Bulgaria’s CBI Programme Explained by the New Balkans Law Office

To better understand the logistics of Bulgaria’s Immigrant Investment Programme, CS Global Partners collaborated with the New Balkans Law Office (NBLO) in a webinar. NBLO has law offices in Sofia and London and often deals with investors interested in citizenship and residency in Bulgaria and Europe. 

In this collaboration, NBLO’s Kamen Shoylev and Nevena Bekyarova explain to CS Global Partner’s Georgina Wray what the application process for Bulgaria’s Programme entails. Shoylev and Bekyarova also shed light on the investment options available, the number of dependants main applicants can include, and other requirements necessary to obtain Bulgarian citizenship by making an economic investment. 



Bulgaria is a country located in southeastern Europe. It is a flourishing nation with substantial administrative and technical capacity. Bulgaria signed the European Union Treaty of Accession on 25 April 2005 and became a full member of the European Union on 1 January 2007. In addition, it has a tripartite economic and diplomatic collaboration with Romania and Greece, good ties with China and Vietnam and a historical relationship with Russia. 

The Bulgarian government created the Bulgaria Immigrant Investor Programme to encourage foreign investment by offering special incentives to investors from non-EEA countries. 

Foreign entrepreneurs who are able to make a minimum investment in Bulgaria can usually obtain permanent residence permits and, in time, acquire citizenship. For an applicant to receive citizenship after five years of nominal residence in Bulgaria, there are several investment options available.  

Understanding the investment legislation is essential to applying for citizenship by investment, as detailed by Shoylev and Bekyarova. A foreign entrepreneur will need to make the investment as directed and observe the other requirements for submitting the relevant documents for obtaining the residence permit.   

Below are some quick facts about the Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment Programme. 

Travel requirements: 

  • Applicants are required to appear in person to lodge their residence applications. This is a standard requirement; 
  • Applicants need to make a second trip to have their ID card issued. Biometrics are taken during this second visit; 
  • There is no interview at the residence stage, although there may be a brief interview at the visa application stage, which precedes the residence application. 

Investment options: 

  • UCITs: EU-regulated fund vehicles (including exchange-traded funds with a focus on Bulgaria)  Stocks traded in Bulgaria 
  • Alternative Investment Funds (including private equity, venture and hedge funds, a part of whose focus is on Bulgaria) 
  • Participation in a Bulgarian company 

Fast track route:

Under this route, Bulgaria offers investors citizenship eligibility after six to 12 months from the submission of their application. However, they must make a second investment before applying for citizenship. 

Due diligence:

Bulgaria’s vetting procedure generally takes six to eight weeks.

To learn more about the programme, please click the video link.