Bulgaria second best citizenship by investment

Prabhu Balakrishnan Avatar
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Bulgaria secured second place in citizenship by investment CBI passport rankings for 2019. The report takes into account 25 important factors such as safety, economy, due diligence, Human development index, pricing and passport power.


Best Citizenships CBI passport ranking 2019


This comes at a time when Bulgaria justice ministry recently announced plans closing of citizenship and golden visa scheme in Bulgaria due to lack of interest and no applications.


The ranking should give much needed boost for government to amend the scheme reducing investment, loosen citizenship rules and hire services of private firms to receive more foreign investment to Bulgaria, create jobs and boost real estate sector.


Bulgaria’s citizenship scheme suffered a setback because of lack of chinese interest, high investment amount (EUR 1 mill) and long waiting time to acquire citizenship (2 years). The citizenship rules were also tightened with language requirements.


The Bulgarian citizenship and residence by investment (CRBI) schemes is also not promoted widely by government, which also explains the lack of popularity.  The Golden visa scheme failed to become popular because Bulgaria is still not a part of schengen area and required investment EUR 250,000 is still high for foreign investors.


Cyprus and Malta CIP became a hugely successful because these schemes were properly designed to attract HNW investors. Malta’s citizenship by investment program was designed by private firm Henley and Partners.


Bulgaria GDP is $171 billion that is five times bigger than Cyprus. Cyprus received over $7 billion dollars FDI through CIP while Bulgaria received only less than 100 applications since the inception of schemes. Malta also received excess of one billion euros from its IIP and MRV schemes.


In order to improve the investment schemes, Bulgarian government need to design the CBI/Golden visa scheme property engaging private government advisory services offered by private companies in the CBI/RBI industry.


According to European Union


  • EU member country: since 1 January 2007
  • Currency: Bulgarian lev BGN. Bulgaria has committed to adopt the euro once it fulfils the necessary conditions.
  • Schengen: Bulgaria is currently in the process of joining the Schengen area.


As of 2019, Bulgarian passport had visa free travel to 169 countries in the world according to Henley Passport Rankings 2019.