Bulgarian Residence for Pensioners
Retirees who are citizens of non-EU countries and receive state pension may be eligible to apply for a Bulgarian Retirement D visa and temporary residence permit. This visa option provides retirees with an opportunity to relocate to Bulgaria and enjoy the country’s relatively low cost of living, pleasant climate, and beautiful scenery. Additionally, retirees who hold this visa are eligible to access Bulgaria’s public healthcare system, which can be particularly appealing for those who do not have adequate healthcare coverage in their home country.
How to obtain a Bulgarian Retirement visa
The set of documents for your Bulgarian retirement visa is submitted in person in a Bulgarian embassy or general consulate. The processing time of the retirement visa is 4-8 weeks. The D visa is valid for 6 months and has to be exchanged for a residency card no later than 2 weeks before the expiry of the visa.
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To obtain a Pensioner D visa as a non-EU retiree, you will need to provide the following documents:
- Standard Bulgaria Visa Application form;
- Two passport-size photographs;
- Valid Passport;
- Document confirming entitlement to a state retirement income, issued by the country of origin and legalized. Please note that pensions from private organizations may not be accepted;
- Proof of accommodation and address in Bulgaria;
- Medical Insurance;
- Police clearance certificate/ CBR check.
In the United States, the Social Security Administration provides a Benefit Verification Letter that serves as a document to prove your eligibility for a state retirement income. On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, the authorities issue a Proof of Benefit Letter to fulfill the same purpose.
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Where should I apply for my Bulgaria retirement visa
You have the following options for applying for a Bulgaria retirement visa:
- Apply in your home country.
- Apply in the country where you currently reside.
- Apply in a country of your choice (subject to specific terms and conditions).
How to obtain a Pensioner residence in Bulgaria
Eligibility for pensioner residence requires that you hold a valid D visa. The residency application should be submitted no later than 2 weeks before the D visa expires. The residence permit for retired people is granted for a period of up to 12 months and it can be renewed annually. The temporary residency can be changed for permanent or long-term residence meeting certain requirements.
Family members of non-EU pensioners
If you hold a residence permit in Bulgaria that was granted based on retirement abroad, you may be eligible to apply for family reunification. Specifically, you may be able to apply for your non-retired partner and any children under the age of 21 to join you in Bulgaria. To be considered for family reunification in Bulgaria, you will need to meet the relevant eligibility requirements and provide the necessary documentation. This includes proof of your relationship with your partner and children, as well as evidence of financial stability and accommodation in Bulgaria.
Why US, Canada and UK citizens apply for Bulgarian retirement visa
US, Canadian, and UK citizens may apply for a Bulgarian retirement visa for several reasons. Bulgaria offers a relatively low cost of living compared to many Western countries, which can be particularly appealing to retirees who are looking to stretch their retirement savings. Additionally, Bulgaria has a mild climate, beautiful scenery, and a rich cultural history, making it an attractive destination for those seeking a new and enriching retirement lifestyle.
Additionally, the flat income tax rate of 10% in Bulgaria can offer significant tax advantages for retirees, helping them to make their retirement income go further. Lastly, the Bulgarian retirement visa also allows retirees to take advantage of the country’s favorable exchange rate and relatively low property prices, which can make it easier for them to purchase a home or invest in property.
Permanent residency for Pensioners in Bulgaria
Non-EU pensioners who have legally and uninterruptedly resided on Bulgarian territory for 30 months within any 5-year period are eligible to apply for permanent residency in Bulgaria.
On the other hand, EU pensioners are not required to reside in Bulgaria for 30 months to be eligible for permanent residency. Instead, EU citizens are eligible to apply for a 10-year permanent residency card five years after their initial residency card was issued in Bulgaria.
Bulgarian residence permit for EU pensioners
If you are an EU pensioner and are interested in obtaining a Bulgarian residence permit, you do not need to apply for a Retirement D visa or provide a criminal record check. Instead, EU pensioners and their family members may be able to apply for Bulgarian residency under a simplified procedure for EU citizens.