Sunny Bulgaria among Russians is perceived as a country of rest, and not for permanent residence. However, there are those who prefer to immigrate to the Republic. They remember that Bulgaria is part of the European Union, and its resort status brings considerable sums to the state budget. The standard of living in Bulgaria is high, and it is not difficult to obtain its citizenship.
Conditions and grounds
To immigrate to Bulgaria for permanent residence you need to know on what grounds it is possible and under what conditions.
The first – Bulgaria, while remaining a member of the European Union, has not yet signed the Schengen Agreement. You can enter into its territory with a national Bulgarian visa or with a double/multiple Schengen visas of the EU member state of Schengen.
Secondly, short-term tourist visas are not suitable for immigration to Bulgaria. To do this, issued a long stay visa. With these permits, you can stay in the country for 6-12 months. For a long-term visa, contact the consular department at the Bulgarian embassy in Moscow or St. Petersburg. The term of consideration of the application – from 30 calendar days.
In this case, the Russian, applying for Bulgarian permanent residence, must meet the following requirements (especially when immigration in the order of naturalization):
- Age of majority;
- Living in the country for at least 5 years. The term is reduced to three if:
- the applicant is married to a Bulgarian citizen/resident;
- the applicant from the Russian Federation has a child born of a Bulgarian citizen/resident;
- the applicant is the parent of a Bulgarian citizen;
- No criminal record;
- No health problems;
- Knowledge of the Bulgarian language at the required level;
- Denial of Russian citizenship.
On what grounds can you move to Bulgaria for permanent residence (get a resident card) and then obtain citizenship:
- when entering into a marriage with a Bulgarian resident/citizen (it is necessary to live in a marriage union for at least 5 years);
- if the applicant is a child of a Bulgarian resident/citizen;
- if the applicant is the parent of a minor Bulgarian citizen;
- by investing in the country’s economy on a large scale (about half a million euros), this makes it possible to apply for the country’s citizenship instantly, without a long wait;
- if there are special merits before the EU state of an economic, social, scientific, cultural or sport character;
- if you have special merits to the country concerning the issue of national or world security;
- in order to obtain political asylum (living in refugee status for at least 5 years);
- living under the protection of a humanitarian program for at least three years;
- living under temporary protection.
In most cases, in order to confirm the right to receive Bulgarian permanent residence, it is necessary to pass an interview in the migration authorities.
With family reunion
Reunion of relatives is one of the main ways of obtaining Bulgarian resident status and obtaining a Bulgarian passport by a foreign citizen. At the same time, it is not possible to move permanently to grandmother/grandfather, cousins/sisters and other distant relatives. Immigration is possible only to spouses, parents or children who are residents (holders of a residence permit / permanent residence) or citizens of Bulgaria.
In accordance with Article 15 of the Bulgarian Law on Citizenship, ethnic Bulgarians may apply for Bulgarian citizenship in the first place. Its origin must be confirmed by the Bulgarian Agency for the Affairs of the Bulgarians Abroad. It is required to document the fact of the presence of Bulgarian roots.
Obtaining Bulgarian citizenship through marriage with a citizen/resident of the country is a common practice. And, in view of the prevalence of fictitious marriages, spouses are required to provide documentary evidence of long-term relationships, including confirmation of the fact of cohabitation. Children – native or taken under guardianship – a serious argument in favor of the applicant.
For real estate investments
Wealthy Russians may wonder whether it is possible to obtain a residence permit in Bulgaria when buying property? The answer is yes, but on the condition that the property being purchased is worth about half a million euros, or more. Contributions can be made not only in real estate but also in enterprises (business investment).
Foreign students enrolled in a Bulgarian university may also, potentially, obtain citizenship of this state of the European Union, but there are some peculiarities.
First of all, the time during which the foreigner received an education is not counted as a period of stay. That is if for receiving permanent residence you need to live in the country for 5 years, then at the end of 5 years of study, the student cannot apply for this status. For this, he must be employed and work in his specialty during the aforementioned term.
How long does it take to get citizenship?
The total period of legal residence on the territory of Bulgaria, which is required for obtaining citizenship of this country, on average, is from 8 to 10 years. This period consists of three main stages.
The first is a stay in Bulgaria with a long stay visa. This authorization document is valid, usually, from 6 to 12 months, and the granted rights are almost the same as a residence permit. As a rule, it is issued by students and contract workers. Pensioners can only get it if they have relatives or friends who will provide them with accommodation for the duration of the trip.
The second stage – registration of permanent residence. The conditions and grounds for obtaining it are listed above, but it should be noted that without acquired or at least leased property, this status is almost impossible to obtain.
The third stage is directly obtaining citizenship. This is possible only after 5 years of residence in Bulgaria in the status of a resident (with permanent residence). In some cases mentioned earlier, this period is reduced to 3 years.
Do I need to refuse a Russian passport?
