news 14 Feb 13

Bulgaria Eases Citizenship for Foreign Investors

In a bid to boost the economy, Bulgaria has passed a law further easing the process of granting citizenship to foreign investors.

Bulgaria will be offering citizenship to foreigners from non-EU states if they are willing to invest at least 500,000 BGN [about 250,000 euro] and create ten jobs for Bulgarians, under amendments to the Investment Encouragement Act.

The bill, adopted on Tuesday by parliament, stipulates that candidates will have to invest in a company involved in a high-priority project in industry, infrastructure, transport or tourism.

Investors will not be obliged to have had residence status in the country for at least one year.

Backing a proposal by the right-wing Blue Coalition, parliament also lowered the investment thresholds for foreign investors in poorer regions.

These will be granted citizenship if they invest 250,000 BGN (about 125,000 euro) and hire five Bulgarians in regions suffering from high unemployment.

The purchase of real estate property worth at least 600,000 BGN (about 300,000 euro) is another way to gain permanent residency status, according to the new law.

Bulgaria already is handing out passports to ethnic Bulgarians outside its borders, the main beneficiaries being citizens of Macedonia, Serbia, Ukraine and Turkey.

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