How can I apply for a Long-stay visa and/or Residence Permit?
Do I need to register when residing in Bulgaria?
Am I allowed to work in the Republic of Bulgaria?
I want to settle permanently in Bulgaria, is that possible?

Q: How can I apply for a Long-stay visa and/or Residence Permit?

A: Apply for a Long-stay (Type D) visa at the Ministry of Interior Affairs within 90 or 30 days of your arrival. An application requires a number of documents, including the following:

  • the application form and two passport-size photographs;
  • a current passport;
  • evidence of having formed a limited company, a certified copy of the company’s tax registration document and a court certificate that the company is solvent, and evidence that you’ve hired Bulgarian citizens;
  • a certificate from the National Social Security Institute that you’re contributing to social security and have no outstanding tax payments;
  • a certificate from the tax office showing the amount of taxes paid (if applicable);
  • a recent bank statement and a bank certificate that you’re solvent;
  • evidence of accommodation in Bulgaria and the address.

To apply for a residence permit, you must first obtain a Type D visa in your home country and then travel to Bulgaria. Once you arrive in Bulgaria, you should apply for the appropriate residence permit as soon as possible.

The decision takes around seven days and, if you’re successful, your passport will be stamped to show that you’ve been granted a residence permit, so you will be able to leave the country and return when you need to. Note that the requirements for a Type D visa are the same as those for a residence permit – so if you’re successful in obtaining a Type D visa from a Bulgarian embassy or consulate, you should have no trouble obtaining a residence permit in Bulgaria.

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Q: Do I need to register when residing in Bulgaria?

A: All foreign nationals who have entered the territory of Bulgaria are obliged to register within 48 hours after their entry into the country. They have to register their address in Bulgaria either at the services for administrative control of foreign nationals, or at the nearest district police station, depending on the address where they are staying. This registration includes: full name, date of birth, citizenship, as well as the number and series of their identity documents. Address changes also have to be reported within 48 hours.

Natural persons or legal entities, which provide shelter to foreign nationals, are obliged to notify within 48 hours either the relevant service for administrative control of foreign nationals, or the nearest district police station. If a foreign national is staying in a hotel, the receptionists are obliged to perform this duty. If a foreign national is paying a private visit, the Bulgarian host is obliged to register the foreigner who is his guest.

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Q: Am I allowed to work in the Republic of Bulgaria?

A: Under the Foreign Nationals Act, foreign nationals who have been allowed to reside permanently in Bulgaria are allowed to work under the same conditions, which are valid for Bulgarian nationals.

Foreign nationals with short-term or long term residence permits of the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, may enter into labour contracts only with a work permit issued by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. Foreign nationals with a short-term residence permit, who have obtained work permits, may apply for long-term residence visas in Bulgaria. This procedure is also valid for the nationals of those countries, with which Bulgaria has signed Agreements for visa-free short-term residence.

Foreign nationals, who have obtained work permits, may work only for the employer determined in the work permit and only for the duration of time specified in the permit.

No work permits are required for the following foreign nationals:

  • Foreign nationals with permanent residence permits in the Republic of Bulgaria or with equal rights through right of asylum, refugee status or humanitarian status;
  • Foreign nationals who have been hired or sent to work by force of an international agreement, to which the Republic of Bulgaria is a party, if the withdrawal of the obligation to possess a work permit is provided in the agreement;
  • Foreign nationals who have been sent to the country by force of inter-governmental agreements and programmes for providing legal, financial, expert, humanitarian and other assistance to Bulgarian institutions, with which they do not have labour contracts;
  • Foreign nationals who are managers of trade companies or branches of foreign legal entities;
  • Foreign nationals who are members of boards of managers or boards of directors of trade associations, inasmuch as they do not work under labour contracts;
  • Foreign nationals who are representatives of foreign trade associations, registered at the Bulgarian Chamber of Trade and Industry;
  • Foreign nationals who are accredited as members of foreign diplomatic, consular and commercial missions, as well as representative offices of international organizations in the Republic of Bulgaria;
  • Foreign nationals who are accredited officially by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria as correspondents of foreign news media;
  • Foreign nationals who, while normally residing abroad, participate in scientific, cultural or sport events of public importance, if their activity in the Republic of Bulgaria does not exceed 3 months;
  • Foreign nationals, who are applying for a refugee status, asylum or humanitarian status, have the right of labour at the specialized centres established by the State Refugees Agency.

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Q: I want to settle permanently in Bulgaria, is that possible?

A: The following categories of foreign nationals may obtain a permanent residence permit:

  • foreign nationals of Bulgarian origin;
  • foreign nationals who married either a Bulgarian national, or a foreign national residing permanently in Bulgaria since two years;
  • children and juveniles, whose parent is either a Bulgarian national, or a foreign national residing permanently in the country, and who are not married;
  • the parents of a Bulgarian national, if they are providing the alimony stipulated by force of the relevant legislation, or, in cases of adoption or fathering a child, three years after the adoption or fathering;
  • foreign nationals who have resided legally in the country for the last five years without travelling abroad;
  • foreign nationals who have invested in the country more than 250,000 US dollars in accordance with the legislation;
  • foreign nationals who have no Bulgarian origin but who were born in the Bulgarian territory, and having lost their Bulgarian citizenship under expatriation agreements or upon their own will, would like to settle permanently in the territory of Bulgaria;
  • foreign nationals who entered the territory of Bulgaria, reside in the country or were born here, before 27 December 1998, and whose parent married a Bulgarian national.

Foreign nationals residing in Bulgaria have equal rights and obligations to those concerning Bulgarian nationals, with the exceptions of such rights and obligations, for which Bulgarian citizenship is required.

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