Another topical question for immigrants from the Russian Federation: is it possible to have dual citizenship Russia-Bulgaria? The answer is no. Migration legislation requires applicants of Bulgarian passports to renounce their previous citizenship, and for Russians, there are no exceptions.
The only categories of applicants who are allowed to keep a Russian passport are ethnic Bulgarians and foreign investors.
When immigration to Bulgaria, the collection of documentation is one of the most important components of the whole procedure. The absence of any one certificate or certificate will not necessarily lead to failure, but this will slow down the whole process. Therefore, it is better to know in advance what is required to prepare for submission.
The list of documents for obtaining permanent residence and citizenship of Bulgaria (differences in the lists are present but insignificant, so it is best to collect all the information below):
- The application form completed and signed by the applicant;
- Passport valid for at least one and a half years from the date of application;
- Applicant’s autobiography (brief);
- Photocopies of all RF passport pages with information;
- Photocopies of all pages of the passport with information;
- One passport-size photograph that meets all migration requirements (sizes 3.5 by 4.5 cm, color image, no processing in graphics editors, etc.);
- Paper confirming that the applicant has housing in Bulgaria:
- lease contract;
- a photocopy of the notarial deed of ownership, certified by the embassy of the country;
- Bank statement in the amount of not less than 1800 Bulgarian Lev. This is the country’s six minimum wages;
- Medical insurance for 30 thousand euros;
- Certificates from medical institutions about the applicant’s absence of contagious and psychiatric diseases, disability;
- Certificate of good conduct.
Additional lists of documents, depending on the basis of immigration to Bulgaria:
- permission to work;
- employment contract concluded with a Bulgarian employer;
- letter of guarantee from the Bulgarian employer, confirming the fact of the content of the applicant;
- Entrepreneurship (with the creation of at least ten jobs for Bulgarian citizens):
- a certificate confirming the fact of registration of an enterprise in the Bulgarian trade register (can be replaced by a certificate on the status of a company with a 3-month validity period);
- certificate of payment of all state taxes, which also confirms the fact of hiring at least ten citizens of Bulgaria;
- certificate confirming the employment of at least ten Bulgarian citizens in the company at the moment;
- permission from the Bulgarian Ministry of Internal Affairs for the reunification of spouses;
- certificates, certificates, contracts, and other documentation confirming that the inviting party lives in Bulgaria on a legal basis;
- marriage certificate (original and translation);
- child’s birth certificate (original and translation);
- Reunion with a relative:
- certificates and certificates confirming the relationship of the applicant with the resident/citizen of Bulgaria;
- Relocation of a financially secure retiree:
- confirmation of the financial independence of the applicant;
- an extract from the Bulgarian bank, which confirms the possibility for the applicant to receive his pension from Russia;
- Relocation of students in schools or higher education institutions:
- confirmation that the applicant is enrolled in an educational institution;
- receipt of full payment of the study period;
- if the applicant is a minor – permission from both parents to travel abroad.
It should be remembered that each case of relocation is an individual one, and there is always a chance that additional documents or an interview may be required.
Also, the above documents are submitted to the Ministry of Justice, to the department of Bulgarian citizenship and, if among them there are certificates and certificates issued not in the Bulgarian language, they need to be translated and legalized.
Term and cost
Terms of consideration of an application for registration of Bulgarian citizenship are highly dependent on the basis of the trip, the list of documents provided, even the physical and mental health of the applicant affects this. On average, this procedure takes 2-3 years. The minimum period is 12 months. An exception is made only for investors for whom the waiting period is minimal, and a Bulgarian passport is made in just a few weeks.
The cost is also strictly individual. The main expenses are for lawyers and translators when preparing and translating documents. Also often need to pay a registration fee.
An alternative option to live and work in Bulgaria legally
Among the countries of the European Union, Bulgaria is not the strictest in terms of requirements for applicants for its passports. However, if the applicant does not have relatives among the Bulgarians and he does not have significant funds for immigration through investments in the country’s economy, it is not very easy for him to obtain Bulgarian citizenship.
Alternatively, you can resort to the procedure of registration of Romanian citizenship. Both Bulgaria and Romania are part of the European Union. This means that having obtained the citizenship of one state, you can freely live, learn and work in the territory of another.
Under standard conditions, Romania’s passport can be obtained 1.5-2 years faster, and with lower financial costs. At the same time, the requirements here are even less stringent, even in comparison with Bulgaria. In addition, regardless of the basis of immigration, the applicant can keep his former passport.
Finally, a Russian, who has relatives up to the 3rd generation, who lived on the territory of Romania in 1918-1940 for legal reasons, can apply for a Romanian passport in a simplified procedure. This means that by issuing a national long-term visa, you can immediately apply for citizenship of Romania. Of course, this requires the provision of evidence confirming family ties and the fact of residence in the country in the above period. But as a result, the procedure becomes even cheaper and can be completed in a half to two years.