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Bulgaria Property News

  • Bulgaria expects 5% more international Tourism in 2018

    According to Bulgaria's Ministry of Tourism, the country expects a 5% rise in tourist numbers for the summer season of 2018, compared to 2017. The number of tourists visiting Bulgaria increased by 11% in the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2017.

    The country's Ministry for Tourism launched a digital advertising campaign this year, aiming in particular at tourists from the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Poland and the US, the main markets the Ministry expects tourists to come from.

    Last year, more than 5.3 million international visitors came to Bulgaria. Domestic tourism is also expected to grow. For 2018, the Ministry believes that 1.9 million Bulgarians will be travelling to other parts of the country. Last year, that figure was 1.6 million. Bulgaria is very much seen as a major emerging tourist destination in Europe. The recent win of Plovdiv, which has been named as one of two European Capitals of Culture for 2019, will certainly help to put Bulgaria firmly on the map for tour operators. Matera in Italy was named as the other Capital of Culture for next year.

    Plovdiv may be one of the oldest continually inhabited towns in Europe, but it has a cosmopolitan flair and modern tourist amenities that could put many more established tourist towns to shame. Dating back to at least the 6th century BC, Plovdiv is a lively, modern city with an ancient heart, located in the south-central part of Bulgaria and easily reached by train and road. The town expects around two million visitors for next year, having already predicted around one million visitors to arrive this summer on the strength of greater "visibility" on the international tourism market.

    The town's historic centre has been on the "potentials" list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites committee for several years now. Deputy Mayor Stefan Stoyanov said that the town had great ambitions and much to offer in terms of tourist attractions, such as a modern music festival and opera festival, a beautiful old town, lovely restaurants and boutiques. With only half a million residents, Plovdiv is easy to get around on foot, another point in its favour, and it is not too crowded, even in summer.

    The other tourist destination hoping to cash in on greater awareness of Bulgaria as a European tourist destination is the seaside town of Varna. Founded as a trading colony in 570 BC, Varna is Bulgaria's tourism power house. With around 330,000 residents, Varna is Bulgaria's third-larest city and located at the northern end of the Black Sea coast. Last year, the town saw a 9.3% increase in tourism revenue. Some 8.9 million international tourists visited Varna in 2017.

    According to Varna's tourist information centre, tourism accounts for ca. 18% to 20% of the country's GDP. However, the Black Sea coast at present contributes more than its fair share, offering around 70% of the available tourist accommodation in the whole of Bulgaria, both in terms of hotels and rooms let by private landlords. This is set to change, as the Ministry of Tourism is determined to offer greater variety, not just seaside holidays, to tour operators. Hence the promotion of land-locked Plovdiv, which offers cultural tourists a veritable feast.

    Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of Propertyshowrooms.com
  • Bulgarian Condominium Ownership

    If you are planning to buy one or more condominiums in Bulgaria, you will be asked to sign a contract that pertains to the management of the common parts of the building in which your condominium is located. In Bulgaria the rights and obligations of users, tenants and owners of condominiums with regard to the management of the common parts of buildings are strictly regulated under the Condominium Ownership Management Act, or COMA for short. This came into effect on 1st May 2009 and has since been amended several times.

    COMA covers the management regime of the common parts of buildings under condominium ownership arrangements, where buildings are constructed in closed-type residental complexes. A notorized contract exists between the investor or developer of such complexes and each of the owners of the individual housing units. Once each signature has been notorized, the contract must be registered by the investor or developer with the Registry Agency for each individual condoninium unit. This will then be referenced to the subsequent purchaser of said units.

    There are some exceptions to this rule. In buildings that contain up to three independent units that belong to more than one owner, different rules apply, according to the provisions of Article 30, paragraph 3, and Article 31, paragraph 1 and Article 32 of the Property Act.

    The contract governing the condominium management relates to the controls and procedures over the use and maintenance of the complex's common areas and compliance with the internal regulations in the building under the condominium ownership arrangement. However, it also covers the control over the fulfilment of the obligations of the users, tenants and owners.

