Bulgaria offers ‘Startup Visa’ to non-EU foreigners

Bulgaria’s Ministry of Innovation and Growth (MIG) has opened an application procedure for a “StartUp Visa” to be issued to foreign citizens (from outside the European Union) for development of a high-tech businesses in Bulgaria, the ministry said.

Applications and related documents and applications can be submitted through the National Investment Management System platform at https://enims.egov.bg/en, using an electronic signature.

The new administrative service is open to non-EU citizens who want to start a business using innovative technologies and expanding R&D activities.

The ministry said that it had accelerated the preparations for the issuing of the certificate by opening the application procedure two months ahead of schedule, instead of the planned six-month period.

An applicant – an entrepreneur wanting to be granted a StartUp Visa – must fill in a questionnaire stating the name of the company (if already registered), the business idea, targeted markets, potential or current investors, patents and customers, among other details.

A certificate for a high-tech or innovative project will be issued after the application and related project documentation are reviewed by a “Council of Experts”, made up of representatives of the state, scientific community and the private sector, the ministry said.

The certificate will be valid for one year, and can be extended for an additional two-year period.

“After five years of efforts, Bulgaria already has a Startup Visa, as all European developed countries do. This will allow investors from outside the EU to develop high-tech projects in Bulgaria, hire Bulgarian talents and create new job opportunities,” Minister of Innovation and Growth Alexander Poulev said.

The issuance of a StartUp Visa is based on Bulgaria’s Foreigners Act, as well as on the Ordinance on the terms and conditions for issuing, extending and revoking a Startup Visa certificate, the ministry said.

The certificate is an official document, which grants an opportunity for issuing a long-term residence permit to non-EU foreigners, it said.

Until October 7 2022, Bulgaria was the only EU country without an established legal order for issuing a Startup Visa, the ministry said.

Further information about the application process, in Bulgarian and English, is on the website of the Ministry of Innovation and Growth:

https://www.mig.government.bg/predstoyasthi-sabitiya/mir-sthe-izdava-startup-visa-za-visokotehnologichni-i-inovativni-proekti/ (BG)

https://www.mig.government.bg/all-news/upcoming-events/the-ministry-of-innovation-and-growth-will-issue-startup-visa-for-high-tech-and-innovative-projects/?lang=en (EN).

(Photo: Willie Cloete/freeimages.com)

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