Bulgarian AIF

Following recent amendments to the Bulgaria Foreigners Act and the Citizenship Act that cancelled the bond program and revamped the framework for Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment, there are now numerous new investment options available for applicants.

512 000 EUR

Minimum
investment

6 months

to Permanent
residency

5 years

Retaining the
investment

The Bulgarian Golden Visa offers non-EU citizens, along with their families, the opportunity to acquire indefinite permanent residency. Additionally, it opens a pathway to Bulgarian citizenship five years after obtaining permanent residency. Among the various options to qualify for the Bulgaria Golden Visa, we find that investing in Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) is particularly advantageous. This method not only provides flexibility but also tends to be less risky, despite AIFs typically being categorized as higher-risk investments.

Understanding AIFs in the Context of the Bulgarian Golden Visa

An AIF, as defined by EU law, is a collective investment vehicle that pools capital from multiple investors, aiming to invest this collective sum based on a pre-defined investment strategy for the investors’ benefit.

AIFs can vary significantly in their structure: they can be either open-ended or closed-ended, and they may be listed or unlisted on stock exchanges. These funds typically entail higher risk compared to conventional investment options, but they can also offer greater rewards, making them particularly attractive to professional investors.

Lower Risk AIFs

Despite Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) being typically associated with higher risks, it’s possible to tailor their strategies to reduce these risks. For instance, the AIF’s statutes could explicitly prohibit the use of derivatives, Contracts for Difference (CFDs), crypto assets, leverage, and similar instruments. When we state ‘prohibit,’ it means the AIF is not allowed to engage in such transactions unless changes to the existing statutes are approved by the Financial Commission. Should any amendments be made, investors must be notified, providing them the option to withdraw their investments if they choose.

Within this framework, we can consider two categories of AIFs suitable for the Bulgarian Golden Visa program. The first category includes AIFs designed specifically to meet Golden Visa requirements, prioritizing investment safety while targeting annual returns in the 5-10% range. The second category includes AIFs oriented towards higher risk and potentially greater returns.

Assets in Alternative Investment Funds

Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) offer a diverse range of investment opportunities, encompassing both tangible and intangible assets. One notable and traditionally considered safe investment option within AIFs has been the bonds issued by Bulgarian licensed banks. This trend gained momentum as Bulgarian banks, responding to heightened reserve capital requirements set by the National Bank, began issuing bonds to fulfil these new financial conditions. An example of this is Allianz Bank, which issued bonds with a notably high yield of 6.85%.

Additionally, AIFs present the opportunity for reinvestment into development projects. This option is particularly attractive if you are interested in property ownership in Bulgaria. By investing through an AIF, you can indirectly engage in the property market, potentially benefiting from the growth and development of real estate projects in the region.

AIFs for Bulgaria Golden visa

To qualify for the Bulgaria Golden visa by investment in an AIF, the Fund must meet certain criteria:

  • Manage assets totalling no less than BGN 3,000,000.
  • Be licensed or registered by the Financial Supervision Commission.
  • Have an investment strategy entirely focused on Bulgarian assets, investing solely in shares, stocks, and bonds of Bulgarian companies, including Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).

Several funds currently satisfy the above requirements.

Choosing the Right Fund

You are not restricted to investing in just one Fund. You can diversify your investment across multiple Funds that meet the criteria mentioned above. If you’re unsure about which Fund to invest in, you could consider splitting your investment among a few or several Funds to create a more balanced Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) portfolio.

The primary constraint lies in the type of Fund you choose. You need to determine whether to invest in Bulgarian AIFs (Alternative Investment Funds) or Bulgarian ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds). However, it’s important to note that you cannot split the required 512,000 EUR investment between AIFs and ETFs; it must be allocated entirely to one type.

Benefits of the Bulgaria Golden Visa

 

Visa-free travel to over 140 countries

 

High-Return Investment Opportunities

 

The Bulgaria Golden Visa is a Schengen visa

 

Your entire family can join you

 

You are eligible to become a tax resident of Bulgaria

 

Permanent residency status is indefinite

 

Minimal Investment Period of 5 years

 

Minimum Stay Requirements of a single day annually

Who is a professional investor?

The criteria for this categorization, while objective in its core parameters, also encompass a subjective element. This is because the categorization takes into account not just the frequency of investment transactions but also their value. An investor might have engaged in a limited number of transactions, but if these involve substantial amounts, it could qualify them as a professional investor. Conversely, an investor with a high volume of transactions, albeit at lower values, may also be considered for this category.

Due Diligence

Prior to investment in Bulgarian AIF, applicants are required to successfully pass a pre-approval stage with the Bulgarian Investment Agency (BIA). Applicants have to provide the following documents and information:

  1. Copy of ID document
  2. Evidence of sufficient funds meeting or exceeding the minimum investment threshold
  3. Declaration of Anti-Money Laundering Compliance
  4. Declaration Regarding Politically Exposed Person Status
  5. Detailed information pertaining to employment, professional, and investment activities
  6. Criminal record certificate issued from the home country and country of permanent residence

The Applicant is obliged to provide any additional documents or information as may be required by the Bulgarian Investment Agency.

How long is the duration of the Pre-Approval Stage

The pre-approval stage spans a period of 2 to 2.5 months. After this stage is successfully completed, you can proceed with your investment for the Bulgarian Golden Visa.

Family Reunification for Bulgaria Golden Visa via AIF Investment

Family members, including children up to 21 years old and spouses, are eligible for family reunification. This process can commence once the main applicant has obtained permanent residency.

Similar to the main applicant, family members must apply for a D visa and then for permanent residency through the local Migration Office. The entire procedure is expected to be completed within a timeframe of 3 to 4 months.

Family Reunification for Parents

You can apply for your parents and parents-in-law. However, it’s important to note that they will only be eligible for temporary residency, which is renewable on an annual basis.

Documentation Requirements

The required documentation for family members is minimal. For children, a birth certificate suffices. Spouses need to provide a marriage certificate along with a criminal record. For parents, the main applicant’s birth certificate and their criminal records are necessary. This streamlined document requirement eases the application process for family reunification under the Bulgaria Golden Visa program.

Should you find that the AIF doesn’t align with your investment goals, you may explore the option of investing in real estate in Bulgaria. Opportunities for obtaining the Bulgaria Golden Visa through real estate investment start at 250,000 EUR.

 

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