    What form the condominium management takes will be decided at the General Meeting held by the Assocation of Owners, with the investor/developer representing the unsold units. In principle, the management consists of the General Meeting body and the manager or Management Board. The General Meeting of the Association is permitted to make a decision, which must be approved by a majority exceeding 50% of the represented notional shares in the Association, before the decision can be adopted. For example, the decision can be to assign powers of the Manager or Management Board to individuals who are not owners but tenants or users. The contract for authorisation must be executed by a person authorized by the General Meeting of the Association. Even for small matters pertaining to the management and maintenance of common areas this rule applies.

    Costs of Management and Maintenance of Common Parts

    Under the condominium ownership arrangement all costs will be equally shared between users, tenants and owners.

    Costs include repairs and renovations, reconstruction and rehabilitation of common parts, even replacement of common facilities and equipment (for example lawn mowers or cleaning utensils). The decision of what will be repaired etc lies with the General Meeting of the Association of the owners.

    Before any repairs etc can be carried out, the General Meeting of the owners or the Association must establish and maintain a Repair and Renovation Fund that will cover the costs for repairs, renovation etc of the common areas that are described in the decision of the General Meeting of owners at the outset of the ownership arrangement. The costs will be distributed among the owners of the individual units in proportion of the notional shares of the common parts of the building held by said owners.

    Each building must have a Condominium Book that is kept up-to-date and maintained. This should contain the information on respective properties and their owners, users and tenants. Decisions of the governing bodies that are adopted in accordance with the condominium ownership arrangements are strictly mandatory for all owners of the building's units.

    The provisions of the Ownership Act will apply to any issues not covered by the COMA arrangement. Owners will be supplied with a list of the main obligations that they must comply with, for example not to cause damage to common areas, not to rent them out illegally and not to participate in any activities that may cause inconvenience or disturbance to other occupants of the building. The obligations also include to implement the decisions made by the General Meeting, to pay contributions regularly for the necessary expenses of repairs etc and to comply with the sanitary-hygiene standards set out in the Ownership Act.

    It may not always be possible for foreign owners to be present at General Meetings or to check that all decisions are adhered to. It is possible to engage companies for the management and maintenance of the building. Such companies can even pay the bills on behalf of the Association, collect payments from owners and users or rent out condominiums on behalf of owners. Before signing any contract with such a management company, it is advisable to consult a lawyer, who may take up references on behalf of the owner and check the contract's details.

    Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of Propertyshowrooms.com
  • Bulgaria welcomed more than 3.6 Million Tourists in the first Half of 2018

    Nikolina Angelkova, Bulgaria's Minister of Tourism, confirmed that over 3.6 million tourists visited the country in the first six months of this year. She said that the Ministry expected a growth of 5% for the period June to September.

    Revenue derived from overnight stays rose by 6.5% in a year-on-year comparison with 2017. The total revenue was 200.2 million levs or 102.4 million euro in June alone, according to NSI, the National Statistical Institute of Blugaria. This was down mostly to expenditure by foreign visitors, who spent 6.4% more in June than in the same month in 2017, while revenue from domestic tourists rose by 7.2%, compared to the same month last year.

    The largest growth in overnight stays was recorded by three-star hotels, which accounted for 24.9% of the total number of overnight stays by international visitors and 31.8% of the domestic market, a 9.5% increase on the previous year.

    In June 2018 a total of 988,800 tourists stayed in holiday accommodation, a 6.7% rise compared to last year. The number of domestic tourists also went up by 6.9%, compared to 2017, while the number of international visitors rose by 6.5%.

    One of the reasons Bulgaria is seeing an increase in tourism is the fact that Buglgaria is the cheapest country in Europe and has some amazing beaches to offer. Sunny Beach resort is one of Bulgaria's most popular destinations on the Black Sea coast. The resort has been named Europe's cheapest getaway four years in a row by the Post Office. Comparing a number of holiday essentials, such as a three-course meal for two with a bottle of wine, came to only ?19.53 in Bulgaria's Sunny Beach, making the resort far cheaper than the Algarve, which came in second place after Sunny Beach.

