How to become resident in Bulgaria

All foreigners staying in Bulgaria for more than 30 or 90 days (depending on their nationality) in succession, for any reason, need a residence permit. A residence permit holder’s dependants are normally also granted a permit.

Different types of residence permit are issued according to your status:

  • pensioner,
  • employee and
  • freelance professional.

There’s also a permit category for those investing in Bulgaria, but as the minimum investment is US$500,000, it won’t suit everyone!

If you’re a pensioner, you will need to produce evidence that you’re entitled to retirement income and have a bank account in Bulgaria and a Bulgarian address.

To apply for a residence permit, you must first obtain a Type D visa (see our article “Short and long-stay visas”) 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.

Validity and renewal

Residence permits are valid for 12 months and can be renewed towards the end of this period. It’s usually a formality to have a permit renewed, although you will need to have spent at least six months and one day of the 12-month period in Bulgaria. You will be able to apply for a permanent residence permit (valid indefinitely) after five years’ residence in Bulgaria.

The full ‘Law For The Foreigners In The Republic Of Bulgaria’ is available on the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior website ( – click on ‘Legal Framework’/’Laws and Rules’). Because there are a number of grey areas in Bulgarian immigration law and EU membership will again change the requirements, it’s recommended you talk with a lawyer who is familiar with Bulgarian and EU law about the most appropriate permit to apply for.

Who needs a visa to visit Bulgaria?

Nationalities that don’t require a visa

Whether or not you need a visa to Bulgaria depends on a variety of factors: your nationality, the purpose and the expected duration of your stay, as well as other things like family relations and your employment status.

Citizens of the following countries can visit Bulgaria for up to 90 days within each six-month period without a visa:

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Malta, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, SAR – China (Hong Kong, Macao), Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK (British Citizen Passport Holders and British Nationals /Overseas/ only), USA, Uruguay, the Vatican, Venezuela.

Citizens of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia can enter Bulgaria without a visa for a maximum of 30 days in any six-month period.

All other nationalities require a visa for any visit to Bulgaria.

If you are not sure whether you need a visa or not, have a look into the section “Consular Services” of the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There you will find detailed information about Visas, Visa Application procedure, Visa Application Forms, Bulgarian Citizenship.

Residence in the Republic of Bulgaria

Foreigners have the right to reside in the Republic of Bulgaria short-stay and long-stay. The short-stay residence is up to 90 days from the date of entering the country.

The term can be prolonged only by the Services for administrative control of foreigners.

In case you would like to reside permanently in Bulgaria we can assist you in issuance of a long-stay card . This procedure takes some time and it is necessary to prepare some documents for issuance of a visa type D by the Bulgarian Embassy in UK.

After receiving the visa, it is necessary to enter in Bulgaria and to apply for an ID card for permanent residence of foreigners in Bulgaria.

The long-term residence is allowed up to five years, as in that case the Bulgarian authorities issue an ID card for permanent residence of foreigners in Bulgaria and as the ID card is valid for five years as well. upon its expiry to obtain a new one, the procedure has to be repeated.

To receive a permit for long-term residence in the Republic of Bulgaria and Bulgarian ID card, it is necessary to prove to the Bulgarian authorities that the managed by you company is registered on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, that it does not have outstanding public state or municipal duties, it has been registered in the National Statistics Institute and has a Unified Identity Code, that the partners in the company have permanent address and have maintenance secured for every current year / this is being certified with a document from the bank, if there are means in your personal account /.

If your residence in our country is for more than five days, it is necessary for you to register in the Police as you give the address you have stayed in.

You should always bring with you, your ID – international passport, if there is a check up by the police authorities.