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Bulgaria: Call for participation in public consultation on new 'Startup Visa'

Bulgaria's Ministry of Economy has opened a public consultation on the first Bulgarian Ordinance on the terms and conditions for issuing, extending and revoking a certificate for a high-tech and/or innovative project; a “Startup Visa”. The main purpose of the Startup Visa initiative is to attract both third-country nationals to Bulgaria and investments in companies registered in the country. The incentive measure is aimed specifically at start-up companies with an innovative product and/or service.

In an attempt to limit the possibility of abuse of the system, the initial requirements stipulated by the current version of the ordinance - on which public input is being requested - are more restrictive than those in any other European country. The public consultation is open to both citizens and organisations until 20 September 2021, and can be accessed here.

Amendments to the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act provide the opportunity for long-term residence to foreigners who:

  • have a visa;
  • have a certificate issued by the Ministry of Economy for a high-tech and/or innovative project (the Startup Visa);
  • after being issued the long-stay visa have become partners or shareholders in a Bulgarian company;
  • hold no less of 50% of the capital of the aforementioned company (of which the subject of activity must be the one declared at the issuance of the certificate).

Read more about the public consultation here.