    The Bulgarian coastline spans some 378 kilometres of beautiful sandy beaches, one of them being Nessebar, one of the most charming resorts and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

    Further inland, Bulgaria has a wealth of culture and historic towns and villages to offer, as well as stunning mountain scenery such as the Rila Mountain Range. The city of Plovdiv is well worth a visit. It was already a tourist attraction in ancient Roman times. The Romans left behind a well-preserved 1,800-year-old stadium that can be viewed from the main pedestrian street because it runs just below it. Glass panels protect the ancient amphitheatre which is today used for concerts and operas, not mortal combat. Plovdiv's Old Town is charming and picturesque with cobbled streets and a wealth of Renaissance-style buildings. Here visitors will find excellent restaurants, boutiques and art galleries. The city lies within an easy distance of the Rhodope Mountains, a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts and hikers.

    Plovdiv is Bulgaria's second largest city with a permanent population of around 340,000. The town is an important economic and cultural centre in Bulgaria and is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Plovidiv was selected as the Bulgarian host of the European Capital of Culture 2019, which should see tourism flourishing even more. The city occupies the banks of the Maritza River, and enjoys a favourable climate.

    Property isn't cheap in the modern part of the city, but 50 kilomometres outside of Plovdiv, at the foot of beautiful Sredna Gora Mountain range, it is possible to find a newly renovated house with a garden in a village setting for just 35,500 euros. For investors in buy-to-let property Plovdiv still offers plenty of choice. Just 5 kilometres outside the city centre houses with views of the city and the Rhodope Mountain range cost just 186,000 euros and apartments start at around 85,000 euros.

    Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of Propertyshowrooms.com
  • Bulgaria takes first Steps to join Eurozone

    Bulgaria has agreed with Euro-zone government on the first conditions that will allow for Bulgaria's entrance into the Eurozone, one of which is that Bulgaria will adopt the Euro as currency. The move is widely seen as a sign that governments on all sides are willing to apply a wider spectrum of requirements for Eurozone membership, following the 2008 financial crisis.

    The move will eventually enable Bulgaira to join the EU-blocks banking union and the ERMII, a system that helps countries to join the Euro by limiting exchange rate fluctuations. At the meeting of finance ministers it was decided that Bulgaria meets the nominal criteria to adopt the Euro. The country enjoys low inflation, its own currency is already pegged to the Euro and public finances are in good order.

    However, Bulgaria is the poorest country in the EU, and continued problems besetting the country's banks have so far prevented Bulgaria from joining the Euro-zone and its banking system. At their meeting, Euro-zone finance ministers agreed on the timeframe for the country's next steps toward adopting the Euro. The process of joining the Euro-block's banking union is envisaged to take about 12 months under the agreed plan.

    Bulgaria's finance minister, Vladislav Goranov, and Dimitar Radey, the governor of Bulgaria's central bank, set out their determination to join in a letter of commitments that stated the country expects to join EMRII and the banking union by July 2019.

    Member countries of the banking union transfer the powers to oversee their top-ranking banks to EU bodies, and also allow them to deal with any lenders that are in trouble.

    The European Central Bank will be supervising the whole process. Joining the ERMII system will precede joining Euro membership.

    Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of Propertyshowrooms.com
  • Renting in Bulgaria

    If you're planning to rent an apartment or house in Bulgaria, before making a decision to buy or because you are only in the country for a limited period of time for work or business, you'll need to to find a trustworthy, reliable estate or lettings agency to help you find the best possible, affordable property in Bulgaria.

    Unless your employer finds a home for you and arranges the lease, you could try university websites that recommend English-speaking estate or lettings agents, or other official websites that are aimed at foreigners coming to Bulgaria to live, either permanently or temporary. If you already know somebody in the country, then personal recommendation will obviously smooth the way. Be sure to view the property personally, even if that means a short trip to Bulgaria at a time when you're busy packing up your old home into storage or removal boxes. If you are not happy with what you see upon your arrival, don't be pressured into signing a contract, which in Bulgaria are typically for one year.

    Before signing, be sure that your new Bulgarian home is in the right location. How far are the shops, your children's school and leisure amenities from your Sofia apartment?

    What charges to expect

    In addition to the estate or lettings agents' fees, which are charged to both tenant and landlord, there are likely to be monthly fees for cleaning and maintaining common areas in an apartment complex. If there are parking spaces, you may also be charged for yours.

