Last Updated on October 28, 2023 by Bulgarian attorney

Bulgarian residence for EU citizens

EU citizens can obtain Bulgarian residence and an ID card by presenting proof of accommodation and demonstrating adequate financial resources to sustain their stay in Bulgaria. This administrative service is facilitated by the Migration Directorate. To initiate the residence application process, individuals should apply at the local Migration Office in the district where their accommodation is situated.

Why should I become a resident of Bulgaria?

One compelling reason to pursue Bulgarian residency is the residency card issued by the Migration Office, which falls under the Ministry of Interior. This card serves as a fundamental requirement for obtaining Bulgarian tax residency, administered by the Tax Office under the Ministry of Finance.

Beyond tax considerations, the residency card also proves valuable for various other purposes, including opening bank accounts in Bulgaria and facilitating family reunification.

Time to obtain Bulgarian residence

EU citizens can secure Bulgarian residency in a remarkably swift timeframe, typically within just 3 working days following the submission of their application. If you opt to utilize our services, you can anticipate the following schedule:

  • Day 1: You will submit your application at the local Migration Office.
  • Day 2: A photography session will be scheduled at the local Migration Office, typically after 1 pm.
  • Day 3: Your residency card will be issued, and you can collect it.

For those who are unable to stay in Bulgaria for more than 2 working days, an alternative option is to grant power of attorney to our law firm. In this case, we will collect your residency card on your behalf and arrange for it to be couriered to your overseas address.

Bulgarian residence for UK citizens

Up until December 31, 2020, UK citizens had the opportunity to apply for Bulgarian residency as EU citizens. However, following the conclusion of the Brexit transitional period, UK citizens are now required to obtain a long-term D visa to be eligible for Bulgarian residency. To secure a D visa, applicants must meet the criteria associated with one of the 20 D visa categories.

UK citizens can obtain a D visa and Bulgarian residency by way of establishing a trade representative office in Bulgaria or retirement.

Family members of UK citizens

UK citizens who have either already converted their Bulgarian residency cards to Art. 50 of the TEU residency cards or still possess valid Bulgarian residency cards issued before Brexit, but have not yet completed the conversion process to Art. 50 of the TEU, are entitled to the more flexible EU regulations governing family reunification that were in place prior to Brexit.

Family reunification for non-EU family members of EU citizens

Holding a valid Bulgarian residency card you can apply for family reunification for your non-EU family members. Your family members have to enter Bulgaria on a valid Schengen or Bulgarian visa. The family reunification application is considered within 3–5 working days of submission.

Family members of EU citizens holding a valid residency card issued by an EU member state, such as Bulgaria, should have the right to travel without hindrance to other Schengen member states. This freedom of movement is granted under the EU’s regulations, primarily outlined in Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and the Council dated April 29, 2004, which ensures the ability of Union citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within Member States.

If you’ve encountered entry denials in other Schengen or EU member states, despite your spouse possessing a valid Bulgarian “Family member under Directive 2004/38/EC” card, or if you’ve been refused entry into Bulgaria while holding a valid Family member card issued by another EU or Schengen member state, our team is ready to provide support for legal action.

Family reunification for unmarried cohabiting couples

Since the beginning of 2019 the procedure for cohabiting couples become more strict. To be eligible for family reunification, you have to be married and provide a legalized marriage certificate, or provide a cohabitation certificate issued by another EU member state.

Who is considered a family member?

  1. Spouses
  2. Children below 21 years of age
  3. Parents
  4. Parents-in-law

Siblings and extended family members are not allowed to apply for family reunification in Bulgaria.

Advantages of applying for family reunification in Bulgaria

  • Family members are not required to provide a CBR check.
  • Renting or buying a property in Bulgaria is more affordable than in any other EU member state.
  • Legal fees in Bulgaria are much lower than that of immigration lawyers in the United Kingdom or in any other EU member state.
  • Bulgarian migration authorities are trying to attract an educated labour force from non-EU member states and therefore, there is a relaxed immigration policy on non-EU citizens.

What do you get when you are granted Bulgarian residence?

For more details about obtaining Bulgarian residence, please feel free to contact us.


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