarian citizens have, including limiting the duration of stay in the country and legal opportunities.

The status of a Bulgarian temporary resident is issued to foreign citizens for work, study, family circumstances, through the opening of a business or financial investments in the local economy, as well as for humanitarian reasons. Persons who do not have the right to a residence permit in the republic can consider other options for legal stay in Bulgaria - for example, obtaining a national passport through a simplified repatriation program within a year.

What gives a status of a temporary resident

A residence permit of Bulgaria for foreign citizens gives the right to such opportunities and advantages:

  • stay in the republic without additional documentary requirements and restrictions on the number of crossings of the state border;
  • access to the labor market (for some of the resident cards);
  • receiving education in local schools, colleges, universities, including for family members;
  • the opportunity to move with children and spouse;
  • the prospect of subsequent naturalization in the state with the receipt of a local passport;
  • registration of medical insurance and service in hospitals on equal terms (including prices) with the indigenous population;
  • change of tax residence with payment of contributions to the treasury of the republic for pension savings;
  • receipt of benefits due under the status, assistance with integration into society, protection of civil rights.


The disadvantages of obtaining the status of a temporary resident of Bulgaria include the following:

  • limited validity of the document and the need for its re-registration;
  • a small list of reasons for which a residence permit can be granted;
  • the obligation to maintain the reason for being in the state;
  • limited rights - unlike citizenship, with a residence permit, the applicant cannot participate in elections, claim positions in the state apparatus, receive full social support.


Who can obtain a residence permit

To obtain a residence permit in Bulgaria, an interested person needs to confirm the reason for moving to the republic documentarily according to the norms of legislation. Residency is usually granted only to law-abiding applicants with stable income and a place of residence in the state. The following are the reasons why a foreigner can request a temporary stay permit.


A request for a residence permit in Bulgaria can be made by students of local universities, including participants in international student exchange programs. The main document of the applicant is a certificate of enrollment in an educational course, confirmed by the local Ministry of Education. The education of a foreigner must be paid at the time of applying for a residence permit. Persons under 18 are also required to obtain permission from parents or guardians to register for residency.


Employees of a private/state company or a local branch of an international organization have the right to apply for a residence permit in Bulgaria on the basis of an employment contract. The same opportunity is available to seconded persons, applicants within the framework of intra-corporate transfer, highly qualified specialists. Foreigners are employed in the republic after the permission of the local government and in case if Bulgarian worker did not respond to the vacancy.


Husbands and wives of Bulgarian residents have the opportunity to move to their spouse and get a temporary residence permit. The applicant confirms family ties with a marriage certificate. The status of a resident is granted to a foreign applicant for a period not exceeding the validity of a similar document of the inviting person. Spouses of citizens of the republic are immediately given Bulgarian permanent residence upon request.

Family reunification

Close relatives of local citizens and residents can apply for a residence permit in Bulgaria. Suitable applicants include children under 18 who are not married, parents who are guaranteed sufficient income by the inviting party so as not to be dependent on the state, and, as an exception, other family members who need care. Relatives of Bulgarian passport holders are immediately eligible to apply for permanent residence. The applicant confirms the corresponding family ties with documents.


A foreign investor can obtain residency in Bulgaria if they invest from 128,800 EUR in certain sectors of the local economy as defined by law. Standard permissible areas of financial contributions are considered in economically backward regions of the republic. If the investment contribution is increased to 306,800 EUR, the applicant can buy out half of the shares of any enterprise, regardless of its field of activity and place of registration in the country. Persons whose financial contribution starts from 512,000 EUR can claim the status of a permanent resident without applying for a residence permit.


Applicants requiring long-term medical care in a Bulgarian clinic have the right to stay in the republic with a temporary residence permit. The applicant attaches an invitation from the hospital when applying for a residence permit. The foreigner needs to have a sufficient amount of finances to be treated and live in the country at their own expense, without claiming state aid.

Real estate

Persons who own residential and/or commercial properties in the republic for a total amount of 307,000 EUR can get a Bulgarian residence permit. The legislation does not regulate the location of real estate and ways of their subsequent operation (for example, sublease or use as office space). The applicant attaches the purchase and sale agreement to the general package of documents for the status of a temporary resident.


Residency in Bulgaria is granted to foreign citizens who set up a company and employ at least ten local passport holders as permanent employees. The applicant can do business in any preferred field. There are also no requirements for the minimum authorized capital. The certificate of company registration is a confirmation of the basis for applying for a residence permit.