    Property buyers can expect moderately good rental yields, at least in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, where yields were around 6% in 2017 in the city and suburbs. Transaction costs when buying a Bulgarian apartment or house are also moderate. Expect to pay around 2.5 to 3% estate agents' fees, when buying or selling a Bulgarian residential property. The fee for registering your property with the relevant Real Estate Registry is 0.10% of the purchase price for the buyer. There is also a transfer tax of up to 3% to pay, which in Sofia tends to be around 2.5%. There is also a notary fee of between 0.10% to 1.5% of the property value to pay. However, notary fees are capped at around 3,000 euros, when you buy a property of 250,000 euros or more.

    It should be remembered that Bulgaria has no centralized property registry, so if you want a property search done, you will need to hire a competent, trustworthy Bulgarian lawyer, preferably a firm also dealing in taxation advice, especially if you are planning to let out your Bulgarian house or apartment.

    Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of Propertyshowrooms.com
  • Retiring to Bulgaria

    A burgeoning economy, low inflation, low cost of housing and living, make Bulgaria an attractive place for European retirees. Why spend thousands on fuel costs in wintery Britain, if you can live cheaply and pay only £200 a year in Bulgaria? Buying an apartment or house in Bulgaria can be as little as 20,000 euros. The country's economy is strong, with a GDP of 3.8% and inflation at just 1.8%, according to the European Commission (https://ec.europa.eu/info/business-econom). If you're thinking of relocating to Bulgaria with your family, there are plenty of jobs for those willing to learn Bulgarian.

    Apart from the attractions of Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, there are places like Sozopol, Varna, Golden Sands and Albena at the Black Sea Coast that offer excellent value for money when it comes to renting or buying a home. Bulgaria's ski resorts Bansko and Borovets, or Vitosha, which lies just 10 km from Sofia, or Pamporovo in the central Rhodopi Mountain Range, are great alternatives too, especially if you like an active outdoor lifestyle. In summer you can enjoy days at a spa hotel or play a round of golf, go hiking or mountain climbing, while in winter there's cross country and regular piste skiing. Bulgarian ski resorts enjoy roughly speaking a 15 week season.

    Things to consider before retiring to Bulgaria

    You will need to arrange for private health insurance, which is not too expensive at around 200 euros a year. There are several international health insurance companies that offer expats comprehensive cover.

    It's a good idea to rent a furnished apartment or house for a few months, before making a decision to buy. It will allow you to see what life is like during the off-peak season. Property prices are likely to rise in 2018 and 2019 due to the country's strong economic performance and low unemployment rate. Some estate agents predict appreciation of Bulgarian house prices of around 5% for 2018. Sofia news agency Novinite.com reported that house prices rose by nearly 10% in 2017, even more in the capital. According to the National Statistics Institute, the national house price rose by 2.41% in the second quarter of 2017 and the trend continued throughout the year. All factors to consider buying a Bulgarian property, either as a retirement home or investment.

    Renting an apartment in Sofia is far more expensive than in, for example, the city of Bourgas at the Black Sea coast. While in Sofia you might pay 650 to 700 euros a month of a furnished 2-bed apartment, in Bourgas a furnished apartment of a similar size will be around 250 to 300 euros a month. The same is true for renting shops or offices: in Sofia an office or shop might be 800 euros a month in somewhere like the Buxton Quarter. Go to Bourgas, and a retail or office space of the same size will cost from 5 to 10 euros per square metre, or 300 euros a month.

    Bourgas at the Bulgarian Black Sea Riviera is a good base from which to explore southern Bulgaria, when you're starting your house hunt. The city has plenty of attractions during off-peak season: there is a charmingly old-fashioned Natural History Museum, an Ethnographic Museum celebrating Bulgarian folk culture, a lovely maritime garden with statues, wide promenades, a Summer Theatre and lovely walks. Several wonderful restaurants, good shopping and plenty of sunshine in the summer make Bourgas an excellent alternative to Sofia.

