Living in Bulgaria

Living in Bulgaria has many benefits. These include the increasing employment prospects, stable economy, family values and friendly neighbours, a relaxed lifestyle, the beautiful mountains and countryside, the beaches and, of course, the climate. These all combine in outweighing the inevitable disadvantages and differences. With increasing economic and social tensions, decreased mortgage lending, falling housing prices, and the rising cost of living found elsewhere in the world, a lot of people are contemplating permanent residency in Bulgaria, and there are few who will regret this decision.

If a person is planning on staying in Bulgaria, they can apply for a permanent residence permit that lasts for one year. These permits have to be renewed for 5 consecutive years. The conditions are that the person must have sufficient funds or income to support themselves and their family if they have one, or that they must be self-employed or employed in Bulgaria with an educational programme that is recognised. During their 5 years of residence, the person must learn Bulgarian and be able to understand and speak it sufficiently enough for the minister of science and education to consider them acceptable to become a Bulgarian citizen.

All documents relating to the personís residence within Bulgaria, proof of being able to support themselves or being able to prove gainful employment, and original identification documents must be handed to the Ministry of Naturalisation (or Bulgarian consulate if out of the country)in person. All documents must be in Bulgarian. A person can apply for naturalisation after living in Bulgaria for 3 years if they have been married to a citizen of Bulgaria for a minimum of 3 years.

Bulgaria has settled down with regards property prices following the EU accession. This means that it is possible to rent or buy decent accommodation countrywide, excepting perhaps a few fashionable suburbs within Sofia which will be more expensive. Choices of accommodation are extensive, such as an old and rambling rural home within the countryside, golf course villa, a new house at a ski or beach resort, a suburban house, or an apartment in the city. The choice is up to the visitor whether they want to enjoy a laid back village lifestyle or cosmopolitan inner city chic.

Just about everyone will have direct access to satellite or cable TV, high-speed internet, cellular phone coverage and telephone services. Most of the villages will have restaurants, local shops, chemist, church, petrol stations and post office plus regular transportation to the bigger towns that offer more amenities such as schools, hospitals, train and bus stations, theatres, internet cafes, shopping centres and supermarkets.

It seems that Bulgarian restaurant and hotel prices are below half the EU average, non alcoholic and alcoholic drinks are about 65% less, while clothing is about 75 percent lower than the EU average. Retirees might also find that their pension goes much further while living in Bulgaria. Bulgaria as a nation has preserved its tradition, culture, history and national identity, where a visitor will experience a completely different lifestyle. Bulgarians can also be very welcoming and friendly.

Quick Facts

Population: 98th (7.4 mln)

Area: 105th (110,994 sq km)

Years in existence: 1332 years

Official Language: Bulgarian

Currency: Bulgarian Lev (BGN)

Capital: Sofia