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List of all the required documents, fees, and best places to retire in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is located in Southeast Europe and is considered the oldest country in Europe. Famous for its folklore, opera singers, dances, and national costumes, Bulgaria has become an attractive destination for more than 60,000 expats. 

Bulgaria is one of the cheapest countries to retire in, making it a perfect place to spend your retirement years without worrying about money. To retire in Bulgaria, you need to apply for a Bulgarian Pensioner D visa.

Who Is Eligible For a Bulgarian Pensioner D Visa?

You are eligible to get a Bulgarian Pensioner D Visa if you meet all of the following conditions:

  • You are a non-EU citizen.
  • You receive a pension according to the Bulgarian legislation.
  • You are already retired in your home country.
  • You are able to prove that you have sufficient funds to financially support yourself during your stay in Bulgaria.

Documents Required for a Bulgaria Retirement Visa

These are the documents you need to submit to complete the application for a Bulgaria retirement (Pensioner D) visa: 

  • Application form.
  • Photographs. Submit two recently taken photographs in passport format.
  • Passport. An original and valid passport.
  • Document proving you are retired in your home country. The document must be issued by the country of origin and legalized with a notary public.
  • Proof of valid bank account. Provide a document from a Bulgarian bank to prove that you have a valid bank account to make your pension transfer.
  • Proof of accommodation place and the address of accommodation in Bulgaria.
  • Medical insurance valid in the territory of Bulgaria.
  • Police clearance. A document issued by the police department in your country stating you have a clear criminal record.

How to Apply for a Bulgaria Retirement Visa?

To obtain a Bulgarian Retirement visa, as a non-EU national, you need to go through the following steps:

  1. Apply and get a Bulgarian D Visa.
  2. After obtaining the D visa, you can enter the country.
  3. Apply for a temporary residence permit called “Residence for Pensioners” at the Migration Directorate upon your arrival.

The Migration Directorate branch of the Ministry of Interior is responsible for issuing residence permits in Bulgaria.

If you are from an EU country, you can enter Bulgaria visa-free for three months; however, you must register your residence and obtain a registration certificate. Then, you can lodge the residence permit application at the local Migration Office (Ministry of Interior) in the district where your accommodation is located.

Processing Time For a Bulgaria Retirement Visa 

The processing time for a Bulgarian Retirement visa is 35 business days. However, it may take longer (more than one month), in certain cases.

How Long Can I Stay in Bulgaria With a Retirement Visa?

A Bulgarian Retirement Visa is valid for a period of 12 months (one year) for non-EU citizens and up to five years for EU citizens. You can renew your retirement visa after it expires.

How Much Does a Bulgaria Retirement Visa Cost?

When applying for a Bulgarian Pensioner visa, you will need to pay a fee of $200 for a duration of one year (12 months).

Can I Bring my Dependents to Bulgaria With a Retirement Visa?

Holders of a Bulgarian Retirement visa can apply for family reunification for their spouse (if he/she is not retired) and their children under the age of 18. You will be required to provide only a  marriage certificate for your spouse and birth certificates for your children.

How Much Money Do You Need to Retire in Bulgaria?

Bulgaria is an affordable destination compared to other European countries, therefore, you will not need to spend much to cover your living expenses. However, you might have to spend an average of $108 per month to pay for utilities (electricity, water, heating, cooling, garbage).

The real estate prices in Bulgaria are some of the lowest in Europe, which makes the accommodation process quicker and easier for you. For example, the monthly price range for apartments in the city center goes from $230 to $540 (one bedroom) and $320 to $1020 (three bedrooms). Whereas for apartments outside the city center, the prices go from $160 to $410 (one bedroom) and $300 to $650 (three bedrooms). 

Overall, the estimated monthly cost for a single person to live comfortably in Bulgaria is $530 per month without including rent.

Healthcare in Bulgaria 

Although Bulgaria might not have the best healthcare quality, the medical staff is highly trained and professional. The Ministry of Health manages public health, but health facilities might not be in the best condition, especially in rural areas. 

Public healthcare is not entirely free, and you might have to pay for a few treatments and services. Once you become a citizen of Bulgaria, your healthcare will be provided by Bulgaria’s compulsory healthcare insurance scheme.

Considering all this, many locals and new residents in Bulgaria choose private healthcare. This is because private healthcare in Bulgaria has better healthcare standards and facilities than public healthcare and is cheaper than in Western Europe. 

However, many retirees are not eligible for public health insurance, so they choose private health insurance with international coverage.

Why Retire in Bulgaria?

Here is why you should move to Bulgaria for your retirement:

  • Low cost of living. Bulgaria is affordable for everyone. So you can have a comfortable retirement at a low price and have one of the best experiences of your life.
  • Rich history and culture. The Balkan country has a rich history and culture. Bulgaria has many natural and historical objects that attract tourists from all over the world.
  • Safety. Bulgaria ranks high on the safety list. The country has a low level of serious crimes, no political conflict, and is a laid-back country. 
  • Great climate. The weather in Bulgaria is the perfect combination of hot and cold. You will enjoy long hot temperatures during the summer season and cold and snowy winters throughout the year.
  • Friendly locals. The Bulgarians are very friendly and hospitable people. You will not find it hard to fit in and have a great time with your new neighbors.

Best Places to Retire in Bulgaria 

Because Bulgaria is one of the cheapest countries to visit and retire in, where you decide to reside will not affect your budget much. Even the most expensive city in Bulgaria can feel cheap to most retirees due to the low cost of living. Here are some of the best places for retirement in Bulgaria:

Sofia

The capital of Bulgaria is one of the most populated cities with expats. Sofia reflects more than 2,000 years of history in every corner of the city and gives you much to explore. People in Sofia are very nice, friendly, helpful, and welcoming towards foreigners.

Plovdiv

Plovdiv is the second-largest city in Bulgaria and is surrounded by unique culture and architecture. The city is home to theatre and music, literature and arts, and has more than 200 archaeological sites. You will enjoy daily walks around the old town filled with antiquary stores and house museums.

Varna

Varna is a port city and seaside resort on Bulgaria’s Black Sea famous for many things. In Varna, you will find some of the best and oldest museums, arts companies, and festivals. It is the perfect place if you want to live a dynamic life. The city welcomes thousands of tourists every year, so you have to expect a little noise during the hot tourist season. 

Veliko Tarnovo

Being one of the oldest cities in Bulgaria, Veliko Tarnovo’s history dates back to more than five millennia. The beautiful picturesque city is located in the north-central part of the country and is rich in flora and fauna. The city is surrounded by mountains and nature and offers many things to keep you busy for a very long time.

Just a stroll through the beautiful street of Veliko Tarnovo will make you fall in love with this place.

Burgas

Burgas is the fourth largest city in Bulgaria and is characterized by a number of cultural monuments and museums and festivals. Life in Burgas will offer you a five-month-long summer due to the humid subtropical climate. The city is famous for its biodiversity, with more than 20,000 waterbirds.

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