    To integrate as an expat it is best to learn at least basic Bulgarian, even if the locals are good at speaking English! There are numerous language schools offering Bulgarian lessons alongside other languages. Bulgaria is neighbours with both Turkey and Romania, so these are two of the other languages taught locally. Here are some language school you might like to contact:

    Iliyana Dimitrova,
    Bulgarian Lessons in Bulgaria's old capital Veliko Tarnovo
    http://bulgarianlessons.eu/about-bulgarian-lessons.html ,
    Tel 359 89 898 5021
    Berlitz International
    language training for children, teens and adults
    Tel: 00359 2 851 7090 , sofia@berlitz.bg
    Sofia Language Centre
    Bulgarian for expats and Business Bulgarian
    Tel: 00359 888 603 027

    Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of Propertyshowrooms.com
  • Bulgaria's Black Sea Riviera

    Bulgaria's Black Sea coastline boasts miles of golden sandy beaches that are ideal for family holidays. Property in Bulgaria is still very cheap compared to other EU countries, although the ancient seaside town of Varna tends to be more expensive than the rest of the Black Sea coastal resorts. A cheap Bulgarian apartment starts at around £24,000, while houses can often be found for £50,000 or less outside of Varna.

    The most popular resorts include Varna and the equally ancient port of Sozopol, Golden Sands and Sunny Beach, Ahtopol and Albena, Nessebăr and Irakli.

    Varna was founded by the ancient Romans and has remained as popular as it was then with travellers thanks to its sunny climate. Sozopol, which lies to the south of Varna, was founded by the ancient Greeks in the 7th century BC. Property here tends to be cheaper than in Varna. Family-friendly Albena sports fine sandy beaches with shallow waters ideal for young swimmers, while Sunny Beach boasts 8 kilometres of fine golden sands that receive almost guaranteed daily sunshine from spring to autumn.

    Ahtopol lies close to the Turkish border and is far quieter than the busy resorts of Sozopol and Varna. It has less nightlife to offer, but is also less developed and unspoiled as a result. The popular beaches of Apollonia, Harmani Beach and Town Beach are close to Sozopol.

    Buying a property in Varna usually starts at around £110,000 for an apartment, while in Albena a 2-bedroom house, already converted to modern standards, might be as little as £44,000. If you are looking for cheap property inland, but not too far from the coast, budget for around £70,000 in the district of Dobrich for an already converted house.

    All of Bulgaria's Black Sea Riviera resorts offer water sports enthusiasts great amenities. There are several dive centres located along the coast, as well as numerous sailing training centres. If you are thinking of relocating to start a sports-related business along the Black Sea coast, be sure to make several research trips at different times of the year to see what walk-in business you can expect. The main season runs from May to October, the sunniest months. Starting a business in Bulgaria is not as complex as it might seem - simply hire a local law firm for your business formation and they will deal with the bureaucracy involved.

    To compare what you might have to offer as a company with already existing water sports-related service providers, please see the following:

    Varna based The Royal Bulgarian Yacht Club, http://www.sail-clubs.com/en/i/772/Bulgaria/Varna/Varna/Sailing-/-Yacht-Club/Royal-Bulgaria-Yacht-Club
    Varna based GoGetSport Sailing School at https://en.ggsailing.com/
    Lounge Yachting, a RYA Training Centre http://loungeyachting.com/about-us/
    Angel Divers in Nessebar https://www.angel-divers.com/en/home
    Golden Sands' Harry's Diving Center http://divewithharry.com/
    Diving Center Sozopol http://www.dive-sozopol.com/en

    Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of Propertyshowrooms.com
  • Work Permits for Third-Country Foreigners working in Bulgaria

    EU citizens do not require a work permit or residency permit to live and work in Bulgaria, but foreigners deemed to hail from a "third country" must apply for one, although there are some exceptions to the rule.

    Third-country citizens who do not require work permits are either individuals with long-term or permanent residence in Bulgaria, members of boards of directors of companies who are not working under an employment relationship for remuneration, commercial representatives of foreign companies and managers of companies or trade branches of foreign business enterprises or entities.