Persons who request refugee status and cannot live in their home country due to a threat to life or cases of discrimination can get a residence permit in Bulgaria. As of 2023, the republic also provides temporary protection to Ukrainians. Requirements for refugees can be simplified (for example, they do not need a national visa to enter the country), but each application is considered on a case-by-case basis.

Residence permit of Bulgaria for Russians

In 2023, a residence permit in Bulgaria for Russians is issued in the general order. For Russian applicants, there is an opportunity to claim residency through employment, education, doing business in the republic, and other legislatively regulated grounds. Citizens of the Russian Federation often prefer to obtain a local residence permit due to the easy-to-learn language of the Slavic group and the subsequent absence of problems in communication on the territory of the country.

Special conditions for retired persons

A citizen of Russia has the opportunity to arrange residency in Bulgaria for pensioners on general terms provided for all foreign persons. The basic dossier of the applicant is supplemented by a certificate of regular accrual of corresponding social payments. The applicant’s income should be equal to or exceed the minimum pension in the republic - approximately 268 EUR, as of November 2023.

How to apply for a Bulgarian residence permit

The procedure for obtaining a residence permit in Bulgaria implies the initial opening of a D category visa for moving to the state. The entry permit is issued by a foreign person on the same basis on which the status of a temporary resident will be granted. The applicant applies to the consular institution or embassy of the republic and submits such a dossier:

  • an application completed in the established form;
  • a passport for travel abroad with color photocopies;
  • confirmation of the availability of a place of stay in the republic;
  • a medical insurance policy;
  • proof of proper financial security;
  • a certificate of no criminal record;
  • an additional document according to the basis for immigration.

After opening a D category visa, the foreigner moves to Bulgaria and applies to the territorial representation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to obtain a temporary resident card.

Extension of residence permit

The Bulgarian temporary resident card is valid on average from 12 to 36 months depending on the basis for its registration. If the reason for staying in the state remains, a foreign citizen can apply for a renewal of the status by applying to the internal affairs bodies. The applicant pays the cost of the administrative fee and provides documents proving his right to live in the republic.

Obtaining permanent residence or long-term residence after a residence permit

After observing a five-year census of sedentary life, foreigners can count on obtaining a permanent place of residence in Bulgaria or the status of a long-term resident of the EU. The applicant can be absent in the country for no more than six months in a row so that this period is counted in the total length of stay. With the status of a permanent resident, the applicant acquires almost all the rights of local citizens, including the ability to stay in the republic indefinitely without additional conditions. The applicant also applies for a permanent resident card in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Detailed information on the registration of Bulgarian permanent residence is presented on our website.

Residence permit and citizenship

To obtain Bulgarian citizenship as a naturalized person, the applicant must live in the country for ten years from the date of opening the first residence permit. A foreigner stays from 5 years in the republic as a temporary resident, after which he arranges the status of a permanent resident, and after a similar period he applies for the provision of a local passport. Naturalization in Bulgaria is a long and costly process, so many applicants prefer to obtain EU citizenship through repatriation.


How it`s possible to get a residence permit fast?

The law provides for a two-week period for considering applications for issuing a temporary resident card, but in practice, this period is often extended. The applicant also spends time collecting and processing documents, making appointment and visiting a diplomatic representation, opening a visa - 2-3 months in total.

Is there a possibility to get a refusal?

A refusal is possible in cases where the applicant has provided incomplete or fake documents for a residence permit in Bulgaria. Also, the status of a resident is not granted to persons who have previously violated the law in their home country or the European Union. Applicants who pose a threat to the republic (for example, are associated with extremist organizations) are also refused.

What it`s possible to do, if there is no grounds for a residence permit?

If a foreigner does not have the right to apply for resident status, he/she should consider other options for legalizing his/her stay, for example, obtaining a Bulgarian passport through roots or a residence permit in another EU state. Attempts to stay in the country illegally or buy fake registration documents are grounds for initiating administrative or criminal proceedings against the immigrant.

Assistance in obtaining a Bulgarian residence permit

Professionals in the field of jurisprudence help foreigners understand what a residence permit in Bulgaria is and how to arrange it. Migration lawyers recommend optimal relocation programs abroad after a detailed analysis of the request and the applicant’s pedigree. The help of international law specialists includes step-by-step support of the process up to the receipt of the requested document. A foreigner can get detailed information by making an appointment with lawyers through an online form.

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