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Retiring in Bulgaria – Bulgarian residency permit through visa type-D

Oded Germanov

Oded Germanov

Are you dreaming of retiring in a picturesque, beautiful country? A place that is rich in therapeutic thermal mineral waters? Do you have an interest in living in the open countryside surrounded by green forests or maybe you prefer a place by the sea? If you answered “yes” at least once to one of these questions, so Bulgaria is the place for your retirement,

Of course, there are other reasons for retiring in Bulgaria. To name a few; low living expenses, rich history with fascinating culture, high-quality fresh products (fruits and vegetables, dairy products, herbs, etc.)

But, before packing your belongings and heading to Bulgaria, there are things you should take care of. Moving abroad is a huge step, and we always recommend our readers to use the assistance of a well-experienced law firm in such life-changing steps. Cohen, Decker, Pex, Brosh is well-familiar with all the legal requirements and would be glad to help you receive a residency permit and retire in Bulgaria.

Who can retire in Bulgaria?

Retiring in BulgariaBulgaria allows every retired national to reside in its territory as long as he meets all the legal requirements.

Eu-nationals will find the process relatively easy and straightforward. No visa is required for the first 90 days. However, an EU-national planning to retire in Bulgaria should apply for a permanent residency permit like any other EU-national moving to Bulgaria. All of the applicant’s social benefits will remain, and he could receive his retirement pension even if living in Bulgaria.

Non-EU nationals willing to retire in Bulgaria will have to first get their visa type-D from their respective country’s embassy/consulate. This process requires several documents. The applicant must visit Bulgaria first to get some of them.

Visa type-D for non-EU nationals is issued for six months; during this period, the retired applicant should apply for long-term residency.

Social security treaties of the Republic of Bulgaria

We must add that some non-EU countries have signed social security treaties with the Republic of Bulgaria, reserving retirees’ social benefits while living in Bulgaria.

This means that if an applicant is eligible for a pension or a state allowance in his country, he can still receive it in Bulgaria. He can even choose to get his allowance transferred to his Bulgarian bank account. Regulations vary depending on the respective country’s treaty with the Republic of Bulgaria, so the procedures in each country’s social security system.

According to your respective state, our law firm will be happy to assist our readers in navigating through a sea of legalities regarding retiring in Bulgaria for non-EU nationals.

Applying for retirement visa type-D (non-EU)

To retire and to live in Bulgaria, first, a visa type-D is required. In order to apply for visa type-D, the applicant should be present in the Bulgarian embassy/consulate in his country, with the following documents:

  • Filled-out visa type-D application form
  • Two identical passport photos
  • Currently valid passport with at least one blank page for the visa type-D stamp.
  • Official retirement certificate issued by the competent authority of the applicant’s country of residence.
  • Proof of sufficient funds for the stay in Bulgaria. Present a Bulgarian bank statement stating an amount equal to at least six monthly Bulgarian pensions in a Bulgarian bank account.
  • Valid Bulgarian health insurance covering the cost in case of any health issue during the applicant’s stay in Bulgaria. The minimum cover is 30,000 euros.
  • Criminal background check issued by the competent authority in the applicant’s country, usually the police.
  • Proof of accommodation, either a property owned by him/her in Bulgaria or a lease agreement/rental contract in Bulgaria.
  • Proof of paid visa fee.

It usually takes between one to two months for the application to be processed; documents issued in any other language besides Bulgarian should be translated and legalized.

After your visa type-D application is processed and approved, you are ready to relocate and live in Bulgaria; you will have to apply for long-term residency, your visa type-D. Visa type-D is valid for six months, which means the applicant has enough time to apply for long-term residency. However, we suggest doing it a quickly as possible to avoid any unplanned delays later on.

Applying for a long-term residence permit:

In addition to a valid passport, poorf of sufficient funds and criminal background check (as noted above), the applicant must also present:

  • Valid Bulgarian health insurance for one year, covering the cost in case of any health issue during the applicant’s stay in Bulgaria. The minimum cover is 30,000 euros.
  • Financial statement from the applicant’s home country’s respective authorities stating the sum of his pension received in the last three months, translated and legalized.
  • Payment proof for the fees required in the migration office.

The processing time of the application is between one to two weeks; the Bulgarian migration authorities may ask for additional documents in some cases. We also add that owning a Bulgaria property will increase the applicant’s chances of receiving the desired long-residence permit in Bulgaria.

The retiree would have to renew his long-term residency permit every year at the migration authorities. After five years, the retiree can apply for a permanent residency permit.

For advice, assistance, or any other question regarding retiring in Bulgaria, please contact our law firm; such a significant change in one’s life demands the best-qualified assistance.

Bulgarian citizenship by marriage

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