Living Conditions and Rights to Acquire Property
The terms and conditions under which nationals of other member-states of the European Union and their family members, as well as nationals of the member-states under the Agreement on the European Economic Area and the Swiss Confederation and their family members, enter, stay and leave the Republic of Bulgaria, are governed by the European Union Citizens and Members of Their Families Entry and Residence in and Departure from the Republic of Bulgaria Act. The European Union citizens reside in the Republic of Bulgaria for up to three months without a visa, with a valid identity card or a valid passport. After that period, they must possess a certificate of prolonged or permanent residence of a citizen of the European Union. For this purpose, they file an application to the Migration Directorate at the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Interior Directorate in Sofia or the regional directorates of the Ministry of Interior pursuant to the European Union Citizens and Members of Their Families Entry and Residence in and Departure from the Republic of Bulgaria Act. The terms and conditions under which nationals of states that are not members of the European Union /third states/ may enter, stay and leave the Republic of Bulgaria will be determined by the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act /FRBA/. This act also applies to family members of Bulgarian citizens who are not EU citizens.
A foreigner may enter the Republic of Bulgaria if he/she has a valid travel document or other equivalent document and visa, if required.
No visa is required, where this is stipulated in Regulation (EC) 539/2001 of the Council, in other binding EU acts, in any international treaties to which the Republic of Bulgaria is a party, or in any acts of the Council of Ministers.
No visa is required where the foreigner is a holder of a valid permit for continuous, long-term or permanent residence in the Republic of Bulgaria.
Foreigners who own property in the Republic of Bulgaria and who wish to reside in Bulgaria may apply for short-term visa for the purpose of intended stay of no more than three months in any six-month period from the date of their first entry in the Republic of Bulgaria.
For more details about the documents required and the visa application procedure, visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - www.mfa.bg.
The real-legal regime of the acquisition and exercise of ownership right on real estate in the Republic of Bulgaria by foreigners is regulated by the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria (Art. 22), the Property Act (Art. 29 and Art. 29a) and a number of other regulations containing specific rules - the Ownership and Use of Agricultural Land Act (Art. 3, Art. 3a, Art. 36, Art. 10a), the Forestry Act (Art. 23 and Art. 24), the Succession Act (Art. 5), the Protected Areas Act (Art. 10), etc.
The nationals of the member states of the EU or member states under the Agreement on the European Economic Area may acquire ownership right over land in accordance with the requirements specified in the law pursuant to the Treaty of Accession of Bulgaria to the European Union. By the end of 2011, foreign individuals have been restricted to possess the land of their second home. On 1 January 2012 this restriction dropped out and foreign investors are allowed to acquire the land on which their homes are built. However, the restriction is still valid in terms of ownership of agricultural land. It is expected to drop out on 1 January 2014.