The most common Misconceptions about the Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment Program

false news
"Misunderstanding is generally simpler than true understanding, and hence has more potential for popularity." - Raheel Farooq

There is a lot of misleading information about the Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment Program that that is to be found everywhere – from internet forums to glossy magazines. From our experience, we estimate that about 80% of the information found online is either absolutely untrue or is at least not accurate. This is a shocking percentage and we are in a state of never-ending fight in order to explain to our potential clients the true conditions of the fast-track citizenship program. We fly frequently the world around to participate in various international investment citizenship conferences to talk about the particularities of the Bulgarian investment citizenship program and we are always shocked by the amount of fake information our clients have been bombarded with.

The false information can be divided into three main categories:

  • Misinformation being spread by agents who are promoting citizenship by investment programs of other countries. The misconceptions being fueled by these agents, who are thereby trying to propagate the virtues of their own programs, represent the largest portion of false information found on the internet;
  • False information, echoed by unscrupulous agents who want to scam their clients by either overcharging them multiple times or by blatantly stealing their investments capital altogether. This is the most dangerous misinformation and we urge you to read the word-of-caution section for a word of advice;
  • Non-accurate information, originating from agents and others alike, who are not well aware of the details of the Bulgarian fast-track citizenship program. Although, there is no harm meant, misinformation of that kind often leads to confusion and ultimately to the reluctance of the client to participate in the program.

Below, we will list some of the most common misconceptions that are basically the result of false information being spread about the Bulgarian fast-track citizenship program.

Misinformation, usually being spread (aggressively) by agents who are marketing fast-track citizenship programs of other countries

The Maltese investment citizenship comes with a price tag of 650 000 EUR, while the Bulgarian program costs 1 024 000 EUR. So why go for the Bulgarian passport?

This is the most common delusion that is being propagated by agents who market the Maltese investment citizenship. While the numbers above are correct, the Bulgarian investment amount of 1 024 000 EUR simply never leaves the account of the applicant and always remains his property (logically), alongside with all interests accrued. In stark contrast is the Maltese fee of 650 000 EUR, which is an irrevocable payment to the Government. Can you spot the "tiny" difference between the two?

Bulgaria is a corrupt country with fragile economy and any investments made there is risky

This is the lie that we are told is being echoed by many Cypriot agents to justify the existence of their citizenship program. Probably speaking of experience (for more information, please check the Cypriot financial crisis in 2012-2013), the Cypriot agents, being already way too many for such a tiny island, are trying to undermine the superiority of the Bulgarian fast-track program. Not only by strength of its economy and credit ratings assigned by all major international agencies, but also in terms of lack of corruption, Bulgaria fares much better than Cyprus and many other EU nations. You can read more about the strength of the Bulgarian economy.

With passport of Saint Kitts and Nevis one can travel visa-free to all EU countries, so why bother applying for Bulgarian (EU) nationality that also provides visa-free access to the EU?

Here again, the agents selling faraway tropical islands passports are trying to compare apples to oranges. Citizens of certain Caribbean states, indeed, enjoy visa-free access to the EU countries. However, they can only visit as tourists, with non existent rights – no right to reside, work, or basically do anything else, but sightseeing. And all that is allowed for a term no longer than 3 months. Once the 3 months are over, the tourist has to leave the EU soil or will be faced with severe penalties and extradition procedures.

An investment of 500 000 EUR will provide me with a "Golden Visa" for Portugal, so why would I go for Bulgarian citizenship with a much higher investment requirement (1 024 000 EUR)?

The Portuguese agents (and indeed they are not the only ones) are trying very hard to confuse the clients, making them believe that a "Golden Visa" is equal to citizenship. This is as ridiculous as comparing a weekend stay in hotel with property ownership. "Golden Visa" programs, no matter how golden and sparkling they have been intended to sound, are just a temporary visa, allowing temporary stay in a certain country (and only one country, to be precise). These programs give no other rights whatsoever (such as the right of living in another EU member state), nor a passport allowing visa-free travel to almost everywhere in the world, as EU citizen.

The Bulgarian Investment Citizenship Program simply doesn’t work, period!

This statement is probably the most ridiculous one, but is unfortunately the heavy weapon of many agents who are marketing other countries fast-track citizenship programs. It is unfortunate that so little can be done to fight silliness. When we read stuff like that, we cant help but quote Albert Einstein:

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe."

Misinformation, originating mostly from scammers (beware!)

The investment required for the Bulgarian fast-track citizenship program is a social investment and it doesn’t pay any interest (or return from capital appreciation) to the applicant

Complete nonsense, but a very popular one. As stated many times, the investment remains always on the name of the citizenship candidate. All proceeds (interests, etc.) are for the account of the applicant. But imagine how convenient such a statement can be for an unscrupulous agent, allowing him to pocket the interests from the investment instead of the client.

The investment is held on escrow account, usually the account of the agent

No, no, no! A million "No’s". The investment should never leave the account of the applicant! No escrow, no nothing.

You can invest in the agent’s "custom made investment fund" (or often a "pool of investments", whatever that may mean), tailored for the needs of the investment citizenship program or in some other lucrative investment opportunity (being suggested by the agent) and can use the investment to apply for Bulgarian fast-track citizenship

Simply put – not true! If you are ever offered some sort of alternative investment arrangements that differ from the investment options of the official Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment Program – walk away or immediately seek legal advice.

Misinformation as result of limited or non-existent understanding of the particularities of the fast-track citizenship program

You can invest in real estate properties and use this investment to qualify under the fast-track citizenship program

Although this misconception can also fit into the first category above (as one being fueled by agents propagating their own programs), we have placed it here as it is being solicited by mainly real estate agents (as opposed to agents offering other countries’ citizenship programs). A real estate agent’s paradise would be to have a state program in place allowing real estate investors to obtain fast-track citizenship in the country (as is the case in Cyprus). To the grief of the Bulgarian real estate agents however, no such arrangements exist in Bulgaria. For the most dedicated citizenship candidates though, who are determined to invest in real estate in Bulgaria and have no other choice, but to use these assets as collateral for the otherwise required investment capital, some mortgage contracts can be drafted. Please note however that this is a complicated procedure from legal point of view, so please contact us in advance should the said above will be your intention.

The "Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment Program" is a "passport for sale scheme" and is drafted so that the Bulgarian government can profit financially from the investment of the applicants

This perception is absolutely inadequate. What we (and many of the EU institutions) consider to be a "passport for sale schemes" are the investment citizenship programs of the tropical islands as well as the Maltese program (you can read why the European Parliament deems the Maltese citizenship program to be a "passport for sale scheme"). The Bulgarian program doesn’t involve any financial contribution to the government. The program was passed by the Bulgarian Parliament with the main idea to attract prosperous citizenship candidates who will eventually help to reverse the country’s demographic decline, which started in the early 90’s (but is now utterly under control).