Bulgarian Residence for Pensioners

Retirees who are citizens of non-EU countries and receive a state pension equal to or greater than the minimum monthly salary in Bulgaria (933 BGN in 2024) are eligible to apply for a Bulgarian Retirement D visa and a temporary residence permit. This visa option allows retirees to relocate to Bulgaria, where they can enjoy the country’s relatively low cost of living, pleasant climate, and beautiful scenery. Additionally, retirees with this visa can access Bulgaria’s public healthcare system, which is especially beneficial for those lacking adequate healthcare coverage in their home country.

Note: Veterans are also eligible for the Bulgarian Retirement D visa.

Moreover, the Bulgarian Retirement D visa is also a Schengen Retirement visa, allowing holders to visit other Schengen member states, thereby providing even greater travel flexibility and convenience.

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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Bulgarian Retirement visa

To obtain a Pensioner D visa as a non-EU retiree, you will need to provide the following documents:

  1. Standard Bulgaria Visa Application form;
  2. Two passport-size photographs;
  3. Valid Passport;
  4. 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;
  5. Proof of accommodation and address in Bulgaria;
  6. Medical Insurance;
  7. Police clearance certificate/ CBR check.
  8. Bulgarian bank account

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.

Retire in Bulgaria, Bulgarian Residence for Pensioners

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Bulgarian bank account for the Retirement D visa application process

Having a Bulgarian bank account is a mandatory requirement for applying for a Bulgarian Retirement D visa. However, if you are residing abroad and lack a financial history or physical presence in Bulgaria, opening a remote account with a traditional Bulgarian bank is nearly impossible.

A workaround to this challenge is to open an online account with a financial institution like Paysera. Although Paysera operates as an online bank, not a physical one as stipulated by law, it is serviced by EuroBank Bulgaria AD, a licensed Bulgarian bank. By opting for Paysera, you can obtain a Bulgarian IBAN number, in addition to a Lithuanian IBAN.

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.

If you would like to learn more about obtaining a Bulgarian residence permit as an EU citizen, please have a look at how to obtain Bulgarian residence for EU citizens.

Bulgarian citizenship for retired

Non-EU citizens are eligible to apply for Bulgarian citizenship if they hold permanent or long-term residency for 5 years.

Alongside the retirement visa, there are other routes to residency in Bulgaria. For more details, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Bulgarian Pensioner D visa