Following huge delays in applicant interviews for Bulgarian citizenship by investment due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bulgaria’s Justice Ministry has announced an increase in the number of time slots available during October 2020 in the online scheduling system of its citizenship by investment directorate.
This means that during the month of October, those applicants who have an application submission and interview appointment booked to acquire Bulgarian citizenship can change their appointment to an earlier one.
The Bulgarian Ministry of Justice recently released a statement following action taken to ensure applicants to the country’s CBI Programme weren’t being left to wait.
“In the period from October 1-31 2020, The Ministry of Justice has created an option to shorten the deadlines for waiting for the procedure for submitting applications and conducting interviews for change of citizenship, by providing additional hours in the automated information system of the Bulgarian Citizenship Directorate,” the statement read.
This means that during October 2020, people seeking to acquire Bulgarian citizenship can make such a change just once, after which the option to change the appointment time would finish. However, additional time slots would remain available to all prospective applicants moving forwards.
The changes have been put in place due to the pandemic and the fact that many applicants have been unable to attend their appointments. This has led to a wave of new application and interview appointments.
Bulgaria’s Citizenship by Investment Programme
Unveiled in 2009, Bulgaria’s Immigrant Investor Programme (BGIIP) involves a two-step process that requires short-term residency before citizenship is issued, though physical presence is not necessary during the process.
The application for Bulgaria citizenship takes the longest of any other CBI program worldwide, from two to five years, depending on the investment option chosen by the investor.
While no local language or knowledge is needed, applicants must undertake an interview upon submitting their application. Applicants must also make two formal trips to Bulgaria, to file for permanent residence, and to register permanent residence and receive the relevant identity documents.
As with other European countries, Bulgaria boasts a high number of countries and territories to which citizens can travel visa-free or visa-on-arrival – 150 countries, including Australia, Japan, South America and Canada, though not to the US, which is a key business hub. Bulgaria is currently taking steps towards membership of the Schengen Area.
Bulgaria offers two routes to citizenship. The first option leads to citizenship in five years. Applicants must make a refundable donation of $560,000 into a government bond portfolio for five years, after which your investment is returned without interest. This entitles applicants to permanent residency and following one year of residency, in which applicants do not need to spend time actually on Bulgarian soil, applicants can undertake the fast-track citizenship path, which involves investing a further $560,000 into government bonds or a Bulgarian company.
The second option, titled Fast Track, leads to citizenship in three years. Applicants make a refundable donation of $560,000 in either government bonds or in a Bulgarian company for the first year and then double the investment in the second year. This entitles applicants to permanent residency and following two years, applicants get citizenship. The applicant must keep the bonds for two years after citizenship is granted.
Bulgaria offers a good standard of living with an established history of good education and it is affordable to live within. Bulgaria has an open, upper middle-income range market economy where the private sector accounts for more than 70% of GDP.
To find out more about the Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment programme, read our country profile by clicking here