    Work permits are issued by the National Employment Agency of Bulgaria. The stay and work permits for third-country nationals are divided into four different categories:

    short-term stay of up to 90 days long-term stay of up to 1 year long-term stay of up to 5 years with an option to extend residency with unlimited period How to apply for a Bulgarian work permit

    This is either done via the employer directly or via a law firm based in Bulgaria. Usually, the employer will submit the necessary documents to the Employment Service Directorate.

    The Employment Service Directorate will send these documents to the executive director of the National Employment Agency within 3 days of a received application. This will be accompanied by an opinion on the application made. The executive director will make a decision usually within the space of one month, whether to grant or refuse a work permit issue.

    What documents must be sent to the National Employment Agency?

    The application must not just specify the place of work, where the third-country national is going to work in Bulgaria but must also specify:

    the contract of employment how many staff are employed on average for the previous 12 month period copy of passport or ID, which must be valid for at least 7 months after arrival in Bulgaria any other documents specifying the nature of the job and what is required by regulatory documents, such as professional licences for example if the staff member coming to Bulgaria is a senior management member of staff or an expert of a foreign legal entity they will need to submit an officially notarized document certifying the job offer made to the third-country national or what position the staff member held within the legal entity over the previous 12 months.

    In addition, foreigners from third countries must ensure that they have a residency permit. Foreign nationals who can get a continuous residency permit are either persons who undertake commercial activities in Bulgaria and do so by employing at least 10 Bulgarian citizens, representatives of third-country companies and foreign specialists who are staying in Bulgaria under international treaties, such as diplomats for example.

    If you are an entrepreneur investing in a Bulgarian business or starting one in the country, a lawyer will be able to make both the application for work permit and residency permit for you and any staff members you plan to bring with you from your own country.

    Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of Propertyshowrooms.com
  • Obtaining Bulgarian Citizenship by Residency or Investment

    Although EU citizens can travel and work freely throughout the EU member states, there are still some restrictions in place for those who wish to relocate permanently and for those who are from "third countries", meaning non-EEA countries and people who are not Swiss citizens. If you have bought a Bulgarian property and wish to retire to the country for example, there are two ways of obtaining permanent citizenship. The easiest way, although it will cost more money, is to hire a specialist law firm to arrange for immigration and deal with work permit requirements before you arrive.

    In addition to dealing with your permanent residency needs and work permit issues, a law firm based near your future home can also deal with arranging family permits for non-EU national family members who wish to join you. Some law firms in Sofia even offer planning services for child care and education or buying or renting property, both residential and commercial.

    EU citizens do not need a visa to stay in Bulgaria; typically third country or non-EU citizens can stay for 90 days from the date of entry or up to one year, if they are living there continuously. EU citizens who wish to stay longer than 5 years in Bulgaria can obtain a certificate that will grant them permanent residency and lead to full citizenship.

    Citizenship by Investment

    Since 2013, Bulgaria's government has offered a business immigration programme that can lead to long-term residency and, where applicable, to full citizenship. Since that year, foreign investors who spend more than 500,000 Euros or 1,000,000 BGN. One of the ways to obtain residency by investment is to either start or buy a company that is registered in Bulgaria. There are certain advantages doing this, as Bulgaria has one of the lowest flat tax rates in the EU (10% at the time of writing). Once the legal period of actually living in the country has been met, it is possible for non-EU residents to apply for full citizenship.

    If you happen to be from a third country, investing in a Bulgarian business or investing in Bulgarian real estate can provide you with EU nationality and visa tree travel throughout the whole territory of the EU. One advantage of choosing Bulgaria is that the investment is 100% refundable, if you purchase, for example, Bulgarian shares on the stock exchange or buy government bonds or similar investment vehicles. Doing so means you gain unlimited living and working rights throughout the EU territory.

    It is also possible to acquire permanent residency status by investing more than 1,000,000 BGN in a Bulgarian licensed credit institution for a time of no less than 5 years or by investing at least 6,000,000 BGN in the capital of a Bulgarian company, where shares are not traded on a regulated market. Investors who get involved with large-scale development projects, such as infrastructure for example, are also able to obtain long-term residency rights.

