For sellers

How to become a resident in Bulgaria for EU citizens before BREXIT

06 February 19

Brexit has led to hundreds of Brits applying for Bulgarian residency. The process appears confusing, but the reality is surprisingly painless. Cutting through the contradictions, we discover a straightforward €22 three-step process.

Our experience confirms what’s really needed to get your Bulgarian residency card.


British nationals have enjoyed the freedom of their European right to enter and exit Bulgaria for up to 90 days since 2007, but that might soon change and the great unknown of ‘what happens after Brexit’ has triggered thousands to act. Whilst the media and the politicians tell us that nothing will really change after 29th March 2019, not for two years at least, there are few who are willing to bet their residential status and happiness on it.


We consulted three solicitors to seek professional assistance, but none were completely sure how to apply, what exactly is required or how much it costs. Furthermore, application can only be done in person, so beyond general guidance and hand holding their role is really limited to translation only. As such, we decided to do it for ourselves and tell our customers about it.


How to apply:


Application at the Ministry of Interior is remarkably efficient, so much so that it goes someway to challenging stereotypes of Bulgaria’s bureaucracy. Our applicant was in Sofia, doesn’t speak a word of Bulgarian but loves a shopska salad. Fortunately, there was no need for either as the migration office staff were both helpful, equipped with humour and spoke fine English. Things really are changing.


Applicants can either apply as employees of a Bulgarian company or as individuals financially supporting themselves. With the latter being true in this case and having sought prior legal advice, the applicant was told he would need to prove financial reserves in the amount of 540 BGN / month for the 60 months of his stay (32,400 BGN) in a Bulgarian bank account that he did not have. It transpired not to be the case, not at all.


All EU citizens have the legal right to reside in Bulgaria, there is no minimum amount that you must have in your bank account to afford this right. You can, if you wish, submit a bank statement and it will be considered as proof of financial support, it can be from any bank in any language. However, in our application a sentence to say that the applicant is financially supporting themselves was all that was required, written on a photocopy of their credit card. Who knew that the Bulgarian state accepted American Express. We are not entirely sure what that proves, probably due process more than anything else, but an easy step for any applicant to fulfil.   


You can apply for up to 5 years residency in the first application, but they won’t necessarily grant it. Twelve months is the minimum and it was implied that this was best as it is essentially granted by default.


If you are employed then you can submit your employment contract, but it was advised that this avenue is both more complicated and unnecessary. If you own a property then a copy of your title deeds is essential, if not then you will need a notarised copy of your landlord’s declaration that you reside in their property.


If your landlord does not live in Bulgaria and hasn’t provided their agent with a Power of Attorney to complete such declarations, sadly you’ll need to move as there is no way around it. This declaration is the single most essential document as it identifies your whereabouts, unlike in Great Britain the Bulgarian law is built around the identification of every individual, it is an offence not to carry your ID card and it must be presented when asked by any officer from law enforcement. Although Brits are accustom to the freedom of not having to confirm their name unless being arrested, Bulgarians take identity more seriously and when issued an ID you will have to too.


For any British owner of a Bulgarian property keen to secure continued EU residency status, rest assured that this is a stress-free option and can be achieved within 5 work days from start to finish.


Step 1: file application, 7 BGN


Step 2: return the following day after your application has been process and to have your photo taken, cost for ID card 36 BGN.


Step 3: 3 days later collect your shiny new residency card, enjoy continued living within the EU.  


Essential documents for EU citizens:


  • Completed application (available for download)
  • Passport
  • European Health Insurnace Card, or private helath insurance policy
  • Your own title deeds  or notarised landlord’s declaration
  • Credit card or bank statement