    If you are planning to invest in Bulgaria, be it in a company formation, a trade representative office or simply to retire or live and work in Bulgaria, it is advisable to consult a specialist law firm about residency, inheritance and taxation issues. Here are a few names of multilingual law firms:

    Delchev & Partners
    8 Tsar Kaloyan Str.
    2nd Floor
    Sofia 1000
    Tel: 00359 888 408 216
    or 00359 2 993 0979
    CMS Law (Cameron McKenna Mabarro Olswang LLP/Bulgarian Branch Duncan Weston)
    Landmark Centre
    14 Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard
    Floor 1
    Sofia 1000
    Tel: 00359 2 921 9910
    Pavel Pektov
    100 Gotse Delchev Boulevard
    Entrance G
    Floor 4
    Apt 12
    Tel: 00359 876 705 765
    email Petkov.lawyer@gmail.com

    Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of Propertyshowrooms.com
  • Law Firms in Sofia

    Favourable corporate and private tax regimes have turned Bulgaria into a popular destination for international investors. Law firms based in the capital Sofia are already offering wide-ranging services in English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin) and Russian. If you are thinking of investing in a property in Bulgaria and perhaps are also looking into moving there to start a business, the whole process can be handled by a law firm to ease your way into your chosen new country.

    There are even specialist law firms dealing with the needs of developers, who need banking and financing services, as well as construction permits, title deed transfer and help with employment law matters.

    If you are planning to start a certain type of business, for example an online gaming enterprise such as a casino, you will need an EU gambling licence. Law firms in Sofia can arrange that for you. Or you may want to start a financial institution or open a medical or healthcare facility, for which you will also need a licence. Similarly, tour operators and travel agents must be fully licensed to run a business in Bulgaria. If you are planning to start a haulier business, you will need a transport licence and haulier company set-up to get started in Bulgaria.

    Investor Immigration

    Bulgaria offers investors a variety of ways to obtain the right to stay in the country. The Bulgarian investor program for residency makes it possible to obtain a permanent residency permit and citizenship through investment in, for example, government bonds, or by purchasing real estate or a company registered in Bulgaria.

    Another way to make use of this program is to open a trade representative office as a foreign company or to start a business from scratch. There are three principle types: a limited liability company and a joint stock company as well as the aforementioned trade representative branch. The program was introduced in 2013, and changes slightly every year, so contacting a law firm in Bulgaria is essential, if you wish to avail yourself of the advantages the program has to offer.

    If your choice is to buy an existing business, multi-lingual lawyers in Sofia can also help with the due diligence process and undertake valuations on your behalf.

    Buying Bulgarian Real Estate

    Apart from dealing with what in the UK would be called conveyancing, lawyers in Sofia can assist with title deed transfer and act as notary. In addition to making sure you are the new legal owner of an apartment or house in Bulgaria, you may want to make a will and have someone who will be able to administer your estate and deal with probate. Law firms in Sofia tend to specialise, so you may need to consult two different firms for all your needs. Not all of them deal with private clients either.

    Once you have bought or started your Bulgarian company's premises, you may want to arrange for insurance. Some law firms have specialists who deal with insurance and contract law.

    Starting a Business in Bulgaria

    Law firms based in Bulgaria can assist with company formation and registration of your business with the Bulgarian Commercial Register, but they can also represent you at general meetings of shareholders, so you won't have to be present at every meeting. In addition, they can help with taxation planning, VAT matters and corporate income and dividends tax.

    You will also need help with share transfers, if you are either buying or selling a business in Bulgaria. To keep costs down, it is possible with some law firms to be put on a retainer, which will cover many different aspects of your commercial dealings in Bulgaria.

    Here are three multi-lingual firms offering a variety of services: Vassilev and Partners
    78, Vitosha Boulevard
    Ground Floor, Office 1
    Sofia 1463
    Tel: 00359 2474 4306
    New Balkans Law Office
    19-B Patriarh Evtimiy Boulevard
    Sofia 1142
    email: sofia@newbalkanslawoffice.com
    Tel: 00359 2950 6239

    London office: london@newbalkanslawoffice.com Tel: 0044 207 183 0262
    1 Tsar Asen Str.
    Sofia 1000
    email: office:trifonov.info and trifonov@lawyers.bg
    tel: 00359 32 624 104

    Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of Propertyshowrooms.com